"If you live among dogs, keep a stick. After all, this is what a hound has teeth for-to bite when he feels like it!" - Nikita Khrushchev
Hound Sam! Just Sam. I'm not a superhero.
Moros; Guardians of the Veil; The Eleventh Question; Cabal (Position)
My name is Sam Baxter of Caine & Baxter Investigative Consultants, Inc. We used to be Baxter & Caine Detective Agency, but apparently that turn of phrase is too old fashion for today's market. Also her father purchased (rescued according to him) the company and in the process, I got second billing in the name. I'm actually still surprised my name was included at all. It's true that business has picked up since we rebranded. We get a lot less lost dog cases and far more kidnapping and homicide investigations. While it pays better, there are a lot of days where I really miss those happily reunited dogs. We specialize in instruction and consultation in invasion, abduction, homicide and forensic case investigations for law enforcement agencies. My partner, Janet Caine and her team does most of the real work, including all of the forensics. I'm the hound. I find the clues and use them to establish the framework that she fills with facts. We've always worked well together so long as I manage to remain under her tyrannical fathers radar. Harvey Caine. Just "Sir", to me. I called him Harvey once. Just once. He's an old war hero. He lost his leg to a land mine, and later lost an eye to some critter he was hunting in South Africa. He owns a research company that does something with metallurgy. His wife passed away when Janet was very young and she is his only child, of whom he is very protective. He never particularly cared for me, but knowing that I'm "one of them gays", he finds me less threatening than most men near her.
Well, about me. I was an army brat when I was younger, so I moved around a lot. My parents were both from Kentucky, which is where my grandparents on my mother's side still live. They still send me a Christmas card every year. Lovely people. I have younger sister who I've not spoken to in over two decades. My parents and my older sister have passed away. They were killed by those who took me.
My father had left the army and we had settled down in Michigan. I finished up high school there and had started college. For extra beer and video games money, I had landed a job at Midnight, a pretty exclusive night club in the city as a bouncer. It was damn exciting work as the clientele was...well rather exotic. I eventually had the misfortune of catching the interest of the club's owner, Misandra Ruzicka.
She was a monster. Literally. She was a vampire, one of the Daeva clan, not that I knew any of that at the time. To me she was the woman who paid me to throw people out of her club. Her initial interest began with a pay raise and my schedule changing so that I was working more of her exclusive closed events. Eventually I was moved into working the VIP lounge. That's where I received my crash course into the reality of the kindred and their world. It was terrifying and also a little exciting. Intoxicating even. I needed to be stronger to handle my job and she gave me the means. I was hooked. Hooked on her, on the vitae, the blood of the immortals. I was powerful.
My family grew concerned as they saw the changes coming over me. They attempted numerous interventions, but I blew them off. I didn't have a problem. I was magnificent and reveling in a secret world of beauty and power, sex and blood. And blood. The vitae, so seductive, so magnificent.
My older sister decided to take her concerns directly to what she perceived as the source of my problem. She appeared one night, so out of place in the club, so tiny, so mortal. Why did the doorman even let her in? I know why. He thought it would be entertaining. She strode through the bemused masses and confronted Misandra. I tried to dissuade her, convince her that she needed to go, I even warned her that it was dangerous, but she was there to duel the devil and win her little brother back. But she was so poorly armed for this fight. Misandra wasted little time in allowing herself to be berated by some mortal cow. She coiled my sister's mind around her finger, pushing her to commit humiliating acts. I was unable to stop it, I tried, but one look from Misandra and my limbs were numb. I watched in silent fury as they laughed and mocked this wonderful soul that I loved. This was my fault. I had allied myself and become taken by monsters and now it had spilled over to affect my innocent family.
They fed from her, they raped her and they made her beg for it. They made me watch, they loved that part even more. Then they cast her outside when she had ceased to be entertaining. I left when my shift was over. Misandra had given me a bonus for that night, for having provided her with such a delightful distraction. I wanted to hit her. I wanted to wrap my hands around her delicate white throat and squeeze until there was nothing left between them.
