Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
our good friends over at Black Clock Audio, are celebrating the month of July as Ambrose Bierce month. They were releasing a month of daily readings of Bierce stories. (Listen to me do a barley passable version of The Horseman in the Sky) A few days after their main Bierce release, they will have a special add on called Dave’s Corner of the Unibierce, where I try to explain who Bierce was as a once living human being. I will have a post in DCotU about who Bierce was as writer. As a bonus here is AB as a Call of Cthulhu 7th ed NPC.
I am presenting three versions of the “Old Gringo” The first is him just out of the Civil War. The next would be him living out his ‘golden years’ as a world-weary journalist, in San Francisco. The final version is a 71-year-old still spry pulp hero. In this version unlike the former one, he has not suffered any degradation of his Military skills. Nor, in true pulp fashion has not suffered form the effects of aging, where despite his age he is still in his prime and ready to take on Poncho Villa in Mexico. I don’t think that in the real-world Bierce spoke Spanish (which would have made his quest into Mexico even more suicidal) but in this version, I gave him some, because, pulp. A good example of what I imagined here would be the Ambrose Bierce character in the movie Dust to Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter.
The first version would fit well with a Down Dangerous Trails campaign, where the war has been over a few years. with Bierce just finishing his tour out west. This is a period before he began on his journalism career and an opportune time for him to meet a party of old west investigators.
The second one could be used as a proxy for Bierce, with a different name, in a 1920’s adventure. Even if the real Bierce vanished in 1913.
The final version is true pulp and could be used even pass his disappearance in 1913. Maybe he just returned to Carcosa?
In the last two versions I gave him a rather high Credit rating, this would not necessarily be reflective of the money in his pocket, but his relationship and patronage with William Randolph Hearst.
Strength: 50 Dexterity: 60 Intelligence: 80
Constitution: 40 Appearance: 50 Power: 75
Size: 50 Education: 50 Move: 7
Hit points: 9 Sanity: 65 Luck: 75
Damage bonus: +0 Magic points: 7 Age: 23
Special: Experience investigator war. (Not effected for san loss because of acts of war) Insanity: PTSD.
Skills: Art (Cartography) 25%, Art (Printing) 30%, Art (Writing): 25%, Charm: 40%, Combat Engineering: 40%, Dodge: 50%, Fighting (Brawling): 60%, Fighting (Sword): 40%, Firearm (Handguns): 45%, Fighting (Rifle): 60%, First aid: 35%, Intimidate: 30%, Military Science: 60%, Own language English): 50%, Riding: 30%, Survival (Forest): 25%, Stealth: 40%, Track: 35%.
Credit Rating: 25%.
Ideology: End slavery and keep the Republic united.
Significant people: His troops.
Traits: Strong willed.
History: Bierce is born into a abolitionist family, his uncle smuggled guns to the militant John Brown. He gave up a career as a newspaper printer to join the 9th Indiana Infantry at the onset of the war. He fought in the Battle of Philippi one of the first land battles of the Civil War and the carnage that was the Battle of Shiloh. Where he had to walk over the victims of enemy artillery fire and saw wild boars devour the dead on the battlefield. This hardened him. In the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, he suffers a devastating head would but would eventually return to service and rise to rank of Brevet Major.
Psychology: A true believer that slavery is evil, he is fighting for emancipation of blacks but also to preserve The Union. He keeps his sanity with a morbid black humor. He truly cares about the lives of his men.
Strength: 30 Dexterity: 40 Intelligence: 80
Constitution: 25 Appearance: 50 Power: 80
Size: 50 Education: 85 Move: 5
Hit points: 5 Sanity: 60 Luck: 75
Damage bonus: -1D4 Magic points: 8 Age: 60
Special: Experience investigator war. (Not effected for san loss because of acts of war). Insanity: PTSD
Skills: Art (Cartography) 25%, Art (Printing) 30%, Art (Writing): 90%, Charm: 60%, Current events: 60%, Fast talk: 560%, First Aid: 45% History: 50%, Intimidate: 60% Military Science: 30%, Riding: 30%, Occult: 50%, Own Language (English): 85%, Psychology: 33%, Survival (Forest) 20%, Survival (Desert) 20%. Stealth: 25%.
Credit Rating: 75%, Cthulhu mythos: 15%.
Ideology: Still believes in the ideas that America was founded on and freedom for all, just more sarcastic on how it is implemented.
Significant people: Daughter Helen.
Traits: Still strong willed and tenacious.
History: Famous because of his writing both as a journalist and as a fiction writer. He exposed an attempt to get the US government to forgive $130 Million (in 1893 dollars) to the companies that built the Trans Continental Railroad. He however became unpopular when he wrote a poem that predicted the death of President McKinley. He is still supported by his patron William Randolph Hearst.
Psychology: Depression, and death seems to be the defining features of his later years. He has lost his two sons due to tragic circumstances. His marriage fell apart and his ex-wife died a few years later. He is still haunted by what he saw during the war. He is surprised by how quickly people turned against him and blamed him for the death of McKinley. His stories revolve around death and the occult. Maybe he is trying to warn us.
Strength: 50 Dexterity: 60 Intelligence: 80
Constitution: 40 Appearance: 50 Power: 85
Size: 50 Education: 90 Move: 7
Hit points: 18 Sanity: 65 Luck: 75
Damage bonus: +0 Magic points: 8 Age: 71
Special: Archetype: Scholar. Pulp Traits: Harden and Sharp witted.
Skills: Art (Cartography) 25%, Art (Printing) 30%, Art (Writing): 90%, Charm: 60%, Combat Engineering: 40%, Current events: 60%, Dodge: 50%, Fast talk: 60%, Fighting (Brawling): 60%, Fighting (Sword): 40%, Firearm (Handguns): 45%, Fighting (Rifle): 60%, First aid: 35%, Intimidate:60%, Occult: 50%, Other Language (Spanish): 21%, Own Language (English) 95%, Military Science: 60%, Psychology: 33%, Riding: 30%, Survival (Forest): 25%, Stealth: 40%, Track: 35%.
Credit Rating: 85%. Cthulhu mythos: 20%.
History: In addition to what happened in the last two incarnations, he has decided to travel the sites of his Civil War Battles then go down to see what Poncho Villa is up to. He is still the warrior of his youth as well a highly skilled investigative journalist. Maybe the reason he gave to explore where he fought and then go to Mexico is to cover up a new war he is fighting?
Psychology: In this version he is Still sarcastic with a dark sense of humor, but these are just to hide the fact that he is a total badass.