Sunday, 25 April 2021

Malta's Golden Ticket (Night's Black Agents)

 Malta is in the news again, and for the same old reasons - its cash for passports scheme. Recent reports indicate the Maltese government has been very elastic when defining the term 'residency'; the prize for residency being an EU passport with all the mobility that goes with it.

When the Maltese government first announced its residency scheme, intended to show a 'genuine connection' to Malta, it seemed legit; someone seeking residency had to spend at least twelve months in Malta before they could claim it. Except, not really; some spent as little as sixteen days in Malta, perhaps endowing a charity or two, just to seem reasonable. In order to do this they rented an apartment for a few years, sometimes as many as twelve people per apartment - all claiming residence, of course. The rental agreement was more than enough to prove residency, and with it came that all-important passport. 

As schemes go, this is cheap given the prize on offer. You could spend relatively little on an apartment rental, particularly if you were splitting the cost several ways. A quick in-and-out visit to your country of residence, just to show your face, and boom! You're a European. 

From the Guardian article:

As part of their demonstration of a commitment to their new home, Malta’s golden passport applicants were also required to invest €1.15m in the country, including a property purchase worth at least €350,000 or a five-year rental at €80,000. [per annum]

Some of the properties that were rented were significantly smaller than the size an applicant’s family would realistically have required had they planned to live in the property. In one case, a Chinese national rented a two-bedroom apartment for €1,500 a month despite applying for citizenship for 12 people, including six children.

€80,000 is approximately $96,000, if you were looking to get an EU passport. About the same cost as a high-end sportscar, so if you can afford a Ferrari you can afford to rent in Malta. I shan't bother to quote the GBP value; after all, the English already had a European passport and they tore it up, so presumably no citizen of the UK would bother relocating to Malta now.

The article's information comes courtesy of the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, a non-profit named after a Maltese anti-corruption journalist who was murdered in 2017. A Maltese businessman, Yorgen Fenech, has been accused of involvement in that car bombing, as well as being neck-deep in the government's corruption scandal.

For those of you wondering what you can expect from a property in Malta, I give you this Sotheby's listing. Which is ironic really, since the people we're talking about would never bother with any of these properties, beautiful though they may be. I mean, $23 million? Why would you? The kind of people in it for the passport wouldn't touch these high-end penthouses and detached palazzos.

All of which made me wonder: if it's good enough for Russian Mafia dons and dodgy high-net-worth individuals the world over, surely Malta's good enough for the Conspiracy?

I shan't go through the whole Quick and Dirty, but in brief:

Malta is a south European island nation in the Mediterranean, below the toe of Italy's boot and broadly halfway between it and the African continent. Humans have lived there since the dawn of time, but if you know Malta at all it's probably because of its role in the Crusades when the Knights Hospitaller were in charge.

Also, there's a film.

Given its location it's no surprise Malta has been influenced by every culture in Europe, economically, politically and architecturally. Independent since 1964; before that it was a British colony from 1814 onwards.

Geographically it's mostly low lying and rocky, with plenty of coastline. It can be rainy in winter, and is usually hot and dry in summer. What we think of as Malta is actually an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) inhabited - mostly Malta. 

Population, broadly 515,000, or about the same number as live in Sacramento, California. Valetta, the largest city, has about 214,000 inhabitants, so roughly half the total population of Malta; the vast majority of Maltese, c. 95%, live in an urban area of one kind or another. Mostly native Maltese, with about 21% other nations, and majority Christian (Catholic). 

Government: republic closely patterned on the UK's parliamentary democracy, with an elected President (chief of state) and Prime Minister (leader of the government). Three main political parties, being the Democratic Party (Partit Demokratiku), Labor Party (Partit Laburista), and Nationalist Party (Partit Nazzjonalista). PL is the dominant force, rocked with political scandals though it may be. 

There's one airport and two heliports, so unless you're planning on swimming from Italy your best bet is by sea - unless you're the sort of vampire who can get through airport security without setting off alarms. Malta is also known as a drug transshipment point, but as far as narcotics goes it's not a hugely important port. Mostly hashish from Northern Africa, bound for Europe.

So if I was a vampire what would I be looking for in a house?

