Sketching out a character: John Rook

So, I’ve got to make two new characters for the GURPS games I’ve joined, and I’m finding it a bit slow going. So I’ve decided to write down my thoughts and ideas to see what sounds good when I write it down, and see where that takes me. Anyway, here is John Rook, horror writer and self-declared white knight.

The first game is a modern occult horror game set in the 1970s. Everyone is mostly human, but with a bit of magic, something that sets them apart from the normal. I had a character in that game, Dalton, who was able to touch any object and sense the important events in its history; a very useful power for an investigative game. He also ran an antique shop, and had a lot of skills related to appraisal, history and so on, related to his job, not that he needed much help authenticating artifacts. However, in the two years since I was last in this game someone else has taken over the character so I need a new idea.

I was looking over the list of abilities for inspiration (it worked last time) and noticed there are a number of abilities to improve your senses. I’ve been watching a fair bit of castle, and had watched a bit of an Alan Wake Lets Play on Youtube, and had an idea: A writer who investigates paranormal activities and then writes them up as fiction. Now, bits of this character have come to me fairly easily: He is going to be a fairly broad shouldered guy, not huge, but large, and full in the chest (Any resemblance to Nathan Fillon is purely coincidental) with brown hair and blue eyes. Obviously a competent investigator, particularly at finding clues and hidden items, and also a highly skilled writer, with a fair bit of money as a result.

Now, the DM sent me some questions to answer:

1) (and most important!) What happened to this guy that made him realize there was another world out there, with real monsters – and he was akin to the non-humans?

I’ve got a couple versions of this answer turning through my head. The crux of it was that he met, and possibly killed, a occult serial killer. I’m still working on the how. The first thing I thought up was that he was working on a True Crime novel, before he got into fiction, and finding some leads he decides to follow up himself, leading to him discovering that the killer is still active, and unable to find anyone in authority willing to help him he illegally slays the killer himself.

The other idea I had, is that he meets the killer at a much younger age, when he was taken by the killer. However, he was able to escape, and lead the police back to the scene of the crime due to his suddenly uncannily good sight and vision (He can hear every sound in the background of the place he was held, and every individual odour), though not before his older brother was slain by the killer. Additionally, he saw things while captured that gave him a lasting obsession with the occult and supernatural, and he turned to fiction, particularly dark fiction, as an escape, first as a reader, and then as an author.

Huh, writing things down did help, that sounds much better (if just as chliche) as then what I was thinking of.

2) why did he decide to actively oppose them instead of just hiding/running?

Having seen what horrible things are lurking out there at a young age, he was never able to close his eyes to the things most people ignore, the horrific elements around us. As he grew older, he realized that most people couldn’t or wouldn’t stop the things that are dark and abnormal in the world, and that if he didn’t oppose them, who would? In particular he has drawn inspiration from the morality of authors in the past, particularly Tolkien and he keeps two plaques above his desk: One, quoting a Sergei Bondarchuk’s flim adaptation of War and Peace reads “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” and the other “‘How is a man to judge what to do in such times?’ As he has ever judged, Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men.”, adapted from The Lord of the Rings, and a longer version of the second quote opened his first book.

3) what did he do/what were his life plans before all the occult stuff came into his life?

He was introduced to the occult at a very young age, and as such didn’t really have many plans. His desire to protect people led him to apply for the police academy, but he was rejected, and instead went to university, duel majoring in Religious Studies and History, simultaneously working on his first book, a highly fictionalized account of the serial killer that attacked him and killed his brother. While critics found the plot rather lacking, and several wrote it off as an author insertion fantasy (which to be fair, it was), he was praised for the vividness of his descriptions, and his expansive and masterful use of language. Deciding to focus on his writing, he abandoned the history degree, and finished his Religious Studies degree with a thesis on occultism in the early 20th century, and shortly thereafter published his second book, introducing his most popular character: Blake Stone.

Wow, that worked out a lot better then I expected, as I think I’ve answered all the questions I had bouncing around in my head. What do you lot think? I’m going to slide this into my post queue for next Monday and I’ll also (hopefully) write up my other character idea, for a good ‘ol boy lumberjack named Bo and toss it at you. Until then, Stay Geeky.

