- Fantasy set in a world in the 17th century level of tech. A world of reason, where education and technology are starting to take off. - Magic was a thing in the past, documented in history. - The history, of course, is inaccurate. The real story is there. - The Empire, which rules the continent and has for a long time, is built upon its founding myth, of the binding of magic by Jovon. - Beasts of out of legends mount a ferocious attack on the Imperial family. They are led by men that seem to know magic, which is impossible since magic has been suppressed for millennia. - Your character, a female descendant of Jovon and Yariel, his queen, watches her family being attacked and knows that the only thing she can do to save herself and even have a chance of fighting the fell beasts is to follow the instructions of a family legend - go down these stairs and insert that stone there. - The plot proceeds from that start. - Looking for advanced and someone that can collaborate on the design. The world as it is would be of your designing. I already worked out the world as it was. They now collide. - You can PM or reach out to HeySeuss #6650 on Discord.
The official histories claim that Jovon, who became first emperor, defeated Ciron, the last great magocrat, a sorcerer that lusted to rule and coveted his wife to be, Yariel. Magic, that tore the world apart, was at last done for. Ciron, who represented all that was wrong with the world, was the end of the era.
Since that time, with the magic's sources suppressed, sealed away, civilization flourished under a peaceful rule without spirits, good or bad, to interfere in the affairs of mortals. The magic ebbed away without replenishment and there was a stable, prosperous golden age. No one had magic anymore, and order and peace prevailed. Humanity was not without strife, for there was unrest in the Empire, but the magic that nearly tore the world apart with its apocalyptic power was no more. The damage was limited.
Until, of course, someone found a way to partially unseal magic, and the Imperial family found itself under assault by fell beasts of a like from the legends of the Age of Tempest. Even the muskets of the guard could not stop these things, or the men that led them, wielding fire and lightning, felling those that ruled the Empire. It is the hell of the old stories come again, the old fear that someday, someone would figure out how to undo the ancient bindings.
An heir, knowing of an old family catacomb and a contingency against such a thing, stumbles down the stairs, as the palace rumbles, coughing from the dust, with a runestone in hand, to be inserted into a crevice only in the most dire of circumstances. They were Empress Yariel's instructions to her descendants, handed down from mother to daughter in the Imperial Family. This was only to be used in the most dire of need, when all seems lost.
Her savior, Yariel's contingency against the return of magic, the intended guardian of her bloodline, is none other than Ciron, the great villain of history.
Out of Character
There is, of course, a deeper story of what really happened, and I will be happy to discuss that in Discord with interested players. I need to use Discord to brainstorm quickly. What really happened in the Age of Tempest is a well kept secret, because the truth would shatter the Empire anyway. Who the heroes are, who the villains are, who did what? It's been centuries and an Empire intent on unifying a continent with ideas has been at the histories. The truth has long since been lost. Some of this plot will be the system shock of your character talking to a man that knew the heroes of the age in the flesh...and the danger of what he might say if it got out.
Is there an element of Mary Magdalene and that debate to this plot? Absolutely.
But what remains is that magic has returned and the Empire is being torn apart. And your character has to make decisions under duress.
If that's your kind of plot, please reach out and thanks for reading!
"The Soiling of Old Glory" by Stanley Forman of the Boston Herald American, 1977 Pulitzer Prize Winner
- Modern-Fantasy setting. Modern United States, but probably AU for the purpose of playing with geography and events. - Magic returns to the world; 2018, rather than 2012. This managed to scare everyone and make the Mayans question their calendar. - Summer/Fall of 2018 got scary, fast. - Not Twilight or Harry Potter; this has darker political overtones because humans know about magic and various supernatural beings and are scared shitless and are freaking out. You know how people are in large groups, right? - In the United States, the government starts rounding up people with magic. - By Spring of 2018, animals and plants, places and things, start to emerge; energy nexuses, mythical beasts, spirits even. - The characters are part of a Coven of like minded people, probably with magical abilities they are just touching, in a town or city where there is an internment camp for others of their kind. They are trying to avoid being caught and figuring out a way to undermine the internment camps, to get support to their fellows. - The characters will be forced to make some stark choices vis-a-vis retribution, justice, the law and nature. - This RP was designed back in 2009, well before the current presidency (and I'll be happy to show people the link to it, because it still exists on another forum) and I do not want to shy away from the zeitgeist of the nation, because I think it's interesting material to work with and always have. All the same, I am hoping to avoid a huge discussion of politics outside of the need to discuss it to write good fiction. Themes like the structure of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and FEMA camps and all that jazz do feature, but these are policies rather than people. - Inspirations: Anything John Carpenter did, especially "Escape from New York" and a whole lot of other stuff. Trying to avoid the touchy-feely 'magic in secret' thing. Magic is something that burst out uncontrollably and has turned everyone's lives upside down -- and a lot of people are freaking. Also taking inspiration from underground movements like the French Resistance and the White Rose, though it's also a lot of Martin Luther King meets Merlin the Magician. Someone mentioned District 13 - definitely a good thought. - Still reading? I'd prefer to have one or two collaborators that have multiple character ideas than a bunch of players that drop off. I'm open to 1x1 for this, but my hard line on this is that I need collaborators that want to help weave the plot, add characters that drive it. - HeySeuss #6650 on Discord. HMU!