Security. Isolation. Good transport links - I don't want to be schlepping everywhere on foot and horses are passé, always assuming one would let me ride it. Lots of acreage, for the hiding of things I'd prefer were kept hidden. In fact probably the exact opposite of the kind of house the passport-hungry want to rent, but I have needs that a grotty little hole in Valetta isn't going to satisfy. 

In fact, something not unlike this Sotheby's advert. A 5 bed farmhouse, renovated to exacting standards with 20 tumoli of land (a little over an acre), a stable and a large garage. Somewhere far enough from other people I can do as I like. Ideally it would also be somewhere on or near the coast; a private cove for the yacht would be ideal. It fits the James Bond / Hitman fantasy to a T, and is exactly the sort of place I'd use in a Stakes game.

However if I was going a little Dusty I'd skip that luxury - tempting though it is - and go for the grotty apartment in Valetta, owned through some dupe in, oh ... South Africa, why not. Someone who's never going to visit in person. Because if I'm really Dusty then this is all about the passport, and the great thing about an apartment like that is its anonymity. If I need passports for my Russian goons, or whoever it may be, I just funnel them through my Valetta hideaway and they emerge on the other side a new man. Or thing. Whatever. Anyway, they have the passport and that's all that matters, isn't it? No need to fake a cover when the real thing works just fine.

Of course, they do have to spend some time in Malta - a little over two weeks, more or less. Think of it as a holiday. It does make you peculiarly vulnerable for a couple of weeks. Alone, in an unfamiliar country. Anything could happen ...


The agents, through their usual efficient means (Accounting most likely, possibly also Criminology, Traffic Analysis, High Society) become aware that the Node they're trailing has a peculiar subsidiary: Tumoli Ltd, a company registered in Gibraltar that exists to own one asset, an apartment in Malta. This same apartment has been used as a residency address for at least half a dozen disreputable types that the agents know of, and probably more besides. It's a nasty little roach hotel on Testaferrata Street and as luck would have it someone of great interest to the agents is in Malta right now. There's no telling how long they'll be there; they only have to be physically present on the island for a few days to meet residency requirements. If ever the agents want to catch up with this person of interest, to gather information, carry out a discreet assassination, or some other reason, now's the time. 

Funny thing: when you provide temporary accommodation for blood drinkers, it creates problems for the neighbors. Nosferatu had his rats - lots of rats - and it turns out roach motel is more than just a moniker, this time around. A strange disease ripples up and down Testaferrata Street and some say it just isn't natural. Of course the government doesn't care; there's always something wrong with Testaferrata, someone's always complaining, there's always another community action group.  

To find out what's really going on the agents will have to take a close look at that little place on Testaferrata. Perhaps talk to the rentals agent who looks after the property, that twitchy woman with the bad case of polymorphic light eruption, also known as sun poisoning. At some point they'll have to catch up with their target, whoever - or whatever - that might be.

Then things really will kick off ...

That's it for this week. Enjoy!

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Big Winner (Night's Black Agents)

From Thrilling Locations, Victory Games James Bond 007 RPG:

It has been compared with being reborn. Once a person experiences casino life, the rest of experience pales. People entering a luxurious casino for the first time have noted physical and psychological changes taking place in themselves. They shed their mundane lives, like butterflies emerging from cocoons, and leave their worries and troubles at the door. Once inside, they are insulated from the ravages of the world by the cloak of the casino ...

From Double Tap: Cameos, Pelgrane Press, NBA:

The jangling crash of slot machines fills the air. You’re surrounded by mass market elegance, a vast honey trap designed to separate tourists from their money in a thousand little ways. Gorgeous couples saunter past towards the high-stakes tables, and tourists wearing Hawaiian shirts sit at slot machines and mechanically press the buttons to the sound of bells and chimes. Gossip in a dozen languages hangs as thick as the cigarette smoke ...

