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I've edited the character a bit to fit my understanding of aspects, and thrown in stunts and skills. [xposted to the main Dresden files RPG community]

Please comment if you think I'm doing anything particularly wrong or right :-) The formatting might be a bit off, but I don't have any examples of a finished character from the rules yet. Many of the play test examples seem to be different anyhow, so I'm not too concerned for now. It should be easy enough to reformat this later. Apologies for any typos or sentences that are badly edited.

Joseph Brodsky, FBI Unit Chief, Missing Persons division, New York.

High Concept: "Find out what happened to my parents"

Theme: "Spy without a net""

Background story -

Joseph's parents were Russian born spies. He was born in Pakistan, and traveled from embassy to embassy until his teenage years. Scrupulous about secrecy, his parents were also loving, encouraging, and strongly disciplined. From them, Joseph learned that you could be loved by people who didn't tell you everything about their lives. He never delved too deeply into the secret aspects of their lives, but he also learned the "spy game" from watching them without asking direct questions. Investigation, interrogation, psychology, and interpreting a range human behavior is instinctual to him as well as learned form his parents, and later in life from his military background. Mundane human sometimes suspect him of supernatural powers because of his deductive abilities.

What Shaped him - At age 17, Joseph entered The Virginia Military Academy, and was expected to enter military service. But during his second year, his parents vanished after accepting what was intended to be a semi-retirement assignment to the UN in New York City. His parents were never found, and no trace of where they disappeared to was ever presented to him. After graduating from VMI with honors, he refused assignment to the military and went on to graduate work in New York at John Jay university in Forensic Psychology. Before his graduation, he was recruited into the FBI. He pulled together resources and skills developed by his parents, and is playing a double game as an FBI agent, and using all of his spy skills to find out what happened to his parents.

He's never found them, but his research into unexplained disappearances, crimes and murders in New York City put him on an inevitable collision course with the supernatural, and has him skirting the law - spying on his own recognizance, and trusting only himself.

First Story - "Unexplained Causes"

After several years of tracking down the most baffling of cases of unexplained disappearances, FBI Special Agent Joseph Brodsky is at the top of his profession, but no closer to solving his parent's disappearance. In an investigation of a related disappearance of a US intelligence agent at the UN a year prior to his parents vanishing, he stumbles across a secret society of Russian cultists near Coney Island. (details of interaction with whatever PC seems appropriate). One of the last persons to see both the agant's dissapearance and his parents turns out to be a Russian interpreter who, when questioned in the agency claims to be Joseph's uncle. Joseph is deeply suspicious, but manages to respond by writing on a notepad, getting his 'uncle' to do the same, then collecting both notepads and destroying them.

His 'Uncle' Boris provides him with information about the location of the cult, but at the same time, bugs his apartment and hacks his computer. Joseph discovers the bug, but needs to go to a computer expert outside of the bureau to obtain a virtual machine that will allow him to feed false information to the Russians for a while, and misdirect them to a warehouse next door to where the cultists really are. Joseph leads an FBI team to the warehouse, but they're all incapacitated by the ghosts that the Russians were summoning and using to power a larger spell. An explosion caused by the Russians blowing up the next door warehouse gives Josephy the time to shoot the lead cultists, negating the spell and releasing the ghosts.

Joseph is forced to explain away some of the more magical aspects of the cult, as well as Boris' involvement. The results of his investigations result in the incident being classified as Top Secret, Brodsky being promoted to head the Missing Persons unit, and narrowly avoiding an official reprimand for abuse of resources for personal gain. It's clear he has supporters and detractors in the government's power structure, but it's uncertain who they are, or what they intend for him. The surviving cultists were arrested as terrorists, and either extradited to Russia, or dissapeared into the network of "black sites" run by the CIA in Europe and the Middle East

Guest starring in -

Guest Starring in -


1) "Spy without a net" (High Concept)

Use - Bonus to rolls when spying on people/places

Be used (compell or tag) - Deny resources, make him cover his tracks, threaten his cover

2) "Uncle Boris, The Russian spy" (Theme)

Use - Access the Boris' resources (at a cost of a favor and a fate point)

Be used - Knows to manipulate him in regards to his parents. Can get him in trouble with the FBI, blackmail him, feed him false information, or even threaten Boris.

3) "Tell me five true things, I'll tell you which one is the lie" (Background)

Use - Bonus to empathy when someone is lying, but requires some details form them.