–Canageek

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[Let me tell you about my character] Dick Chandler

Back near the start of my blog I posted up a character I was using for Ada’s Serenity game. I meant to post more characters, but I’ve been DMing pretty exclusively. However, to keep myself sane I joined a Call of Cthulhu group playing via Google Wave. Anyway, here is my character: I started with a concept, then rolled stats. Since I rolled so badly the DM let me boost them up to the point buy value, so I tweaked them to fit my vision. I added notes on him as I wrote it, which is why they are scattered throughout the statblock. I’m a bit worried that I’ve spread my skills a bit thin, but if we do more than one adventure it should work itself out as I’ll increase them more quickly.

Richard (Dick) Chandler

Summary: Dick Chandler is a cop who fell from grace after refusing to let a murderer walk. He now works in Arkham as a private dick, spying on cheating spouses, running background checks and whatnot. Lately he has been growing bored due to a lack of challenge, and melancholy as he feels he misses the feeling of making the world a little safer, one killer at a time. (more…)

About My Character: McCord (Serenity) [Version 2]

I posted this character a while ago based on stats someone else wrote for me a while back. Now I’ve bought the book and have been playing for a bit so I thought I’d post the updated version. The game is being run over at DnDorks if you want to take a gander.

Captain Dirk McCord
============
Veteran | Personality: Rough and Tumble Trader
Agility      : D10
Strength     : D6
Vitality     : D6
Alertness    : D10
Intelligence : D6
Willpower    : D10

Initiative : 2d10
Life Points : 16

Assets
—–
Two-Fisted
Good Name (Minor)
Fightin’ Type
Trustworthy Gut (Minor)

Complications
————-
Loyal (Minor)
Credo (Major) (Always deal straight, Never rip a man off, Never sell tainted goods)
Prejudiced (Minor) – Alliance (Bureaucrats)
Dull sense: Smell
Dull sense: Taste
Skills
——
Animal Handling        D2
Artistry               D0
Athletics              D6
Covert                 D6
Craft                  D0
Discipline             D4
Guns                   D6
+–Pistols D10
Heavy Weapons          D0
Influence              D6
+– Bargain D8
+–Persuade D8
Knowledge              D4
Linguist               D2
Mechanical Engineering D2
Medical Expertise      D2
Melee Weapon Combat    D4
Perception             D6
+–Intuition D8
Performance            D0
Pilot                  D2
Planetary Vehicle      D2
Ranged Weapons         D0
Scientific Expertise   D0
Survival               D2
Technical Engineering  D2
Unarmed Combat         D4

Note: The above stats include 2 Advancement Points that were spent on Influence: Bargain as its something his background should have, I just didn’t have the points for it. The dull sense struck me as something that would hurt a trader like him when he is being wined and dined as he has to be careful not to let on he can’t really taste the expensive wine, but also lets him note taste the disgusting rich man’s food he never got a taste for. Didn’t make sense not to take just one as they are tied together in the human body. I gave him Two-Fisted because I love the western gunslinger who shoots with a gun in each hand and Firefly didn’t have anyone doing that. I’m thinking given his crew his next points just might go into Discipline. If not I’d like to get Planetary Vehicle up, Looking at my character again I’d really like to get Covert specialized in ‘Conceal on Person’ or Slight of Hand, or somesuch.

McCord started out as a small trader. His home planet, Redwood, wasn’t on the rim, but it sure wasn’t a core world. He ran a small shop selling tools and did it well.  He gradually bought up some other shops in nearby towns, focusing on getting basic, good tools. He discovered he could sell basic goods such as shovels for a fortune to the outer worlds. He started buying them cheaply from his suppliers then selling them at a fair mark-up on the outer worlds. He met a lot of ship captains and a lot of grateful farmers and miners. He insisted on running his own ship a lot of the time, refusing to run any business he didn’t understand. He always made sure to do his fair share of the work, even learning gunplay to help defend his goods. Then came the war, and he stayed carefully neutral, refusing to carry goods for either side.
He survived the war, carrying food and basic goods to devastated worlds, sometimes at a loss. However, in the aftermath an alliance bureaucrat ruled that his shovels had built alliance trenches and ignored all evidence that he’d sold them to reputable local stores. His business was stripped from him and given to a massive corporation that has proceeded to charge massive prices for everything as they are now the only supplier. He asked around and found that right after they finished stealing his company that bureaucrat retired and took a job on the corporation’s board of directors. He called in some favours, scrapped up his personal savings and bought an old firefly and a load of basic goods. He found some friends and put together a crew. Now starting over on the outer worlds, he’s pretty sure the Browncoats were right, and is just a little bitter about doing so.

