MERCH!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

August Ulascewitz

Concept: The Guy from Animal Control

AKA: Nobody really calls him “Augustus” even though that is the name on his birth certificate. Mama just liked the way it sounded and since Daddy was long gone by the time he turned up, she got to name him what she wanted. But people refer to him interchangeably as either “Gus” or “Augie” 

Desc: Bulky framed and not terribly tall. Lousy posture. Normally encountered wearing a dark navy coverall and a beat-up yellow ball cap (which has a tiny battery in the back and switch that turns on the two bead-like LED lights on the edge of the cap’s brim.)  Broken capillaries and ruddy complexion attest to his habit of putting away a six Miller High Life nearly every other night. Wristwatch and heavy black shoes with non-slip tread. Squinty eyes and a way of talking like the words are falling out of the side of his mouth. Losing his hair, and just a slight amount of his eyesight too. He is thinking about getting contacts. His hands look like he’s worked on a lot of cars or punched a lot of faces. 

History: Gus is one of those guys who never seems to catch a break. The sort of fella that Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen have made a fortune writing about. They never had much growing up. But Gus loved his mom and his older sister Rita. And they loved him.  He went to school, wasn’t much of a student and this shocked exactly no one. Played football, but not well enough that anyone wanted to pay him to do it or send him to a nice school.
He got a gig working for Animal Control because a drinking buddy recommended him for it. Gus settled into the job which had a distinct lack of schedule or routine. Also, it paid decently and there were government bennies. He even got Government holidays off, but of course, had to stay on call, just in case.  Of course, if he had to fetch a raccoon out of somebodies crawlspace on Christmas day, well...it was double time and he’d shrug his shoulders and do it.
    Gus has stories. He’s actually a pretty decent storyteller now because it’s one of the best ways to pass on the bulk of the accumulated knowledge of the Animal Control staff to the FNG’s coming in the door. Also, it’s a good way to pass the time. As time wore, he got more seniority and now he’s essentially the most senior guy they’ve got. They’d promote him except for the fact that while Gus is a generally gentle soul, he has some pretty regressive attitudes. The sort of attitudes that have kept Animal Control a “boys club” and occasionally causes him to start a thought with the phrase, “Now, I’m not a racist, but...”
      The sad thing is that Gus is coming up on retirement and he strenuously resists doing any thinking about what he’s going to do after he doesn’t have the AC office to come into every day. Most guys that Gus knows who have retired were dead or dying within a month of it.
it should be noted that while Payton Breckinridge is likely to notice patterns of weirdness in the animal kingdom of PC Town, Gus is far more likely to have to deal with whatever is happening up close and personal. It’s too bad they don’t know one another because if they ever compared notes, things could get “interesting” real quick.

Attitude: “Look you stupid fucknut. I’m going ta explain this real slow because you went to school on the little bus.  By the time we’ve gotten the fucking call, the animal in question is already frightened out of his tiny mind. Do you understand that fucknut?  He or she is terrified. if not for his or her own life, then for the life of their offspring.  Fear will fuck you up pretty good. When was the last time you made a GOOD decision when you was scared out of your tits? Hah?
So go slow. soothe with your voice, don’t move suddenly unless you have to MOVE. and be as fucking gentle as you fucking can. Get me?”

Skills: I won’t lie, Gus is far from a paragon of physicality. He’s got no wind to speak of and since he’s been smoking since junior high and is creeping up on 60 now, That’s not likely to change. He’s got some muscle under all that fat but again, a flight of stairs can wind him a bit.  However, it should be noted that he has a LOT of quick. He’s actually caught a venomous snake in mid-strike. (Not that he wants to make a habit of THAT.)  Socially, Gus is something of a loner. He’s had a few women in his life, but none that seemed to want to stick around for the long haul. Most of the people he knows work in the same government building where AC hangs its hat. Although, because of the nature of the work, Gus and the rest of his crew eat all over town. I mean, it’s not like these guys are FOODIES or anything like that, but get them onto the topic of ‘Best Sammich in town” and things could get complicated and heated. As a result, Gus and his crew are usually on a first-name basis with a lot of food vendors in town.
Mentally. Well, it’s like this. He’s got an obscene amount of Animal Ken obviously, with lots of specialties loaded onto it. He’s got some dots of Medicine and Science to the point of knowing whether to call a vet or not. (Also, he’s become something of a backdoor entomologist)  he’s got the kind of smart that doesn’t exactly look like smart because most of it is come by through experience rather book learning. He might even have a dot or two of investigation.
He’ll have a couple of dots of weaponry for the gear he carries below. He is very likely to have "Common Sense" as a merit

Gear: Flip-phone but with a blue-tooth earpiece. Pocketknife, Roll of tape, Tool bag, Ketch-All Dog noose, Pepper-Spray,  Stun baton.(Always his last resort, unless a human being is the problem.)

Home: Gus has a trailer home. It’s a single wide. He doesn’t need a lot of room for himself and he’s not terribly sentimental about anything, so he doesn’t really hang on to much. He likes detective and spy fiction but never bothers with having his own bookshelf, He just goes over to the book exchange and trades for new stuff. He doesn’t have to very often. He doesn’t read terribly fast.   He has a relatively nice TV, but not so nice that someone else in the trailer park is going to make off with it.  He keeps a fish tank in his bedroom though and he finds it utterly soothing to watch the fish until he nods off. 
Periodically, his sister Rita turns up and ends up crashing in the other bedroom until she takes up with some new asshole. Rita’s taste in men is somewhat suspect.  Technically, Rita now owes Gus about 10,000 dollars in back rent. She swears she’s gonna pay him back. Really!

Circle: Other than the guys in his crew, Gus is not really a fan of people. This is one of those things that he shares in common with Dr. Breckinridge. He likes the animals better, and frankly, if Gus ever bumped into the gravy train, or settled down with someone with someone with money AND sense, he’d have a number of his own.

Story Uses:
“Shh! Do you smell something?”
If something is going on with a potentially wild or rabid animal, Gus is liable to turn up just like a homicide detective is going to turn up if someone finds a corpse.  Weirdly, it’s like he’s in his element.   If you like, maybe he even has some weird gift of animal empathy, or the ability to chill them out with a touch.
In any event, Gus falls squarely into the category of “A Guy who has SEEN some Shit.” He may know fuck-all about the supernatural world, but you never know when an event might spur him to talk to some experts or check out some weird books from the University library.