My sister hadn't returned home. My parents were so worried. We didn't know where she was. Days passed and she had not reappeared and the police had not been able to find her. I kept going back to work. I hated to, I didn't want to, but I did anyway. I needed to. I needed Misandra's gift, though I hated her. I hated it.
They found my sisters body on a Sunday morning in a church. It appeared that she had broken in and cut her wrists, bleeding out before the altar. My family was devastated.
I was cold. Detached. Enough that even the blood binding me to Misandra seemed distant. Unimportant. I was briefly able to shrug off her influence.
I did not go to my sisters funeral. Instead I had tried to burn down the club with Misandra and her coterie nestled down below it. I killed two of their guards, but there were more of them than I had expected, other ghouls, and stronger ones than I was. They stopped me from succeeding, but I managed to escape.
I wasn't home. I had gotten a room in a hotel, hoping that they wouldn't find me. Eventually they did. But first they had checked my home. They took me back. Back to Midnight. To the VIP lounge below. My parents were already dead. Misandra and her coterie had grown impatient with the search for me and decided to go ahead and start their feast without me. They had taken my parents from our home when they did not find me there.
I stopped being me for a while. I stopped being a man. I was a thing. This worked out well for Misandra. She chained and collared me. Kept me as a pet. Then when her coterie had began hosting an underground human gladiatorial games for entertainment and profit, I was her prized contender. I was already fit, athletic and a skilled bouncer before the blood. I fought. I killed. I got better at fighting and killing. I was death. Nothing more. I did not love it. I just did it. Men love, I was not a man. Just a bloody beast in a pit with other beasts. I was a monster.
My Awakening happened on the night that the vampire Prince of Detroit had passed judgement on Misandra and her coterie. I don't know what they had done to gain such ire from him that he would condemn them all to the final death, but it apparently came without warning. The Prince's executioners appeared early one evening, when early preparations for that nights match had just started. Vampire, ghoul, mortal, they killed everyone they encountered. I was in my cage. My mortal and ghoul tenders and one of the coterie vampires where there. Their deaths were swift. I saw the man who had killed them all. He was a short black man wearing a suit. He looked at me in the cage, smiled and snapped the lock off in his hand. I watched as if from a very distant star as he opened the cage door and approached. It seemed to be so slow, so casual, though I know it was faster than any mortal could have moved.
And then he died. He came to destroy me, but instead he was my salvation. My Awakening had begun, the gateway to Stygia yawned open before me and somehow he had slipped in with me. He was my guide, and when my journey to the Watchtower was complete, when I had rediscovered who I was, found all that I had thought I'd lost and written my name upon the Tower, he was gone. The realm of the dead had claimed that which had eluded it for too long.
I awoke in a hospital bed. I had been rescued from the disastrous fire that had consumed the Midnight night club and claimed the lives of over two dozen people, possibly that had been buried when the faulty foundations had collapsed. I had been found bloody and naked save for a metal collar. The paramedics report noted that I had been found screaming gibberish, pinned beneath burning and fallen rubble with the body of another man having insulated me from death. The vampire who had come to kill me, my guide into the realm of death and my savior and gateway back to the realm of the living.
My parents were dead. My older sister was dead. My younger sister had been spared the gruesome fate that had befallen the Baxters as she had been staying the night with friends when death came. She went to live with my grandparents in Kentucky. She never spoke to me again. She still hasn't. That was nearly 20 yeas ago.
Getting over the blood addiction was a nightmare, an experience I'm purposely glossing over here. As hellish as my time in Midnight was, those days were somehow...worse. That's when the Guardians found me. Apparently in my vitae withdrawal, ghoul reversal, I was unknowingly manifesting quite an amount of death magic and paradox that was setting off some alarms amongst the local mages. I was initially deemed as a potential threat and the Guardians made me disappear. So I left Michigan. I'm not sure where I was at the time. Turned out to be Salem, Oregon. In the end, the Guardians saved me. They cleaned me up, provided the help I needed to fight the addiction withdrawals, educated me, and eventually deemed me a worthy candidate for joining the Order.
