Thursday, November 1, 2001

NAGS Characters

by Tony Spallino (spallinoaj @

Adventure! Mystery! Intrigue! These were some of the traits of the pulp fiction stories of the 1920s and 1930s. This is where The Shadow and Doc Savage got their start. A lot of the heroes from these times were just ordinary men who loved adventure and persued it whenever and wherever they could. From the streets of New York to the jungles of the Amazon, there was danger lurking behind every corner.

Here are a couple of characters that can be used to start your own pulp style campain. These people can be used as either PCs or NPCs, whichever fits best. Their descriptions and history also include some plot threads that can be expanded upon to start an adventure. These could be used in any sort of pulp or steampunk adventure, and even adapted to modern times. They fit in perfectly with the new Terra Incognita Fudge setting, and have their point costs for that setting listed.

Roger Hardy, NAGS Hack
Acute Memory, Intuition
Blunt and Tactless, Impulsive
(Investigative - 2pt.)
Lock PickingGood
(Knowledge - 1 pt.)
Profession (journalism)Good
Area Knowledge (New York)Fair
(Outre - 1 pt.)
(Combat - 1 pt.)
Unarmed CombatGood
Firearm (needle gun)Fair

Roger grew up in the streets of New York. He spent more time in the streets than he did at home. He got into mischief, but nothing serious, still maintaining a sense of right and wrong. He graduated from high school (barely) and looked for a job that would keep him in the city he loved so much.

Keeping an ear open to the workings of the busy city life led him naturally to a career in reporting. He was privy to stores and events that other people could only guess lie beneath the surface of the busy metropolis. Finally getting a job at a mid-sized newspaper Roger found himself witnessing some strange events that he could never convince anyone actually happened. He has seen spirit activity in some of the older houses that line the residential district. He watched as an ancient mummy came to life in the local museum, only to be stopped by several archaeologists, that mysteriously disappeared soon after the event. Roger's reporting got more than one corrupt political official removed from office. After following his articles, a NAGS operative pegged him for recruitment in part due to his persistence and ability to dig until he gets the truth.

His brash style and lack of tact never helped much. Some of these stories barely got printed but only on the back page, and even then heavily edited for content. Roger is very much at home in the jungles of the city, able to handle himself in the toughest neighborhoods. He is known to show up at crime scenes, ready to talk to anyone who might have been a witness. He never carries a notebook, relying on his fantastic memory to recall all the details, especially ones that may have escaped the notice of the police force. Roger is not on good terms with the Chief of Police, who considers him a pest and troublemaker. More than once Roger has been threatened with going to jail for interference.

Victor Tentamore, NAGS Gadgeteer (oceanography)
Absolute Direction, Acute Sense (eyesight)
Obsession (proving the existence of Atlantis), Phobia (cats)
(Technical - 2 pts.)
(Knowledge - 2 pts.)
Science (biology)Good
Area Knowledge (Great Barrier Reef)Good
Language (Latin)Fair
History (Greek)Mediocre
(Investigation - 1 pt.)

Victor (or "V" as he's affectionately known) is an oceanographer of high status. Ever since he was little, the study of the ocean and aquatic life has fascinated him. His room used to be filled with pictures he drew of marine life and underwater ships. Upon reading the story of Atlantis, his life goal became prove that it did exist. He believes firmly that Atlantis was real and would love to be the one to find it.

Upon entering university, his love of the ocean came to the fore. He was one of the top students in his class, but his thesis on Atlantis earned him a reputation as being a little "off". After graduation, he worked for the National Marine Society and contributed much to the study of whales and sharks. Personally, he has helped to catalog more than 20 previously unknown species of marine animal. He continued his work on Atlantis, secretly on the side, where none of his collegues would notice.

His oceanographic studies brought him to the notice of NAGS, where he was able to indulge his Atlantis theory and have access to the best underwater scientific equipment he could have. He was assisting a "consultant" from NAGS with exploring an incredible underwater ruin, when his help in underwater travel proved invaluable to the case. During the return to the surface, the consultant offered Victor an amazing "job offer". Victor resigned the moment he reached the surface. In return for being allowed to continue his work, he provides NAGS operatives with the tools they need to handle any kind of underwater situation.

