Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vampire Spotlight: James Tyler

"I'm here to help but to help you I need to know more about what happened that night.  Look, I know it's hard but you've got to start from the beginning.  And leave nothing out.  If you help us, we can get to the bottom of this and you won't need to be afraid anymore because there'll be nothing left in that house to scare you."

James was born in 1923 to a James Patterson (nicknamed Jimmy – hence James’ long abiding loathing of being called Jimmy) and Emma Patterson.  His father was a carpenter who lived a very ordinary and law-abiding life while James chafed at restrictions and yearned for excitement and adventure.  The two rarely saw eye to eye and at the tender age of sixteen, after trying a carpentry apprenticeship briefly, James headed off from home to explore Australia, earning money through odd jobs, simple con artistry, and gambling.

James joined the army in 1941 as a supply officer responsible for making requests on behalf of officers alongside his more usual administrative duties.  James took advantage of his position to work the black market, indulge in gambling, and otherwise arrange things to his liking.  He grew bored of this in 1943 and arranged to be transferred to the front lines.  It didn't take long for him to change his mind about being bored, but he didn't manage to get out until the war ended due to the great need for infantry. 

When the war ended, James came back home to his parents briefly before deciding to live the life of a gambler and a vagabond, roaming Australia and paying his way through life with other people’s money won through games of cards.  He’d sleep rough and ride the rails when things weren’t going well while during the good times he’d drink, party, and sleep around.  This felt like the good life, until it all went wrong.

In 1947, he met the Songbird in the form of an attractive South American woman with vivid green eyes, carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows, while they both rode a grain train without tickets.  When they stopped in a small town for the night as the train waited to pick up goods the following morning, the Songbird warned him that the town was dangerous and that he should stay hidden.

Instead he spent his last cash at the pub on a few drinks while looking for someone to gamble with.  While there, he caught the eye of Jack Tyler, a Daeva ancillae from the Ordo Dracul who was attempting to win fame by infiltrating and destroying a particularly nasty coterie of Belial’s Brood.  Jack needed a cover, and what better cover for Brood than a random Embrace?  Seeing a handsome man (and being a rather superficial bisexual, no less) with an interest in gambling, Jack made his move.

Within an hour, James had been Embraced in his hotel room after making the foolish mistake of inviting the charming man into his hotel room (paid for by Jack Tyler, no less).  Jack gave him the option of becoming a vampire, phrasing it in the most positive light, and James, foolish James, accepted.  The Songbird knocked on the room door a short while later and James invited her in, asking for a few minutes alone with her.  She tried to warn him again, which made James feel really sad (as far as vampires can feel sad), and told him to avoid Jack.  At one point, she took his hand and that was when she noticed how cold he felt, and she said so, and James finally felt like he lost something.  An opportunity had passed him by.

She apologised for what had happened to him and withdrew from the room.

James then came down to regroup with Jack Tyler (whom he knew as Peter Walsh) and saw that he was talking to a group of dangerous looking vampires – three Belial’s Brood.  James managed to bite back the sudden wild rearing of the Beast but then everything changed so quickly as one of the Brood attacked Walsh.  Walsh fled through the window, the Brood on his heels, and James followed.

Meanwhile, Songbird had stolen a horse to help give her the range she needed to take out the Brood.  Walsh and the trio of kindred used Celerity and were well out of range of James but the Songbird’s horse managed to catch up quickly once the trio had stopped and Walsh had earth melded.  This occurred in a corn field so James couldn’t see much of what was happening although he could hear a fight.

The Songbird’s horse panicked and rode off so she jumped clear and after a quick skirmish where she tore a portion of one of the Brood’s beasts from him, she shifted into Walsh’s form and came out to grab James.  She had reasoned that he would listen to his sire more than a stranger.  He hadn't listened to her so far, after all.  They stole a car and got out of there.

The Songbird, as Peter Walsh, attempted to convince him to remain in one of the capital cities, explaining that a nomadic unlifestyle was too dangerous for a new kindred but James refused to listen.  He needed to cling onto something familiar in this crazy new world.  The Songbird knew the Walsh persona was meant to be a Taifa so, as Walsh, he tried to convince James that this was so though after the first few encounters with other kindred, James figured out that he was actually a Daeva.

