SAL CARMICHAEL (Power Level 6)Real Name
: Salvatore “Sal” CarmichaelFavorite Movie
: The Long GoodbyePhysical Description
: Of average height and weight, Sal Carmichael keeps his brown hair cut short and out of his ice blue eyes. He dresses like the quintessential noir detective, meaning a fedora, white shirt and neck tie, dark brown trousers, and a trenchcoat. He hates dress shoes though, so he tends to wear flip-flops. Don’t judge him. Auto-Biography
: The one and only year I spent at college, I dated Ester Hawkins. I know what you’re thinking: Ester sounds like an old lady’s name. It is. It had belonged to her grandmother. I imagine that everyone has the same grandmother: a plump, grey-haired, perpetually cooking and baking, saintly old woman with a propensity for employing the most colorful of colloquialisms, right? I never met the original Ester Hawkins but… the Ester I dated wasn’t anything like the quintessential grandmother. No, the Ester I dated was skinny, flat-chested, dark-haired, kinky and had a love of vampires.
My Ester wrote a lot of poetry—a lot—and just about all of it went onto her LiveJournal. I never really got poetry myself. Granted, I took a Literature class and when someone explained to me the rhyming pattern in ‘The Raven’ I came away believing Poe was a genius… but for the most part, poetry seems stupid. Ester’s poems seemed to try and use as many big words as she could. I think she just assumed that if no one could understand what she had written they would be forced to profess that her work was deep and profound.
Of course, I wouldn’t have dreamed of saying this to her—not so long as she continued to perform the sort of unspeakable acts she performed in bed. Instead, I just pretended to read each poem she handed me and tell her how gifted she was.
I digress though—I do that from time-to-time. My point, I guess, was that Ester spent a lot of time posting to LiveJournal and she dragged me into that precursor to the social network craze.
I chose “crushed_cumin” for my user name. I was undeclared but that semester had me interested in culinary arts. If the truth be told, I’ve always been something of a jack-of-all-trades. Problem is, once I had really gotten into something and learned the ends and outs of it, it ceased to be interesting to me. For that semester, cooking was my discipline—hasn’t been since I learned to make the perfect veal galantine served chaud-froid. Regardless, my passion for cooking influenced my user name and from there my habit of narrating an account of my days began.
Every mundane moment was put on my LiveJournal for the world to see: if I blew everyone away with the paella I made in class, I wrote about it; if I skipped class to spoon Ester, I wrote about it; if my dad popped in at my dorm to tell me face-to-face that he was leaving mom for a girl a year my junior, I wrote about it.
Eventually, crushed_cumin’s LiveJournal gave way to Titians_Beast’s Blogger which went the way of the dinosaurs when problem-of-pain appeared on WordPress. It seemed that as my interests waxed and waned, so too did the server that supported by egotistical blogging habit. Now, it’s no wonder that I narrate every waking moment of my life. It’s just one more thing that makes me noir…
See, I took a film class once—before I was all gung-ho about becoming a chef—and spent some time being obsessed with movies. My high school sweetheart, Maria, was a movie junkie and I took the class to better communicate with her. After high school, she got accepted to ISU and me? Well, I was bound for St. Metrovilleburg U. Good ol’ SMU. It wasn’t as though we were worlds apart but we treated it that way. We were eighteen: everything was more dramatic than it actually was. We thought that the distance would force us apart and I decided to take Film 110 in order to better appreciate what she had a passion for.
In August, we moved into our respective dorm rooms. In September, she called me to confess that she’d started sleeping with a co-ed. In October, I started seeing Ester. It took Maria a month to forget about me and me a month to get over her. Obviously, we really cared about each other.
Still, that class taught me about the classic genre and the characteristics that defined it: First-person narration? Check. Cynical attitude? Check. Sexual motivations? Who isn’t motivated by sex? A propensity for disrupting a convoluted story structure with flashbacks designed to obscure the primary narrative? Hell, all I was missing was an element of crime, which might be what led to my decision to become a private eye…
I know what you’re thinking: a private eye? In today’s world? Yeah, I’ll grant you that there may not seem like much call for my specialty in a world where people can do their own detective work with a quick Google search… but I have uses. Jay Kriegsman, for instance: guy’s the local slum landlord. The guy owns almost all of South Town—the area of St. Metrovilleburg nearest the train tracks.