Particularly in Stakes games, which tend more towards high-octane action than John le Carré-esque multiple layers of deceit, a scenario set in a casino sets expectations. Yes, it could be the kind of Vegas strip let's-all-gawk mass market theatre, with pirate ships gunning down frigates every hour on the hour. Vegas shares that kind of showmanship with Macau, but there are plenty of examples of the opposite approach. Monaco built its reputation on high-end gambling, the kind that wouldn't be caught dead in a Hawaiian shirt. Moreover casino architecture design can be a gorgeous flight of fancy, the kind of thing that excites the senses just by being there - even if the point is to maximize the amount of time the average customer spends in their chair.

People go to casinos to stop being themselves for a while. They want to be successful, risk-takers, the sophisticated elite. Whether they are or not is neither here nor there, but the casino's job is to indulge this fantasy. To cocoon the gambler in a comfortable environment, one in which they feel free to do as they please - and spend money for that privilege. To feel like the big winners they know they are. 

For the purpose of this post I'm going to use the Casino La Seyne of  La Seyne-sur-Mer, France, as an example. My attention was drawn by this blog post by Archute, and further information has been taken from this architectural document by Archdaily. The Archdaily document is particularly useful for Directors, as it includes floorplans

Image by Javier Callejas, found via Archute.

La Seyne-sur-Mer has been an industrial, shipbuilding commune; it also built Iraq's nuclear reactors, destroyed by Israel back in 1981. It is part of Toulon, itself a major naval port, home base to the Mediterranean fleet;  La Seyne-sur-Mer is to Toulon's west. 

In recent years La Seyne-sur-Mer became more of a tourist destination, exchanging its shipbuilding docks for hotels and parks - not a million miles away from the changes that turned London's Canary Wharf from a maritime hub to a high-tech commercial hub. It's part of the Riviera, the famous Côte d'Azur, with its brilliant blue ocean. 

According to Archute: Visually it is a wide, relatively low, and geometrically simple building, said to resemble a great, docked ship from certain angles. It is only up close that you notice some of its sleek, glass-walled sides. The casino is also situated beautifully, in between an active marina and a new public park, as well as near a newly opened hotel.

It's relatively small as casinos go, if its Companies page is to be believed. It has less than a hundred staff, and earns less than $10 million revenue per annum. As a very rough comparison, the Hotel Ritz Paris employs over 400 people, while the Société des Bains de Mer of Monaco employs over 4,000 casino staff spread across several different installations - though with COVID those numbers have fluctuated. 

On the other hand it is very new; the build completed in 2016. That implies everything is as modern as can be managed. It also implies there may be snags that can be exploited; there are always problems with new build.

According to Archdaily: The newly completed complex is bordered to the east by a great leisure craft marina and to the west by a recently landscaped public park, at the end of which, just by the old drawbridge, stands a new three star hotel. The casino is thus at the heart of a series of large existing and future installations in the centre of a cultural and commercial hub which will breathe life into the old brick buildings, docks and the marina extension, along a privileged and autonomous beachfront.

                                            Image by Javier Callejas, found via Archdaily.

Image by Javier Callejas, found via Archdaily.

Now we've gone this far, let's talk about some scenario seeds that might use this location.

Data Tap. A hacker team set up a data leak to steal the personal information of the casino's high rollers, and everything was going according to plan - when the guy who was supposed to be extracting the data dropped dead of an overdose. Nobody else on the team knows how to remotely extract the data, and time is a factor, so somebody's going to have to go into the casino and take out the device manually. That means bluffing your way past security, getting into the theatre (seats 500), cracking open the cooling system and taking out the data collection device by hand. Sounds like a job for professionals - but why did that fella drop dead, anyway? Was it really an overdose, or did something else happen to him?

Beautiful Foil. An asset of interest who happens to be very close to a Conspiracy Node bigwig is currently enjoying the casino's hospitality. They particularly enjoy Texas Hold'em, and the casino boasts precisely one Hold'em table. If the agents want to find out more about the Node bigwig they're going to have to talk to the Foil, but that means getting into the Casino and staging a showdown at the poker table. Or perhaps inveigling the Foil to a dinner at one of the Casino's luxury restaurants, or maybe just cocktails at the bar overlooking the marina. Better find some way of neutralizing the Foil's personal security, or Fido's liable to tear the interfering agent a new one.  