“...And that’s when I snapped your honor.”
Gus cannot abide cruelty to animals. If he finds that he’s been called to corral an animal, and then the owner starts beating it in front of him...Well. the Stun Baton is coming out, and as I may have mentioned, he’s far quicker than he looks. More than one defense attorney in an animal cruelty case has discovered to their shock that Gus is a steamroller of an expert witness. Has his “I’s” dotted and his “T’s” crossed and speaks very well. Capable of moving a jury with his compassion.


Connections:
* Rita and Krieger used to date. If Gus sees Krieger moving in his direction. He will assume that Krieger is there to kill him and will react accordingly. Both of them are likely to be dead at the end of the fight. Krieger, for his part barely remembers Rita.
Alex Mahoney's radio program usually touches off interesting debates in the AC office. Attitudes go back and forth on issues depending on who's been laid recently and who's hungover this morning.
Robert Nathan Herbert is a cousin or something. Helped with the financing on his pick-up truck.
* Rita considers Ezekiel Stubbs to be "The one that got away"  Of the guys that Rita's been with, Gus hates him least. 
* The guys on the Animal Control crew LOVE Rory O'Halloran. Love him to pieces.  They keep up with his truck's location on Facebook. Irish cuisine. Who knew?


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Officer Karl Richter

Concept: Enthusiastic Hero

AKA: Some of the other officers in the area have taken to calling Karl, A.P.B. which stands for “Aryan Poster Boy”.  Karl is thankfully unaware of this. he wouldn’t take it well.

Desc:  Regulation short blond hair, blue eyes, strong jaw. He does weights every other day, and he does NOT skip “leg day”. He probably could be a professional body builder. He’s on the tall side. He has a nice smile and he’s got a voice that seems to be naturally loud and clear. No ink. One diamond stud earring, given to him by an old girlfriend, that he’s sentimental about.

History: Karl is the sort of guy who was raised on a steady diet of heroism in the books and media he’s consumed all his life. He reads, even if most of what he reads is junk, He loved comic books growing up, and that also lead him to a steady interest in things like spy novels and books on Mythology. His younger brother Mike was plagued by health problems all during his childhood, and so Mike and Karl and their sister Elsa became interested in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. It was like meat and drink to him.
    There is something about Karl that just flips his on switch when it comes to doing the right thing. It came out in all sorts of ways.  On those occasions when Mike or Elsa got bullied, Karl would wade in and sort those fuckers out. Once, he beat up a couple of kids so badly, that they had to call a cop and the cop gave the young man a stern talking to.  But, that “Stern Talking To” had a subtext of, “Hey kid, don’t tell nobody, but you did right to beat up those shitbirds”.  From middle school onwards, Karl wanted to be a cop

He grew up. Ditched AD&D in favor of football practice and got big and broad. Got out of school and applied directly to the academy. While he struggled occasionally with the actual coursework, no one could touch him physically. He was out on the streets and “protecting and serving” in no time flat.

He loves his work. Truly. He doesn’t WANT to become a dick someday.  He might think seriously about moving up in the line officer ranks and maybe someday he’d consider SWAT. But on a day to day basis, being out on the streets is where he wants to be. And he has the commendations to prove it.

And that would likely have been all I would have to tell you. But something happened a couple of years ago. Karl was answering a call about a missing child. he’d talked to the mother and had taken the information and had this weird sense of déjà vu while it was taking place. As if he’d dreamed about it some night ago. This feeling bothered him as he was sitting in his cruiser.  When he heard...No FELT... a child screaming somewhere in the immediate vicinity. Karl never needs prompting in this regard. He was up and moving in no time flat. 
     He felt the sound coming from a nearby underground parking garage. That sense of deja vu getting stronger as he went. He entered and descended and rounding a corner saw some homeless person dragging a fat kid, an iron grip around his neck. The vagrant turned around, and there was something in his eyes. A horrified recognition. And then his jaw broke open and split and horrific squealing/hissing noise came from him.
     Complete freaked out, Karl drew and fired his weapon, emptying his clip. The thing dropped the fat kid and ran deeper into the bowels of the parking garage. Karl chased him. Running into some area deep below the city as if the vagrant had hewn the place out of the rock himself. Finally cornered, the creature attacked Karl, and Karl, by this point somewhat pissed as well as afraid, emptied another clip into the thing and then when it was down, beat it to death with his snap baton.
    He walked out a changed and somewhat re-energized man. Trying to figure his next move, he realized that the tunnels he had chased the creature had disappeared. There was exactly no evidence that that thing had ever existed. The fat kid had already run home.
    That night, Karl, a lifelong insomniac, slept deeply for the first time in many years. and there were no vivid dreams to trouble him.  The next day, his day off, he went up into the attic and got down all his old AD&D and mythology books.

Attitude:  “Look, brother, All I’m saying is... This world is more complicated than we think it is. There’s so much going on and we almost never have the whole story. So keep your head on a swivel, not just when you’re on the job...Like, all the time dude. All the time.”

Skills: Socially, Karl is a decent guy, and he’s got an average number of friends. He falls down a little on the extrovert side of things.  Mentally, He’s pretty average. He loves to read but as I say, much of what he reads is junk. He’s got at least a dot of Academics with a specialty in mythology. That, he’s garnered over the course of the last couple of years. he’s got a dot or two of Occult now. And of course, he’s got a couple of dots in Investigation and Interrogation. Comes with the territory, ya know?
   Physically, He’s a specimen. He’s quite strong, and he been working his cardio steadily to up his stamina. So far, he’s not so muscle-y that he’s lost flexibility and he’s got really good hand-eye coordination.  He’ll have all the dots of Police tactics Fighting Style, and he’s likely to have good dots of Brawl and weaponry.  He might also have a few dots of some gun-related fighting style and you wouldn’t be out of line to load him up with things like “Brawling dodge” or Disarm.
Sidebar: While you may be perfectly content to use Karl as he is off-the-shelf, you might also add to his sheet the template for a “Hero” from “Beast: the Primordial”  He certainly qualifies. He’s definitely slain at least one Beast and may have taken out more after a couple of years on the hunt.

