[Chateau] Uncle Lars

edited October 2010 in Out-Of-Game

Uncle Lars
Cool +2*, Hard +2, Hot +2, Sharp +2, Weird -2*

A wiry man with sharp eyes set into a stern face. Casual wear, denim and linen, and an old leather jacket heavily patched with undyed canvas (1-armor). Though he might kit out more specifically in time of war, he keeps 2 no-nonsense weapons close at hand: his smg (2-harm close autofire loud) and his machete (3-harm hand messy). [2-barter]

He is just about as old as anything in this world, born right around the time the last world ended. And he's lived the world's decline, fought in its wars, watched as the armies fell apart into gangs of brutes. He was part of that, even, going on the road with the men who'd follow him, eventually stopping here and settling, carving out his own domain in the mist-shrouded mountains along the sea.

There were other gangs, other warlords, but Uncle's Riders had grown strong in their years on the road, and they brought a kind of fast, brutal war to the region that Uncle's rivals for control were completely unready for. After several years of vicious, generally-victorious skirmishes, Uncle could demand tribute from essentially every settlement in communication with his holding. Secure in his power, he governed, he lived, he began a family.

Then Dog Head showed up. He came alone, actually, or close enough ... starting small with exiles and malcontent as he built up his gang, staying under Uncle's radar. Dog Head was a monster, pure and simple, but he was also possessed of a low animal cunning and a keen understanding of what this world had become. He was able to hide from Uncle at first, gathering his power in the wilds, in places where the ghosts drove off prying eyes.

When their war began in earnest, Uncle found Dog Head's unpredictability difficult to deal with, losing significant territory in the first year of their conflict. Dog Head was frankly crazy, improvising tactics and dealing with weird things in the dark of the woods. Uncle had to change tactics, grinding the war down to a stalemate bought with bullets and wire, fought in mud and mist.

It took years of raids and reprisals before Uncle managed to build back up enough momentum to roll over Dog Head's forces. In that time, Uncle changed, becoming more entrenched in his preferences and dogma. The war became not just a territorial squabble, but a test of his methods ... of his ability to impose rational order on his surroundings. He was more-or-less obsessed with destroying Dog Head, isolating himself from his family and urging his men to newer heights of savagery.

Dog Head is gone, but the scars he carved still remain. Uncle has reclaimed much of the territory Dog Head had seized, but not all, and a number of fringe settlements had left the fold on their own during the course of the war. And while Dog Head's gang was shattered, it was not erased: smaller bands roam the forests and valleys, stealing and murdering where Uncle is weak.

And Uncle himself finds himself at a loss now that the war is over. His men are hungry for more blood, but the dangers now are a hundred thorns, not a monolithic threat he can muster an army against. His resources are depleted, as well. And when it comes down to it, Uncle has obsessed over war for so many years that he doesn't know what to do with relative peace.

- History -
Gritch +1, June+1, Marlene +2, Navarre +3, Sketch =0, Spector +3

Gritch, the ghost hunter, has been with Uncle since before, back in the war. That makes him the devil Uncle knows, and a devil like Gritch is useful, the way the world's gotten fucked up. That said, it's not like Uncle actually likes or even quite trusts the man. Gritch is useful, but Gritch is also trouble. For now, the former outweighs the later, but it might not actually take that much for the scales to shift.

Uncle hates the idea that someone might be riffling around in his skull, and if Gritch crosses a line their shared history won't count for shit.

Marlene, Uncle doesn't know about. She's here, and that monster hovercraft of hers is damn useful, but he's not yet sure how much she can be counted on. Still, she's clearly a fine woman: standing strong, taking care of her family, in control of her situation. And that face, right? Uncle would maybe be looking to get more familiar with her, were it not for the potential for trouble she represents. Because one thing's for sure ... Uncle can't let her leave. Not with that war machine of hers, he can't.

Navarre is an unexpected gem. Uncle figured, hey, no harm in recruiting off the enemy, and the turncoat's information was vital to getting set up to turn things around on Dog Head. That's all he really wanted out of Navarre, but it turns out that the kid is actually really fucking competent (which is distressingly hard to come by) and not too demanding either. So, yeah, invest in keeping him happy and settled, use him as a valued and largely non-expendable resource.

