Piper, a D20 Modern Adventure
Background information of all Player Characters
Written by Autumn Hahn
Age: looks to be in her mid-to-late-20s but is older than she looks
Looks: long straight blonde hair and bright blue eyes, long legs
Outfit: a fondness for pencil skirts and silk button down blouses
Other: comes from a magically endowed family and, she simply oozes sexuality
Inari is a knockout. She comes from a long line of magic users and money, though it is unknown which came first. She wears the finest clothes and purchases only the finest things with her plain white credit card featuring nothing more than a smart chip. She carries a pearl handled revolver with her initials engraved on the side, a gift from her brother; occasionally she runs her thumb across the engraving for luck when she has to draw the weapon. A woman with presence, Inari is the first thing you would see upon entering a room, and her visage would be burned on the backs of your eyelids for days afterwards. Charming does not begin to describe her, though she is able to give a gentle “push” to those gentlemen that are friendly toward her and have them doing as she wishes. Her gifts and talents are not unknown to her, nor is her beauty. She knows she is a diamond in a world of stones, but it does not go to her head.
She is also smart, calculating, and a terrific investigator. Inari has been working with Department-7 for years and had been instrumental in several key cases. She works long hours as necessary and supports her team members in meeting their objective quickly and efficiently. The Department would be lost without her.
Inari Wraith makes her first appearance in Danger on the Construction Site.
Character type: Charismatic
Written by Autumn Hahn
Looks: pinched nose and high cheekbones crafted by plastic surgeons, blonde wig, Adam’s apple
Outfit: wide-leg slacks and a fitted turtleneck over a stuffed bra
Other: deep voice
Born a man but living as a woman, the distinctive voice is the first thing you notice followed by extensive amounts of plastic surgery. Tall and leggy, she is both fast and strong. CJ is a celebrity and is frequently noticed by onlookers, which is a benefit when doing book signings, but a detriment to police work.
CJ makes her first appearance in Danger on the Construction Site.
Character type: Fast/Strong
Charles Longfellow III
Written by anonymous, at the author’s request
Charles Longfellow III
Looks: tousled brown hair, stylish rimless glasses, upturned nose
Outfit: off-white cashmere sweater, grey slacks, comfortable black shoes, easy to move in
Other: holds himself of regal bearing, excellent posture
Charles (or “Chuck” as he “allows” his friends to call him) was always a brilliant individual, even as a child. When he was just 2 years old he solved his dad’s vintage Rubik’s cube. By the time he was 5 he was beginning to write code in various programming languages. In school he was encouraged to skip a few grades and graduated at age 16 as a result.
Chuck lived a fairly privileged life, based on the giant influx of money from his father’s various business ventures. His father was also a software developer, if not a software pioneer. His father has made hundreds of millions of dollars by selling a wide variety of technology and services. Chuck doesn’t know what his father really used to be like before the money. For Chuck’s entire life his family has lived an over-the-top lavish lifestyle, complete with dozens of multi-million dollar mansions and million dollar cars.
For the most part the money didn’t really matter to Chuck. He played the part though, taking equestrian lessons in the summers, attending fancy parties, having multiple language teachers and such. I guess he appreciated that the money did make his life a lot easier. Being a boy genius has left Chuck more or less socially isolated for his entire life.
When Chuck got to college he had his first real organized social experience. Some obscure fraternity of some sort quickly reached out to him to acquire him as their newest member. It made sense; the other members of the frat were all from very wealthy families. Most of their parents were friends or had business relationships with his father. I am sure everybody involved had something to gain by getting Chuck to join their special club. As usual though, Chuck played the part.
It wasn’t long before Chuck was initiated into the fraternity. The hazing was very light due to the fact that nobody wanted me to speak ill of them to his father. I believe the worst incident was when Chuck had to take a drink when any member told him to. At first he was enjoying himself, but after a while enjoyment turned into sickness.
On Chuck’s 18th birthday he had large chunks of his father’s bank accounts open to him. His fraternity brother’s informed them that since he was now a man they would let him in on their secret. The fraternity was based on ancient dark arts principles, and that they had been performing several of their ceremonious rituals over the past decades. Now that Chuck was old enough according to tradition, he could attend.