One of his renters had elevated getting evicted into an art form. The man knew the system and knew how to get the most out of his stay on someone’s property. For starters, he didn’t answer the door when one a cop came to serve him his eviction papers. Jay needed to get this lowlife served and he came to me…
I bought a cheap six pack of beer and paid a pretty blonde twenty bucks to knock on this guy’s door and call out, “Hey, is this where the party is?” The guy couldn’t have opened his door fast enough. Then, just like I had coached her, the girl handed the guy the booze with his eviction papers inside. “You’ve been served,” she told him before heading back to my car.
I let her out a few blocks away. I tried to get her in the backseat but she wouldn’t have any of it. She was engaged, after all.
Her song changed about three months later. She came walking into my office with a hesitant look on her face. A wedding ring had joined her engagement ring. She said she’d been married a month. She said one of her bridesmaids had come to her a week or two back—sobbingly confessing to sleeping with the groom during the wedding reception. The guy had a reputation for being unable to keep it in his pants and his blushing bride wanted to see if that had changed any.
I spent a few weeks following him. I knew him: he was my brother’s dentist. I had to come here to drive Dave home after that root canal.
When he told his wife he would be working late, he meant he would nailing his assistant. When he told her that he was going to have a drink with the guys, he meant he was picking up girls at a bar. When he told her he was going bowling… Okay, that time he was telling the truth: he really did bowl in a Tuesday night league. Still, once or twice I watched him make out with a girl from the snack bar behind the dumpsters so he was still being unfaithful even when he was being honest.
When I handed my client—the attractive blonde who hadn’t had sex with me in the back of my Chrysler—photos depicting her hubby’s illicit behavior, she broke down crying. She only looked at the first two photographs before she tossed them aside. I got out of my chair and made my way around the desk. I sat beside her and offered her a tissue. “Everyone warned me what he was like,” she sobbed, “but I thought I could change him.”
It was nothing I hadn’t heard before: if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my thirty years on this globe, it’s that women are attracted to the wrong sort of guy. I’ve seen girls put up with users, abusers and losers. Every so often, my kid sister will be sporting a shiner her hubby gave her. I don’t know how long the couple who lives in the apartment across the hall from me has been married, but in the four or five years we’ve been neighbors, I haven’t seen him hold a job.
These aren’t ugly girls either—if they wanted to, they could easily find a guy who treated ‘em with just a smidgen of respect and adoration. Still, they stick it out with the lowest common denominator. I figure it’s because women have that maternal instinct hardwired into them, y’know? They mother these selfish bastards, all the while remaining perfectly oblivious to the fact that they’re just enabling them.
A few years back, I saw Maria’s engagement announcement in the paper. She ended up marryin’ that guy she ditched me for. I was happy for her. I genuinely hoped that things would work out but… a couple of years later, I brought this bail jumper into the emergency room. I had tracked him down to this bar out on Route 137 and the lowlife tries to bounce on me.
We got into it in the parking lot. He rabbited and I booked it after him. The son of a bitch tried to take a swing at me as I took him to ground. I tackled his ass and he manages to land a punch to the top of my head. I see red and I just lay into him, right? I sat on this poor bastard’s chest and I just start wailin’ on him. You know what pulls me out of it? A two-by-four across my back. The lowlife ran out on his woman when he caught me on his trail and she still sticks by him like that.
Well, the board to the back damn near laid me out. If anything, it got me off my bail jumper. I’m flat on my back in the parking lot and I took up and see Maria lookin’ down at me with what I figure has to be the same look of surprise I got on my ugly mug. Even with my ears ringin’ I hear the board drop from her hands. I hear her hubby call her name as he grabs her by the wrist. It wasn’t bad enough that the guy she ditched me for was a lowlife but he had to go and try and drag her down into the gutters with him.
That’s when it came over me. I was suddenly more aware of the scent of blood. It was callin’ to me—hand-to-God. It was whisperin’, “Sal… Sal… Just let go…” I tried to fight it. I’d been able to beat it before but sometimes it got the better of me. The darkness wells up and I just lose myself to it, y’know?
The truth was that I was more than a gumshoe who had watched ‘The Long Goodbye’ too many times to count: I was one of the cursed. Y’see, a few months before, I had been on vacation. Hawaii seemed relaxing and it was, to a point. Amongst the varied fields that had held my interest for a short while was ichthyology and being able to swim with them while scuba diving was an unforgettable experience.
Equally unforgettable was being attacked by a great white shark.