Glossary of Terms
- Emergent, Manifested - Initially an adjective for people, it has since expanded to describe any sort of magically active thing, place or being as of early October of 2017. Emergent people, plants, animals, places and objects all exist. This is the politically-correct term for it in the United States and Canada. There are many more less flattering terms, of course. - NPC's - Disparaging term for regular humans, especially the people that hate Emergents (such as many of the religious fanatics in the country) used by American Emergents in turn. Particularly popular with the ones that have been caught and put in camps. It was a popular term among roleplayers, before roleplaying games and science-fiction novels were pulled off bookstore shelves during the last couple months of hysteria, and outright banned in certain states, as if they were the reason all this came about. - Shame-kisser - A disparaging term among anti-Emergent groups, often religious, for people who support the rights of Emergents. It refers to the 16th century myth of one of the rituals of witchcraft, the Osculum infame, involving a kiss to the anus as a show of subservient. It was first used by a famous televangelist mid-sermon, and caught on from there. - Freakville - Synonymous with the holding camps for Emergents, be they large or small, as run by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. Smaller camps are used to securely transport Emergents, often by rail, to the larger communities in cash-strapped cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis and Tucson. - Pitchfork Party - A facetious term for NPC attacks on Emergents, alluding to peasants with torches and pitchforks, though these days they're more likely to have Molotov cocktails and shotguns. - Alpha-Omega Type - SETF Classification of the Emergents as given by the DHS. Classifications are as follows: - Type: Alpha - Confirmed dangerous emergent with abilities that can directly harm someone. These people are processed differently than others -- they are first brought into isolation units for observation and 'testing' before release into the general population. All inmates can be drugged if the guards see fit, but Alphas are almost always drugged to some degree to try to inhibit their concentration. - Type: Beta - Physically mutated. Currently, people are still undergoing sudden changes, in the camp and outside the camp, which is to say, the process is ongoing. If warranted, this class of inmates is physically shackled, muzzled or otherwise restrained so as to not present a threat to other inmates and the guards. - Type: Gamma - Emergent with abilities to produce apparitions or alter perception. Also often drugged. - Type: Omega - General Population of Emergents. Classification to be expanded as trends in emergence are identified.
In Character Info
It's late March 2017, and the uncertainty of life, often buried deep in the psyche of humanity, is suddenly a raw and very exposed nerve. Things have emerged and the false serenity of society is irrevocably swept away on a tide of the supernatural. The world is turning upside down. Things are emerging from a long dormancy, their spirits either finding flesh on their own or fusing with the nearest host and twisting them into something else. From the beautiful to the freakish, it was almost as if someone unlocked a spiritual vault and threw the doors wide open, heedless of what would emerge, heedless of the things this force would overturn.
Magic came back on September 23th, 2017 (the equinox); people suddenly manifested abilities. Some changed shape to misshapen or supernaturally beautiful beings, others manipulated energies by their will and mind. Society was not prepared, and fell into all sorts of social unrest, including lynchings, riots and vigilantism. Not everyone was grabbing a shotgun or gardening tool to go after these newly-minted 'Emergents' but there was a torrent of hate on the TV and on the radio, a furious argument about how to respond.
Irrationality won out, as it almost always does when fear sinks into the mass psyche.
Initially, at the behest of the more vocal and hardline group of Americans, yelling for the government to 'do something,' especially with people taking it to their own hands and 'doing something' themselves, often with encouragement through the internet or the radio or the pulpit; vigilante violence against Emergents. These people, backed up against the wall, lashed out -- their uncontrolled, sometimes dangerous talents gave the newscasts of these incidents a horror movie feel, especially as the media played up the most extreme example, partially for ratings. Emergents had some allies, many of them relatives or people who held to a principle in the face of danger but a majority of people, fed on news stories showing magical phenomena and terrified people, were scared and supported tougher measures.
There was, of course, a chance for the government to stand up to this trend, but instead the government did two things; they put a law into effect recognizing that Emergents were not human, and therefore not accorded the rights of the 14th Amendment. It passed with bipartisan support in October of 2017, during the so-called Season of the Witch. The federal courts at all levels shot down the challenges from the ACLU and other orgs while the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Special Enforcement Task Force (SETF) established Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with local and state police forces to train with funding and leadership from SETF agents similar to the model employed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Past -- in fact, ICE was plundered for their toughest people for SETF, along with other federal agencies. Captured Emergents, as they were being called when nastier words weren't used, to be placed in containment camps "for the protection of everyone involved." Darker rumors swirled, that the various governments of the world were frantic to understand these forces and dead set on controlling or containing these disruptions. The internment areas, the Freakvilles, established as secured communites in certain cities desperate for the funding, allowed Emergents to live inside walls, with armed men looking down on them and drone surveillance keeping watch. Families are allowed to go with their children, but not all do. The Freakvilles get some support, but not much -- they're poor, desperate and a lot of them are pissed off.