The first ritual that Chuck attended was a summoning ritual. Nobody in the fraternity seemed to take it seriously. More than half of them were drinking beer, partying, listening to music, and so on. Nevertheless, the dedicated few continued on with the ritual. Chuck followed along not wanting to disappoint during his first appearance. About 5 minutes through various hand motions and repetitious chants, something shocking happened. The basement floor beneath us turned red and there was a bright flash of light. When their eyes recovered from the flash, an 8 foot tall red skinned mutant looking creature stood before them. It glanced around and saw the gross disrespect in its presence, and swiftly began to tear through everybody in the room. Blood was splashed everywhere, and body parts seemed to be littered everywhere (even in the closets, seriously?). Chuck just stood there in disbelief through the entire thing. Although some part of Chuck always felt that there was more to the magical stories he was told by his grandfather as a child.
When everybody else in the room was finally dead, the beast quickly rushed at Chuck but stopped about 6 feet short. The monster just stood silent for a few seconds, before speaking. It explained that it did not kill Chuck because he is special. The only reason the beast heard the ritual’s call was because of Chuck’s voice and actions during the ritual. None of the others possessed the ability to make the ritual actually succeed. The beast stepped backwards a few steps, and slowly faded away. Gradually, the floor changed its color back to the normal gray hue, although now it was smeared with blood.
Chuck spent the next few days speaking to the police. Of course his father sent his finest lawyers to protect him. Chuck did offer some information to the police, enough to satisfy them at least. He just wanted to be done with the situation so he didn’t have to deal with dozens of different people for days on end. He ended up convincing them that the frat brothers left a bunch of food lying out and a pack of bears wandered in through the open front door. I doubt the cops actually bought it, but they were at a loss for explanations otherwise.
Eventually that situation passed and Chuck went back to school, or tried to at least. He had completely lost interest in the system. Having been the only survivor of such an unusual tragedy, he didn’t like that all students were judged by being graded on everything they do. He didn’t believe in grades at all as a matter of fact. In his mind, people should want to learn for the knowledge, and the experience of learning itself. Grades were totally irrelevant in life.
To that end, he concocted a plan. In a rebellious moment he ran to the computer and started typing line after line of code. Days passed and he skipped class after class after class. Several weeks, several gallons of coffee, and several gallons of beer later, he had developed one of the most clever viruses to date. Essentially it would spread from computer to computer through any means that it detects is vulnerable. It can exploit network vulnerabilities, software vulnerabilities, and even hardware vulnerabilities. A picture, text file, USB stick, writeable optical disks, and even floppies can be carriers. The virus rewrites its own signature every time it spreads, so even the antivirus companies will have to write a specific algorithm to detect each specific mutated instance of the virus. This would be a feat that is likely impossible with modern technology.
More impressive than how the virus spreads, is how perfectly it will accomplish Chuck’s goals. At a random synchronized date all devices will eliminate all grading databases and systems from any computer. With Chuck’s perfectly tuned algorithm, the virus should have no problem using the distributed CPU power to intelligently scan for the needed patterns to locate and eliminate the desired targets. Perhaps with a little more effort the virus could distribute a patch that would allow its own algorithms to self adjust in a machine-learning style.
At any rate, Chuck started things out with an infected USB stick in his universities library. He also took the liberty of “updating” the professor’s profile pictures. After updating the profile pictures, Chuck considered also “updating” the tracking pixels on some 3rd party ad services. That in effect would spread it far and wide, but would require some extracurricular computer activities.
Chuck dropped out of college shortly after planting his baby around campus. Soon it should spread out on networks far and wide. Instead he spent his days reading about various types of arcane magic, and even learned he had a few odd abilities that he could perform. Besides that, Chuck just enjoys his low responsibility wealthy lifestyle, and continues his pursuit and love of knowledge.
Chuck occasionally takes on a pet project, or helps somebody out if it involves satisfying an intellectual curiosity or learning something new.
Chuck Longfellow makes his first appearance in Danger on the Construction Site.
Character type: Smart
Kay “Kacey” Callem
Written by Jorge Verea
Kay “Kacey” Callem
Looks: rugged good looks, always appears to need a shave even after shaving
Outfit: polo shirt, dark washed jeans, and a photo journalist’s vest with many pockets
Other: always seen with at least one camera around his neck
Kacey started his career as a Photo Journalist, but quickly realized that this was just too boring for him. A thrill seeker looking for a challenge and wanting to tell stories that really matter, Kacey decided to become a Combat Photographer and became embedded with a Ranger unit in the middle east at the age of 25. During that time, he learned to keep his head on a swivel, as well as learned how to use a pistol, just in case. Being a quick learner, he also picked up the local languages of Pashto and Arabic, though he can’t read or write them, sometimes even acting as the units interpreter. During his first 4 years embedded with the Rangers he picked up several awards for his photos from the front lines. But he wasn’t ready to leave just yet.