I left Salem for a while. I wanted to "find myself". I spent some time in Atlanta and a little in New York doing odd jobs; I taught some boxing and participated in a handful of underground arenas sponsored by guys who were obvious enthusiasts of the Fight Club movie. I avoided places with any tells of kindred involvement. Best to stay away from that world. I met a few of the Guardians in other cities and helped them on a number of investigations. That's how I initially caught the attention of the Eleventh Question, though they would not approach me about joining the legacy until years later when I was living in Portland. I finally finished up college while living with nine roommates in a big LA loft with a degree in journalism.
I had moved to Arkansas and found work as an investigative journalist and was pretty good at it. Really good. I could pick out details and clues that others had overlooked, the sorts that made all the difference in a case. I was a frequent thorn in the local police chief's side, until one day he decided the best way to remedy that was to bring me over to his side. So I began working as a detective and police consultant. I eventually moved my operation to Portland and that's when I met a young police forensics genius named Janet Caine. She thought I was hot. I had to let her down, but we became close friends instead. And eventually she left the police force to team up with me.
Six years later, here we are.
My name is Sam, I'm a 41 year old detective and single father of two beagles, Took and Brandybuck.
Really nice and civilized isn't it? I'm a nice guy really, but I also do not deny that I am still the monster that used to live in a cage, but one who has developed a taste for other monsters. I hunt them down. I seek to stop them before they have a chance to destroy more families. I have long ago come to terms with this duality. There is nothing wrong with being a very nice and respectable monster with a business card.
My name is Hound, a 41 year old member of the Eleventh Question for the Guardians of the Veil.
...but just call me Sam.
- Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 2, Resolve 2; Strength 4, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2; Presence 2, Manipulation 1, Composure 4
- Abilities: Academics 1, Investigation 3(R)(SP: crime scene), Medicine 1, Occult 2 (SP: vampires), Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Larceny 1, Stealth 1(R), Weaponry 5 (SP: staves), Intimidation 1, Subterfuge 3(R)
- Merits: High Speech, Status 1 (Guardians), Ritual Improv., Fighting Style: Gladitorial 3, Fighting Style: Staves 2, Weaponry Dodge 1, Trained Observer 3, Fighting Style: MAC 2, Allies (police) 1, Contacts 4 (police, autopsy, news, criminal), Resources 2, Supernal Tolerance (Composure) 2
- Advantages: Health 7, Willpower 6, Wisdom 6, Size 5, Speed 11, Defense 2* (Armor -), Initiative 6
- Remember as well that utilizing a polearm in combat grants the wielder a +1 Defense.
- Trained Observer: ignore penalties of up to -3 on Perception rolls, which also have the Rote Action quality.
- Nimbus: Words go here.
- Magic: Gnosis 3; Death 3, Forces 2, Matter 1, Mind 1, Time 2
- Spell Tolerance: 2/4; Spell Control: 2/6
Active Spells, Self
- Entropic Guard + Speak with the Dead (Death•• + Death•): Potency 7/1, Duration 4/4. These spells are cast on Sam personally, and renewed once a month. (Average Casting Time: 6 hours)
- Grim Sight (Death•): Potency 12, Duration 4. This spell is cast on Sam personally, and renewed once a month. (Average Casting Time: 6 hours)
Active Spells, Other
- Sköll Eats the Sun: "Nullify Combustion", Death••+Forces••, Composure+Weaponry+Death; (optional phantom dice for factors) +1 for spending a full turn performing the kata before casting the spell, +1 if performed with an inscribed blade.
- Stygian Discovery: "Disperse Energy", Death••, Intelligence+Investigation+Death+1r; (optional phantom dice for factors) +2 spend one minute studying the area, +1 for marking the center of the spell area with coal dust and lead filings.