Still, if he turned on Dog Head, he might turn on Uncle. Uncle can't trust him until he figures out what it would take for Navarre to revisit his loyalty problems. A dog that might yet bite you can only be considered so useful.

Spector ... is an issue, for Uncle. He predates Uncle's presence in the region, and actually represents a secondary figure to rival Uncle's authority. Still, he's never made trouble, only offered advice, tutored Uncle's children, and helped out in a hundred other little ways over the twenty-some years Uncle's been here. He messes about with the weird and unnatural, and Uncle doesn't like that so much, but at the same time Uncle needs reliable advice on those subjects (and Gritch is, shall we say, less rational in his dealings with the weird). He might even be Uncle's best friend, if Uncle has such a thing.

When it comes down to it, though, it is this: Uncle is smart, cunning, clever. But he doesn't know things. He's a jumped-up thug, lucky to be literate, and he knows it - that's why he sends his children to learn from Spector. Spector's knowledge and interests range wide, and his advice helps to make sense of a world that, for Uncle, holds far too many secrets. And there's nothing, but nothing, that Uncle hates so much as feeling lost.

That's why Uncle hasn't said anything about Pamming. It's also really why Spector's possession of Pamming bothers Uncle out of proportion with the issue. With anyone else, he would have said something, and he knows it.
Hardholder special: If you and another character have sex, you can give the other character gifts worth 1-barter, at no cost to you.
Leadership: when your gang fights for you, roll+hard. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7–9, hold 1. Over the course of the fight, spend your hold 1 for 1 to make your gang:
• make a hard advance
• stand strong against a hard advance
• make an organized retreat
• show mercy to their defeated enemies
• fight and die to the last
On a miss, your gang turns on you or tries to hand you over to your enemy.
Pack alpha: when you try to impose your will on your gang, roll+hard. On a 10+, all 3. On a 7–9, choose 1:
• they do what you want
• they don’t fight back over it
• you don’t have to make an example of one of them
On a miss, someone in your gang makes a dedicated bid to replace you for alpha.
Perfect instincts: when you’ve read a charged situation and you’re acting on the MC’s answers, take +2 instead of +1.
Wealth: If your hold is secure and your rule unchallenged, at the beginning of the session, roll+hard. On a 10+, you have surplus at hand and available for the needs of the session. On a 7–9, you have surplus, but choose 1 want. On a miss, or if your hold is compromised or your rule contested, your hold is in want. The precise values of your surplus and want depend on your holding.
A day in the life of... Uncle
War Room Activities
It's Cold In Here, Gritch
Battle of the Chateau
Cleaning This Place Up
Guard Duty?
Serious Business, Uncle

[ ] get +1hard (max hard+3)
[ ] get +1weird (max weird+2)
[-] get +1cool (max cool+2)
[-] get +1hot (max hot+2)
[-] get +1sharp (max sharp+2)
[ ] choose a new option for your holding
[ ] choose a new option for your holding
[ ] erase an option from your holding
[-] get a move from another playbook (perfect instincts)
[-] get a move from another playbook (pack alpha)

[ ] get +1 to any stat (max stat+3)
[ ] retire your character (to safety)
[-] create a second character to play (Di)
[ ] change your character to a new type
[ ] choose 3 basic moves and advance them
[ ] advance the other 4 basic moves


  • edited November 2010
    The Rough Riders
    2-harm gang large unruly 1-armor

    A pack of fucking hyenas, riddled with internal factions that dislike each other and occasionally show ambition beyond their loyalty. Well-armed, except that they're running short on ammunition, and Uncle keeps the remaining supply under lock and key.

    Organized into two platoon-sized commands, plus Mo's scouts. Each command is further divided into three squads, with each squad ranging in strength between six and ten men, averaging around eight, and each command is run by one of Uncle's lieutenants (Kirk and Fleece). Each lieutenant has someone of his choice acting as something like a platoon sergeant (Exit and Gettys, respectively), and in the field they'll each grab someone to act as their radioman, as well.