There was also the fear of 'Covens' of Emergents who were in hiding, conspiring against society. Essentially lacking much in the way of controllable power, some individuals stoked the fears with lone wolf or small scale attacks involving a handfull of people. These attacks helped discredit open Emergent supporters in elected office. The November elections turned over a lot of figures who might be seen as sympathetic to Emergents; it was a commonly hurled accusation by campaigns, pushed on social media. Blood libel, the concept of accusing Jewish people of human sacrifice, took on a broader meaning that was no longer merely specific to Jewish history in Eastern Europe.
In December, right before Christmas (the 21st, the Solstice), suddenly the animals and plants, things and places, started to show emergent traits; limited phenomena at first and then a buildup to a crescendo point. Suddenly, the dark was scary again, and electricity was no longer enough to hold the wolves, and other things, at bay as local governments got overwhelmed trying to cope with the new safety concerns and the federal government struggled to deal with something that they weren't equipped to really deal with -- especially as occult shops were closed up and even the study of mythology was discouraged outside of secured facilities.
Many Emergents felt it in their bones, but most of them managed to conceal this feeling of burgeoning power, a sudden increase in these newfound things they do. They know they are hunted and being kept, and so they keep their own secrets from a secretive government.
In one city in the United States, home of one of the so-called "Freakvilles," a coven plots to do more than just torch a church with pyrokinetics, it looks for a way to break down the walls...
Out of Character Info
I'm pretty loose on character ideas, but ideally the characters are still figuring things out. Most Emergents do not have control over their abilities and have only started to touch the edge of them.
I'm loose on what magic entails, but let's keep this level-headed and avoid munchkinism. The plot is almost more about how people react to the situation than what they can do with magic.I haven't gone into the details of how magic has affected the world, or, at least, I haven't gone into more detail than I've had to; part of this is because I want to flesh that out in a plot.
The idea of this RP is how people would adjust to the sudden emergence of magic in society, and I've tried to set up a confrontation, but I am not guiding the story into bottlenecks of that sort; rather, I am trying to get a feel for what the players will want to do with this story, and how to fit that into the overall story. Suffice to say, this is more like 'Carrie' than 'Blade'; I'm not so interested in having long-established secret societies of vampires and werewolves emerge from the woodworks to take over the world. They, like everything else, are a fairy tale that suddenly shows up, and those people that do turn into them are as new to it as anyone else. They're in a hostile world that doesn't like them with powers they struggle to control and/or use, assuming they have powers rather than just having visibly changed physically without being able to tap any sort of power -- marked, but not currently able to wield any power.
(That's strictly to avoid another Underworld/WOD type cliche of vampires secretly running the world-- there's plenty of those elsewhere. This is about something different.)
As said, I'm not going to be terribly strict about characters so it's just a matter of posting up what you want and playing, so long as it's tasteful, balanced and doesn't sparkle. I'd ask that we keep it from going overboard on the powers, as everyone is, at this stage, discovering them in a world where even a little bit of it is a huge advantage over the rest of humanity. Preferably, characters will be somewhat based on mythology in some fashion; I think that is a little more tasteful. Based on, but not in the sense that they have to conform to every element of the story. I think I'd prefer to say that the characters are the basis of the legends, not the other way around, in this setting.
The plot will involve questions of politics and culture, rights and law and morality at the bottom line. The players will, as a result, need to be mature about it and remember that this is fiction, even if it is based on modern life as we know it. It's still fiction, and we have to take license with it. This is a dystopia, a speculation upon the worst that can happen.
This is a setting I have used before in other RP's, even on other boards, that I've worked on for a couple years. It addresses the question of how the world would react if magic were to suddenly spring into being in the world, what would occur if normal people were suddenly able to wield these powers and if some of them were to turn into beings out of the fairy tales and myths. There are, of course, stories that deal with the supernatural existing in secret, forming cabals and ruling the world with their advantages...or having romances with drab girls in rainy towns in Washington State; this isn't one of those stories.
In the end, the roleplay is about human nature, a combination of political thriller and fantasy, a sort of "Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali meet Merlin" scenario. It may even be "Mao Zedong meets Medea," or "Che Guevara meets Circe." Will those people with magical gifts allow themselves to be pushed around? Will they justify the worst fears of their most vocal opponents and try to use their powers to take over? What can the government do? What will the government try? Who will provoke whom? Will the shot heard around the world be fired again? Will it be a civil war?
The characters are part of a Coven, a small group of people in a city near a large Freakville, or perhaps in one of the smaller towns that hosts a temporary camp to house the detainees pending transportation, but they haven't been caught. Part of the plan is to find a way to help the people on the inside; an underground of support for those people stuck behind the wrong side of the wall. The eventual plan is to find ways, magical or otherwise, to establish a line with those folks and help them. And not get caught, because then they'll be in the camp too.
Not going to write a lot here, but am looking for a partner interested in doing some RP set in Westeros (or hell, the Free Cities). I am flexible about a lot regarding era, but ideally the player partner has read the books and soaked in a lot of the lore so that we can work on the same playing field and generate good plot ideas.
