|There have always been those willing to stand between the world of man and the world of The Unknown. Today, there is but one such entity, The Society. It's brave members skulk about in the shadows where humanity dare not tread, trying to save mankind from its own ignorance of The Unknown. The following are such people . . .|
The Current PCsThe current PCs comprise a team of Society agents that are based out of a safe house in Plano, TX, a city just north of Dallas and just a few miles from where I ran my last Chill campaign (in the real world and the game world). They are:
Hometown: Kasota, Minnesota, USA
Profession: Investigative Report for the Dallas Morning News
Physical Description: Average height and weight with lean, slightly gaunt face. Think Willem Dafoe. He was definitely in good shape and athletic in his younger days, but the professional lifestyle has made him a bit soft. Jack is usually dress in casual clothes and has thrown all thoughts of quitting smoking since joining The Society.
Creed: Jack believes that if you work hard and honestly you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. He is an independent, willful person who dislikes people who skirt responsibility with loopholes or laziness.
Motto: (Not sure, I'll think of something.)
Why he joined The Society: Jack joined because of his driving sense of curiosity about the unknown, about human nature, and about the world we live in. [Jack's recruitment followed an encounter with a group of zombie soldiers created by a big, bad, enigmatic evil guy. He encountered them as part of an American patrol during Desert Storm. Fortunately, the entity controlling the zombies was oblivious to his patrol's existence. This encounter prompted the manifestation of his latent "Art" ability, Mental Shield.]
BackgroundJack Harmon was born Jonathan Fitzgerald Harmon on May 30th, 1951. His parents, Rita and Hank Harmon, owned a small diary farm in Kasota, a small town in southern Minnesota near Mankato. The farm was not luxurious or extraordinarily successful, but it provided an honest way of life. Jack was the second of three children, David (now 46) and Mary (now 38).
Jack’s childhood was typical of country life. His family was always close and growing up on a farm only strengthened those bonds. David and Jack learned quickly to help their father on the farm, while Mary spent days cleaning and cooking. Not the most politically correct, but definitely standard. David developed an arrogant and superior attitude due to Jack’s father’s constant praise. While Dad and David would go hunting and fishing, Jack became good friends with his younger sister. In his early days, Jack never excelled at any one hobby or task. In fact, many hours were spent with Mary exploring the woods near their house and the “forbidden/mysterious” parts of a dairy farm.
In high school, Jack discovered the world of political and social intrigue. Although most of the stories and “scandals” would be considered stupid or exaggerated in retrospect, they were exciting and mysterious to young Jack Harmon. His curiosity inspired him to go to great lengths for that crucial piece of information or extra detail that makes the math teacher, Mr. Francis’, secret toupee that much more shocking. His journalistic tendencies made for an interesting and somewhat distracting four years.
After high school, Jack had dreams of going on to the Minneapolis Star, but his average grades and family responsibilities kept him tied to Kasota. For two years, Jack worked as a farm hand dreaming of the adventures and scandals he could have been discovering. Soon after his 20th birthday, his father died of a heart attack while working on the farm.
The family tragedy provided the reality shock, which Jack had needed to start the next chapter in his life. David took over the farm and Jack quickly realized he would not be able to continuing living and working there with David’s critical eye always over his shoulder and shadows of his father around every corner. Jack’s best friend from high school, Ken O’Bannion, had decided to join the army to get away from the rural life, and so Jack decided to go as well.
The Army proved to be exactly what Jack needed. It provided a focus and purpose to his life and also a personal discipline, which he had never truly encountered. Although, basic training was relatively easy for Jack due to his rural lifestyle, he jumped at an opportunity to join the Press Corp. The Press Corp was the journalism branch of the army, reporting about military activities to domestic media as well as handling the army-air force Stars & Stripes newspaper.
The army held tremendous promise for Jack. This was his chance to do some real investigative journalism. Unfortunately, the military way of life proved to be very administrative. Jack wanted to be out in the field, dodging bullets and reporting something that people didn’t know and really wanted to. For six years, Jack patiently waited for his opportunity for action. For the first two, Ken O’Bannion had been assigned to Fort Monmouth with him, so the time was not a complete loss. Once Ken left, however, the bureaucracy and self-importance of the military tired him out.