On his 5th year though, the Rangers he was with were based at a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in a dangerous valley. Daily fire fights were the norm. Suicide bombers, mortar attacks, death. Not one to sit around when the bullets were flying, but also not stupid enough to peek his head out to take a photo when stuff was really bad, Kacey helped out with the causalities, realizing he had a knack for it. He threw himself into the role, some days not even picking up his camera. After 6 months of this stalemate, the enemy made a major advance on the FOB. During this siege that lasted two weeks Kacey worked franticly, patching up wounds and comforting the soon-to-be-dead, at several points even having to use his pistol to fend off attackers running for the walls in order to throw grenades into the base.
By the last day of the siege, the majority of the Rangers were wounded or out of the fight. Of the original 80 soldiers, only 12 were still fully in the fight, tenaciously holding off the attackers but prepared to die doing so. Communications were gone, and with no word as to when rescue would come, it was just a matter of time till they were overrun. The Unit’s combat medic was dead and Kacey was all they had in that regard, but the enemy knew that they were done and threw all they had left at the small team still standing. 100 plus against a dozen, it wasn’t going to end well. At the peak of this final siege, Kacey was wounded by shrapnel from a mortar while dragging a soldier from the wall who had lost a leg from an RPG. In the blast, the soldier was thrown on top of Kacey, his body soaking up the majority of the blast and pinning Kacey under him against a sandbag wall, saving Kacey’s life but dying in the process. Dazed and bleeding, Kacey was not able to move the body off of him only just able to see the top of the FOB wall, waiting for the enemy to scale it and end his pain.
Everything went quiet. The shooting stopped and Kacey knew the last of the Rangers was gone. Cheers went up around him beyond the wall, chants of the victors. Then a ear splitting scream stopped all of it. Soon, cries of men, blood curdling screams, beyond anything Kacey had heard to that point, of which he had heard plenty. Sounds of tearing, blood-choked yells for help. Fear and the pain kept Kacey stone quiet. But then that too stopped. The silence was even more terrifying then the screams that preceded it.
Then Kacey saw something climb over the wall that should not be. Something that was impossible. Something that fed on the dead. It had long forelegs with a pair of enormous serrated pincers on each one and shorter hind legs that caused the front legs to drag on the ground, making a scraping sound like nails on a chalkboard. It emitted a high insect-like chirping sound that hurt the ears. The body was narrow and fleshy with bulges where you would not expect them to be as if the thing was not made of any skeletal structure as yet known. It was eating the dead, breaking it into pieces with the pincers and shoveling the pieces into a gaping maw consisting of rows of razor sharp teeth. The feast lasted several minutes, feeding on bodies that were once his friends, but finally the sound of helicopters in the air spooked the…it…off. Kacey passed out shortly after from blood loss.
Back at base, rescued as a sole survivor of the siege, he was questioned over and over again as to what happened, and the ending was just not good enough for the generals that got in his face. Upon recovering, Kacey was sent back to the states, a laughing stock and pariah by some. Not one to back down, he tried to tell his story, but this just lead to more ridicule and eventually lead to him losing his reputation as a sound journalist. But he knew the truth. There were things out there, things that shouldn’t exist, but they did. He’d seen one, and he was going to prove it, at least to himself. “I’m not crazy!”
And one day he found someone that believed him. Some guy from Department-7 – whatever the hell that was – though the fact someone believed him was enough for Kacey to be willing to hear more. He was told his talents of observation and treating the wounded were needed at Department-7. That was fine by him. “I need to get back out there, prove to myself I’m not crazy. And maybe even get a chance to kill those things.” He wasn’t allowed to talk about what he saw, which was fine by him; this was for him now. Plus the group seemed to have combat capable contractors that he’d be working with. Even better. “The more people between me and that nonsense, the better. But I’ll keep them going, if at the very least so that there’s someone left that I can run faster than if it all goes sideways.”
Kacey Callum makes his first appearance in Missing Boy’s Parents Dead in Murder-Suicide.