He carries a gun at his left ankle and a small utility knife on his right, just in case. When expectin’ trouble he carries a gun on each hip in fast draw holsters, but does not do so from day to day as he believes that tells people that your lookin’ for a fight.

His accent is an odd mix of normal and high’ falutin speech since he was born speakin’ one way and spent a lot of time speakin’ the other so as not to be taken as a bumpkin.

Possessions: Unpaid: Last Chance: A Firefly class ship (well technically. It was at one point anyway). The DM has stated it has basic gear such as spacesuits and a big winch. His pilot discovered the weapons a few months after they took off and he’s not sure how he feels flying an armed ship.

Paid:

  • Gun Cleaning Kit
  • Patch Tape
  • Purification Crystals
  • Drink, Good Whiskey (2)
  • Ballistic Mesh
  • Knife, Combat (belt)
  • Knife, Utility x3 (Misc pockets + belt)
  • Pistol x2 (A small revolver, left ankle, concealed), Other in cabin or vehicle he’s driving…just in case (Stole that idea from the book Casino Royal where Bond keeps a longbarrel 45 in his car for ranged shooting: No game effects but I liked the idea)
  • Derringer (In case he has to go to some fancy shindig where carrying guns is impolite but allowed)
  • Commpack, Long Range
  • Compack, Short Range, x6
  • Distress Beacon
  • Microtransmitter x6
  • Laserlight Mist
  • CuttingTourch
  • Scarpware x4
  • Scrapper’s Gel x4
  • Tool Kit, Basic
  • Tool Set, Electronic
  • Tool Set, Mechanics
  • Formal Wear (Very shiny, 40 credits, could easily pass at any Alliance company even if the fashion is a year or two out of date now he dressed conservatively enough that it is unlikely to be noticed. Think black business suit but western). He paid extra at the time to make it last.
  • Newtech Pistol (x2, revolver, longbarrel) (+1 damage, Makes fancy Weerrrs and Clicks when cocked or fired. [Yes, I made sure the DM would let it werrr and click like in the show….yes I was willing to pay extra for that.)
  • Medical Supplies, Emergency.
  • Immunization Packets (12)
  • Large Hovercraft

Cash: 91.4 credits.

The gun has a story: He was working a deal and some hotshot corporate executives took him out and whined and dined him. Took him shooting and gave him this fancy gun. Well he was a young trader and long story short he wound up with several tonnes of lead tained ‘silver’ cutlery. Never figured out what to do with it, still has most of it in a storage facility somewhere as he bought it from his company to ensure it never entered circulation. He has kept the gun around as a reminder ever since. That and its a damn fine gun, easy to maintain, takes normal ammo and packs the punch of a mule’s kick. This is based in part on a story a businessman told me once (Only it was a knife and he figured out they were trying to wine and dine him and was not fooled.) I can’t wait for the cutlery to show up in the plot..hehehe.)

Edit: Almost forgot: His reason for learnin’ to use a gun so well came up in game when told someone didn’t believe reavers existed.

“He undoes the button at his cuff and rolls up the sleeve of his nice blue shirt. As it slides up you can see a horrible puckered scar sliding up his forearm. Was about ten years back now, when I was a welp just getting started out. Made myself a bit of money dirtside and wanted to start trading into the black. Was riding on a tramp liner named the Marie Celeste looking to set up some trade routes on the rim. Next comartment over was a squad of Alliance troops being sent to some to some backwater or another. I played cards with them a time or two, good men. Three days out of Buthers world we were attacked. They hit us out of nowhere, cut through the side of the hull. Sloppy, air leakin’ from a bad fast sealjob. They tore through the luxury compartment and….” McCord shudders. “I was lucky, in last class with the Marines ‘tween me and the Reavers. Some of us that knew which end of a gun to hold went forward to help. Those weren’t met I was fightin’ they were beasts. You shot them once they got back up. You shot them twice they slowed down. We learned how to shoot them in the head pretty gorram fast. Was barely enough. Not many people who fought survived. Me, handful of marines, couple a’ others. They didn’t get past us though, all the women and young’uns survived. Mostly they used captured guns same as anyone, but some…some used blades. Serrated blades, so it don’t cut clean. They leave puckered scares.” *lets his eyes fall to the scar on his arm*

Let Me Tell You About My Character: McCord (Serenity)

This is a character I’m going to be running in Ada’s Serenity game. I don’t have a first name yet and someone else is doing my stats. I’ll be updating the stats and story as I work on them. Feel free to comment on how I could improve him, background or stat-wise.