Finally, something exciting and newsworthy came along, the invasion of Grenada on October 25th, 1983. This was his chance to be in the thick of things: dodging bullets, uncovering the inner workings of an army in action. This was why Jack had joined the Army. Jack used up his favors with officers and enlisted men so that he would be in the second invasion force (the first being reserved for fast recon and special forces units).
In Grenada, Jack was exposed to the tremendous lack of coordination and overall confusion that has come to be associated with Operation: Urgent Fury. His superiors did not allow him to report what he saw and experience, but rather edited his stories down to nothing but clipped descriptions of American efficiency. Jack didn’t like that one bit. He was there to provide some comfort to these soldier’s families and loved ones while providing insight to those not directly involved in the operation. He would have understood and even initiated censorship to insure the security of the army’s operations, but that was not the case here.
Upon returning to the States, Jack finished out his term and then left the armed forces in August of 1984. This time, he had direction and motivation in his journalism, but didn’t know what to do with it. He learned that his old high school buddy, Ken O’Bannion, had been injured in Grenada and had moved to Dallas to pursue a career in law enforcement. That was enough justification for Jack, he packed his duffel bag of clothes and his camera and headed to Dallas.
Several years passed in Dallas before Jack got his big break. He was working for next to nothing for an alternative metro newspaper in Dallas, The Dallas Eye, while making a living working odd jobs in construction and photography. Finally, in the summer of 1987, Jack found himself at the scene of a sewer accident. He was able to document the dangerous entrapment of several workers underground and the daring rescue by nearby construction workers. His personal honesty and total involvement caught the eye of the head of the Dallas Morning News metro section, Ira Newborn. The next week, Jack was working as an investigative reporter.
Jack was teamed up with Sara Stevens, a skilled veteran writer and journalist for the Dallas Morning News. Jack did not have the writing talent that Stevens did, but he did have a nose for seeking out the truth and a keen eye and memory for all the little details that make a story captivating. Together, they produced some of the best metro news reporting that the Dallas Morning News had seen in awhile. Stevens, already well-known by the public and the journalistic community, got almost all of the praise, but Jack was not bothered because he was a reporter, an honest-to-god reporter.
Jack spent three years hunting down political scandals and such. He developed an understanding of how Dallas worked as well as who to go to for information. One such informant, who proved to be invaluable in several investigations, was Joe Rogers. Joe Rogers was, and still is, the front desk security guard at city hall. Most people don’t notice Joe as they come and go from the large commanding building. Jack has developed a friendly rapport with Joe and has helped him out several times in exchange for information about the day’s activities or about an upcoming press conference. Joe Rogers, coupled with his old friend, Officer Ken O’Bannion, have given Jack a solid tap into the lifeline of Dallas.
It was during this time that, secure in a promising future, Jack joined the National Guard. Although he had left the army disappointed, the self-confidence and pride that came with being in the armed forces still appealed to him. It was this continued commitment to his country that would inevitably change his life.
On August 22, 1990, President Bush called upon armed forces reserves to supplement Operation: Desert Shield. Jack felt that it was his duty to become involved, to report on the first major US military action since the Vietnam War. The Dallas Morning News gave him their blessings, and off he was. Luck was on his side, for he was able to be attached to one of the frontline infantry units as an attached Army Press Corp correspondent.
Most of his time on the frontline was a giant waiting game, but Jack could sense the resolve in the officers he encountered and knew firing was inevitable. On January 16th 1991, the allied air campaign began. The unit he was attached to waited, hoping that they would not be needed, but ready to carry out orders without hesitation. On the 23rd of February, the ground campaign began. Jack was attached to an infantry platoon that was ordered to clear out Iraqi infantry trenches along the northern portion of the conflict zone. Little resistance was expected, but away from the chain of command confusion and desperation have a strange way of capturing men’s souls and the unknown can easily be hiding under the guise of war.