Hollow Triumph. A former Cospiracy asset, now a desperate freelancer trying to stay one step ahead of his former comrades, has hit upon the perfect retirement scheme - rob the Conspiracy, which owns the casino, of hundreds of thousands in Euro it has in its vaults. This asset has inveigled his way into the casino as a croupier under a false identity, and is bringing in experienced professionals to help him stage the robbery now he's been able to case the joint. However those professionals don't realize they're being conned; he doesn't want money, he wants revenge. He's staging this robbery the same night his former master - his tormentor - is meant to be visiting the casino aboard her superyacht, docked at the marina next door. The casino vault isn't a vault; it's a vampire safehouse, where Conspiracy bigwigs come to meet face-to-face. He figures his heist buddies are useful scapegoats, and by the time the Conspiracy finishes chasing them down he'll have got what he wanted. [Potential Initiation scene for new characters.]

That's it for this week. Enjoy!

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Forgotten London - The King on Horseback (Bookhounds)

 From London Cameos by A.H.Blake:

It stands in a commanding position at the meeting of the ways at Charing Cross looking down Whitehall. 

The spot on which it stands is historical, for here for hundreds of years stood the last of the Elanor Crosses erected by Edward I. It marked her last resting-place for the night in a near-by hospital before her burial in the Abbey on the morrow.

The actual cross, of copy of which exists in Charing Cross station yard, was destroyed during the Puritan regime as savoring of superstition and the site was vacant until the Restoration.

This statue, made for Lord Treasurer Weston during the peaceful years of Charles I's reign and destined for his park at Roehampton, was handed over to a man called Rivett for destruction. He secreted it and brought it out at the Restoration.

After some of the regicides had been executed on this spot, the statue was put up, and in royal fashion Charles I looks down Whitehall to the place where in front of the Banqueting Hall he died.

See it on January 30 covered with wreaths from Stuart admirers, including offerings from descendants of those who suffered for the Jacobite cause in the rebellions of '15 and '45. The statue is by Le Sueur, and the base was the workmanship of Joshua Marshall, the King's mason.

 Image taken from Wikipedia

Blake isn't being entirely frank about those wreaths. Back in the 1890s there was considerable controversy when Jacobite loyalists asked for permission to place wreaths at the statue on the 30th. The government of the day refused them, and there was a minor scuffle with the police before the Jacobites were finally allowed to honor Charles on the day of his execution.

A bold and daring man is Mr. Herbert Vivian [leader of the group], Jacobite and journalist wrote the Western Morning News. He announces to all and sundry that, law or no law, he will... attempt to lay a wreath on the statue. I have not heard whether special precautions have yet been taken to cope with this new force of disorder though, perhaps... one constable may be set apart to overawe Mr. Herbert Vivian.

Before you go crowning Vivian as a hero of the people, he was anything but: his Royalist and Fascist tendencies led him to support Mussolini later in the 1930s.

Said he at the time, the world's galloping consumption will not be arrested until... Kings forget their ancient animosities to unite in a Royalist International uncontaminated and unhampered by the lying, cowardly, malignant Spirit of the Age.

Also, when Blake wrote that piece the statue was incomplete. Back in 1844 someone stole the statue's sword and Order of the Garter, and the items wouldn't be replaced until the Second World War, when the statue was taken under cover for safekeeping during the Blitz. 

So from a gaming perspective we have:
  1. A King's monument, built on the spot a previous King's monument stood.
  2. Overlooking a place of execution, where regicides were punished for their crime.
  3. Honored for centuries by Royalists and cranks.
  4. Partly defaced, by removing its sword and medal.
From a Megapolisomancy perspective we have a Lever that could be used in several different ways: as a means of causing death, of causing or punishing rebellion, of inspiring fear, of obtaining favors from monarchs, or of boosting any working that harms or helps monarchy. 

Moreover there's that missing sword and Order to consider. Lord knows where those ended up, or why they were stolen in the first place. It happened in 1844 on the day Queen Victoria opened the new (and current) Royal Exchange, its wooden predecessor having been destroyed by fire. Presumably there's some significance in that, though what is difficult to see. The Order of the Garter is a chivalric award, associated with the Military Knights of Windsor. The symbiology of a missing sword is easy to see. The removal of honor and virility both - assuming someone actually wanted to make a point, and not just to steal shiny things.  