    There are also squad leaders, chosen by a combination of natural selection and the favor of their superiors.

    Mo's scouts have their own, looser organization, and their numbers vary from month to month. Mo is quick to let go anyone that doesn't cut it, and she's equally quick to conscript anyone who shows promise.
  • edited November 2010
    The Chateau
    surplus: 4-barter
    want: hungry idle obligation reprisals savagery

    • Hunting and scavenging,
    • A little crude farming (in the old vineyard and orchard),
    • But mainly protection (for those who pay tribute) and
    • Raiding (on those who don't).
    • Plus, a bustling and widely-known market commons, fueled by tribute and loot.

    A makeshift compound around a partly-ruined mansion, fortified with chain link, handmade barbed wire, and stone scavenged from the broken down parts of the manor. Locations of note:

    • The mansion itself, partly in ruins. The west wing is fire-blacked stone and not much else, and even that has been picked over for its stone, pipe, and metal fixtures. The east wing is mostly ok. On the outside, the windows have almost all been boarded over (even those that still have intact glass), and the portico in front has been fortified with barbed wire, scavenged stone, and moldering sandbags.

    • Navarre's room. In the mansion, with the other officers.

    • The gardener's cottage, Uncle's residence. Four rooms. The front room and kitchen he uses as a smaller war room, and he lives out of the bedroom. There's a generator that gives him light, radio, and hot tea. The fourth room has been lived in by his children at various times, but the hardhold's remaining supply of ammunition is currently stacked amid the childhood mementos.

    • The gardens, where the men live. The gardens behind the mansion have turned into an armed encampment, originally just tents pitched in rows. Now these have been replaced by five barracks: simple A-frames made chiefly of wood sealed with pitch. The men maintain a scattering of vegetable gardens in the remaining margins.

    • The motor pool, an open-walled shelter put up in the gardens by Uncle's men. Tin roof, wood and iron posts and joists. Houses vehicles, gas, oil, kerosene, crates of empty sandbags, and drums of barbed wire. The vehicles are kept covered with tarps in order to hedge against rust. The main trucks are a pair of deuce and halfs, with one or two smaller trucks, maybe a jeep. The motor pool also has a bunch of motorbikes, and the deuces are equipped to transport and refuel the bikes.

    • The stables, now a blacksmith/machine shop. Turns out parts for guns and vehicles, wire for fortification, lots of nails, as well as the occasional horseshoe, pot, or other bit of iron. Also makes bullets, but not quickly enough. Daff and Wisher work together here, occasionally with one or two apprentices - neither one is really in charge of the other. They do business on the side, through the market, purchasing iron as much as selling it.

    • The market, on the front lawn. It started out mostly open air, but has evolved into a haphazard collection of raggedy permanent structures, usually fleshed out by temporary stalls put up by visitors. Overgrown hedges edging the lawn serve to mark out the market area, and visitors need a good reason to be wandering around elsewhere. The ornamental fountain in the middle of the lawn, all cracked marble and creeping ivy, no longer runs, but it serves as a landmark.

    • Gritch's shack, just off the front lawn.

    • The old vineyard and orchard, almost completely reverted back to nature. Still fruiting, to a certain extent.

    • The undercroft, under the mansion and extending out under some of the surrounding structures. There's another entrance in the stables/smithy. Quite extensive, made of solid stone and brick. Stores supplies and serves as an armory. The armory is shit because we just finished up a small-scale war of attrition with that guy, Dog Head. He's dead now, but we're just about out of bullets. Plenty of guns, just nothing to shoot. There's also a fresh water well in the undercroft (predating Uncle's occupation but post-dating the apocalypse), and the quartermaster, Rice, lives down here. Crutch's infirmary is under the smithy.

    • The guest house, way back at the back of the original property. Could've been used to house some of the men, but a couple years into the occupation of the chateau the riders handed it over to Mimi and her girls as part of a tacit agreement. There're a couple of public rooms the riders use for rec space, and Mimi runs a bar there. The upstairs belong to the girls, and what they do up there is their business in a couple of different senses.

    image image
  • Uncle, I'm going to ask you about barter since it's your place. Is there a standard for tribute/barter? Is it just anything? Who determines what's of value? Is that you or do you have someone tasked with that?