The platoon had been transported via APC to the northern trenches and marched the remaining two miles, using the terrain to protect them from fire. The platoon was spread out with individual squads covering each other. Jack was with the command squad. The command squad approached up the center, while a squad approached up each flank. No signs of activity were heard or seen as they swept down, parallel to the trench, but as they approached the command bunker, a wicked sight was exposed. The lead squad was ambushed by what appeared to be Iraqi soldiers in bedraggled condition. Jack, instinctively, sent out his prayers to everyone around him and immediately, when his squad arrived, they saw the enemy soldiers for what they really were: Zombies. The command squad was still not seeing through the illusion, but when Jack's squad opened up on the zombies to protect their buddies, the whole unit joined the firefight. While the fighting was occurring, Jack’s eyes were drawn to an overlooking sand dune. There stood a Bedouin, wrapped in a large dull black robe. A strong breeze kicked up, blowing back the veil to reveal a hideous skull were the man’s face should have been. A glowing red fire stabbed out from it’s gapping sockets and its jaw seemed to moving in some mock chant that only it could hear. The skeletal figure paused and then walked behind the dune, disappearing. When Jack’s senses returned the fight was over and all of the Iraqi soldiers were lying dead, only instead of normal corpses, they appeared rotted and plagued by some cankerous disease. No American soldiers were killed, although two were badly injured. The rest of the trench was cleared and the platoon returned back to the headquarters with a muted nervousness rippling through the troopers. No one said a single word all the way back to the base.
Upon returning to the base, Jack urged the platoon lieutenant, Lt. Trent Locker, to relay the strange encounter to his superiors and to request additional reconnaissance and perhaps helicopter support, but Lt. Locker could not explain what he saw. “In the confusion of war, the human mind is a twisted little demon, Harmon. All one can do is carry out his or her orders and report what happened. It’s not my place to analyze whatever the hell happened out there,” replied Lt. Locker. Jack was not satisfied and attempted to submit an honest (in his mind) story about the encounter, but according to the Army Press Corp, Jack’s role was to provide moral support for the folks back home, not cause trouble. After several frustrating meetings with various persons on the base, Jack was approached by Lt. Kowalski. Kowalski brought Jack to a backroom meeting with a block of a human in civilian attire, who introduced himself as John. Kowalski and John inquired about the incident and yet again Jack relayed his story, but this time they listened … and believed him. He was sent out of the meeting with a strange feeling, like he hadn’t heard the last of this.
Jack returned back to Dallas after the Gulf War was brought to a swift conclusion. The Dallas Morning News was eager to have him start work again (the temporary replacement had been incredibly incompetent). Within a couple weeks of his return he was back in his groove, chatting with Joe Rogers over a donut and coffee about private meetings between the mayor and local construction companies; and accompanying Ken on his midnight beats.
Two weeks after returning to Dallas, on April 24th, 1991; Jack was approached by Walter Smith. Smith claimed to be aware of Jack’s brush with the unknown and brought him to a non-descript building in Plano, a suburb outside of Dallas. Smith brought Jack to meet a man in a suit who called himself Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones appeared conservative and self-confident, but hinted at a strong athletic prowess. Jones told Jack about The Society and about its fight against the evil powers that are slowly infiltrating our world. Jack was immediately interested and resolved to become involved, both to satiate his curiosity and to play a part in fighting those things he saw on the dunes of Iraq. Jones seemed ready for Jack’s request to become involved and told him that in due time he would be called upon to aid The Society.
Jack left the Plano safehouse eager to become an agent. A year passed as Jack waited for the call. His work barely placated his curiosity and journalistic tendencies. Finally in April of 1992, he received the call requesting his presence at the safehouse. It was time…
Ethnicity: Caucasian (Anglo-saxon)
Hometown: Buffalo, New York, USA
Physical description: Something like Ryan O'Neal with dark, brunette hair. He is tall and stocky, to the point of getting flabby. He is fine-featured, formerly stunning, but now just merely good-looking. He normally tries to maintain an aristocratic air, but he also has a "player's" attitude lurking just beneath.
Creed: You play fair for as long as it is profitable, and always be graceful. Learn all the tricks and shortcuts ten times better than your opponent, use them frequently, and then become flabbergasted at any sign of misdoing on his part.
Motto: A pair of nines is very often one hell of a hand.