He's outgoing and charming, but tends to keep to the background unless he's needed. Whenever anything related to the ocean is mentioned, his personality comes forth and he becomes the eager participant. Victor's more than happy to discuss Atlantis, but gets easily offended when told that it's only a myth. He has actually collected quite a bit of proof, but nothing concrete has presented itself ...yet. He's more at home under the water than above it, and his quarters are usually decorated with sketchings of various marine life and submersables. He is always eager to go along with NAGS operatives in his submersable ships and navigate. In the errie depths of the water, he can make his way around quite easily just from the feel of the currents.

Randall Standish, NAGS Photojournalist
Privilaged Upbringing, Favers Due
Curious, Combat Paralysis
(Investigation - 3 pt.)
(Social - 2 pt.)

Randall grew up in a very well-to-do family. He had been fascinated by the camera ever since he first saw one at a sitting for a family portrait. He bought one and started taking pictures everywhere he could. He became more and more interested in pictures taken from all over the world. His family wasn't too supportive of his new lifestyle, claiming that "People of your status do not fool around with silly toys and go wandering all over the world." Randall wanted to see what lay outside the walls of the family home. To his parents chagrin, he renounced any family titles and went out with his camera in search of life beyond his home.

His travels took him all over the world, his family status still allowing him access to places that were difficult for other photographers to get to. He was able to convince the chief of a tribe in the Congo to allow him pictures of their sacred "right of passage" where the boys of the tribe become full fledged men and hunters of the tribe. He got some spectacular shots of the animal killing ceremony, where the boy must kill the game with their bare hands. It was these kinds of photos that brought him to the attention of NAGS.
His photos became popular, even amongst NAGS circles. He has photographed dinosaurs that still live in the remote areas of the Amazon. Upon traveling to Italy, he has documented ruins that show the history and works of DaVinci. His photos of the Himalayas have not yet proven the existence of the Yeti, but he feels like he is close.

Randall is a friendly sort, able to get along with almost everyone. He uses his influence and natural charm to convince people to grant him access to areas that are almost impossible for anyone else. He has even used this charm to gain access to crime scenes in Chicago. He is a terrible fighter, having no experience in it whatsoever. He prefers to leave that to people who know what they're doing. From his travels, Randall is not afraid of getting dirty, but still likes to live the comfortable lifestyle, enjoying a cup of tea in the middle of some forsaken wilderness when he's on assignment.

John Stone, NAGS Adventurer
Absolute Direction, Rapid Healing
Phobia (spiders), Impulsive
(Athletic - 2 pt.)
Move QuietlyGood
Survival (forests)Fair
(Combat - 2 pt.)
Melee WeaponFair
Unarmed CombatFair
Fast DrawFair
(Unusual (narrow) - 1 pt.)
Find/Set/Remove TrapsGood

John grew up in a typical middle-class home. His family had enough money to be comfortable, but they were not rich by any means. John's dad worked in the factory, working all shifts available. His mom did laundry in the home for others. It was a happy family, but nothing out of the ordinary compared to other families. John always considered this lifestyle to be boring, and seeked adventure wherever he could find it. He had a natural aptitude for exploring and wanted to see the far away places that he saw in the cinemas.

When he became older, he left home and stowed away on a merchant ship that traveled all over the world. He learned a lot of things from his shipmates, including weapons use. He never wanted to hurt anyone, but was not afraid to use it if he had to. Whenever they were at port, John would disembark and after the work was done, he would spend time wandering through the streets learning the culture and looking for the hidden areas that only the natives knew. He became a popular figure in several seaports around the globe.

After getting enough experience aboard ship, he disembarked for the last time and never returned. He put himself up for hire, getting the artifacts and items that others would pay handsomely for. He never took a job that would cause harm to others. Upon learning that his employer had a bigger "boss" above him, who wanted to pillage a sacred site, John took it upon himself to go against his employers and steal his artifact back from their own hideout, returning it to the natives. Also in the gang's group was a NAGS operative, undercover. He was hoping to get back the same artifact. The operative hung back, watching John, to see if he was the kind of stuff that NAGS was looking for. Shortly after that, John was recruited and given the opportunity to travel the world and work only for the best employers.

John has spent enough time in the remote parts of the world that he is comfortable almost anywhere except the big city. Town life bores him easily, being a man of action. He is never lost and knows exactly where he is at all times, especially in the remote jungles of the world. He takes risks when he has to, sometimes leaping into the situation before he has fully sized it up. More than once, he has been caught in a temple's traps only to escape by his wits and physical abilities. If any NAGS group is stationed in the remote wilds of the world, you better believe that John Stone is amongst them.