Gear: Standard issue firearm, Holdout weapon on his ankle with frangible rounds. Taser, snap baton, Spyderco Clip-it. and all the rest of the standard issue cop gear. Karl normally keeps a roll of Sour Apple bubble tape on his person at all times. Ostensibly because he finds it helps with building a rapport with any children he should happen to meet during his work day, but mostly because he loves it himself. 

Home: He’s a got a nice place in burbs in a neighborhood where he actually knows all his neighbors and they know him. He shares his home with his wife Lucy and their four daughters. They have two Siberian Huskies who are rabidly protective of the girls. The entire house is adorned with motion sensor security lights and there is at least one camera dome (fake) above the back door on the patio.

Circle: Lucy’s the outgoing one. Mostly because she’s starved for interaction with adults. She works a job in her home office as an Account-Temp and while everyone in the neighborhood knows Karl, it’s Lucy they adore. Because transporting 4 baby girls back and forth is an enormous logistical undertaking, they aren’t as active in their church as they used to be. Uncle Mike and Aunt Elsa come around periodically and take up some slack so that they can go out to a movie every once in a while. Beyond that, most of the people Karl knows personally either live on the streets or have a badge.

Story Uses:
“The always tell us not to make promises to the victims. But I swear to you if there is a way to get this guy. I will get him.”
Beast hunter or no, It’s always nice to meet the occasional uniformed cop who is absolutely true blue...Unless of course, your own activities are a bit sketchy.

“There’s talk going around that maybe your case is a little on the “Weird” side. I’d like to help if I can.”
While Heroes and Hunter groups have an unusual dynamic, it doesn’t mean they can’t work together on occasion. After his parking garage problem, Karl told one other officer about what happened. Sgt. Parkhurst listened very carefully, and when it was all done, told Karl about The Union. Karl is aware of the members of The Union that also have a badge, or used to have one. When he can, he helps out.


Connections:
* "It's not like me to speak ill of a fellow officer but Officer Honus Brightwater is out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.
Charlie  "He's ok.  I try to arrest him every time I see him unless he's really agitated about it. 
*" Detective Bela Janofski is definitely one of the good ones. I know most of his family. Dated his sister. Now she outranks me. Ain't that it?"
Miss Virgie Hawkins " Love that old lady. Every once in a while I see her out with her ghost hunting friends. Man, if they only knew...
*" Officer Wesley Ullman is a good man and a good cop. His wife Nadine and mine are friends and his daughter Carly is practically a member of my family. I do think, though, that maybe he ought to switch to beer more often."


Monday, May 29, 2017

A.D.A. Calvin Donloe

Concept:  Slick Ass Persian Bazaar Assistant District Attorney

AKA: Most know him as “Cal”

Desc: Winning smile, capped teeth, Voice that he’s worked with a singing coach to be more musical. Nice blue eyes. Insolent hair but just this side of presentable for court. No Ink. Wedding ring. Totally at home in a suit. Lean with just a hint of muscle. Still on the young side, Medium tall. 

History: Calvin is a pretty typical guy in some respects. Born to middle-upper class parents. 3rd son of 5 siblings. Never the brightest bulb in the marquee, but he knows people and has a good intuitive feel for dynamic situations. Did lacrosse in high school but only enough to letter.  Did extracurriculars, but never full court press. Although. he did like Speech.  Extemp, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, all that stuff. He had a real flair for it. Took home more than a couple of trophies. Went to a good school out of state, came back home and got into a good law school here.
      While Calvin was in law school, he met Amanda. It’s a bit of an opposites attract kind of deal. Amanda is a lawyer for the E.P.A and regularly takes her vacation time to help build schools in Haiti. How he fast-talked her into marrying him, none of their friends seem to be able to dope out. (It was easy. She loves him. and if you asked her exactly why she gets tongue tied. He has a similar problem. This is not normal for either of them.)
   While Calvin is a bit more conservative, he’s not an asshole about it. He’s all but disowned his own party for most of their economic policies and a few of their social stances.  But he’s seen all manner of ethnic and white trash people come through court and he’s got some case hardened attitudes about “Those People”  Occasionally, he gets his conscience agitated and bounces something off of Amanda, usually causing a dropping of charges.  But as he gets older, that conscience of his tickles less and less.
    To say that Cal’s rise in the DA’s office is “meteoric” is overselling it a bit, but he keeps their win/loss ratio fairly healthy. He is a master of talking people with few options into taking a plea bargain deal. He’s not amoral or anything, but many times, he has trouble seeing the other person’s side. And it doesn’t matter to him that the person on the other MIGHT be innocent...Well, not every time. Truth be told though, he’s more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to some white kid from the burbs. And he’s completely oblivious to any kind of passive racism on his part.  After all, he has Black and Latino friends in his office.

Attitude: “Listen, Don’t talk to me about SODDI. Your guy is guilty as fuck. Now, I don’t think he needs to swing for it or anything like that. But if you fight me on this, I’ll walk you into court and I'll mow you like the spring grass. So let’s talk deal...”

Skills: Physically, he’s okay. His habits and metabolism will catch up to him eventually. Intellectually, he’s fast on his feet, but no great shakes at sticking to the program, and never the best student. His dots in Academics never exactly came easy. He still trips up occasionally. Socially, he’s an utter monster. Good with names and faces. Not eidetic, but NEVER forgets a phone number and rarely forgets an email address or URL. Plentiful dots of persuasion, intimidation, subterfuge, streetwise, and expression. (He’s something of a nerd about Greek History and the great orators of old. Does a great impression of John F. Kennedy.)
Also, he’s got an Expression specialty in Piano, and he sings a bit too. He’s got a pipe dream of opening a little piano bar when he retires. He could probably do it too. He’ll have very decent dots of Professional training. 

Gear: Cal carries a very sleek laptop bag for his Mac Air. He has a top of the line smartphone with a bluetooth ear piece. He also has two passport outboard drives. One containing law books and music, one half full of fairly vanilla porn. He doesn’t carry a weapon, although many people in his office do.  He keep a bottled water and snacks in his bag. He’s partial to gummy bears.

Home: He and Amanda have a beautiful home in Stillwood Oaks. Neither spend enough time there to really keep the place up so they hire a maid/gardener service from HOA directly. Stilwood Oaks is a gated community with security. relatively competent security too.  No kids so far, but they’re still trying.