Be used - Everyone is suspect, no one is innocent - Compel him to mistrust people he should trust, at a critical situation. Compel him to look into people's lives. Tag him as someone with no sense of trust.

4) "If the government won't find my parents, I will" (Rising Conflict)

Use - Bonus to rolls that involve this investigation

Be used - Manipulate him to follow a potential lead

5) "Not in my town" (My story)

Use - Grant bonuses to actions when innocents are threatened in NYC, and he's doing something about it.

Be used - compel him not to ignore injustices. Always find a way to right wrongs. You could tag him by threatening innocents.




Empathy - Great

Investigation- Great

Guns - Good

Scholarship - Good

Deceit - Fair

Fists - Fair

Resources - Fair

Alertness - Average

Endurance - Average

Stealth - Average

Athletics - Average

Burglary - Average


1) Investigation - "That's out of place" - + 2 to spot something in a scene that normally would not be there.

2) Scholarship - "Cultural Chameleon" +2 to rolls based on interactions where cultural membership or knowledge is helpful.

3) Guns - "Hail of bullets" Increases damage by +2, unloads entire clip in one action, no gunfire next round while reloading.

4) Scholarship - Linguist (7 languages - Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Russian, French, Swahili, Hebrew). I'm hoping for some leeway in his understanding the dialects of some of these languages.

Starting Refresh - 8 ( Base 6 +2 for being a "normal human")

Remaining Refresh - 4


Notes on character creation -

I wanted someone who'd be bit like a character out of a character out of a Robert Ludlum novel (Bourne Identity and all that). I'm also hoping to pull in elements of "The Great Game" played between the UK, and eventually America, and Russia, only with ties to the supernatural, which I'm pulling from the novel Declare by Tim Powers. There's shadows of family involvement with the supernatural in his past, as well as spy business. He's similar to Harry Dresden in his being an orphan, but he was closer to his parents than Harry was, raised by them, and feels responsible for finding the truth of what happened to them because if his love for them. Joseph is driven to find out what happened to his family, Harry is driven to more general goals because he never felt like he had a family.

Procedure wise, I'm more comfortable with the instructions in the Character Creation file, but I think that three of the first four aspects need more detail as to what works for them. The theme, high concept, and rising conflict aspects are just too undefined. I think the SOTC rules have a lot more clarity, and also the fact that you get ten aspects there gives me a sense of comfort in picking something that might be more of an an interesting flaw. It feels like I'm trying to cram a lot into fewer aspects here. In the long run, it's helping me be creative, but it's a lot harder than it is in other game systems to get it really right.

I think using 'Uncle' Boris as a theme might be an odd choice, but it's interesting, and can be used partly like Bob the skull, and partly like Marcone, or Mab - someone with power, who's not helping or hindering, but plays a central part in Joseph's life, and manipulates him to unknown ends. I've left Boris undefined as a good/bad guy. I'll swap out that aspect if the game demands it. But for now, Boris has information and resources that Joseph wants, but is not beyond using Joseph for his own ends. Boris can provide whatever the story needs him to provide, but Joseph knows he can't always trust him.

I'm still not 100% comfortable with Boris as this particular aspect, but I'm trying to make the character concept fit the game as it was written.

I moved "find out what happened to my parents" from theme to rising conflict, and changed it to "If the government won't find my parents, I will" because it implies that there's either a cover up, or an unwillingness to look into the topic on the government's part, and that he's going it alone. I think this dovetails with the "spy without a net" aspect. He's going to find his parents if the government won't, and he's doing so as a "spy without a net". It allows some bonuses for finding things about his parents without being a spy, like if he was using this to boost his nonexistent conviction skill when resisting a mental challenge.

The two parts that were easier were the background and "my story" aspects. The background, because it's a more stable part of his character. I know what happened there, and what sort of aspects were likely to come out of it. The section was pretty unambiguous for that part of character generation. The "Tell me five true things, I'll tell you which one is the lie" aspect is a paraphrase from the movie "Breach", which is in turn taken from the novel "Kim" (Kim's Game). Joseph was trained from childhood by masters of observation to pluck lies and inconsistencies from facts, notice patterns, and deviations from them, and analyze this data rapidly.

The "Not in my town" would be a quote from his novel. I'm trying to flesh out the plot of that in my head. Who were the cultists? What were they trying to do? They were involved in kidnapping people, but why?

I'm interested to see what else I'll pick for the remaining two aspects. I'm going to rest that choice on what sort of story the other PCs are telling, the way my character might relate to them, and what kind of person he is.


The Dresden Files Role Playing Game: New York City

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