OK, so all that in mind:

Hanged and Beheaded

A prominent Indian speaker and journalist, Nadrenda Patel, has been murdered. The body - most of it - was found at Charing Cross just off the Mall very early on a frosty October morning. The head is missing, and forensic examination can determine that the deceased was hung before the head was removed; Mr. Patel died before being beheaded. 

Aside from the gruesome nature of the crime, one other peculiarity emerges: in his pocket is an 1808 collection of children's rhymes, bought recently - at the Bookhounds' shop. It still has the shop label on the inside cover. 

Naturally the police are deeply suspicious, as is a private detective hired by Mr. Patel's newspaper, Muhammad Parekh, a former military man turned investigator. However the Bookhounds know they never sold that book - or any book - to Mr. Patel. They sold that particular book to a private collector, Mrs. Murray, an unassuming old widow who lives in the West End with three spoilt cats. 

Odd thing about that copy; one of the pages, with the rhyme As I Was Going By Charing Cross, is a tipped-in forgery. It shouldn't be there at all, and further investigation finds the invisible ink mystic inscription that drew the supernatural killer to its victim.

Their troubles deepen when Muhammad Parekh dies the same way Mr. Patel did, also in Charing Cross - though not the Mall, this time, and no book, though he does have a pamphlet with that same rhyme in his pocket. The police are convinced they had something to do with it.

The true killer is a paramental summoned up by Mrs. Murray, a rabid monarchist with Jacobite ancestry, who wants to use its powers to punish those who weaken the Empire or betray the Crown. Indian nationalists were her first pick, but she has a long list of potential targets. 

This paramental acts as an executioner so it kills in the same way the Parliamentarian traitors were executed - first hung, then beheaded, with the heads going up on public display. Mrs. Murray now has a fourth spoilt cat, that same paramental. However Mrs. Murray doesn't have the spiritual energy to keep this going, and her heart is beginning to skip; should she die before putting down what she summoned up, the freed paramental will do as it pleases - to whoever it pleases.


Sunday, 4 April 2021

An Upright Man (RPG All)

From Thomas Harman, A Caveat for Common Cursitors Vulgarly Called Vagabonds (1566) reprinted in the collection Rogues, Vagabonds and Sturdy Beggars, Imprint Society, Mass, 1973:

Yet notwithstanding, they have so good liking in their lewd, lecherous loitering, that full quickly all their punishments is forgotten. And repentance is never thought upon, until they climb three trees with a ladder (ie. are hung for their crimes) ...

An Upright Man is a skilled vagabond who makes his living by begging and thievery, in turns. Frequently they are former soldiers, or trusted servants who betrayed their trust. They're so called because they retain a certain rugged charm, and are clever talkers. They usually travel with one or more accomplices, Morts and Doxies, skilled at theft as well as prostitution. If they go to a stout yeoman's or farmer's house [and ask] his charity they usually go in packs of four or more, to get what they want by intimidation as much as appeals to the yeoman's finer feelings. At fairs or public gatherings they hang about in unremarked alleys and byways to beg, and to spy out likely targets. Their chief targets are lonely travelers, women and beggars - those who cannot easily defend themselves. Their chief defense, apart from cudgels, is their character; they're well practiced liars, bluffers and con artists. 

So in game terms we're talking about someone with decent Charisma (or the equivalent) as well as some talent for theft and brawling. This person might have had a good career at one point, whether soldiering or something else, but that's long in the past. Their biggest asset is their willingness to work together, to gather accomplices and make alliances with other Upright Men. Alone, they'd soon be caught and hanged. Working with others, having someone prepared to swear an alibi or two or pick a pocket as needed, they can do much more. 

When designing a game world, as has been said once or twice before, you start at the ground up. Design those things that the characters see every day. The basic layer, and as a reminder:

The basic layer is simply this: the things the characters encounter all the time, whether they want to or not.  The characters will always want to eat, to sleep, to move around. They'll buy clothing, toys, game consoles. They will have needs and they'll want to fill them. At the same time there will be events happening around them regardless of whether or not the players are directly involved, because everyone else in the game world has needs to satisfy too. This is at the heart of every system, regardless of setting or mechanics, and you can play with this layer in many different ways - so long as you establish it first.