Circle: Cal has a good number of dots plowed into social merits. Obviously status: lawyer and status: DA’s office. In addition, he’s got contacts. A fairly good spread of them. He’s politically connected and he’s always on the prod to expand his social circles because you just never know. He’s got Police allies.

Story Uses:
“So, you’ve done some unpleasant things, but apparently you’ve got friends...”
An A.D.A gets to see a number of sketchy things. Calvin has seen some. Some of them bother him. Some of them don’t. It could go either way with him.

“So, I’m going to put you in prison. And I’m going to slam dunk you like Jordan.”
Yeah. If you are CLEARLY in the wrong, and you catch Calvin, AND Judge Mattarazzo. You’re going to have a hard road to hoe.


Connections:
It's not unusual for nearly all of the cops, crooks, or lawyers to have had contact with Calvin. So I'll just be hitting the highlights.
* He's tangled with both Roderick Holmes and Ilyana Baker of Holmes, Gillis, Baker, Savage, North, and Dean Ilyana is interested in banging him but he's not interested in cheating on Amanda. (Oh don't get me wrong. He's THOUGHT about it.) Both of those lawyers have managed to make him look dumb in court, so he has some respect for them.
* He's also tangled with Christine Horowitz obviously. Christine doesn't HATE Calvin exactly, but he makes her life harder than it truly needs to be.
* Put Jamal Cooper in the jug once. Jamal would like to "thank" him for that. "Thank" him quite vigorously actually.
The Vermillion House has their eyes on him right now. No one has extended an invitation to him, because they're keeping track of his trial record and they see that occasionally, he's still got something of a conscience. But should he desire an invitation to one of their soirees, then he'll be brought in and love-bombed like a prospective cult member.
Teflon John Galloway "This fucking guy! I am serious. You'd better have crossed all the "T"s and dotted all the "I"s on the fucking paperwork. This guy is like the great white whale of this department."
* Went to high school with Clarinda Hale and had it pretty bad for her. Every so often they fall into one another's orbit and get close only to go in different directions again. Of course, that was all before Amanda came along.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Charlotte Wilson

Concept: Pagan Queen Bee

AKA: Insists that people call her “Morrigan Brightsong” which IS her craft name, but she takes it a bit far. She has other names that certain other practitioners call her, but these are less than complimentary. Please note I have made an understatement of some depth.

Desc: Average height and slightly above average weight. Which is not to say that she unfit at all. She does yoga very regularly, and in fact, will take any opportunity to stretch if bored or forced to wait. This isn’t so much a problem, but Charlotte will do her stretches in line at the bank. Child bearing hips, and a great rack. Flowery colorful ink on her flanks and upper back. interspersed with the occasional eclectic mix of occult symbology. her hair is down past her shoulders and is honey blond. Piercing green eyes, which she ought to be wearing reading glasses for, but she’s too vain for that and she’s allergic to contacts. One of these days she’s going to mispronounce something serious and it’s going to be ON like barbecue sauce. Most days, she bums around the house in sweats, t-shirts, and her hair up in a ponytail. But if she leaves the house for any reason, it’s eyeliner, corsets, high boots, and using the back cover of nearly any Heart album as a roadmap.

History: You know, Charlotte grew up in the burbs. And she was a good kid for the most part. she was an only child. And her parents had a little money. They were Unitarians and leaned a little towards the Pagan side of their community church. For the most part they were fairly liberal folks, but not militantly so, and for the most part, Charlotte still has a lot of those attitudes or at least pays a lot of lip service to them. Sometimes, she’ll even put her money where her mouth is, but it’s not the way to bet.
     Charlotte is like a lot of people who haven’t really had a serious challenge or actual hardship in their life. She’s spoiled. And while this probably would have been manageable under ordinary circumstances, as Charlotte entered her teens, she got very pretty and she got better tits than any other girl at school.  The sudden massive influx of male and some female attention was the emotional equivalent of a serious cocaine habit. Once she’d gotten a taste, she wanted more.
This led to a number of questionable choices. A brief flirtation with the theater, some singing in a rock band, (She’s actually a pretty good singer.) A fairly serious amount of alcoholic misadventures in college, and a certain level of promiscuity that became near legendary at her old school. (For the record, She’s Hetero-Flexible.) 
This also led to delving a bit further into pagan practices while in college and getting a little further into the Magical praxis end of things. She has some actual talent in this realm, but not nearly as much as she thinks. She’s also a fan of Thelema and keeps a framed photo of Aleister Crowley by her bedside. In other people, this might be something of an affectation, but Charlotte considers him something of a patron saint. She also likes the idea of boning someone in her bed and sending a little “Master Therion’s” way.
    After getting her English degree, Charlotte worked a little of her magic in order to get herself a nice cushy job as a proofreader and the company allows her to do almost 90% of her work at home. This means that her time is mostly her own and she is, therefore, able to involve herself in the Occult Community in a way that a regular person with an interest and a regular job can’t. Naturally, when she’s trying to get someone to exert some effort on behalf of the coven or whatever, she can’t understand why it’s like pulling teeth sometimes. “I mean seriously, Don’t people WANT to be part of something bigger than themselves?  I think all that whining about jobs, and kids and whatever is just laziness really.”
   Charlotte is the sort of person who always gravitates to power. If there is a ritual honoring the goddess, she wants to god-body the goddess for the purposes of the ritual. Whereas other people might be a bit more modest about getting “Skyclad”, Charlotte always seems to make a big production out of it, almost to the point of requiring a stripper’s maypole.
Anyone she meets with any real honest magical skills becomes a potential bedmate unless they’re gross or something, in which case she’ll still see if she can’t get them to hand her their leash without screwing them. If you tell her this is what she’s doing, she’ll deny it...and believe it too.
     She’s not the sort of person who HAS to have a certain amount of drama going on around her at all times, but she does seem to be completely blind to the consequences of her choices.  To the point where the few people who still call her a friend goggle their eyes each time she repeats some cycle and then says something like, “I had no way to know that was going to shake out like that!”
     Look, it’s not like she’s a completely bad person. She gives money to causes, votes regularly and helps organize things with her coven and the local U.U. Church.  But she has a Queen Bee’s attitude. Which makes for drama with all of those people. With men, She wants them all to love her even if she doesn’t want to love them all back.  With other women, she wants them to serve, or GTFO. Sometimes, the sexual tension at an Esbat is so thick you could cut it with a spoon.