McCord started out as a small trader. His home planet, Redwood, wasn’t on the rim, but it sure wasn’t a core world. He ran a small shop selling tools and did it well. He gradually bought up some other shops in nearby towns, focusing on getting basic, good tools. He discovered he could sell basic goods such as shovels for a fortune to the outer worlds. He started buying them cheaply from his suppliers then selling them at a fair mark-up on the outer worlds. He met a lot of ship captains and a lot of grateful farmers and miners. He insisted on running his own ship a lot of the time, refusing to run any business he didn’t understand. He always made sure to do his fair share of the work, even learning gunplay to help defend his goods. Then came the war, and he stayed carefully neutral, refusing to carry goods for either side. He survived the war, carrying food and basic goods to devastated worlds, sometimes at a loss. However, in the aftermath an alliance bureaucrat ruled that his shovels had built alliance trenches and ignored all evidence that he’d sold them to reputable local stores. His business was stripped from him and given to a massive corporation that has proceeded to charge massive prices for everything as they are now the only supplier. He asked around and found that right after they finished stealing his company that bureaucrat retired and took a job on the corporation’s board of directors. He called in some favours, scrapped up his personal savings and bought an old firefly and a load of basic goods. He found some friends and put together a crew. Now starting over on the outer worlds, he’s pretty sure the alliance was Browncoats were right, and is just a little bitter about doing so.

Captain McCord
============
Veteran | Personality: Rough and Tumble Trader
Agility      : D8
Strength     : D8
Vitality     : D8
Alertness    : D10
Intelligence : D10
Willpower    : D10
Initiative : D8+D10
Life Points : 18

Assets
—–
Nose for Trouble (Minor)
Friends in Low Places (Minor)
Trustworthy Gut (Minor)

Complications
————-
Memorable (Minor) (No sure about this one)
Branded (Major) (Oh yeah, I’m in alliance records)
Loyal (Minor)
Credo (Major) (What does this do? I have some sort of code of ethics?)
(Can we add a bias/dislike of Alliance Bureaucrats? Heck, can be all Bureaucrats if needed) Prejudiced (Minor) – Alliance (Bureaucrats)? What would Major do?
Skills
——
Animal Handling        D2
Artistry               D0
Athletics              D6
Covert                 D4
Craft                  D0
Discipline             D4
Guns                   D6
+–Pistols D10
Heavy Weapons          D0
Influence              D6
Knowledge              D4
Linguist               D2
Mechanical Engineering D2
Medical Expertise      D2
Melee Weapon Combat    D4
Perception             D6
+–Intuition D8
Performance            D0
Pilot                  D2
Planetary Vehicle      D2 (Can we bump this up if my new bias gets me points?)
Ranged Weapons         D0
Scientific Expertise   D0
Survival               D4
Technical Engineering  D2
Unarmed Combat         D4

Edit: Here is my original post on McCord:

Mmmm, I’m thinking some sort of merchant, neutral in the war that was hit hard by trading with the enemy punishments and then driven under by a large corporation from the core systems. He packed up and bought/chipped in on/joined a ship and does what he can to survive. Learned a fair bit a gunplay to protect his goods out on the rim worlds, plenty of men that will try and take whats yours if you let ’em. Prehappes might know a few folkes from his time as a merchant, might know a few that need cargo moved. And a course, he knows how to drive a good bargin after all these years. (Is that possible to do? Skilled w/ small arms, some contacts and lots of barganing and lie detection, no so much on the social niceties or fancy knowledge?)

Edit: Added another line to his character description.

Edit2: I know own the Serenity rule book and have rewritten his stats based on it. I’ve also modified him a little as roleplay happened (For example I wanted him to be Ambidextrous so I took Two-Fisted) anyway, the updated post is here.