Usually, I have a plot all laid out and I've got a hook and so forth thought of. In this instance, I am simply seeing who out there shares the interest. I am avoiding group RP's because they turn into Nation RP's. Instead, I am looking to do something more in line with the setting as it stands at various point using original characters, or at least characters whose histories are not heavily fleshed out to give us lots of room to improvise and develop within the framework of the setting.
Please PM or hit me up at HeySeuss#6650 on Discord. I am also present on the Guild server.
1969, the United States. The US is doing a lot of drugs, playing lots of guitar, protesting the Man and is having a big argument with itself.
The world is ruled by supernatural factions that keep the knowledge of their existence tightly controlled.
A young outcast werewolf, drafted and sent to Vietnam met friends and fellowship for the first time. To survive in the face of a VC onslaught on their firebase, he bit a couple of his best friends. They survived.
One of the young men had a brother who ran the Wild Hunt MC. Soon, all the Wild Hunt were werewolves.
This story starts with their fight against the Man.
Weapons of choice: hallucinogens, free love and lots of guitar.
Inspired by "The Wild One," "Easy Rider," Hunter S. Thompson, every shit biker flick made in the 70's (damn there were a lot of them) and, hey, "I wanna be your dog" by the Stooges
Werewolves were always kept on a leash, at least since the middle ages, when the last great alpha was extinguished. Left shattered by the destruction of their royalty and courts, Werewolves became the bellboys, the doormen, the legbreakers of other supernatural beings that were more sophisticated at finance, commerce and politics. There were, of course, rumors of werewolf bloodlines producing an alpha, who could make new werewolves with a bite, but the rumors also were that other supernaturals were adept at finding and killing these individuals when they arose before they could surround themselves with others.
1968, in the worst of the Tet Offensive, a young werewolf undergoes a first change that is unexpected. He is indeed a werewolf, but far from the rites of his people, including an indoctrination into servitude. He is from a bloodline that serves others, but he was raised with the secret stories of the great werewolf lords, Alphas. He was told, in family gatherings, the glorious history of these failed uprisings, heroic and melancholic. That's the past. The present concerns him more.
He and his friends are being overrun by the Viet Cong in an outpost near Laos. The lines are stretched, air support grounded by the terrible weather. The guys know are going to die. Though the werewolf knows that his odds are good, he's bonded with some of the other guys, the first time he ever really belonged.
Knowing the tales, he attempts something desperate, to give his friends a chance to survive with him; the bite. It's an act of faith. To his shock, the bite works, his friend starts to turn. Others are bitten. They survive that hell-night in 1968, when the enemy assaulted their base camp under a full moon. He and his buddies are miraculous heroes, their deeds (massively fictionalized) feted in Stars and Stripes. What counts is that the Alpha has his pack, already blooded in battle. The real tale of the bloodbath is, of course, too crazy to be believed.
The new alpha came back to the world with his military buddies, one of whom had a brother that ran with a biker gang. It was a good place to lay low, to marshal the forces of a new war against the other supernaturals, the ones that turned everyone into their slaves. They stayed on the move, nomads, to avoid the notice until they were ready. They added to their numbers so that it wouldn't be so simple as neutralizing the Alpha to keep the help from becoming restive. This time, the supernatural bigshots out there, worrying over stock prices and manipulating their politicians while their tame wolves did the dirty work for a pittance, would have a real fight on their hands.
This is the saga of the Wild Hunt, the Werewolf biker gang, and its fight against the cabals and conspiracies of the world arrayed against them.
Out of Character Info
Werewolf bikers in the 1960's/1970's.
I am going to break the convention and make the gang multi-ethnic and multi-gendered to allow people to create a great character that they feel. The Alpha, of course, is a werewolf of great power and influence, but also will be hunted by anyone supernatural who comes across them out of fear -- even the ones that doing have were's doing servant work for them aren't going to relish the destabilization of their cushy lives. Without an alpha, Werewolves are few in number and less potent, docile and content to serve other supernatural factions and live off the bones they gnaw, figuratively (sometimes literally.)
With an alpha in play, the game changes. Some weres are so far gone in their servitude that they will fight against them, but others are potential recruits to the cause. The alpha's leadership is primal and magnetic, he is a natural leader among his kind. Of course, the alpha is also in danger. Not all werewolves are apt to follow, particularly if they are kept addicted to drugs or are otherwise being controlled by a rival being. Of course, by the same token, wolves in an alpha's pack are not easy to subvert by mind domination and charm magic; they are bonded in spirit and that much more dangerous. Not only that, the bite of an alpha can make new werewolves. Without an alpha, it's all about who has the wolf-blood, descended from bitten werewolves.
Also, I am thinking there is an ebb and flow to the werewolves and their powers. At the full moon, they are at their most violent and dangerous, whereas the opposite applies at a new moon, it's a time for them to sleep it all off. By the same token, they can rouse themselves to fight. I am definitely looking for them to be able to go to that wolf-man form that the movies like to show off, and maybe see if they do a normal wolf form as well.
What we have here is a skeleton -- in the interest check, people asked "how do were's become were's?" and I came up with the 'bloodlines and alpha's bite' system. Hopefully, we can flesh out the plot and the factions more as we proceed. The alpha's bite is pretty disruptive to the ole bloodlines system, so there's lots of friction to look at there.