Attitude: “Look, I recognize that I can be a bit...Mercurial. In fact, I think GreyClaw once said that trying to get me to commit to anything was like trying to nail jello to a tree. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not an integral part of this community. I mean. I choose to be here. Know what I mean?  So...Who’s the hot guy with the dark hair? Friend of yours?”

Skills: Physically, she’s fit enough but completely average. Maybe a little extra stamina. Mentally, she’s got a little extra. Some Academics and Occult with a couple of specialties. She’s good with nearly any discipline where actually ability isn’t dependent on any practice.  She can write a dissertation on magical themes in Shakespeare but knows fuck all about putting oil in her own car. It’s a good thing most of the boys know that stuff.
Socially, She will grind you into dust. She seems to sow bad soap opera everywhere she goes and yet, she seems able to keep all those plates spinning somehow. And even the various people in the various groups she belongs to, realize on those rare occasions she doesn’t show up, that the meetings are deathly dull without her.
If you are using Second Sight as a resource or a CoD equivalent, Charlotte would have the Ceremonial Magician template. Remember she’s still youngish and not as serious a practitioner as others, but her natural tendency to gravitate to people with actual power means she’s picked up a little more from the bench than most people think.

Gear: Charlotte carries a “Big Bag” which is a disorganized mess. The only thing she can ever find in there with any degree of facility is her phone and her keys.

Home: Charlotte owns a home in burbs with a high back fence so she can sunbathe. It’s a smallish place. But she lives alone and spends the bulk of her time in the semi spacious bedroom. Charlotte goes through cyclical periods of extreme slobbishness and then getting fed up and deciding to clean everything in sight.  This usually lasts until she gets tired...and then she promises herself that she’ll devote an hour each to tidying up the place. Cue Rocket J. Squirrel saying “But, that trick NEVER works!”   She badly wants a kitten, but it’s probably a good thing she is terribly allergic to pet dander.  She would likely be bad a cat mommy.  There is a suspicious amount of hooch in her cupboards.

Circle: While Charlotte IS a known name in the occult community, and not necessarily someone anyone wants to mess with, She’s not terribly well liked either. She has a few friends who are actually close friends. Some people from work she gets along with, and the vast panoply of ex-lovers and would-be lovers that are likely to help out or jump to her defense.
She has SOME magical skill and SOME actual scholarship, so it’s not out of the realm of the possible that she might end mentoring someone in the arts. 

Story Uses:  “I don’t know what you’re talking about Sarah. I have not fucked your husband.”
Psh. You know she did. Charlotte can’t seem to help herself, if there is someone she should not, under pain of death, crawl into bed with, she might have to end up dying.   One wonders if she’ll ever learn her damn lesson short of a case of aids or herpes.

“Tonight. I am the Goddess. Come... and receive your blessing”
Charlotte tends to take the obeisance to the “Goddess” offered by ritual practitioners for stroking her own ego. This may be part of the problem.  For someone, who’s magical practice is all about controlling luck, Charlotte seems to have awful luck in some ways. Maybe some Goddesses resent Charlotte as their stand-in.


Connections:
*Shops regularly at The Grimoire Flirts with Bear. Chat's with Penny like an old friend. Treats Noel like he's invisible. Has some weird case of nerves about Luna. As if Luna has some ability to crush her that she may not know anything about yet.
* Went to college with Gilbert Savage of Holmes, Gillis, Baker, Savage, North, and Dean. He had some mojo back then. They were almost right up next to serious with one another. And then Charlotte got a close look at Gilbert's true face. Fortunately, it was late in her last semester and avoiding him was relatively easy as they had no classes together.
* While they've not met, Charlotte has heard of Lillian Penobscot as the woman to go to when you've got some occult knick-knack you either want or want to get rid of.
* Ok. This is pretty simple. She and Schuyler Lavey have something of a volatile relationship. Each has something the other wants, and they have a great time in the sack. But they both have HUGE egos and so they meet, transact business if they have any. Fuck passionately for about a week and then have some kind of nuclear wasteland style fight and then don't see one another for a few months. The amount of harsh gossip between them is enormous. Each time they get together, people in the know start a pool on how long it will last this time.
* She used to be one of the "Special Protege's" of Frederick Wyngarde. So far, since that time, neither has run across the other. But if they did, it's likely that some bad luck would be passed between them fairly vigorously.
* Considers Collette Reeves to be a "No Talent Whore". Collette, for her part, hasn't risen to any of her bait.
* Naturally, If she has the opportunity to bone Dr. Paul Bickford to stick a spoke in Collette's wheels, she will take it.
* No one has it ALL wired. So sometimes it means strategic alliances. This was the case with Charlotte and Blaise Newkirk. About once a month, they meet, have a lovely brunch, Have freaky circus sex and go their separate ways with a list of things to do for the other person. Blaise knows that Charlotte is good at a soft or subtle approach. And Charlotte knows that Blaise is good making horrible things happen to people she doesn't like. in idle moments, each wonders if the other might be capable of the long haul.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Judge Paul Allen Mattarazzo

Concept: Your Juridical Nightmare

AKA: Judge Mattarazzo is not the sort of person who usually has a nickname. Only people he grew up with are still allowed to call him “Peewee” without getting punched.

Desc: Topping out 5’2” and 220 pounds, Paul is still fairly strong for his size. He goes to the gym, and he does not skip leg day.  Most of his hair on top is gone but what remains is still as black as a raven’s feather.  He sports a USMC tattoo on his right bicep which is how a poor kid like him got to go to law school in the first place.
He’s got glasses for reading. He wears black pants, a regular white shirt, his robe, and bright green Chuck Taylor All-Stars on any given day he’s in court.  He’s in his 50’s and is still in pretty good shape.

History: A poor kid from the neighborhood back in the day. Pretty smart, if a bit short, kinda scrappy.  As soon as he’s old enough he follows in his father’s footsteps and enlists in the corp, over his father’s strong objections. While being one of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children was no day at the beach, it concretized a certain amount of toughness the young man already possessed. When he mustered out, he took his GI bill and his ridiculous LSAT score and went to Harvard Law.