Why he joined The Society: "I joined the Society because a most unforgiving lunatic zombie master has garnered a grudge against me. Not to mention that I seem to fit rather well into their requirements for an agent. Dashing, debonair, strong, and all that. Well, obviously, I'm a natural." [Jeff's recruitment followed an encounter with a Jamaican fellow named Jasper that was a very bad loser. Jeff beat him soundly at cards, taking Jasper's pride and money. Later, Jeff was attacked by a zombie and Jasper was on hand. When Jeff finally managed to finish off the machete-wielding corpse, he turned to find Jasper gone, his laughter echoing down the hall.]
BackgroundJeffrey A. Tippens (The A. doesn't stand for anything) was born on June 5, 1963 Robert Scott Glaskow in Buffalo, New York. His father was a steelworker and his mother was a housewife who occasionally baby sat and did odd jobs to raise extra money. Growing up in Buffalo and being the son of a steelworker, Scott (as he was called) naturally experienced everything that blue-collar life had to offer. He played football every weekend and was the shortstop in Little League during the summer. He was talented in sports, but where he really distinguished himself was in the classroom, where he got straight A's and in fact rarely got less than 100% on his assignments. He was put into the gifted program at school and was sent to various academic events such as science fairs and spelling bees, where he usually excelled. The times he did not were when he intentionally failed because he hated having to do all this "geek stuff." He would have been picked on at school except his grandfather on his mother's side,
Jimmy "Rock Hands" Caliguiri, owned a gym, where Scott stopped in nearly every afternoon of his life growing up to "trow some poonches."
By the time Scott got to junior high, he realized he was something special.
He was now qualifying for the state level of many of the competitions he
was in, including The Wide World of Science, and The Math Bowl. As
he became more involved in these competitions, he quickly realized he was
out of place. All of the Rockefellers and
With his academic achievements, Scott was easily able to get into Princeton,
and with his boxing talent, he received a partial scholarship. Even
with the partial scholarship, though, he still had to pay over $3000 a
year in expenses. With help from his parents,
Of course, he quickly incurred unreasonable expenses, but he found a
way to make them up easily by taking trips to Atlantic City with his fraternity
buds and winning at just about everything he tried. His buds said
it was amazing, but it came easy for Jeffrey whose grandfather, "Rock Hands",
had taught him some card tricks and how to win at blackjack and poker.
All the other stuff, Roulette and craps, just seemed to always
He was a gambler now, but it was exciting and daring and adventurous. He rarely lost, and most of the time he did it was on purpose, just to let the poor sap he was playing leave with an ounce of dignity. He made a living at it and even became respectable in his own right, for professional gambling is a respectable profession so long as you conduct yourself with dignity and don't frequent any of the seedier places. Jeffrey quickly forgot about Buffalo and then Princeton became a foggy remnant of his past, until the only thing he knew was the casino and dinner at Tournier's or Callepalenzo's and enticing the charming young woman at the table next to him to accompany him to his hotel room for a nightcap. He occasionally practiced his boxing, as working out at the gym was now becoming a trend among his more socially aware socialite friends, and he was always eager to knock one of those rich sons of bitches to the mat once or twice in a friendly sparring match, but more and more he has become a lounge lizard. He is happy though, and people like him, so he rarely complains and never questions where life has led him.
Ethnicity: Caucasian (1/2 Scottish & 1/2 Irish)
Hometown: New York City, New York
Physical description: Alex is five eleven and slim, with long wavy auburn hair and hazel eyes. She could look more attractive if she put some makeup on, unwound her braid, and dressed in something more flattering than khaki pants and a loose white
blouse. She has the piercing, analytical gaze of a researcher, much like her mother.
Motto: What you don't know can kill you.
Why she joined The Society: "When my family opened the tomb of Matank Hotep, the mummy was unexpectedly animate. My grandfather fell dead from fright and was immediately animated as a zombie by the mummy, and my father was forced to shoot him. Then the mummy broke my father's neck, killing him. As for my mother, although spared, witnessing the carnage that ensued drove her into a deep recess of her mind from which she has yet to emerge. Members of The Society helped me destroy it and from then on I have sworn myself to the cause of The Society." [Fortunately, it was a weak mummy.]