The last time I dipped into this well I talked about Cheap-Johns, the base level of the market economy. This time let's flesh out the Upright Men, the base level of the non-market economy. 

If the Upright Man seems at all familiar to you, there's reason enough:

Falstaff is probably the most famous Upright Man ever to draw breath. Fat, roistering old blaggard, living off of stolen or borrowed funds, surrounded by friends yet truly beloved of none - save possibly Mistress Quickly, who delivers his eulogy. A soldier who once fought for his King and now roils for his daily bread, he's successful enough to draw in the Prince himself - yet not so successful he can keep Hal in check.

When we talk about thieves in fantasy settings it's usually painted as though they're members of some kind of elite organization, perhaps with a storied history, its traditions passed down by generations of thieves. Fritz Lieber's Lankhmar tales imagine such a Guild, its dead Masters buried with their jewels in a crypt so ancient their descendants have forgotten where it is. 

Yet historically while thieves do cooperate gangs like these are rare, often evaporating like dew. A decade, perhaps a little longer, is the most they can expect before entropy, arrests and an ageing membership brings them low. Dead Rabbits, Plug Uglies and all - given enough time and they vanish into the history books, assuming anyone bothered to write their histories down. 

No, the base level of the criminal world isn't some kind of proto-Triad, swearing loyalty upon pain of death by five thunderbolts. The base level is the wandering Upright Man working in loose cooperation with other Upright Men, bullshitting and bullying their way through a world that lacks the means to bring them to heel.

An Upright Man is someone with talent. They have a little charm, and perhaps a skill - it might be shoemaking, horsemanship, service in an army, something else. Fundamentally, they're clever enough to live on their wits and charismatic enough to work as a group when the situation calls for it. They can be intimidating but intimidation is not their talent; they don't get what they want by force of arms, not unless they work with others. Their natural target is the weak, loners, children, the aged. 

If they escape punishment, it's because they have wit enough to be charming, and to bluff. As Harman remarks, repentance is never thought upon until the day it will do them no good - except in the eyes of the Lord, and possibly not then. 

Not that the hangman is an Upright Man's only possible fate. Falstaff, after all, died in his bed, though he had plenty of chances to die on the battlefield. What is honour? a word. What is in that word honour? what is that honour? air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? he that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? no. Doth he hear it? no. 

With all that in mind, a few Upright Men:

Bookhounds of London

Clarence Inkpen

Three things: fat, claims to be former constable and has a quasi-military bearing, never without his pipe and baccy.

Quote: Now, lad, don't be alarmed. I'm on your side, I am, truly.

Criminal History: Assault, bribery, pimp.

Background: Clarence is one of those people who's 'always been here.' Nobody can remember when he arrived or can reliably say what his history is. He claims to have been a police constable, but that was years ago in another city, and he keeps changing his mind as to which city. He knows just enough Law to get himself into trouble, and has a quick enough tongue to get himself out of trouble when needs must. His usual trick is the badger game, and he works with four or five different women all of whom he calls his nieces, though whether there's any actual relation is an open question. The badger game is simple: the target is lured into a compromising situation, and when things are at their height Clarence bursts in and threatens to bring the law on the unfortunate - unless the target coughs up a hefty bribe. Bookhounds know Clarence as a reliable witness - as in, 'he was with me that night, your worship, down at the pub. All night, yes indeed.' He's also a reliable forger of legal documents, and makes a decent sideline from forged pub licenses and similar.

Swords of the Serpentine

Simonetta the Red

Three Things: Always wears red, usually in barbarian fashions; false teeth, several sets, often uses iron choppers for intimidation value; pretends to be a Vontavni Horselord but was born in the Tangle and has spent time in the House of Broken Wings. 

Quote: Crush you! Crush you! Break bones! Smash face! Money, money, money or I beat you stupid!

Criminal History: Assault, Assault, more Assault, procuring indigents for purposes of Corruption (as in, taking unfortunates from the House of Broken Wings so a sorcerer can use them as a convenient vessel for ghost possession).