They have a saying about law school. “A” students end up teaching law. “B” students end up on the bench, and “C” students end up practicing.  Paul was an “A” student, but teaching didn’t really appeal to him. So he went to the bench.

Paul is the sort of man who knows that he doesn’t have an unerring sense of right and wrong. But he also is the sort of man who never ever stops trying. He works very diligently to uphold the public trust as a circuit court judge (Which is an elected position) and reads voraciously to stay abreast of things. (Truth be told, he’s wrecking his eyes.)

While most of his constituency may not know anything about him, he takes his responsibilities very very seriously. He’s the sort of blessing in a community that is almost completely invisible to most folks.

And here’s the other end, Paul, unbeknownst to himself, has been gifted. Nobody seems sure when or how it happened, but he seems to be proofed against mental and emotional tampering of a supernatural nature.  Oh sure, if you kidnapped his wife and kids, you could probably get him to do something out of line, but try to put the whammy on him and it slides right the fuck off.  Certain people have run up against this already and the word is starting to get around.

And you know, it’s not even to say that he’s NEVER done anything shady. He’s fixed a ticket or two for friends. But on the whole, he’s as clean as they come. and if you AREN’T, then it’s likely to be a bad scene for you if you end up on his docket.

Attitude: “Mr. Holmes, I’m sure your client is paying you an exorbitant amount of money for this elaborate song and dance routine. And I certainly understand that it is in your best interest to stretch that out as long as you can, but MY time is being paid for the by the state taxpayers and I am DONE with you wasting it. Call your next witness.”

Skills: Socially, he’s solid, not remarkable mind you, but solid. It should be noted that when he’s got his robe on, he’s effectively using equipment that bumps up his presence rolls by +2  Physically, he’s also solid. He gets in some running and a bit of racquetball each weekend. When he was growing up he got into a lot of fight because of his size, and his pops got him into golden gloves. So he’s got some dots of boxing. He hasn’t thrown a punch in a while, but he hasn’t forgotten how either.

Mentally, Paul Mattarazzo is a flying steel fortress. he has academics 5, and a few specialties in that, as well as Politics 4 and Investigation4 with few specialties each. He subscribes to over 200 RSS feeds on various sites. His wife allows him the iPad but refuses to allow him a smartphone of any sort. “If I did that, Your children and I would never see your eyes again.”
It should also be noted that Paul has both a resolve and a composure of 4. This, as far as anyone can tell, is entirely natural.

Gear: Aside from the aforementioned iPad, and the normal stuff you find in a man’s pockets, The Judge’s everyday carry is pretty normal, except for one thing. He carries a 357 magnum under his right armpit. He runs some shells through that thing every once in a while, but not as regularly as he thinks he ought to.

Home: He and Veronica and their 3 kids have a lovely place up the Heights. Plenty of space, lots of light. Big backyard with a pool. His eldest, Anthony, is usually there doing laps. Swims like a fish that kid.  The house is nestled in a gated community for extra security. The HOA is a total pain in the ass, but knowing that no one can just wander into the neighborhood offers Paul some much-needed peace of mind.

Circle:  Being an elected official, and a scrupulous one. Paul holds very few people dear. Veronica is much more social than he. If Paul thinks he ought to know someone a bit better, he’s perfectly capable of running the public records and/or using the software on his computers to do the same. As it is, The only people he really knows outside of court are a few people from his diocese and an old Marine buddy or two. Of those people, almost all of them think Paul is the smartest and most practical person they know.

Story Uses:
“I’ll allow it.”
If your character happens to be on the shady side of the law, Judge Mattarazzo is your worst nightmare. He’s practical, competent, proofed against most forms of tampering, and almost completely immune to being fast-talked. If you find yourself on his docket, you could be in for a rough ride.

“Good luck with that counselor, Call your first witness...”
On the other hand. He’s a decent man, it’s almost impossible that he’s in someone’s pocket, and he knows the law inside and out. If you’re on the side of the angels and up in front of him. You might just stand a chance.


Connections:
* All of the Police in Painted Corners town have been up in front of the Judge at one time or other. Detective Bob Greider is the only one he actually considers a friend. (Dude, it's Bob. C'mon.) At various points, they either love the guy, or hate the guy, or are scared shitless of the guy.  Officer Honus Brightwater gets cotton-mouthed at just the mention of the Judge's name.
* Considering how often she gets arrested Reverend Dr. Miranda Goines has been up in front of the judge more than once. While he empathizes with his various concerns, he's not a fan off going outside the system to seek redress. So often, he fines her stiffly. Then turns around and makes a personal donation to whatever charity she was working toward at the time of her arrest. Randa has noticed this, and for her own reasons, keeps her mouth shut about it.
*Some of the hardened criminals have been up in front of the judge. These would include: KriegerEzekiel StubbsJamal CooperDrago VelikovskiWilliam Lee Travis, (Big case that one...) John Joseph Staglione"Dr. Coulton Bennett" (Many many years ago.) Esmerelda Duschene and a few of the other girls over at Bryson Import/Export, and of course, Teflon John Galloway. Galloway seems to be the great white whale for Judge Mattarazzo. There always seems to be something wrong with the evidence, or the arrest, or the witness. He'd like to wipe the smile off that redneck's face.
* The high point of any day in court is if Charlie is on the docket. The Judge actually likes the crazy old man and likes listening to his half-crazy stories.(Assuming, of course, he can keep his pants on.) Sure, he's going to arraign him pretty quick and remand him to county, so that the old man can get 3 hots and a cot for the foreseeable future...and Charlie seems to understand THAT much at least. So it's a win-win.
* The firm of Holmes, Gillis, Baker, Savage, North, and Dean usually has something of an axe to grind with the Judge. This stems from the fact that Roderick Holmes VASTLY underestimated who he was dealing with in his first case in front of him and Paul, after finally losing his patience, which was not a usual occurrence, dressed him down in open court for a full 20 minutes. From this point onward, Dealing with Judge Mattarazzo was dealt with like defusing a bomb with a mercury trigger. The only member of the firm that the Judge actually respects is Ilyanna Baker (Always on time, always prepared. aggressive and smart. A top notch litigator.)
* While most of the PD's can be unbearable whiners and poorly prepared and sleep deprived, The Judge is inclined to give slightly more latitude to Christine Horowitz. His heart breaks for her a little. He sees what she's trying to do, and empathizes, but there ARE times when Christine's clients are guilty as fuck. He wishes she'd get off the Heartbreak Train that is the P.C. Public defenders office. 
* As you can well imagine, the idea of an incorruptible and unbendable Judge is something that gives certain members of the inner circle of The Vermillion House a collective case of the night sweats. There are plans in place, of course, should anyone with real standing face prosecution, but most of those plans involve incredibly suspicious acts. The timing of them and their nature would likely make anyone in the media ask additional awkward questions.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Joseph "Shlomo" Kahn

Concept: The Numbers Man

AKA: Joseph’s only nickname is the one above.

