Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Test of Character - 9/9/09

(Image from a quiz result site for a "which H.P. Lovecraft character are you? Sadly I'm no Herbie West, I only found the image by GIS.)

Just as promised, this week I look at a character (or group of NPC's) for a group that could be found in some kind of modern/occult game where the "good" guys hunt demons and kill monsters. Hunter: The Vigil or Supernatural from Margaret Weis Games. I know there are other monster-hunting games, but I don't know them off the top of my head. Either way, I wrote this with only the slightest bias towards Hunter: the Vigil with my use of "cells" as a name for a group of hunters. Also: it's kind of a three for one, so you are absolutely getting your money's worth with this ToC. Alternatively, you could consider the focus of this article to be the hunter cell itself, but there's a strong emphasis on our first cellmember...

The neighborhood just hasn't been the same since Dr. Clark and his plastic surgery clinic moved in. A middle class neighborhood in a big city hardly needs its own plastic surgeon, but Dr. Clark can't complain: business is booming. He doesn't get away from the office much and the nurse staff aren't surprised in the morning to find him asleep in the lobby, or even more commonly, cleaning up the operation room. They've long learned to stop asking questions; the doctor is generous and seems to almost give away all the profits he makes to his employees.

So what if they find...odd things out in the dumpster every once in a while. It's not really their business, and the Doctor's work during the day on his patients produces works of art. There's even a waitlist months long as word has gotten out. Dr. Clark is a natural when it comes to unobtrusive little tucks and enlargements.

So what if the receptionist has locked the Doctor in for the night, leaving him alone with a strange van running in the otherwise abandoned parking lot. Why should she suspect that the van, which she's seen on at least 8 different occasions she can remember, doesn't have license plates and no windows in the back? The Doctor is a perfect gentlemen to her and gives her time off whenever she asks.

Turns out that the van is owned by a certain Detective Burke, homicide of the local police department, well, that explains why it's never been pulled over before. So what if the Doctor is particularly close friends with Robert Jones, County Coroner? It doesn't matter, not to those on the outside, not to those not on the hunt.

It was happenstance that connected these three lone wolves. They all were awaken to the hunt individually and believed they were alone.

Clark awoke one night from his sleep when, sitting at the corner of his bed, a monstrous, scaly humanoid was breathing heavily and from some body part most doctors would be remiss to call "lungs". He did the best work of his life that night and no one will ever know. If the creature was wearing long sleeves and a light scarf, it'd be almost impossible to tell it apart from a person experiencing the effects of chemo therapy.

Burke was working a new case; his story is long, but in the end, predictable. The stuff you see on that kind of job, it's no wonder police officer is probably the most common profession among hunters.

It always seems to be that the darkness accentuates the hunt; brings it into clear focus. For Jones, it happened around 2:15 in the morning after being woken up and called in to assist with processing a particularly nasty set of fire victims. The coroner works with dead people, the body is empty and motionless. This had been true for Jones his entire 22 year career, all the way up until this night. He thought he was just tired, tricks of the eyes and nerves over a stack of particularly vicious and violent deaths. He ran out the door and went right home after the thing sat up and began to shake . When he got back in he morning, the slab was empty and he had a stack of paperwork to distract his mind with.

Their skills were useful. There's a kind of synergy, hidden and tricky. The cell has tried plenty of ideas to fight the dark. They've set traps, playing the innocent just begging to get eaten up, they've advertised covertly on web forums for a "special" kind of plastic surgery for those "on the outside" to help them "fit in with those around them a little better" and have taken advantage of the blatant trust even these monsters and outsiders blindly put into the authority of a doctor's professional facade. They'll keep doing their jobs as well as doing the things during the day to make money to keep the hunt. Who knows what kind of dent, if any, the three of them are making in their city to push back against the oppressive presence of the darkness, but they have to try to keep pushing forward.

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