Day 3: Alphonse “Reaper” Grimm

Alphonse Grimm’s dreams are of liquid and pain.  On good nights they are green and muffled, the color of the liquid he awoke to in his cloning tube, the voices of the technicians muted through the bubbling fluid.  On bad nights they are claws and jaws, blood and his own screams adding to those of his squad.  On good nights he wakes when the dream reaches the decanting, the bracing feel of air on his skin, in his lungs.  On bad nights he has to rip himself awake with his own screaming. 

On most mornings he wakes up in the cargo bed of his modified Hellion 4×4, climbs out of his sleeping bag and checks his armor before rummaging through his box of MilRats for breakfast.  Special days find him rolling out of an actual bed at Maeve’s Inn in Backwater Station.  The original Backwater Station was overrun by zerg the first time he “visited”.  Following the protoss bombarding the planet and the terraforming that followed waves of colonists made it back to their world. Rebuilding this far into the badlands takes a special kind of crazy, hunting zerg in the badlands takes a special kind of desperate.  Alphonse “Reaper” Grimm isn’t crazy or desperate, he’s mad.  All the time.   His squad was the only family he had, all decanted at the same time.  His batch was MarSara-K8-73.  He was number 32.  He didn’t become Alphonse until a sweet young lady in JoeyRay’s gave him the moniker and it stuck.  “Reaper” came later.  When Mar Sara was overrun, he fought until the last moments, but as the drop ship lifted off he could see the last of his brothers cut off from salvation.  Raynor offered to let him join the Raiders, and it seemed like a good idea, but then the Protoss killed every living thing left on Mar Sara and nothing seemed to make sense any more. He tried the mercenary gig for a bit, that’s where he picked up the call sign Reaper but he was saddled with the notion that Big Things were happening around them and sank further into depression.

Once all the wars died down he found himself back on Mar Sara hunting feral zerg.  Killing the damned monsters gave him the feeling that he was doing something, though initially is was all out of revenge for what had been done to his people, his world. 

But now the bounties are not so profitable, the zerg are getting few and far between, and the rage is dying out little by little.  There’s a pretty little bureaucrat who has taken it upon herself to teach him geology in exchange for some of the crystals he brings in.  When the protoss bastards glassed the planet something happened to the crystals and the gov will pay big bucks for the new form of crystal and more for the coordinates where the crystals are found. 

Alphonse Grimm

Day 2: Cato Vespasian

Cato Vespasian has been accused of many things, but being a family man has never been one of them. Scion to the House Vespasian, he inherited his house’s poor financial standing on his father’s death. Concealing his family’s debts became his burden. His mother had a reputation as a seeress, and after her husband passed her grip on sanity began a downward spiral that resulted in her death by poison, officially ruled a suicide. To keep up the fiscal facade of his house he turned to the seedier side of things, borrowing money from the Abbruzzese family at rates he would never be able to pay back. Cato was able to quickly build a network of business dealing that was increasingly profitable, but it wasn’t quickly enough. When Alessandro Abbruzzese informed him that the debts were due and threatened to take everything Cato possessed including his family’s honor, Cato neared the breaking point. But he didn’t break, instead he explored the ins and outs of Florence’s criminal society and a silent coup resulted in Cato taking Alessandro’s life and assets. Cato used the funds from his criminal organization to rebuild his family’s wealth and standing. He found he relished the darker side of the city, the adrenaline rush that came with skirting the law.
To the public he was the perfect noble. Wealthy, with a wide portfolio of investments; beneficent, with a wide range of charitable giving and patronage to the arts; and manipulative, with enough of a web of intrigue to keep tongues wagging and other houses at arms length.
Vittoria Giordano, his wife by an arranged marriage, died shortly after birthing a son, Nyklos. Cato took very little interest in his son, providing the finest education and the strictest of governesses. Publicly it was spoken about how much he loved his wife and how her death nearly ruined him, that he didn’t even have a mistress. The truth is his affection was a sham and he had no time for mistresses. His business dealings, both sunlit and dark, was his only passion.
Nyklos was a constant disappointment to Cato, although he showed some promise as an artist, it was more a dalliance with art than any real passion. As Nyklos matured, Cato found fewer and fewer reasons to keep him around, the child simply had no interest in the business side of nobility. When word reached him that Nyklos had locked himself in his art studio, Cato resolved to end things. He waited three days before forcing his way into the studio, expecting to find his son dead, or to arrange said death if it was not forthcoming. Instead, he found a masterpiece of sorts. Looking at perhaps the world’s first abstract painting he got a flash of insight, deep in his bones he knew how his meeting with the Vatican’s representatives would proceed that afternoon. In the riot of color he saw the Vatican’s stance and arguments clearly. He realized his son had somehow created a wonderous and eminently useful item. He immediately had the painting removed to his bedchambers, and for the first time since Nyklos was born, showed some concern for his son’s wellbeing.
Since then, Cato has used the magnificent painting’s powers of precognition to expand his business dealings into his own little empire. He still thrills with each new shift he causes above and below board and has set his sights on the Medici family as his only equal. To succeed in bringing them down might finally satisfy his hunger for more. As for his son, he tests him in a variety of ways to explore Nyklos’ full potential, covering his manipulation with a semblance of compassion.

For Cato I gave the Alien Artifact flaw, the powers of the painting are affecting his mind and using it drains him of some life energy.

Cato is more of a GM character, and when I created Nyklos Cato seemed a fitting addition. He’s made at 6th level, I wanted to show that higher level characters can be broadly skilled and as viable as their more specialized brethren. As a GM I would use Cato as the foil for much of the underground dealings of the campaign, the painting would make a fine mcguffin. Again, though inspired by the Gran Meccanismo game, he could work in any setting which could contain a person of wealth and power on both sides of the law.

Cato Vespasian

Day 1: Nyklos Vespasian

Life is good for Nyklos Vespasian, or it would be if he’d let it. As the Heir Apparent to the Vespasian fortune, Nyklos could have a place in noble society if he didn’t take such delight in mocking those in power. As the Heir Apparent to the Vespasian fortune, he could surround himself with the finer things in life if he weren’t so destructive to property, reputation, and self.

Nyklos’ psionic abilities manifest at the onset of puberty with an onslaught of images of things he didn’t understand. He does not remember the three days of the Event, but when reality began to make sense he had covered his largest canvas with a riot of color without any recognizable form. When his father found him, naked and smeared with paint, Cato’s first act was to cover and remove the painting, only then seeking the advice of medical staff on his son’s condition.

Nyklos has instituted an artist colony based around the abstract images that flood his mind. Although this art style has not gathered favor among the old money families, he occasionally sells a painting to a patron who sees something hauntingly familiar in the swirls and angles.

His abilities have given him a reputation at the gambling halls and led him to the seamier side of society. He has used them as “parlour tricks” to amuse his retinue, and even garnered him some note as a finder of lost things.

Outwardly he is a feckless sybarite squandering his father’s money on pleasures of the flesh. Internally he is scared of not having control over his powers, with precognition occasionally giving him flashes of things he doesn’t want to see. Since his powers have awakened his father has shown an interest in the young man, something Nyklos makes a show of rejecting, but inwardly he welcomes the attention.

He has collected a coterie of ne’er-do-wells that fancy themselves a secret society. They call themselves the Red Blowfish Gang, a name they adopted when they were young and roaming loose through the city.

Although conceived as a character for a modified Gran Meccanismo setting, Nyklos would be at home in any era where a rich, indolent, young artist with a penchant for mysteries fits in.

Nyklos Vespasian

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