I saw the thing coming. I knew I was up the creek but I had to try, y’know? I might have been its food but I wouldn’t go down easy. I tried to swim back to the shore but it caught me. It’s jaws clamped down and the ocean devoured my scream as it tore my little toe from my left foot.
When I made it to shore, I was alive. I only had nine toes, yeah, but I was alive. I was thankful. I was oblivious to the true nature of what I had encountered. See, that wasn’t just any shark—it was one of the cursed. Who knows how it started? Maybe some old voodoo curse or some Egyptian deity or another did it but somehow the curse of the wereshark started and eventually made its way to me.
Werewolves change when the moon is full. Much like them, wereshark transformations are affected by the moon. In our case, the moon controls the tide and… well, when the tide rises, a wereshark transforms.
I’m usually better able to hold back the transformation. Sometimes I’m able to remain in control. In this case though—after being punched in the top of the head by Maria’s husband and blindsided by Maria and… where the merp did she get that merping two-by-four to begin with, anyway!?!
Long story short? I lost control. I transformed into a half-man, half-shark and I went ballistic. I tore though Maria and her husband and don’t remember a bit of it. All I can remember is waking up buck-naked on the shore with some of the worst gas I’ve ever had in my life. Eating people makes me gassy…
Anyway, that’s my story: Sal Carmichael, noir detective wereshark, livin’ the dream in St. Metrovilleburg. I still haven’t nailed that girl with the adulterous husband. I did nail my step-mom at my old man’s funeral but that’s another story for another time…
STR 2, STA 2, AGL 2, DEX 2, FGT 2, INT 2, AWE 2, PRE 2
Athletics 4 (+6), Close Combat: Unarmed 5 (+7), Expertise: Harmonica 4 (+6), Investigate 8 (+10), Ranged Combat: Guns 3 (+5), Stealth 5 (+7), Treatment 3 (+5)
Beginner’s Luck, Contacts, Defensive Roll 2, Equipment 5, Jack-of-all-Trades, Well-Informed
Curse of the Wereshark: Variable 10 (Flaws: Limited [wereshark, -3], Uncontrolled [-1])—40 points
1986 Chrysler Plymouth: Car (Large; STR: 5; SPD: 5; DEF: 8; TOU: 8)—10 points
Eliot Gould: Light Pistol—6 points
Headquarters: Carmichael Investigations (Small; TOU: 6; Features: Living Space)—1 point
Tools of the Trade: Camera, Cell Phone, Computer, Handcuffs, Harmonica (Hohner Special 20), Binoculars—6 points
Trenchcoat: Protection 1—1 point
Fisticuffs +7, Close, Damage 2
Eliot Gould +5, Ranged, Damage 3
Dodge 2, Fortitude 5, Parry 7, Toughness 5 (3 flat-footed), Will 5
Curse of the Wereshark: Sal transforms into a wereshark whenever the tide rises.
Abilities 32 + Skills 16 (32 ranks) + Advantages 11 + Powers 40 + Defenses 11 = 110 points
WERESHARK: STR 4, STA 3, AGL 4, DEX 3, FGT 4, INT -4, AWE 1, PRE -4; Skills: Athletics 4 (+8), Close Combat: Bite 1 (+5), Perception 5 (+6); Advantages: All-out Attack, Power Attack; Powers: Damage 1 (Strength-based), Protection 3, Senses 2 (Low-Light Vision, Scent), Swimming 4 (8 MPH); Offense: Init +4, Bite +5 (Damage 5), Slam +4 (Damage 4); Defense: Dodge 6, Fortitude 7, Parry 4, Toughness 6, Will 3; Abilities 22 + Skills 5 (10 ranks) + Advantages 2 + Powers 10 + Defenses 9 = 48 points
Sal is the first character in a new campaign setting, St. Metrovilleburg. Basically, here's the introduction to the game I wrote up for my players:
For years, St. Metrovilleburg was protected by Warrant Officer Paragon. A lot of people thought it was a stupid name. “Why not be Captain Paragon?” they asked. Well, Warrant Officer Paragon was in the United States Armed Forces and only ever made it to Warrant Officer, okay!?! You think it’s easy to become a captain? Sure, Captain America did it but he enlisted in 19-diggidy-what? Warrant Officer Paragon enlisted when he turned 18, which was, like, five years ago… I think. I dunno, sliding time-scales are confusing. Look, the point is, people who criticize Warrant Officer Paragon’s name need to learn to shut their merping yaps…
The lone survivor of the doomed planet Sassafras, baby Da-Vid was taken in by a nice gay couple and raised as mild-mannered Sebastian Wilde. Those aging queens raised Sebastian with love and compassion and instilled in him a sense of civic duty, a drive to help the less-fortunate, and an unparalleled fashion sense. Still, everything changed when Sebastian joined the Army, where he was given an experimental designer drug—a super serum of sorts that reacted with his alien physiology and gave him super-powers.