Gabe Boudreaux, nature lover and resident expert on supernatural animals...or, what a normal person would call monsters. The first thing he did was look at that warehouse, in the darkness, with its rows of barrels and tight confines and said to himself, hell no I won't go.
"Look, no offense, but let's try not to agitate the man-eater, okay? We need it to feel comfortable and potentially hungry, because we want it to come out, not stay in there and hunker down. Because I'm not volunteering to go in there."
The first instincts were usually best. He wasn't in love with the idea of tangling with a giant spider inside its domain, where it had webs, food, eggs, if female. He didn't get a good enough look yet to determine sex. Instead, the hairy man of the group, a flannel-wearing shit-kicker with a Mainer accent, which was a lot like a Canadian accent, was advising caution from a position of expertise on supernatural wildlife. He wasn't Steve Irwin, who got himself speared by a manta ray trying to shove a finger up its quacker and he sure as Hell wasn't Jonah, who got himself into the belly of the beast.
Beyond that, Priest and Hawthorne could be liable for damages to all this expensive-looking whiskey, in addition to human lives lost. So guns blazing didn't make a lot of sense here.
"Look, spiders usually aren't aggressive unless provoked, but they are predators and usually they eat things that eat sugar. They'll go after likely prey. That's us," he pronounced, "so stop provoking it." It probably picked the whiskey distillery for a number of reasons. It was cool, dark and there was a doughnut bakery with a retail space called "Devilish Donuts." There was a coffee roaster there too, Kahuna Coffee Roasters. And they had a shop right across from Devilish Donuts, so people could sugar up even more. While both of these had sweets, it didn't have the ideal conditions for a spider...but it was in proximity to the sort of prey a spider would eat at that size. It needed something that consumed enough sugar to satisfy the carbohydrate requirements, since a spider wasn't just going to raid the donut bakery. But it was going to find a lair close to the Diabeetus Den so it didn't have to go far to pick off some sugar-coated protein.
The smaller cousins of this spider evolved to eat ants and pollinating insects, so it made a certain twisted sense that this spider made a lair near a prime food source. There were spaces between the slab-sided warehouses with their metal doors, which were tall enough, but there were plenty of things where a spider might string up its webbing. Sure enough, he drew a flashlight out of a leather holster on a worn leather belt, clicked it on and shined LED's on the points where there were webs, thicker than the usual kind, but still the iridescent lines that were familiar to everyone. They were strung up all over the place, strategically, but there was plenty of open parking lot/loading yard space where the spider couldn't strike easily.
Unless of course, it decided to charge. But spiders didn't work that way, usually.
"Let's stay clear of those for now," he noted to his colleagues.
He caught a whiff of something sweet and groaned; it had been a long day of sitting in that fucking van with Blackwood, rubbing Vicks under his nose and trying not to turn into a drooling, sex-starved caveman. He'd done as much as he could to open windows, spray Fabreeze and otherwise disrupt the charm. He'd probably pissed off everyone else and offended Morgan multiple times. The Fabreeze made him sneeze, chemicals and a sensitive nose, so he switched to Vicks. In fact, he was moving to keep her down-fucking-wind when the plan clicked and he stopped in mid-stride on those scuffed work boots like lightning hit him.
"Guys, I have a plan," he told the group, "We need to get our beasty to get comfortable, so let's try not to be too loud or bright with lights. And I'm gonna need some help on a couple wish list items. We need to make that warehouse kind of warm and the air out here a little more humid while keeping it cool. We also need a way to create something really sticky on the ground. We're all professionals here, so I'm just listing our needs."
Then he turned to Morgan and, quite conversationally, addressed her, while rubbing his nose a bit to disrupt the more overt tones. In the course of the spider punching through a wall with one hairy, frighteningly spiny leg, the adrenaline must have kicked up her scent production or something. He thought he was used to it and then she blasted him with this whammy. It was their first time really working a case together, so there was a learning curve. He kept the tone very conversational, all things considered, though his voice was a bit muffled by his hand on his face.
"Blackwood, if I may respectfully suggest, you look like you're famished. It's time to go get some donuts."
Name: Gabriel (Gabe) Boudreaux (Boo-Dro if it's down in Louisiana)
Race/Species: Human, but there might be some ancient-co-mingling with spirits, fae and werewolves down the line. When your family goes back that far, it's hard to tell what the heck really happened. Also endless joke fodder.
Age (Real and apparent): Early 30's, Apparent. A little more than twice that, realistically. Born in the 1940's.
Appearance: Gabe doesn't bother to hide that he's a bit of a crunchy hippie; things happen in cycles and so does fashion, which means that long hair, beards and flannel are back in. He's got thick auburn hair and a slightly redder beard. The nose is prominent but not overlarge, though slightly upturned, and his eyes are startlingly blue. He has despair-inducing natural eyebrow game.
A life spent in the outdoors, hiking around on the job in various functions has left a large frame, six-one or so, with some muscle, especially on the shoulders and back. It's not some weight lifting bro's build, but he is solid.
