Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Grubbs knelt down next to the child’s bed dropping low as to sniff the floor boards and bed sheets. Nippy paused contemplatively before pulling out a paddle with a piece of rubber running from it’s center to a similarly rubber projectile. He then immediately commenced using it to create a racket, much to Marcus' chagrin.
“Must he always do that? This isn’t a game Grubbs.” Marcus gritted looking disdainfully at the diminutive Creep.
Grubbs rose slowly inhaling sharply.
“It helps him think Marcus. I told you. He’s got a knack for figuring things out. You don’t like his methods, head to the Senate and ask for a certificate of Marshal Law.” Grubbs sneered in retort.
Marcus quieted knowing the old Creep was right. Grubbs did his time as a Sheepdog before the Tenebrion warped his body and spirit forever, and knows how the council looks at situations like the one he was in the middle of. If he found the demeanor of his current allies cold, it would be nothing like telling the Senate he had no leads on a suspect.
“Where do we go from here?” Marcus grumbled.
Grubbs looked down at Nippy, a look of stark fascination crossing over the tiny Creep’s grubby features. Nippy’s jowls suddenly drooped in time with his toy dropping to his side, clattering to the floor. The short statured Creep then bounced over to a chair next to the window and whimpered, pointed frantically at the burn marks on it, and the window sill. Grubbs lowered himself to see better and squinted.
“Whatever this thing is... it went out through the window, so what?” Grubbs spat, his long and sinister countenance twisting with disgust.
“It’s how he grabbed the girl.” Marcus said slowly looking at the window sill and chair more closely.
Nippy sighed loudly gesturing to the dolls on the bed. Marcus turned looking at the bed and the acid burned leavings of the creature that had quickly rendered it a stinking heap. The hand-sewn dolls were however utterly untouched, and the marks beneath them seemed to show a distinct pattern.
“Oh no.” Marcus said suddenly seeing what Nippy was pointing to.
“It went out through the window, but that’s not how it entered. Marcus, where are this girl’s Parents?” Grubbs said rubbing his left temple with one hand while dropping a scrap of food to Nippy with the other.
“M’yah!” Nippy said turning his large black eyes toward Marcus, his mouth full of food.
“He’s a tunnel worker and she’s a seamstress. She’s the one who approached me. By the Light, how could I have been so blind.” Marcus stammered bringing his hands up to cover his face.
“We have little time. Help me turn this place upside down.” Grubbs said stalking purposefully out of the little girl’s room.
A few moments later Marcus emerged from the back stall stumbling into the kitchen. Grubbs turned, having had just finished opening the last cupboard, dashing the contents onto the floor with his broad hands so Nippy could sift through it. Marcus was visibly pale clutching his codex of law in a vain attempt to derive some measure of comfort.
“What?” Grubbs turned menacingly his gaze wandering out past Marcus, his massive clawed hands stretching outward.
“I found the tunnel worker’s wife.” Marcus stammered.
“Oh.” Grubbs said shrinking a little.
“What’s left of her is in a two gallon bronze canister in the stall out back.” Marcus said his hands shaking.
“It stuffed her into a milking pail? Thats. Well. Impressive, wouldn’t you say Nippy.” Grubbs said vacantly turning to Nippy who could only nod somewhat awestruck.
Marcus turned putting both hands down on the counter in the now disheveled kitchen and closed his eyes. This was bad. Everything was pointing to some Tenebrial horror somehow making it inside the city. How could things have gone so wrong? Marcus shook his head, his mind quickly returning to his training, all that he’d learned as a Sheepdog. Then, he took a deep breath and turned to his two motley allies.
“Tell me you found something helpful in here.”
Grubbs and Nippy turned and looked at each other again exchanging knowing glances.
“Yeah, but you really aren’t going to like it, and probably won’t want to report it.” Grubbs said placing a sack of what sounded like gold coins on the table.
Nippy bounced up onto the counter holding his small arms out as if to put the sack on display. Marcus reached out to open the sack but Nippy swatted his hand away sharply, then moved in the way, arms folded.