Character type: Dedicated
Written by Autumn Hahn
Age: approximately 19
Looks: dark skin, short hair, covered in a myriad of scars, many puckered from having healed improperly
Outfit: thrift store clothing consisting of worn sneakers, faded jeans, slightly frayed jacket, and t-shirt of a band he has never heard of, but liked the design
Other: quick to anger
John never knew his parents. His earliest memories exist in the arena. Every day was only slightly better or worse than any other and they all ran together. With no formal education, no sense of belonging or community, he had nothing to compare any day to, to know what month, or what year it was. He didn’t know his birthday, let alone celebrate it; he didn’t even know that was something people did.
Everyone he knew was raised in the arena, or was one of the masters, or the customers. The masters were terrible. The customers were worse. The masters pit the kids against each other for sport. You’d fight as hard as you could, with whatever you could, until you won, or until they stopped you. Some people died. No one shed a tear for them. If you were sick, or injured, the masters might whip you into submission to get you in the arena that day. It didn’t matter to them if you had the flu and had been up all night retching into a pail. Sometimes they’d throw things into the ring for you to fight with. You used any advantage you had as losing was never an option. You’d be brutalized, starved, and sometimes worse if you lost. John learned to find an edge, even if that meant breaking a bottle and slitting his opponent’s throat, or beating them bloody or dead with a nail studded board . Sure, they were just kids like himself, but there was no love in the arena, and none outside the area for these kids either. The customers might choose who was to fight, or what weapons to use, or want to use the kids for their own sexual or sadistic purposes. There were all sorts of customers. The kids hated them all. Hate seemed to be the only emotion to keep them from utter despair.
John and the other kids were never socialized properly. They were like wild dogs who would fight over scraps of food, argue over blankets, and practice their skills on one another to establish a semblance of hierarchy. The masters liked them this way: fierce, instinctual, and mean. The masters had to keep them from rebellion with beatings, and the stronger ones were ritually starved, all part of the true hierarchy where only the masters ruled.
One day, it all came to an end. In the middle of an arena fight, the double doors were flung open from the outside and police poured into the building. There was chaos as the customers tried to flee. The masters tried to get some of the kids out or tried to get themselves out. The kids in the arena stopped fighting and simply stared all around them. They were so struck by the change that none knew what to do, so they simply looked on quietly. It never occurred for them to run, because what would they run to? This is the only life they’d ever known, and knew of nothing better or even different. Once every adult had been arrested, the children, ranging from toddlers to teens, were herded into vans. They cowered before these uniformed adults, fearing beatings for whatever they may have done wrong. They were asked questions, but many refused to speak, or did not understand what was being said. All of them were filthy and wearing little more than rags. They were given hot food and clean water, and baths, and the processing started to place them in group homes or foster care, but they became problem children who knew little and understood nearly nothing of appropriate social interaction and nearly all were returned to state care.
John stayed in state care for a year until he reached the age of majority and was released into the world. He knew nothing of technology, could not read, and had trouble getting along with others. He tried to work, but most jobs were simply beyond his comprehension, and his temper was short, especially as the noise and movement all around him made him anxious. He was resourceful, fast, and observant, but those skills did not match what everyone else seemed to possess. He found himself lost in this world and sometimes almost wished he was still back in the arena, but no, that life was terrible, it was simply familiar.
He had kept the card given to him by the state workers “In case you ever need anything.” He needed a job, something he could do well and not get fired from. He called.
A deep baritone answered “Lieutenant Detective Dale Chippen.”
“Um, I was calling Khadijah Wright.”
“Ms. Wright is on vacation I’m taking her cases. What can I do for you?”
“I…I need help.” John didn’t know what else to say. He’d never felt so hopelessly lost before. At least, in the arena, you knew where you stood.
Something in the boy’s voice moved Dale to action. “Alright, son. Where are you? I’ll come to you, okay?”
“Okay.” John gave his location. It wasn’t long before Dale arrived to offer whatever help he could. He never guessed it would be one of the kids from that fighting ring that was broken up two or three years ago. He thought they’d all be placed by now, but hadn’t thought of the long-term implications of a life like that. And, I mean, he was just a kid, barely 18 or 19 years old, at best guess; kid didn’t even know his own birthday, but one had been chosen for him on his state-issued identification. The kid had guts, and he was tough. John kept fighting and he was at the end of his abilities now, reaching out for help. Dale couldn’t offer him much, but Department-7 did need able bodies to investigate crazy cases, and John had seen some crazy stuff. His education may not have included math and history, but John could read body language and sense when things were about to go down. He’d surely be an asset. Dale signed him up and told him to expect a call soon to start on a case. It may not be enough to live on, but he guessed the kid had lived on less.