Desc:  He’s like a living Drew Friedman drawing. Great big black frame glasses perched atop a remarkable bulbous nose. He had some work done on his teeth, so he’s got a decent smile. He’s lost most of his hair but for a bit of fringe. He dresses comfortably for a man who would prefer it’s a few degrees warmer than it is and tends to shuffle rather than stroll. On colder days, he walks with a cane.

History: Joseph was a smart young man growing up. His mother thought he might be a doctor, a lawyer, or even a respected rabbi.  But sometimes, when you grow up in a rough neighborhood, you turn your intellect to more pragmatic pursuits.  Especially if your best bud is Frankie Pentangelli.
      So maybe you grow up hard. and maybe you make a few hard choices along the way. You take a little advice from your best friend and you set yourself up in business.  You start out as a shylock, and you’re a decent earner because you understand that there are more ways to motivate someone to pay the vig than to break legs or throw acid in a child’s face.
   Joseph had a true gift for mathematics, maybe not the high-end calculus requiring serious proofs. But still, a gift for running the numbers and percentages and be able to do it in his head. An ability to look at a spreadsheet and “feel” irregularities. And as he grew older, an ability to apply his knowledge of people in an almost mathematical way.  To the point that when Joseph turns to Francis and says, “There’s a 27% chance that Tony Cannavale is skimming more than 6 percent off the top of his earnings. We can absorb about 6% percent without too much trouble. But if he’s getting greedy, then he’s getting stupid.”  Francis hears that, and Tony has a whole slew of new troubles in his life.

So, while he runs the entire financial side of the Don’s business, he is also effectively the Don’s Consiglieri. He’s still the only one that Francis knows he can talk straight with. It’s a good thing that Joseph knows the sorts of things that he knows otherwise he’d be in some monster’s pocket.  In addition, to his other skills, Joseph is a practitioner of Gematria and Kabbalah. Between him and the specialists they hire from the Vermillion House, Francis and Joseph, and their inner circle, stay well protected.

Attitude: “I’ve done some bad things. I’ve killed guys and I’ve hurt people. Nothing really balances that. But I’ve got my loyalty. I know who I stand with. I’ve built a life for myself and my wife and my children. and if I’m called on to do bad things in the service of all of that. I’ll do it.”

Skills: Physically, Shlomo is an old man, and creaky like an old man is. He’s nothing in a fight except he’s  familiar with a firearm and in a fight for his life, he’s not above using an automatic weapon. His hands shake a bit, though. Socially, he’s fairly soft spoken and he’s never been exactly a social machine. He’s got a pretty good bullshit detector.  Mentally, Well...Let’s put it this way. He’s a genius. Intelligence of at least 4. He’s got 4 dots of Academics with specialties in Mathematics, Psychology, and Hebrew.  He’s got pretty decent dots in occult as well with specs in Gematria, Kabbalism, Sacred Geometry, and Geomancy.  He’ll have one of the Hedge Magician templates from Second Sight (Probably the Ceremonial magician template.)  On top of all that, He’s got Trained Observer as one of his merits. It’s HARD to slide things by him.

Gear: Joseph doesn’t have too much on his person that he bothers with regularly. He favors a leather wallet that he was given by his father at his bar mitzvah. He like wild cherry life savers. He has about a dozen little pocket knives, (He keeps misplacing them, so now he buys them in batches.) He has them professionally sharpened because you never know when you might have to cut a guy’s throat. His bodyguard keeps his phone which, is pretty gee-whizzy and top of the line.

Home: Joseph researched the land, bought and paid for it, and then designed his own house. It’s particularly well aspected in a Geomantic sense and is optimized for feng shui potential. Most supernaturals can’t come anywhere near the place. (If you like, you can make his home into a largish geomantic nexus from the Ordo Dracul book.)   He also has an upscale summer home in Boca Raton and a yacht that his bodyguard Walter can pilot.

Circle: He and Madeleine still get along for the most part. Loves all 4 of his kids, (although Chaim tests him somewhat fiercely)  He’s got people that he works with that he’s friendly with and a few people he knows at Temple.  He tends to keep his circle small out of necessity. 

Story Uses:
“He’s a good man I think, and I think he’s likely to keep his mouth shut...But why take a chance?”
Francis has a large and robust organization and it deals with numerous dynamic situations. This means occasionally, decisions have to be made. Hard decisions. Decisions that may affect people that your characters know and love.

“If I were you I would hold off on having the sit-down with the Chinese until 4:30 on Thursday. The numbers are better then...”
Occasionally, the numbers do odd and unexpected things. So it might be that players will find Joseph an unusual and unexpected ally in some things where their interests connect.


Connections:
* Obviously we've got to talk about Don Pentangelli. Each owes the other their life at least a couple of times over. As much as two mob guys can ever trust one another, these guys trust each other.
The Vermillion House While formally a member of the House, Joseph doesn't tend to go in for those sorts of reindeer games. So, he only goes for the formal events, tends to go home early and isn't much for the decadence. He's more interested in getting things done on the golf course.
Selma Collins In the rolodex Captain Roy Gunderson too.
John Joseph Staglione Knows him from the old neighborhood. Rock solid.
Detective Marty Bennetti is useful for certain things. Joseph does sort of understand Marty, they've talked a bit. Joseph understands there's a line that can't be crossed with him.
* As far as Paul Castellamarese goes, Joseph sees him coming a mile off. He's talked with Francis about this...But Francis doesn't really see him as much of a threat.