    Also, give me some basic details about where do you get food/water for the people? What about gas?

    And, where are the hunting grounds? What are the hunters scared of?
  • !quartermaster

    I like it awfully if people used bullets when offering tribute or paying for services (blacksmith, medic, whatever). Some kind of standard conversion rate, but probably tilting in favor of the other guy, lately. Unfortunately, bullets have good, practical value to everyone, and the fragments of Dog Head's old gang roaming the area probably don't make people feel any more secure about selling them off. If it gets bad, I might start demanding bullets as tribute, but we'll see.

    Gasoline is also accepted at the hardhold, standard, and the exchange rate on that favors me ... I have trucks and a handful of motorbikes. Almost everyone else around here seems to ride horses and mules. If they can get good exchange on a gallon of gas, they're happy, I'm happy. Oh, and that answers the question about gas.

    Practically speaking, a fair bit of seasonal tribute is in food, though.

    In theory, each tribute-paying settlement is supposed to be paying X, Y, and Z in any given season, and there's a verbal agreement on this. In practice, there's a certain amount of leeway, where maybe a little barley can be substituted for pork. Whether the tribute is up to snuff or not is figured by Uncle and the quartermaster upon arrival.

    Beyond that, barter is barter in the true sense. If you want to trade something to the Riders as a whole (selling food, say), talk to the quartermaster. Beyond that, the riders themselves are paid by ration out of the quartermaster's stores. The exact contents of a given week's rations vary, but there will be enough edibles for you to eat, and it's up to you to use the remainder to barter for your other needs.

    While deals with the smithy or surgeon are technically deals with the Riders as a whole (or should be, as per standing orders), you barter case-by-case with the appropriate person, not with the quartermaster. Most of them are decent hagglers, due to practice, but the deal you can cut does vary.

    Again, though, bullets and gasoline have pretty exhaustive standardized exchange rates, to encourage people to use those currencies. And, of course, all that only applies to the Riders and to the handful of other people living in the hold ... what people in surrounding settlements do may or may not be influenced by the hold's practices.

    There's some basic farming, but really that's mainly gathering wild grapes and apples. There's a little bit more in farm plots scratched together by the men in the old gardens, in order to supplement their rations. Most of that kind of food comes by tribute. Also, there's a cottage winemaking industry among the riders. That's not run by anybody, just something that several different little groups and individuals are doing.

    Hunting, we do. Guns are banned for this use (more strictly enforced now that Uncle's keeping the bullets in his home), so that's mainly trapping, with some of the riders actually going out and skulking about with bows and knives. Those guys tend to get tapped as scouts, if they're any good at it.

    Part of the deal with the tribute-paying settlements is that Uncle's men are permitted to patrol their land. Actual patrols don't happen often (just when and where Uncle thinks there might be trouble), but hunters do occasionally 'patrol' to stock the larders, and Uncle supports this behavior. It gets meat on the table and eyes in the field.

    It's difficult to over-hunt, considering how light the human population is around here, but if someone complains Uncle just nudges his people into moving on and picking it up somewhere else.

    The hold is right above the lake, but most of the water actually comes from a well in the undercroft.

    Informal fishing, as well. Again, that's individual riders supplementing their rations.

    What are the hunters afraid of? Of normal animals and hazards, not much, though few of them would want to piss off a bear or boar without bullets in their guns. Weirder stuff, maybe, but I'd suggest someone else come up with that. I'm looking at things from Uncle's viewpoint, which barely acknowledges the existence of such things.
  • I think Uncle has at least two or three kids, no more than one of whom is still too young to be called an adult. They've been tutored by Spector, so they're better educated than their father, and the boys, at least, have been brought up to join the Rough Riders.