John Smith makes his first appearance in Missing Boy’s Parents Dead in Murder-Suicide.
Character type: Tough
Written by Michele Lockwood
Appearance: Irish, 5’10” tall, 125 pounds of lean muscles and slight curves, green eyes, ginger hair shaved on the sides and pulled back in pigtails. She has freckles across her cheeks and the bridge of her nose. A small thin scar starting at her left brow curving towards her temple and down her cheek from a bar fight. 3 tattoos: 1 of an octopus across her chest and down her right arm to her forearm, a protective rune in between her shoulder blades, and one of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn making out on the back of her left calf. She has pierced ears, as well as a few you can’t see through her clothes.
Outfit: white t-back tank top without a bra, jeans, and a black well-worn leather jacket with black boots
Other: Her father is Aidan Finnegan, relic finder for the Roman Catholic church and her mother is Cathleen Finnegan, a waitress.
Cait grew up knowing there were bad things in this world. Her daddy fought them by finding special relics for the Catholic church. Growing up, she wanted to be just like him, practicing her fighting skills beside him, hanging onto every word of his adventures, until one day a hunt went bad. His leader in the church was corrupted and turned the church officials against him. Faced with the fact the relic he was carrying was too dangerous to give to anyone and knowing the Catholic church would do anything to retrieve it, he left his family and ordered them to leave everything behind and go into hiding as well.
Cait spent her teenage years watching her mother work hard trying to support the two of them. She came to resent her father for leaving them behind, and hated the church for their betrayal. She grew rebellious, honing her fighting skills out of sheer rage. So when an old acquaintance of her father’s found them with the offer of a job, she took it. She swore that her mother would never have to work an underpaid job again and that one day she’d come face to face with both her father and the man that betrayed them both.
Cait is tough as nails, jaded and all attitude. She’s a keen observer, calculating every angle, never fully trusting anyone. Cait hates the church and most things connected to them, but understands that God and the church are not the same. She dreams of having enough money one days so her mother never has to work again. She does have soft spots but she hides them very well.
Cait Finnegan makes her first appearance in Missing Boy’s Parents Dead in Murder-Suicide.
Character type: Strong
Written by Brian Gates
Appearance: Tall with a slight hook to his narrow nose, he looks decidedly plain, best for blending in with a crowd.
Outfit: dressed in a modern British style, often with a Burberry scarf and overcoat. You will almost never hear his footfalls as his shoes are the most specially chosen piece of his wardrobe.
Other: speaks with a British accent
Let no man say Jasper Freeman isn’t a gentleman. From his ever-present suit and tie to his impeccable manners, he always strives to make an example of himself. Cleanly shaven and always ready with a quip and a smile, he’s an easy chap to get along with. But we all wear masks don’t we?
Jasper grew up on the streets of Cambridge, England. His family wasn’t exactly the well-to-do sort but he was able to attend a prestigious private school with the help of his smarts and perseverance. There he learned to weather the bullying and general disdain from his upper class “peers”.
Robin Hood had it half right, steal from the rich. His first pinch was at the ripe age of 18 during a party his classmate was throwing. That tosser David decided it would be fun to humiliate him in front of everyone. So Jasper went back at the end of the night and filched dear old dad’s £2,000 Swiss pocket watch. David got the quick end of the switch for that one, served him right. And so began Jasper’s profitable career as a cracksman. He’s plied his trade all across the world for the past 10 years with a … negligible amount of mishaps. Nobody’s perfect.
He came to America for a few prospective thefts. After snatching some items out of the safe of a rich collector, it turned out that Department- 7 was looking for one of the items, an alien device as it turned out, and tracked him down. They gave him the option of turning the item over and signing up, or prison. Jasper chose wisely. He's been with the Department ever since, going all the way around the world for important lifts in dangerous and sometimes beautiful places.
Jasper mainly pays the bills as a security consultant, but the Department doesn’t keep close tabs on him, so what he does is his business unless he gets himself caught, and now he knows some on the inside to get him out of a tight spot.
Jasper Freeman makes his first appearance in Missing Boy’s Parents Dead in Murder-Suicide.
Character type: Fast