What sets him apart from an urbanite imitating the look is that he doesn't have new clothing. It's all been washed and repaired many times, fading down to a comfortable second skin. It's cared for and maintained.
Personality: Gabe knows what he loves in life and devotes himself passionately to that. Other things he cares less for, but he is gregarious and surprisingly good at socialization. What he doesn't do is blend in socially but rather tries to come at people honestly. Sometimes, in the case of the small-minded folk you find in any place, that puts noses out of joint. However, and Gabe believes this, you will always find your kind of people, the intellectually curious and the interesting, by being strange but sociable and get a lot out of that. He's not afraid to try people out at a gathering until he finds what he's looking for.
So he's friendly and down to Earth.
He walks into places and buys people a beer and tries to find common ground. He makes jokes about his redneck ways. He could run for Senate on that, "I am just a country boy" bullshit he peddles but he also loves it when someone takes him at face value.
The thing is, a lifetime of investigating poachers, animal parts smugglers and other types in communities, often rural, means that he's got this act down.
Deep down, he loves the outdoors. Politically, he's a staunch conservation guy, green energy causes and so forth. He is no vegan, but feels that good stewardship in hunting is extremely important and believes in a natural balance that is not being adhered to. That is his life's lodestone.
Powers, Traits, and Abilities: He's average untrained at Ski-ball, let's get that out of the way.
Gabe grew up hunting, fishing, mountain climbing, lobstering and otherwise doing French-Canadian redneck things in a childhood in Maine. As a veteran and veteran federal agent, these skills were refined, and skillsets in investigation, courtroom demeanor, the law, surveillance, interrogation were added. Gabe also is a repository of knowledge on all kinds of creatures and their habits, both supernatural and normal.
He's not really a practitioner, but he's got enough juice to affect plant life and communicate, empathetically, with animals, including the supernatural kind. There are druidic spellcasting types that are deeply versed in the lore, ritual and prophecy, but Gabe is not really one of those. He has other talents.
He's spooky in the wild as he moves through it, light of foot, and he can shimmy up a rock face with near supernatural agility, but it's actually just a lifetime's worth of skill. He doesn't get lost on trails. He's a superb, supernaturally so, tracker in the wild, but in built up areas it gets too confusing to work the way it does out in nature, with clarity. It's suspected, but not confirmed, that he has a nose like a bloodhound, which may well be why he is known to cover it up with a bandana or surgical mask when the scents get too overpowering, particularly as involves petroleum, coal and various other contaminants. In the city, he often has to contend with a bit of a sinus problem, which means having to reduce inflammation with traditional herbal remedies. That blunts the nose.
His immune system is unbelievably hale and hearty. You can shoot Gabe, but plague and poison is not nearly as effective. There are limitations of course. That may well explain why his family weathered all those centuries fairly successfully, particularly during the Plague(s).
Speaking of that, the story is this: a long while ago in Gaul (France) there was a community of what they called druids that Caesar wrote about in less than glowing terms. Ole Julius (self-servingly) described gruesome rituals, human sacrifice, a culture of fear and rulership. When the same Caesar sacked Gaul on the pretext of civilizing it, but actually was intent on looting it and parcelling out parts of it to his army and enriching his political support base. Caesar and his successors, notably Augustus and Tiberius, supposedly eradicated the worst aspects of this culture. Again, they based some of this on the distaste for human sacrifice, but it was probably rooted more in the Julian Emperors' distaste for challenges to the Principate's authority.
Gabe's ancestors survived through many subsequent purges in the name of politics and religion and eventually emigrated to New France, thence to Maine, keeping the old ways alive, managing to preserve themselves. It wasn't ever a conspiracy, like vampires (who never liked druids much, seeing as they could be an impediment to societal control and feeding) or the fae, who maintained ancient and cordial relations with the oak-knowers.
He's also a motorcycle enthusiast, but stopped riding Harley's a while ago and went with Kawasakis. He's a surprisingly good bonsai gardener, and swears he doesn't cheat but the office doesn't believe him one damned bit.
Background: The smell of her was in his nostrils at this range, even in the city, but it wasn't remotely her fault; he could tell that she worked out this morning, caught a whiff of high end yogurt on her breath and could place the perfume, notes of pomegranate, lemon, rose and jasmine. It was good but not pricey and didn't wrinkle his nose, the way college age dudes would with their tendency to spray the shit under their arms.
"So Mr. Boudreaux, thank you for coming in to interview today. Did you want anything to drink before we started?" She got the name right, which was points in his book. The meeting room was easy to peer into, seeing as the walls were glass, the door was glass, all framed by minimal aluminum, rather than metal. Unlike a police station, it was two way glass. The table was spartan, the chairs modern. So Priest probably didn't get much input on the design of this particular space.
"No thank you, Ms. Cloverpetal, the water's fine, though I hear the coffee is great around here," He smiled at her winningly and made eye contact. His body language was kept deliberately open, perhaps from a lifetime of being a meeter and greeter, a guy that knew how to be public facing. Sure, he was an outdoors guy, but that didn't mean he couldn't provide small talk and socialize. In the supernatural community, there was a bit of a misconception about his kind as cranky recluses, which was often the case. Centuries of tradition could make some people tedious. Ada knew him and knew differently, but others might not. So he put on his best winning way. They might have expected a guy wearing a robe with birds nesting in his beard, or something out of a certain popular show where they shot every animal in sight and wore hunting camo underwear to match their bandanna.