BackgroundAlexandra O'Connor, or Alex, was born in New Orleans. At the age of five, her father, Duncan, was promoted to homicide detective, but it required them to relocate to New York City. Her mother, Arielle, was a Greco-Roman Historian. Her mother's family has a long history of working in Archaeology, all the way back to the 18th century. In fact, Arielle was one of the few exceptions to this trend.
When Alexandra was eight, her father was involved in a double homicide case in which the suspect was a famous movie star. Duncan was repeatedly called to testify, being the head investigator. The trial was taxing on the family. That summer, the trial was coming to a head, and her family wanted to distance Alex from the hardships associated with the trial.
Her maternal grandfather, Benjamin Carlyle, offered to keep her until the trial concluded. He was an archaeologist, working in Egypt, and he introduced her to the field. She knew immediately that uncovering the ancient secrets of the Egyptians was her calling. From then until her eighteenth birthday, she spent every summer with Ben, in Egypt.
Because of her father's occupation, he kept a gun in the house and so he made a point to train Ariel and Alex in its use. He also trained them in self-defense but, not being very athletic, Alex was more interested in becoming proficient in the pistol. As a result, she spent a lot of time with her dad at the range.
After high school, she entered Harvard's Anthropology program. She graduated five years later with a Summa Cum Laude. She went on to graduate school, focusing on ancient Egyptian dynasties. She earned her Ph.D. at age 28, and immediately secured a Post-Doctoral grant to work with her father on a site that seemed to relate to the very same dynasty she had studied.
Alex worked side-by-side with Ben, now as a peer, not a child. Within one year, they had discovered that the tomb was of one Matank Hotep, an advisor to some unknown, ancient dynasty. Writings on the outer walls also revealed that Matank Hotep was considered a good citizen, great, wise, and modestly important in the court. The final writings talked about vengeance against any would-be violators, with references to bathing in "a river of blood."
Christmas arrived, and Alex and Ben, unwilling to leave Egypt at so critical a time, arranged to have her Mother and Father visit. It was a joyous time, reminiscent of the good old days in New Orleans. They resolved to open the tomb as a family. The dreaded day was at hand. The family entered the tomb. Ben sent Alex back to the camp for his camera. When she returned she saw Farook and Bob, two of the workers at the dig, at the top of the stairwell. Farook was pouring gasoline down the stairs and Bob had a torch in his hand ready to light a fire. When I got close enough to them, I saw dead workmen along the stairwell; however, some of dead workmen were animated and were fighting the remaining living workmen. This site scared the hell out of me and I ran away as fast as I can back to the camp. I grabbed my gun, got in the jeep, and went back to the site. When I got there, I saw a walking Mummy that was in flames. That sight scared me even more than the last one, I ran away screaming and went as far away as I could. When I finally got a grip on myself, I went back to help Farook and Bob. When I got there, the Mummy was gone but Bob had died and was apparently re-animated because he had a broken neck and was now fighting Farook. I started shooting at these “Zombies”, but no matter how many times I shot, they kept coming back. When I got closer to the stairwell, I noticed that the bodies that were decapitated or had serious head trauma did not get back up. So I started shooting the zombies in the head and thus they were finally put to rest.
After this incident, I asked Farook where my family was and he said that they were dead. I was shocked beyond comprehension. I asked him how and he said that when they opened the tomb, the Mummy came to life and killed them and then came after the workmen. After killing the workmen, the Mummy would re-animated them and they fought for him. Farook and the others managed to make the Mummy go back into its chamber, at which point they dropped the slab of rock that was the doorway to the chamber, thus locking the Mummy inside.
Later that evening, while we were around the campfire, that old lady came back and told me that we should have listened to her warnings. I told her that the Evil that emanated from the Mummy must be destroyed. She told me to seek the help of some ‘Westerners’ in the town Hotel, then she disappeared. When I asked Farook where the old lady went, he replied “what old lady?” I knew then that I was the only one who was able to see and hear her around the campfire.