“You better let us handle it. These are chitterling sovereigns, about fifty of them.” Grubbs began slowly.
“M’yah!” Nippy exclaimed, one of his small feet drawing a circle in spilt flour on the counter.
Marcus took a step back, his face growing dark. Angry.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Marcus said looking down at Nippy then back up at Grubbs.
Grubbs sighed loudly.
“That’s because you aren’t supposed to. This currency is traded only by creatures out in the Tenebrion where it is minted.” Grubbs explained his face stony and impassive.
“M’yah!” Nippy exclaimed waving a handful of kitchen herbs over the sack and its dire contents.
“How could you know all this unless... no. I don’t want to know. All this means is that the tunnel worker and his wife, like me, had no clue what they were getting into when they accepted this money.” Marcus said his shoulders slumping slightly.
Grubbs looked expectantly at Marcus, his black eyes darting down suggestively at the sack sitting on the counter in front of him, then back up at Marcus.
“Yeah. I want nothing to do with those coins, nor do I want to see them circulating in the city.” Marcus said as deadpan as possible.
“You’re the boss. Boss. I’m sure that Nippy and I can help you out.”
“Fine. Can we please head to the tunnels now, maybe the tunnel worker isn’t dead?”
Marcus stalked out of the kitchen trying to ignore a large clawed hand meeting up with a small stubby one in a high-five somewhere in his wake.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Grubbs stalked through the penumbral ruins seething with unquenchable rage. Every time he dropped his nose to the ground he kept coming up with a false trail. Someone was using his greatest strength against him. Generally, he could just follow his nose to the culprit of any crime, like he could smell their evil down to the smallest molecule.
“No Nippy, this is something far different.”
Nippy’s eyes narrowed as he attempted to summon every ounce of smarts at his disposal to solve the problem. His eyes suddenly lit up and he began warbling and chittering frantically at Grubbs. The large Creep stared balefully down at his tiny ally, a look of inchoate emotion spreading across his face.
“Nippy. Nippy! Slow down, you’re making no sense!” Grubbs exclaimed loudly throwing his wretched limbs out to his sides upsetting the shattered remnants of a wall.
Nippy held up a single finger.
“Okay. One word.” Grubbs blurted impatiently.
Nippy then took out a small collection of bottles and containers arraying them on the ground in front of him. Then carefully began mixing different ingredients into a central bowl while displaying a haughty professorial expression.
“You’re... making something... you’re hungry, you’re making a peanut butter and bacon sandwich.” Grubbs stammered shaking his head.
Nippy shook his head throwing his hands out in front him waving Grubbs off, then pointed assertively to himself, and his expression. Grubbs sneered clenching his powerful fists, unbridled hatred filling his already black eyes like a deadly plague. Nippy turned towards Grubbs holding out his hands and cocking his head as if waiting impatiently for the answer.
“The Alchemist.” Grubbs roared.
Nippy deployed his crooked teeth in a wide smile while ringing a small bell. Grubbs looked back up at the City of Light from his own penumbral position scowling. Nippy quickly gathered up his props and leaped up to a perch next to Grubbs, his large eyes glistening with worry.
“I know. It has used its chemistry to mimic her smell leading us away. We’ve allowed the scoundrel the room to purchase valuable time. It knew, like last time, that the sheepdogs would seek me out for aid. It knew I would employ my usual methodology.” Grubbs whispered to Nippy, his toothy maw carefully dissecting each word.
Nippy warbled discontentedly, his small hands gesturing quietly in the dark. Grubs nodded grimly as he turned taking a step back towards the City of Light. Nippy bounced along behind, his small face secretly filling with sorrow at the predicament the young girl was assuredly entangled. Grubbs sensing his small ally’s distress looked over his shoulder as he walked and extended the smallest amount of comfort he could muster.
“Yes Nippy. When we find The Alchemist, I shall certainly honor your calling of “dibs” on whatever food it possesses.”