Sure, he had that ruddy sort of look from a lifelong outdoorsman, but he came to the interview in jeans and a tan sport coat and an open collared sky blue oxford, which had a good casual, but sharp urban look for a guy with a beard and a manbun. So sue him, he was tuned into this IPA drinking culture of hipsters. He was actually approving of the water's taste. It was in a recyclable paper carton and tasted good, like the place really cared about where they sourced their water from. He didn't wear a tie, but this interview was a bit of a formality that kept in compliance with the process of hiring law, even though the company contacted him and invited him to apply.
Then again, if you were in the magic business, you had to be wary of your water supply. Any number of people with a grudge would look at that as a good way to mess around. He didn't even need to do a quick magical filtering of the water, one of his go to spells. These days, even creekwater needed filtration. He just had a leg up on it over most people.
Once he finished his sip, Ms. Cloverpetal, who had a hippie name straight out of the late 1960's and, despite the perky, dewy fresh blonde look, might have been born back then, essentially revealed intern status when she said, "So, what can you tell me about yourself?" She asked it earnestly enough, referencing a list printed in Courier on white paper.
But Gabe obliged, "I hold a bachelor's in biology from the University of Vermont and am a 26 year veteran of the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a Special Agent, enforcing laws on the books in wildlife preserves and other federal jurisdictions, as relates to hunting and the trafficking or poaching of protected species. We also did disaster relief operations, specifically relating to handling of animals, and I usually got called in when they needed to find someone in remote places. I was stationed in various parts of the country, notably Louisiana, Texas and New England, but I also covered territory in Northern California and South Florida for a few years, mostly working in conjunction with the FBI branches on smuggling ring cases."
Organized crime shit, sometimes dangerous. She was taking notes on a sheet she had printed out and he had a battered notebook and a cheap pen he was using to take down his own notes, as a way to give his hands something to do.
"Of course," Ms. Cloverpetal nodded, as she read from the script, "So can you tell me about a time when you had too much to do and not enough time and what you did in that situation?"
"Does Vietnam count?" He asked, with a trace of irony to the tone.
This is when the lady got a little flustered, perhaps as he made a cardinal mistake of traditional interviews and gave his age. There was a momentary uncomfortable silence and a mumbled, obligatory and amusing, "...thank you for your service..."
To save her a bit he added, "I went to school on the GI bill as soon as I got out in Burlington. I missed Woodstock, but we had some really good concerts out there. Then, after graduation, I got on a bike with some friends and did the Easy Rider thing. I tried to play guitar, but am not that good. That definitely felt like I was trying to get in a lot in a very limited amount of time, if that helps." He didn't tell her about the drugs. It was still a job interview, after all.
"Oh, wow, so what happened after that?" she asked, a little more naturally.
"Well," he said, warming up to storyteller mode, "I grew up in a kind of traditional household in Aroostook County, Maine, right? And my family, we had our traditions, one of them being a deeply-felt connection with and respect for the land. But not everyone thought it through; they were in a hurry to pull themselves out of a time when disease killed much of the population in childhood, and scarred the survivors. Industrialization, science and technology were used to escape these things, but society overdid it, with immense harm to nature to underwrite societal advancement. Hell, my family always felt that good stewardship was important, but in the 1970's, a lot of people were just starting to realize the cost of heedless industrialization. Acid rain, ozone holes, radical climate change, mass extinction. Have you ever see pictures of what this country used to look like, Ms. Cloverpetal?"
She shook her head, and he continued, impassioned.
"Junkyards everywhere, smog, and all kinds of stuff just floating in ponds. We definitely killed off a lot of species in the process and it was obvious that so many others were about to go. It was a total mess. In the 1960's the activism focus was on Vietnam, but I think we," he meant the generation, "all had to make decisions about what to do with our life after the road trip was over. Literally, in my case. Well, the plan was to kind of get involved in that, and a good way to do it was to join the police force that catches people who dump things on public land illegally, who poach animals without a care and who generally screw up national parks with their beer cans and dumb lighter fluid fires so that everyone else has a huge forest fire on their hands. I'm not a politician, but the one thing Nixon did right was come up with the Environmental Protection Agency. There was a lot of cleaning up and enforcement to be done with various federal agencies and a lot of that had to do with a new generation of agents pushing these laws. I mean, the job isn't all chasing around poachers and finding shipments of smuggled ivory, you got to teach kids about respecting the land too. So we were trying to change things at the grass roots and it looked swell at first, we made a lot of progress. Of course, it's never that easy," he ended with a grunt.
He wasn't sure to encapsulate years and decades of disappointment with bureaucracy, congressional oversight, media misrepresentation and supernatural manipulation for its own ends. He didn't lose the romanticism and idealism, but toward the end, he was drawing heat onto the community he was stationed in, in Louisiana, from a particular cartel of vampires. Thralls, schools, bad stuff. They'd sussed out his schedule, which changed last minute, and thought to pin him down. They shot some school resource officer in a uniform that looked vaguely coplike.
