Monday, June 29, 2015

Today's NPC: Harry Crewswater

SYSTEM: Any supers game

Harry is a commercial real estate agent, dealing for the most part in warehouses, offices, and factories. He worships Donald Trump while being critical of him, he is a Tea Party conservative, and he donates to all political parties. Harry is kind of a creep, loud and obnoxious, but Harry does have his own code of ethics and a sense of survival.

He needs them.

Harry rents property to supervillains.

Ever wonder where those bases come from, those wonderfully recondite underwater lairs, those abandoned warehouses with the Coming soon: Condos, fall 2007 signs out front? Harry rents them.

It started with his cousin, David, who's serving life in a certain maximum security prison. David made Harry's name known to certain supervillains who were passing through the prison. Now his reputation is self perpetuating. Whenever supervillains hire on thugs, someone is sure to mention Harry's name, and Harry's rules.
  • Harry never meets with a client under the client's real name or known aliases
  • He insists on the first month's payment up front
  • He refuses to know anything about the client's real plans
  • Everything has to be discussed according to the fiction. This is important, because the feds have several times gotten a warrant to bug Harry's phone and office. If a client uses a known name, Harry refuses to do business with him--the tapes are full of him saying that he cannot do business with the Subtle Squid, or Doctor Faux, or the Bomb Cats. 
  • He refuses to eat or drink with the client. 
  • He conducts most business by phone, except for the final signature, for which he sends his duly appointed representative, Ernesto. Or Claude, or whatever his name is. Harry's on his fifth one. (Most of them quit, not being as tough as they thought they were.)
Harry also can't be swayed by threats to his cousin David (of whom he is not that fond, anyway), nor by threats to his wife, Marissa (of whom he is definitely not that fond anymore), or by threats to his kids, who in his eyes are mostly a tool for generating tax deductions and spending his money.

A threat to one of his mistresses might slow him down, but instead he would probably call the cops. Because if these guys had resources, they wouldn't be dealing with him.

Now, one might wonder how Harry actually makes money off supervillains, because most of them stiff him for subsequent rent or get caught by superheroes. One might suspect an organized crime connection, and one would be right.

Organized crime owns the construction and demolition companies that get called in, and Harry receives a nice kickback from them by letting them know that a property has been rented, and will probably be available soon in a damaged condition. The mob does the demo job or, if the villain is caught elsewhere, cleans out any equipment left behind and sells it at a profit. Harry's kickback doesn't have to be declared on taxes, and brings Harry up to the almost-lavish lifestyle he enjoys.

How do the PCs get involved with Harry? Mostly, they don't. Harry is a reason, rather than a gaming opportunity. However, he might come to the attention of the PCs in several ways.

First of all, a PC who has an obscene streetwise ability might know about him. Certain police officers do, and they know that Harry works very hard to be clean legally. They also know that if they really, really need to find a supervillain hideout, there's a thirty per cent chance they can do it by pointing concerned citizens who are not burdened with search laws (that is, certain heroes) at Harry.

Second, a PC who likes data crunching might well notice that six of the last twelve supervillain hideouts were rented by the same company. This could lead to a visit to Harry, and a return visit from the Mob after Harry complains.

Third, a PC might actually be investigating violence against David, in prison.

Fourth, it's a reason for a mob member to know things he shouldn't, if a PC leans on him.

Here's how Harry might look, in ICONS:

Harry Crewswater, Real Estate Magnate

Prowess2Coordination2Strength3Determination
Intellect3Awareness4Willpower4Stamina7
SpecialtiesBusiness Expert Law (real estate) ExpertPowersNone
Qualities
  • Deeply connected with the underworld
  • Cares about the appearance of honesty
  • Wants more stuff, more power, more leverage