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Cities of Light are places of enlightenment, peace, and community. However, like every city, there are people who live to hurt or exploit others for their own gain. Thieves, rapists, killers, pedophiles, and worse still float to the surface like un-flushed garbage in the waters of civilization. Every city of light has people who won’t sit by and watch these things happen. These people begin as petty vigilantes but are eventually reigned in by The Shepherd, an official appointed by the Senate.
Sheepdogs want only one thing, to protect their friends, family, and neighbors from criminals. Generally working in pairs, they patrol the streets and tunnels of their City looking for rogues and perverts. They are granted powers allowing them to search homes and businesses and apprehend criminals, provided they turn them over to the Senate for judgement.
Sheepdogs are trained investigators who have learned to hunt down other human beings. They use forensics, crime scene reconstruction techniques, and fingerprint comparisons to find the guilty and bring them to justice. Among their own, Sheepdogs don’t believe that this training is what makes them who they are. Most believe they were born for the calling, knowing they were different from others at a young age.
The Sheepdog’s Oath
I solemnly swear to protect the innocent, uphold the public trust, and pursue the guilty in accordance with the Law. I will avenge victims by bringing those found wanting before the Senate and the Primordial Avatar for judgement. I will uphold the highest standards of personal conduct and act as an agent of the citizenry and the Law.
Required: Inquest, Novice Level
Sheepdogs begin play with the Simple Weapon and Arcane: Firearms Fighting Styles.
Rank 1 [Officer]
- Grim [Passive Mundane Ability]
Sheepdogs have a presence that grants them the ability to comfort victims, calm crowds, and terrify the guilty.
When using the Altruism Skill in the execution of their duties, your character gains a bonus equal to his or her Rank Modifier. He or she also garners the same bonus whenever they use their Athleticism or Close Combat skills to intimidate a suspect.
- Sense [Ritual Mundane Ability]
Everyone throws off a vibe that colors the way others perceive them. Sheepdogs are natural readers of that vibe and can get a sense of someone through casual observation.
By making an Inquest skill check, your character can scrutinize a single individual. The very next Altruism, Athleticism, or Close Combat skill checks made against that target gain an additional die, and a bonus equal to Activation.
- Violent [Reflexive Mundane Ability]
Sheepdogs generally prefer to resolve tense situations peacefully, but are fully prepared to lash out with violence to protect themselves, their fellow officers, or to subdue a guilty party. This capacity for violence is what sets the Sheepdog apart from the rest of the citizenry... from the sheep.
Increase the number of Fury Points your character generates at the start of a combat scene by 1.
Rank 3 [Detective]
- Manhunter [Passive Mundane Ability]
Sheepdogs are relentless when in the pursuit of a criminal. Every moment the suspect wanders around free, they are capable of hurting someone else. Often, the Detective will not sleep, preferring to follow up leads and inspect evidence.
Your character receives a bonus to their Inquest Skill checks equal to his or her Rank Modifier.
- Gunfighter [Reflexive Mundane Ability]
Sheepdogs are the only ones who manufacture and use firearms. A few become expert gunfighters who have the experience of countless fights under their belts. They know how to use cover, opportunity, and quick handedness to reload and use their weapons efficiently.
Any firearm in your character’s hands gains the Accurate WT and the Quick Reload WT.
Rank 5 [Sergeant]
- Friends in Low Places [Passive Mundane Ability]
Sheepdogs often colaborate with Creeps to keep the city safe. In your character’s case, he or she has made a powerful ally and acquired a measure of Influence in the city.
Increase the number of Resource Points invested in your character’s Influence Rating by 10. Also, your character gains a Creep Contact of a Rank determined by the Storyteller.
- Jaded [Reflexive Mundane Ability]
Your character has served the city for a long time, seen many things that broke their heart, known the taste of true terror, and faced their own death many times. He or she carries no illusions of idealism, and no mercy for the wicked. Whatever compassion they have left, is saved for victims.
When your character expends Fury Points to increase the DDP rolled against the worst sort of criminals, they may add 1D8 to that pool in addition to any other bonuses they are entitled. Damage inflicted in this way is always lethal, and your character has already prepared him or herself to explain yet another ‘death in custody’.
Unpublished Works © Arthur Walker 2005-2009