Luckily, the tracks got covered there and the school resource officer survived. But he retired soon there after. He'd started in 1976 and it was 2002. He was drawing too much heat, and he didn't like the feeling of walking away, but the truth was that the bureaucrats were demanding some sort of accountability and he was going to be forced out anyway.
"So you retired in 2002," Ms. Cloverpetal stating the obvious, "But what have you been doing since then?" Apparently, Ada had this young lady doing a very ceremonial 'we did it' screening, but he played along.
"Consulting work here and there, a fat pension and I move around a lot. Back home, they expect me to be gray and old, so I stay away because I hate dyeing my hair," he confided, "So I've been biking around the country and camping out rough in all kinds of places when I'm not raking in consulting fees, including with your agency. Heck, these days I can take a laptop and a phone just about anywhere, so my office is on my back." He sounded smugly satisfied with that pronouncement as he patted the backpack beside his chair, a high end Maxpedition model, thoroughly modern, the nylon thick, durable but well-used. You could only take retro so far.
"So Mr. Boudreaux, what did you like most about your job? What did you like least?"
Gabe cocked his head. It was a bog standard question, but he decided to answer honestly rather than play a cagey game, "What I liked least was political oversight, appointees and unknown agendas that tied our hands. What I liked most was our values and mission. Preserving wildlife, encouraging good stewardship and you got to get out in the community and really work with people. You know, teach them well," he shrugged.
"Did you ever have to deal with someone that was having a difficult day and was not in a good mood? How did you address it?"
"Ms. Cloverpetal, I was a Fish and Wildlife cop, which means that I was often dealing with poachers that did not want to be caught and sometimes had guns. So you know that if you're catching them, they might decide to take a shot. So I always tried to catch them in a friendly way in a friendly place to head off that business. But you know how it is with the bigger fish that think there is no law they're accountable to, that's when it gets hairy. But me, I like it nice and easy. No one wants a war out there," he waved a hand around, vaguely, as if to say, in civilization, with humans, "and I prefer to work it out nicely." But his smile was a bit steely, as if to say that he wasn't going to back down off a principle.
"So what would you say is your weakness?"
He almost laughed aloud, it was a stock question. He was a supervisor and he had to ask people this even back then, "I cannot pass up chocolate chip and pecan cookies or cranberry pumpkin bread. And I like action. And my life is getting too boring and patterned. The last case we worked, the Everglades case, made me feel like I could be doing more," which involved a ring of ritual spellcasters with delusions of Egyptology poaching crocodiles for their body parts, vulnerable species, "so here I am. I got a message from Ada about 'barghests' 'staff turnover' and 'we want to bring you on full time.' And I like the sound of that. Guess I never really learn, huh?"
The Mist exploded overhead, causing him to flatten to avoid the shrapnel from that, hissing through the air. He managed not to be perforated with hot metal, but it was a close thing. Along the way, other pockets erupted. Even so, while prone, he got his rifle into position, both eyes open, irons on the two, but he held fire even before the talking started. Others were moving into their positions, even as they tried to reason through the situation.
He knew the calculus; one girl, throwing power around. Setzer, held hostage.
As the others started to talk and otherwise address the girl, he took the time to get on one knee and assume a firing position, the stock of his rifle nestled into his shoulder as he regulated his breathing. This was no sniper rifle and Setzer was so damn big that this girl practically was hidden behind him anyway. He didn't have a particularly good shot, not that he was in a rush to take it. It was not the optimal situation to be taking shots, even if he was damned good with a rifle.
Unlike most Wardens, he didn't need optics for easy firing. He compensated subtly, using minuscule amounts of the Mist to modify the visual effect that replicated the effect of magnification and backlighting and even target designation. It was minor trickery, but it assisted in a well-trained rifleman's sense of aiming the weapon, particularly welcome when under an actual threat with actual adrenaline.
All the same, he'd spent more time in Vangar courses than Zimmy or at least retained it; his training reflected the interests he had. He wanted to do recon and light infantry work, and he'd deliberately adopted the courseload that would put him into that line of work. He was extremely fluent with the language, which the Citadel taught with a junker-class accent, like a proper von type, educated, collegiate. Useful for debriefing Vangar officers if the need were ever to arise.
"We are Wardens on leave, you are on Rassvet soil and this is a search and rescue operation. That is, of course, unless you decide to actually harm our friend, in which case you cease to be the subject of a rescue operation and then become an enemy combatant. Your choice, fraulein. We are not the enemy unless you decide to make it that way."
His Vangar was cold and aristocratic, and he was casual in flicking the safety selector switch on his rifle down to 'fire', which had a very distinctive 'click' sound, as if to say, think carefully about the next move, since you're speaking so glibly of moves.
"I just told the bitch that this is a search and rescue and that if she does anything to Setzer, we're slotting her," he added, to the others in Rass as he covered his sector. She couldn't watch seven at once. So he locked eyes with her. His were hard, especially behind the sights of a rifle.