To quote Tenacious D, “What powers, you ask?” How’s about super-strength? Flight? Invincibility? Super-speed? Ice vision and heat breath—because breath is hot, DC—super-hearing, X-ray vision and that unparalleled fashion sense those old gay guys bequeathed on him? Yeah, that bad boy went through the merping roof…
Well, Sebastian left his small town of East Minutia for life in the big city: settling into St. Metrovilleburg, Sebastian found employment as a left-wing opinion columnist for The Daily Yapper. It was all a part of his disguise, however: as none would suspect that a vocal proponent of President Seth “Lefty” Triggs’ socialist agenda was actually ultra conservative and militant right-winger Warrant Officer Paragon. Not even conservative talk show host Carol North suspected that the true identity of the man she had begun to have casual sex with.
Garbed in red, white and blue, Sebastian became the bustling conurbation’s champion. With his fantastic gifts, he defeated super-villains like the Bulldog Brothers, Gunchaku, Marquis von Wilhelm, the Ghost of Molly Ringwald, Cuticle Kid, and Captain Nebuchadnezzar—who was never even in the merping army!
Of course, his greatest adversary was Sam Samson, a billionaire industrialist with nothing better to do than concoct scheme after scheme against Warrant Officer Paragon. I mean, honestly… You’d think if you had all that money, you’d be happy. No, not Sam Samson… The guy was bent on being a criminal mastermind which… would have been great if he could even manage to conquer the crossword puzzle in the St. Metrovilleburg paper, The Daily Yapper. I guess what I’m getting at is: Sam Samson was not that smart. He just had a lot of money and was pretty bored. Also, he was bald.
Anywho, in only a few weeks, Warrant Officer Paragon had obliterated crime in St. Metrovilleburg. It got to a point where even shoplifting, reckless driving and tax evasion had ended. No criminal in their right mind would make a move in St. Metrovilleburg, which might explain why crime was on the rise in Scary City, Middle Municipality, Celestial City and Detroit… Regardless, no one transgressed the law in St. Metrovilleburg. No one, except Inebriationman.
No one knows Inebriationman’s real name or where he came from, but everyone knew of him: perpetually drunk, this homeless man reeked of whatever dumpster he had used to shield himself from the elements the night before. With the meta-mutant power to emit violet rays from his hands that get people really, really drunk—and possibly cause a smidge of cancer, although no tests have been officially conducted to conclude that so it’s probably just an urban legend—most always thought he was a harmless bum. Whether it was Warrant Officer Paragon who brought him in or the St. Metrovilleburg police department, Inebriationman would be kept overnight in a holding cell until he sobered up. As soon as he was on the streets though, Inebriationman would soon be intoxicated again and the cycle continued…
It was as Warrant Officer Paragon man raced across the sky to stop a 10-year-old from stealing $5 out of his mother’s purse that Inebriationman impossibly managed to clip the defender with one of his purple rays. Instantly, Warrant Officer Paragon was drunk. Falling asleep, he fell out of the sky. If he had slammed into the side of a building or plummeted into the street, his invulnerability would have protected him from harm. Warrant Officer Paragon did not collide with any such surface, however. Instead, he crashed into the seashore.
A funeral service is planned for 10 a.m., Tuesday, at City Hall. The Reverend Zaphod Zamboni will officiate.
In the wake of Warrant Officer Paragon’s drowning, a cadre of criminals has congregated on St. Metrovilleburg. Without their hero to shield then, the truly nefarious have run amok. The Mighty People—formerly the Mighty Men until 1996 when Miracle Ma’am pushed to make the team more politically correct—have declined to offer assistance, with each member of their group already established in their own cities.
It fell then on the shoulders of one man—a lifelong citizen of St. Metrovilleburg—to rise up and gather forces of justice dedicated to preserving Warrant Officer Paragon’s memory by preserving the peace: Sal Carmichael, a private eye, took out an ad in the Penny Pincher seeking responsible superheroes to band together and fight crime…
That would be you…
So... yeah, you get the tone of the game... Essentially, Sal here is a grim and gritty noir detective except for the goofy concept of being a wereshark who transforms during high tide.