The Persoff Building

It started, like many things do, with a deceptively simple question.
“So what exactly does “Negative Chi” mean?”

It was said snidely by one of those Invictus vampire dudes.  It had to do with some question of zoning and re-districting. The Ordo Dracul were all upset about a particular change that was going to jack up the ley lines. If it doesn’t appear on a ledger, it isn’t real to those dudes.  Naturally, there was a lot of agita over that particular piece of real estate and a lot of bad noise in Elysium over it for months.

But the question remained. Is there some way to quantify the effect of negative chi on a place? Something that you can put in front of a bunch of Invictus dickheads that is statistical and hard to ignore.

When you have a question like that, An experiment is called for.
So, a study group was assembled. Assets and resources were marshaled. Some thinking was done about experimental controls. And a plan was put in place.

And that was about 50 years ago. Give the Ordo credit. They know how to think long term.

Two building were built. Decisions were made at the beginning to find a place in the city where the ley lines were very auspicious for the placement of both buildings. Feng Shui experts from within the covenant were consulted on the most efficacious architectural choices to enhance each of the experiments. Each building was bought and paid for through a dizzying array of holding companies and omnibus stock accounts that would make it impossible to trace back to the Ordo.  The Ordo even went to the lengths of consulting the local mages and in exchange for leaving the experiment alone, there was a promise to share data.  The Consilium at the time thought about it and shrugged and said, “Ok. Sure.”

The other building is the Neimoller building. Over across town. It’s that one in the nice neighborhood. The main business in that building is a software company that makes predictive psychological modeling software. They’re doing really well. Defense department contracts, stock prices are up and everyone who works there loves the place.  I may talk about the Neimoller building another time.

But the Persoff building is the one I’m talking about today. And the Persoff Building is not a nice place to work.

It’s 16 floors of pure brutalist angularity on the outside.  Not only that, but there are large specifically machined iron ingots that have been placed in the foundation of the building. The shape of building, those iron deposits, and the actual topography of land that the building sits on combine to make for a truly spectacular flow of negative chi.  The ingots actually help to localize the effect of the negative chi within the building and a 2-3 block radius. Negative chi is DRAWN here.

The Ordo wanted Statistics and they got them.  They set their study group to gather intel on the Neimoller building and a number of other corporate concerns they had their hooks into, in order to have a control group. they discovered the following:
*36% more sick days taken than the average.
*14% more instances of employee having “Episodes” or mental breakdowns.
*8% more suicides.
*13 recorded instance of people in the building going completely missing. including at least one member of the original Ordo Dracul study group.  After this took place, the decision was made to move the group off-site and do the research remotely.
*11 Recorded instances of employees at various companies becoming supernatural in some way. Most of them deeply unpleasant.  (As opposed to the Neimoller building which has recorded a whopping 26 people that have become supernatural, most of them full magi.)
*3 recorded incidents involving dimensional breaches of some sort. Usually during high cyclical activity. The Avernian Gate however is persistent, stable, and resists being removed.
* The entire building is a strong geomantic nexus (3+) and the energies it most closely allies itself with is the skill Intimidation. (No mental skills appear to be enhanced.)  This seems to show itself in a great tendency to overbearing managerial styles in the various companies that do business here.
* The sorts of businesses that tend to have offices in the Persoff building tend to be businesses that either thrive on stress or have high turnover.  Call centers, divorce lawyers, the Burgerhoid District managers office. At least one boiler room stock operation (they ended up burning some Invictus dudes, and while there was chuckling around the Chapterhouse, they ended up serving them up, and now those guys are all doing time on securities and exchange fraud.)  At no point in the life of the building has the occupancy of the building been over 77%
* While ghostly activity seems to be completely unaffected, Other spiritual entities actively avoid the place. even the sort of baneful entities that would ordinarily bask in that sort of energy. Spirits that have been interviewed about this indicate that while the energy is pleasant, there is a spiritual “undertow”. Smaller and weaker spirits are probably swallowed whole by it. Even the more powerful spirits, say that they feel the tugging.  This has the pleasant side effect, of making the building unimportant to the local Uratha.
* There appear to be at least 14 distinct and separate hauntings. None of them are particularly benign, but none of them appear to be particularly powerful either. (Although, there is a suspicion that at least one of the hauntings is more powerful than she lets on.)
* Vermin and insect infestations tend to be cyclical and intense. There is also a creeping mold problem which contributes to the sick days.
* A Corporate law firm that was moved from the Persoff to the Neimoller building (as part of a controlled experiment) reported an uptick in business of over 40%
* Employees in the various firms report feeling enervated, that the Fluorescent lights in the hallways seems to trigger migraines, and feeling symptoms of clinical depression. (This intel gathered under the cover of a health-care professional firm during an investigation into “Sick Building Syndrome”.)

This generated a fat file. A fat file that’s been copied and sent to other chapter houses so that when some Invictus says that there’s no evidence that bad chi will harm business, they can whack them pretty hard with it.


Connections:
Tim Deacon and Charlie both avoid the Persoff building and the surrounding neighborhood. It makes both of them itchy.
*Before she came to work at Holmes, Gillis, Baker, Savage, North, and Dean Victoria North used to work in a little firm in the Persoff building.  Whenever she's under stress, she dreams she's lost in the corridors and all the doors are locked.
Lewis Flowers used to work in the building as a claims adjuster before he became something of a hermit.
John Patmos has an office in the building. He's rarely there of course. He's probably the only person who smiles in the elevator.
* The Paraphysical Research Society has been to the building a number of times to investigate numerous stories. They never stay long. Miss Virgie Hawkins has a bad reaction to the place each time and usually an upset stomach to go with it.
Christine Horowitz worked at a defense firm right out of school that was in the Persoff building. She was acutely miserable and the stress gave her a case of hives.
Selma Collins attempted to burn out a business on the 12th floor for an insurance scam, the fire refused to catch completely. It was the only time she was never able to cash out.
Rosalie Prescott had a gig as a commercial artist for a little tiny firm in the building. The guy who ran it was an erratic genius she knew from school. Unfortunately, the place made him more erratic and the company folded.
Bartholomew Reines's school is about a block from the building. This shouldn't surprise anyone.
* The Insurance company that screwed over William Lee Travis was headquartered here.