Background: Simonetta dreams of being something she isn't. Right this minute, it's a Vontavni Horselord, and that's been her obsession for the last five years or so. Before that, a mighty sorcerer capable of channeling Corruption to her own ends. Truth be told she's a Tangle wharf rat, but that's not exotic or interesting enough for her. Though she hates her Servile connections she has a talent for Servility, and can vanish into the background when necessary. She has Allies among the Monstrous factions and has been known to act as a go-between, buying supplies in the Night Markets for her friends who can't afford to be seen there. She doesn't have strong connections with any of the Gangs but knows enough mooks and thugs to gather together a small-ish group of backers, if need be. Her usual racket is protection, and she works small food stalls in Sag Harbour, the ones that serve the poorer working class. She's also a freelance leg breaker for several of the larger loan sharks, and uses her reputation as a 'crazy barbarian queen' to intimidate the gullible.

Fall of Delta Green

Geoffrey Battle Lydell, aka G.B. 

Three Things: Bullet head, toothbrush Hitler moustache, claims to have worked for the FBI and does have some law enforcement training (failed a psych exam and was disqualified).

Quote: Under the authority of Executive Order 11503 I am hereby charging you with ... [insert legalistic nonsense here.]

Criminal History: Breaking and Entering, Extortion, Impersonating a Federal Officer, Conspiracy, Wiretapping, multiple violations of the Mann Act

Background: G.B. never caught a break in his life, that's what he likes to tell people, and in exactly that way - G.B.'s gonna get his one day, you'll see, oh boy, they'll rue the day they crossed ol' G.B. ... He's a political go-between, messenger and bagman for any number of less-than-savory political hacks. As such he travels the world on missions for his masters. This week he's in Washington, next week Saigon, Berlin the week after that. He got his start (after his disastrous attempt at an FBI career) procuring entertainment for political meetings - hence the Mann Act violations - and when he proved himself as a somewhat reliable hand he was given more responsibility. He doesn't have any direct Mythos connections but you don't travel the world doing odd jobs for peculiar politicos without picking up a rumor or two. Several of his recent employers have MJ-12 links and he's sometimes used as a kind of a canary in the coal mine, sent in just to see if any of the rumors about (whatever it might be this week) have substance. Though G.B. doesn't work with a regular team he does know an awful lot of mercs, from Polish ex-RAF pilots now flying for African warlords to Spanish Civil War holdouts and Arab nationalists. G.B. has some knowledge of Fringe Science and the Unnatural, but his flights of fancy are usually best ignored; though sometimes when he's drunk he claims to be keeping extensive notes about his activities, who he's worked with and what he's seen. Oh, they'll be sorry they hacked off ol' G.B., yessir ... 


Pixie Dust

Three Things: Man mountain, tattooed head to foot including sun and butterfly on face, twitchy and paranoid (amphetamine addiction).

Quote: You hear something? I know I heard something. Like it was someone laughing, maybe? 

Criminal History: Assault, Possession with Intent to Supply, Robbery, Bank Robbery

Background: Pixie Dust is an artist. Were it not for his less-than-sparkling personality, he'd be a vid star. As it is, folks all over Night City have seen his work, not just as light tattoos but also graffiti tags, particularly in Rancho Coronado but also in Pacifica Playground and Heywood. He got his start as a legbreaker working with the Coronado Pagans, but has since become a semi-independent contractor. Even the Pagans think he's a loose cannon, about to blow, and they don't want to be too close when he does. Still, they love his work. There isn't a Pagan who doesn't have some of Pixie's ink on them, and he's no slouch at customizing their rides either. He often works with Perfect Trung, the braindance-obsessed fixer, and due to his talent he has plenty of Rocker and Media friends too - though friends is perhaps going too far. Drinking buddies, the sort who deal in favors rather than cash. Pixie often claims he's waiting for the day when he can pull off his big score, whatever that is. It's going to be huge. Talk of the town stuff, big media blitz stuff, the kind that will put him on the path to fame and fortune. Nobody's sure what it is, exactly, but they all know it's coming soon to a braindance near you.

That's it for this week! Enjoy.