I went to the Hotel and sought the Westerners. There were three of them, three men, Remi, Rashid, and Sean, and a woman, Robbi. I explained the situation to them and they agreed to help me. The next morning, we went to the site and I was told to read the words on a scroll that my grandfather and I found (there were many copies of this scroll). While I was reading it, the Mummy appeared and, keeping my fear in check, I kept reading while my new friends fought him. They made him vanish at one point but he came back. Finally, after the scroll was read the Mummy was vanquished. After this battle, I managed to convince Farook that it was safe to open the Mummy’s chamber. I wanted to get the bodies of my family for a proper burial. When I went in the chamber, I saw my grandfather with a bullet hole through his head, apparently inflicted by my father, who still had a gun in his hand, his neck broken. My mother, on the other hand, my poor mother, was still alive. She was curled up in the corner and what was left was only a shell of a person. After this horrific ordeal, I vowed to help in eradicating evil in whatever form it took.
Ethnicity: Caucasian (American mongrel)
Hometown: Springfield, Kansas
Physical description: 5' 10", very muscular, and slim.
Why he joined The Society: After a very life-changing encounter with a cult and their zombie minions, Rip decided to become a soldier in the fight against the Unknown.
BackgroundMarion Blanks, or "Rip", was raised in a small mid-western town, and grew up to be a big, football muscle-head. After graduating from high school, he decided he wanted to be a movie star, and moved out to Hollywood. Being a big beefy guy, he got into doing a little stunt work through some guys he met in the gym. His people skills and looks were not exactly actor quality, so he was well suited to stunt work. Next thing he knew, it was eight years later and he's still a stuntman.
Just then, the door was kicked open behind him and from all directions people come crashing into the set. At first he was thinking police raid, but the intruders just started firing into everyone on the set. He saw no uniforms, so he went for the guy nearest him. He took him out with a football-style tackle and they both ended up behind a big pile of equipment. The guy was out cold beside him and Rip could not figure out what made him freak out and start shooting people. The guy looked just like a normal person. Then the lights went out.
He woke up in what could only be described as a dungeon, in a five by six-foot cell with a tiny light bulb overhead. He was still in a daze when they dragged in another man, the same one he had taken down on the set. He had been severely beaten. Rip shook off the daze he was in and went to check out his new cellmate. He was messed up pretty bad, but it looked like he would live. The guy gave Rip a puzzled look, and asked who he was and how he ended up here. Rip recounted the story as he knew it and then asked the same question to the man.
It turned out his name was John. He was just a normal guy that worked in a grocery store. He explained to Rip that the man-eating zombies were real and he was not sure what they had in store them, but the odds were they would not be alive much longer. Over the course of the two weeks in the cell, John told Rip about his wife and kids, The Society, and how he ended up in The Society. In exchange, Rip helped keep John's mind off his suffering by telling him all his Hollywood stories. Rip learned how The Society worked and they promised one another that if either of them got out alive they would deliver messages to the other's family. There was a water faucet in the cell so they had water, but the lack of food began to take its toll.
After 15 long days, they heard talking outside their cell - something about "the moon" and "it is time". The cell door opened and three of their captors entered. Desperate from lack of food, Rip charged into them only to be taken down by what felt like a cattle prod. He and John were taken to a hilltop where two wooden crosses were standing. It was obvious they were to be crucified. Fortunately, the crosses were only about 7 feet tall so Rip was tall enough for his feet to touch the ground when they chained him to the cross. John was not so lucky. Rip could hear the trouble he was having trying to breathe. There were about ten of the undead gathered and they appeared to be having some kind of ceremony related to the full moon.
It was all just a little too much for Rip. Suddenly with strength he never knew he had, he ripped the cross asunder, letting out a roar so loud that it masked the cracking of the wood. Without hesitation, he laid his shoulder into John's cross and leveled it like a bulldozer. Just as he turned to face ten undead, the sound of bullets filled the air and six people came running out from the woods with guns blazing. Only one zombie is unfortunate enough to come within striking distance of Rip. Rip snatched up one of the timbers from the shattered crosses and spun to face it. The inhuman strength drained from him, but his rage and adrenaline were more than enough to allow him to swat the zombie's head from its shoulders.
He went back to check on John and knew from a glance that he didn't make it. He looked around at the dead zombies and people. The people looked like they had just gotten off work. He knew he was in the war, and he wanted to make a difference. After fulfilling his promise and delivering John's final message to his wife, Rip contacted one of The Society people John had mentioned and asked to enlist.