    But only vague ideas come to mind, really. Anyone want to sketch a kid for me? I'll come up with something, eventually, but I have no problem stealing others' ideas.
  • What counts as "adult?" Fifteen? That seems to be sort of how it was 150 years ago.
  • Maybe nudge it up another year or so, but about that. Though, in this case, it's really just Uncle's opinion that matters, not chronological age. Really depends on whether or not Uncle's willing to let them go.
  • I'm gonna ask Gritch about what the hunters are afraid of.
  • Also, Uncle, who are you fucking?
  • You'll note that I've been editing the first three posts, up there. Keeping everything ordered.

    I think Uncle has an understanding with Mimi. She got her place in the hold because she Uncle liked her, back however many years ago. Now they're both older and she's just running the bar and the girls, but they still hook up, particularly now that Uncle's old lady is dead. It's not so much that he's paying her for services anymore, and more just that they fuck sometimes, and he gives her gifts sometimes.

    And beyond that, he doesn't mind taking advantage of his position when someone catches his eye. No other regular girl, though.
  • Sounds great. Thanks.
  • edited October 2010
    Portrait and history notes added to the first post.
  • image

    Uncle's late wife, dog, and youngest. The dog's still around, though really old and infirm. It lays around Uncle's cottage, all long-haired and sad-eyed.
  • So, kids. Bastards aside, there are three of them. I'll just drop a handful of details on each, and leave them mostly blank slates for you. Though of course I'll come up with answers if you want to ask particular questions.

    • Kirk, son and eldest, in his mid to late twenties. There could be some kind of thing where he'd stand to inherit the Chateau, but that's totally not clear. Even if Uncle said this was his wish (he hasn't), it wouldn't necessarily hold up in the event of the old man's death. Kirk acts as one of Uncle's lieutenants, and I think he reckons he can get away with more than the others, because he's Uncle's son. How that manifests in action, I don't know. Lives in the mansion, with the other officers.

    • Mo, daughter-in-law, early/mid twenties. Married to Uncle's son, James, but James died early in the war with Dog Head. Uncle had been kind of ambivalent about her up until then, but they bonded over James' death. Also, she proved herself in the war ... James had headed Uncle's scouts, and she'd been James' number 2 from before they hooked up. She picked up James' job, and proved better at the job than James had been. Uncle treats her like a daughter, and he generally trusts her. Also lives in the mansion.

    Also worth noting: James was kind of Uncle's favorite. His death is when Uncle isolated himself in the cottage. Originally, the cottage was home to Uncle's wife and kids, while Uncle lived half there and half at the mansion. The kids grew up, and Uncle's wife died, and the cottage was left empty for a bit (Uncle and his youngest living in the mansion). With James' death, Uncle moved into the cottage and left his youngest at the mansion.

    • Jean, daughter and youngest, mid-teens. On the verge of adulthood ... at this point, it's less that she's still a child and more that Uncle still treats her like a child. She used to live right next door to Uncle in the mansion, but now Uncle's left the mansion. She's still there, though, and Rice is supposed to be keeping an eye on her for Uncle. Mo and Kirk do too, with possibly varying degrees of interest.
  • The cottage.

  • Nice. Thanks. :)
  • edited January 2011

  • Expanded the Rough Riders post (2nd post) to cover a bit about internal organization.
  • We'll say Fleece is the third LT. I've already established a couple "NCOs" like Tum Tum and Barker.
  • Where exactly does Navarre fit into the organization? It seems to me like he's an up-and-coming grunt who's distinguished himself enough to get his own room, but maybe not much more. Does he have an actual commanding officer, or does he just float around helpfully shovelling shit and shooting people in balloons whenever someone asks?
  • edited November 2010
    Hm. Uncle's obviously seen Navarre in action, since they've 'fought shoulder to shoulder' and all, so he knows that Navarre wouldn't actually be that fucked if he, say, tried to take on the entirety of the Rough Riders, single-handedly. In fact, by the math, with average Seize by Force rolls, they'd just exchange 1-harm each until the Riders broke and ran. So.

    Obviously, that's without Uncle at the helm, so it's just a gang of NPCs, and Navarre wouldn't be in good shape afterward, but it still suggests that Navarre's not just a grunt. He doesn't really look like command material, either, though. I'd say either:

    (1) He heads a squad under Kirk, and we just haven't seen the squad yet. However, most the other officers and 'NCOs' (as far as we have such things) don't like where he came from, so he gets some shit jobs thrust upon him.