- Moment out of Time: "Perfect Timing", Time•, Composure+Subterfuge+Time+1r
- xxx: "xxx", Time•, xxx+xxx+xxx;
The Eleventh Question
Legacy: The Eleventh Question; Attainments: 1st — The Unobvious Answer, 2nd — X, 3rd — X
- The Unobvious Answer
Also known as “Sherlock Holmes’ party trick,” the Question simply looks at a subject or location for a round. By examining the subject for physical clues using Matter to instantly identify various infinitesimal traces of mud or stains, and then using Time to gaze backwards along the objects’ timelines, the Question is able to deduce seemingly impossible facts about the subject. Roll Intelligence + Investigation + Time.
Dramatic Failure: The Question’s interpretation of the target is completely inaccurate, not just failing to provide information, but specifi cally misinforming the mage.
Failure: The Question fails to gather any useful information from the subject’s appearance.
Success: The mage learns basic facts about the target’s life, as well as specific facts about the subject’s recent activities, up to the previous 24 hours.
Exceptional Success: The mage knows intimate details of the subject’s life, including secrets no other person knows. In particular, the mage is able to reconstruct the subject’s activities for the past 72 hours. Optional Arcanum: Mind 1 or Death 1 If the mage also knows Mind 1, the Question can also ascertain emotional cues, akin to the Mage 1 “Aura Perception” spell. He also can combine the Attainment with the Death 1 spell “Forensic Gaze,” when using the ability on a corpse.
- Stunning Attack (•): Your character can make a sudden, howling attack of such viciousness that her opponent is knocked off balance. You must declare a Stunning Attack as your action before the attack roll is made. If the number of successes inflicted in the single Weaponry attack roll exceed the victim’s Composure rating, the victim loses his next action. Note that your character must scream or howl while making this attack — it cannot be performed silently.
- Weapon Slap (••): Your character unleashes a powerful blow designed not to injure the opponent but to push his weapon or shield out of the way and create an opening that can be exploited. If the attack roll is successful, no damage is inflicted on the victim, but he does not apply his Defense (including the benefit added by a shield) to the next incoming attack (which may be from your character in the following turn, or from some other source beforehand).
- Lethal Accuracy (•••): Your character has an innate understanding of the various types of armor and their weak spots. Attacks made with any lethal weapon have Armor Piercing 1 and penalties to hit specific targets or body parts (see “Specified Targets,” p. 165 of the World of Darkness Rulebook) are reduced by two.
Staff Fighting Remember as well that utilizing a polearm in combat grants the wielder a +1 Defense.
- Trip (•): Your character can use her polearm to trip a single opponent, hopefully sending him to the ground. It is a contested roll pitting the character’s normal attack roll against the opponent’s Dexterity + Athletics. The character’s attack is penalized by the foe’s Defense, as usual. If the opponent falls, assume Knockdown rules (per p. 168, the World of Darkness Rulebook). In this case, however, the fall to the ground incurs a single point of bashing damage to the opponent.
- Temple Strike (••): Your character brings her staff against the side of her adversary’s head. The normal –3 penalty to hit the head still applies, but if the damage meets or exceeds the target’s Size, the target falls unconscious for a number of turns equal to the damage done. This damage is usually bashing, as it is meant to be performed with a blunt staff. The damage can be performed with a bladed weapon such as the naginata, however. The effect is the same, but the damage is now lethal instead of bashing.
Modern Army Combatives
- Tactician’s Sense (•): The character gauges the body language of combatants in his proximity. In game terms, he can make a Reflexive Wits + Composure perception roll and gauge the Initiative modes of all combatants before a fight starts.
- Atemi Attack (••): The human body has a variety of pressure points, any of which can cause an opponent great pain. The trained fighter knows where to strike for maximum effect. When striking with a Brawl or Weaponry attack, the character may ignore up to 1 point of the enemy’s Armor protection per dot in this Fighting Style.
Ownership & Possession
- Possessions: xxx
- Magical Items:
- Magical Tools: xxx
- Weapons: xxx
- Sympathy Bag:
- Residence: xxx
Spent: 88; Unspent: 0+0a