Murder, They Rolled
Lou Mackie has…
average strength. (d12)
Lou’s build is not one that lends itself to physical prowess, but what he does have plays up because of his personal intensity.
above average agility. (d10)
Lou is fairly graceful, in movement if not in manner.
spotty health. (d20)
Without a wife to make sure he eats regularly of normal food, without anyone to tell him to mind his ulcer or rest when a headache comes on, Lou’s body has fallen into some disrepair.
surprising knowledge. (d8)
Though he has little respect for the highly educated, a strong memory and a stronger inferiority complex have driven Lou to be something of an autodidact. Most of his knowledge is practical, but more than one self-important snob has been reminded that the Devil can quote scripture, for his purpose.
gifted perception. (d8)
Lou doesn’t miss much, and manages to convince himself that most of the things he does miss weren’t important anyway.
atrocious luck. (d30)
Whether it’s the vagaries of chance, some cruel fate imposed from on high, or the backlash of a hard-earned karmic debt, things have a tendency to break bad for Lou, and make things harder than they should be.
Lou Mackie is…
a brilliant communicator. (d6)
Through a combination of talent and training, Lou can make himself pretty well understood to anyone he needs to, and understand pretty well everyone in kind. Whether it be nonverbal communication, the smattering of a smattering of foreign languages he’s picked up in his trials and travels, or his fluency with double-speak and code, Lou Mackie talks the talk.
an abominable politician. (d30)
Lou’s talent and charisma often afford him an easy and instant rapport with his peers and superiors, but after the novelty of the new connection fades Lou reveals himself to be increasingly brusque and bad-mannered. There are few people you’d rather have in your corner in a pinch, but Lou is not a man you want speaking on your behalf to men of influence, or a man you invite out for drinks after work.
a decent dancer. (d12)
Though he rarely has occasion nowadays, the dance floor is perhaps the one place in the entire world where Lou isn’t at risk of stepping on anyone else’s toes.
naturally imaginative. (d8)
In another life, this talent might have been nurtured into a proper creative drive, and Lou might have become a bitter, unpleasant artist instead of a bitter, unpleasant detective. As it stands, his imagination makes him uncannily good at reconstructing sequences of events and the mindsets of his quarry.
a poor shot. (d20)
He’s only ever had to fire a weapon in the line of duty once. It didn’t go well, and he’s not inclined to practice.
terrible with children. (d30)
At turns helpless and infuriated, if you leave Lou alone in a room with anyone younger than 10, ends up throwing a tantrum.
a competent fist fighter. (d10)
You can’t be a man in Lou’s line of work, with Lou’s temperament, without getting into a scrap every now and then. He fights fiercely, without finesse, and it works for him.
an inept navigator. (d20)
Lou’s natural sense of direction leaves something to be desired, and his ability to read a map or keep a string of directions in his head isn’t much better.
a solid accountant. (d12)
While he’s no financial wizard, Lou is extremely careful and thorough with his own money, and has a head enough for figures that unless someone is particularly clever about it he can see discrepancies in other people’s books.
really mean. (d8)
Lou Mackie is not an easy man to get along with, and he knows this. What’s more, he it. A well-placed, harsh word will cut through seven kinds of bullshit, and a rough gesture or an icy look will too. His capacity for aggression allows him to adopt (or slip into) an abrasive posture at any time, and makes him a natural “bad cop”.
That’s something they don’t tell you about this line of work: you forget, most days, why it’s worth doing.
A description: he’s a man in his mid-thirties, medium height and rail-thin. His face is pointed and rough, like a switchblade that’s started to rust. His suit is worn but well-tailored, while the coat he wears over it billows like a cloak when he walks. The hat looks brand new. Beneath his sharp, pale hair and sharp, pale eyes is a jaw that’s always working, as if he’s chewing on something, or carrying on a conversation behind sealed lips.
Lou Mackie lives for The Chase.
Too poor to go to the best schools that admitted him and too proud to go anywhere else, Mackie graduated top of his class with distinction at a major metropolitan police academy. He was promoted to full Detective faster than anyone his superiors could remember – and Mackie made good. Clearances seemed to fall from the sky, and his personnel file was stuffed with commendations. People started using words you just didn’t use to describe cops in those days, words like ‘natural’ and ‘prodigy’ and even ‘genius’.
Nobody was more convinced of Lou Mackie’s brilliance than he was. Temperamental and stubborn, Mackie burned bridges inside and outside the department, his ego and vanity losing him friends and allies as fast as his talent won them. Where other cops had earned goodwill and friends to buoy them through the hard times, Mackie had to prove himself again and again. But he did, every time, and every attempt to curb or control him was met with fiercer and fiercer rebukes.
He doesn’t talk about what got him kicked off the force in his hometown, but it must have been bad. No doubt his new bosses have it on file somewhere.
His gift for making enemies has left him without much of a personal life. He’s got no real friends to speak of, not anymore. A wife and son get the lion’s share of his paycheck, in whatever city they call home. He writes once a month. He gets a reply once every three. When he needs to unwind, he finds some place where other people are having a good time, and sits there, drink in hand, trying to soak it up like a leech.
As a detective, Mackie relies on a powerful intuitive mind, one that operates with something more akin to imagination and inspiration than the stuffy deduction one associates with a master detective. Important, too, is his ability to form easy, instant rapports with anyone he meets. The connection is superficial and tenuous; anyone who gets to know the real Lou Mackie, even a little, usually comes away wondering how they ever liked him in the first place.
But the same ego and temper that made him such a terrible employee, coworker, husband, and father are what make him such a great detective. He’s always thrived on it, heart and mind bent as one towards the Chase, towards proving to whomever he was chasing that he was smarter than they were. And he made sure they knew it, too, that it was Lou Mackie who cracked the case, Lou Mackie who beat them.
For Lou the new job has been a blessing. It lets him continue The Chase, in some form, even though he considered the sort of work that got thrown his way (until he proved himself, again) beneath his talents. He’s not much easier to get along with now than he was as real police. But he tries to stay inside himself, because he knows this job is all he’s got left. The question is whether he’ll succeed.