    (2) He doesn't have any formal rank among the Rough Riders, instead acting as something like Uncle's version of Luca Brasi (I hope I don't really need to link it). He answers to Uncle, and that's really it. However, Uncle doesn't allow idle hands around the camp, so Navarre does get assigned duties in times of relative peace as if he were just another grunt.
  • I can see either of those working. He's definitely not command material, so (1) is likely to result in interesting situations. If he has a squad, at best, they respect his commitment to the crew and the cause, while they probably can't stand him personally. (2) would explain a great deal of the attitude he gets -- everyone else has a rank and someone to answer to, so what's so special about Fido?
  • Yeah, I like number 2 also. I like the tension it places between Fido and the other Rough Riders. Fido is the gunlugger, so I'm imagining him more as a special asset. Clearly, he could lead a squad into battle, no doubt. But, doesn't seem like his forte necessarily. The way I'm seeing it, he's responding to the command structure outside of Uncle simply for formalities or whatever, not because Barker or Rice or Fleece might have any literal command over him.
  • If number 2, I'd be a little extra concerned for Navarre's safety. He's not in good shape right now, and they did have to make sure Luca was dead before they went after the don.
  • Sooner or later, hopefully before he needs to be exorcised, Navarre is going to figure out that armor is meant to be worn, not stored under the bed.
  • lol... Yeah. I think that'd help a bit.
  • You know, I keep forgetting I have a dog around here, somewhere. I said it lays around the cottage, old and infirm, so let's say it likes sleeping in the tub. So Marlene had a friend when she dove for the cover of the bathroom. Gritch and Mo too, for that matter.

    Also, on thinking, I'm actually picturing most of the Rough Riders' radio equipment being more like those old-style rigs used by the military in, I'm not sure, like WWI. We probably do have some salvaged radios that survived from before, but they're ancient and not reliable enough for military operations. So, we've got these ridiculously primitive radios that have actually been manufactured in the last ten to twenty years, depending on the specific machine.

    They have few moving parts, and no electronics. No batteries: you have to spool out wire from a generator or a truck or something, which probably has an actual aerial set up for best signal. When you want to talk the radioman has to hand crank the radio to boost the signal enough to make it down the wire to the aerial, unless you happen to be right there by the generator and aerial. They work pretty well in and of themselves, though the fog maybe fucks with signals in odd and occasionally creepy ways.
  • edited November 2010
    Also, I don't think you get to be one of Uncle's lieutenants just by being ambitious and good at your job. I think he has to actually trust you pretty fully. Look at it ... he's had four lieutenants, in recent memory:

    - one is his son
    - one was his other son
    - one is his daughter-in-law (whom he treats like his own daughter)
    - and then there's Fleece

    This is most of the list of people that Uncle trusts. Add Jean to the list, because he doesn't believe that his own children would betray him. And he mostly trusts Spector, though there's a little bit of dissonance in that. And that's ... it? I think? Five people, still alive? Maybe a couple others, if any of his old war buddies or members of his old gang are still alive, but none of them would seem to be around the Chateau, at least.

    From an OOC perspective, it's obvious that Uncle really shouldn't trust Fleece. But, given Fleece's company, it's also clear that he is trusted, or he was. So the question is: who the hell is Fleece?

    Do you have ideas? My first thought is that he could be the son of, say, Uncle's right-hand man from when Uncle was still a sorta-chopper. Like, Uncle's man Dice, he was with Uncle when they claimed the Chateau, but he died years and years ago. But Uncle and Dice were like brothers, and so Uncle looked out for the man's son, Fleece.

    And Fleece was tough and ambitious, and he reminds Uncle of Dice enough that Uncle doesn't really look and see that Fleece is his own man. And when Uncle found that the Riders had gotten numerous enough that he needed to divvy up the main force of them between a couple of lieutenants (rather than just running the squads directly, as he has been doing), Uncle looked to Fleece. Because, of course, Uncle wouldn't think twice about putting Dice in charge of half his men. Why not his son?
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