The Shadow Network
Brian Cook "Hangman"
Quote: “Can’t you hear them? They’re asking us to join them. All they want is to taste your flesh, to bathe in your blood. It’s not such a terrible price to pay, once you get used to it…”
Description: Hangman is a tall rail-thin African-American who looks every inch the junkie he is. He shaves his head, but often forgets to do so for days on end, leaving him with fuzzy stubble on his scalp. He also sports some patchy chin whiskers. He wears ripped-up jeans and T-shirts (often threadbare and stained), supplemented by a beat-up leather jacket in colder weather. When it’s warm, he occasionally goes barefoot, even outdoors. On occasion, when badly strung-out, Hangman sometimes neglects to shower. He doesn’t even bother attempting to conceal the track marks on his arms.
His Nimbus manifests as primal-looking pictographs of grim and terrible scenes, seemingly etched into his exposed flesh.
Dedicated Magical Tools: Paperback book (“How to Tell Your Children About Drugs”)
Real Name: Brian Cook
Order: Free Council
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 2, Resolve 1
Physical Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 2, Stamina 4
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 3, Composure 2
Mental Skills: Crafts 2, Medicine 1, Occult (Spirits) 3
Physical Skills: Brawl 1, Larceny 2, Stealth 2, Survival (Shelter) 1, Weaponry 1
Social Skills: Empathy 2, Intimidation 2, Persuasion 2, Socialize 1, Streetwise (Scoring Drugs) 3, Subterfuge 1
Merits: Dream 2, Hallow (Shared) 2, High Speech, Iron Stamina 1, Occultation 1, Sanctum (Shared) 2, Status (Order 1)
Wisdom: 4 (Depression, Irrationality)
Arcana: Death 1, Fate 1, Life 1, Spirit 2
Rotes: Death – Speak with the Dead (•); Fate – The Sybil’s Sight (•); Life – Pulse of the Living World (•); Spirit – Spirit Tongue (•), Peer Across the Gauntlet (••)
Mana/per Turn: 10/1
Armor: 2 (“Ephemeral Shield,” Spirit ••)
Background: Hangman is a shaman, a modern primitive priest of ancient spirits, experiencing the invisible world through altered states of consciousness created by ritual narcotics and ecstatic pain. He just doesn’t happen to be a very good shaman. Hangman’s idea of sacramental hallucinogens falls a bit far on the side of bad street drugs and his use of sacred agony is more a testament to his sadomasochistic nature than any real affirmation of faith. While there are certainly ways one could live Hangman’s life and perform the role of intermediary between humanity and the spirits well, he hasn’t found any of those ways yet and displays little interest in looking for them.
This willworker deals with dark spirits, extracting what he needs from them through a combination of bribery, threats and promises that he sometimes keeps and sometimes neglects (or else simply forgets about). Hangman has slowly been building up a lot of enemies in the unseen world this way, but he lives for the moment. When the consequences of his actions come home to roost, he will likely find the support of his “friends” in the Company vanishing rapidly into the woodwork. Until that day, however, he serves as the Company’s intermediary with the Shadow Realm.
Storytelling Hints: Hangman wanders the world in a daze of drugs and twisted perceptions. He attracts the attentions of many of the most malicious sorts of spirits, and they don’t hesitate to play with his senses and his emotions. He is often confused, groggy or both, and spends up to 16 hours a day asleep for days on end when he’s at his worst. When he is lucid, Hangman says extremely disturbing, even frightening, things, and then he loses himself in a narcotic oblivion, in an attempt to forget the horror that lurks just beyond the edges of reality.
Hangman is a creature of desires and is relatively easy to control through them, provided one understands the complexion of Hangman’s particular needs. He uses the influence given him by his membership in the Company to indulge his tastes in dispensing and receiving pain, and to feed a decade-long drug habit spawned by an early inability to cope with what his Awakening revealed to him. While currently a sad excuse for a mage, Hangman is a soul in need of help and a genuine friend. Anyone who actually manages to break through the mage’s bitter and defensive demeanor to actually deal with him like a human being may well earn a friend for life. Or an albatross she can’t shake.