They went on a few hunts during this time although it was difficult to keep James well-fed in this sparse and sun-drenched land, so they left Australia in 1949 and went to America.  This turned out not to be a great idea because the original Peter Walsh was Iraqi born and so the persona was considered a black person and subject to Jim Crow legislation whilst being different enough to the African Americans that Walsh could hardly find friends there.

They spent five years in America, from 1949 to 1954, before leaving for England.  You can find out more about a few of their adventures over in this article.  It was also during this time that he adopted a 10-year-old girl, Charlotte (Charlie) Adams, whom he has apprenticed as a Hunter and whom he has no intention of Embracing.  It wasn't so much of a choice on his behalf as Charlie clung onto the two of them and convinced them that there wasn't truly a better alternative by ensuring their next hunt was at an orphanage.

Having discovered that Peter Walsh is actually the Songbird, the sweet yet exotic woman that James has yearned for so many years, James gained quite a crush on him under the hopes that Walsh would soon shed his masculine form.  This did occur, but only during a meeting with Joy Tyler after they went to England together, where Joy figured out that her brother hadn’t returned – that it was actually the Songbird whom she had known previously.  Joy kissed Walsh passionately, and as his Unity (his version of a Clarity / Synergy score) was reasonably low at the time, he instinctively shifted into the form of Dr. Kellis which was the identity that had been Joy’s lover.

At first, James was excited by this but now he’s not so sure.  While there is a certain Walshness (or rather, the Walshness of the Walsh that James knew rather than the true Jack Tylerness of the original Wash) about her, there have also been indicators that things aren’t quite right.  She’s dead set against them having any sort of relationship, believing with an almost childlike naiveté that those who romance James are destined to be forgotten, alongside an innate need to keep her relationships stable and consistent so that she can be stable and consistent.

For now, however, things are working out.  James has Charlie, whom he regards as a daughter, and his best friend Walsh.  He has to deal with his kindred Aunty Joy Tyler, but he’s pretty sure he can handle it.


Apparent Age: 24
Kindred Age: 7
Clan: Daeva
Bloodline: Tyler (variant of Zelani)
Bloodline Weakness: Takes aggravated damage from blessed water.
Covenant: Ordo Dracul
Gender: Male

Virtue: Justice
Vice: Gluttony

Intelligence: 2
Wits: 3
Resolve: 3

Strength: 3
Dexterity: 3
Stamina: 2

Presence: 3
Manipulation: 4
Composure: 2

Academic: 1
Computer: 0
Crafts: 1
Investigation: 3 (Finding Physical Clues)
Medicine: 1
Occult: 3
Politics: 1 
Science: 1

Athletics: 2
Brawl: 1
Drive: 1
Firearms: 3 (Pistol)
Larceny: 2
Stealth: 2
Survival: 0
Weaponry: 3

Animal Ken: 0
Empathy: 2
Expression: 2 
Intimidation: 1
Persuasion: 3
Socialise: 2
Streetwise: 1
Subterfuge: 2 (Con)

Blood Potency: 2
Humanity: 6
Willpower: 5
Experience Points: 177 experience points

In this game, I use the LARP rules for merits whereby simple merits cost Total Dots x 2 while complex merits must have each level bought separately.

Social Chameleon (**)
Combat Marksmanship (*)
Striking Looks (**)
Multilingual - Italian / Latin (*)
Barfly (*)

Relic Analyist (*)
Favoured Weapon - Fireaxe (**)
Fast Reflexes (*)
French Language (*)
Meditative Mind (*)
Fighting Style: Langshwartz (*)


Majesty (***)
Celerity (*)
Vigor (*)
Serendipity (*)

In my game, I have house ruled it that coils have an experience point value equal to New Tier x 7 rather than equal to All Coils + New Coil x 7.

Coil of Beasts (*)
Coil of Souls (*)
CUSTOM: Coil of the Core (*)

Special Equipment
Fire Axe.  This weapon was given to him by a 10-year-old Charlotte Adams to help despatch a Ventrue serial killer in Chicago.  It was handed down to her by her father's friends after her father, a fireman, died in a fire that burned down a publishing house.

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