A Dark Night's Ride
H. Gallagher Bell
A New York upper-class mathematician turned investigator
Name: H. Gallagher Bell
Weight: 164 lbs
Strength: 12 (+ 1)
Constitution: 14 (+ 2)
Dexterity: 12 (+ 1)
Intelligence: 18 (+ 4)
Wisdom: 10 (+ 0)
Charisma: 16 (+ 3)
! = dodge bonus
AC: 15! / 12
Fortitude: + 3
Reflex: + 3
Will: + 3
! = Eidetic Memory
Gather Information: +8
Knowledge (History): +9! / +5
Knowledge (Law): +10! / +6
Knowledge (Math & Econ): +14! / +10
Knowledge (Natural Science): +9! / +5
Knowledge (Physical Science): +9! / +5
Perform (Dance): +4
Sense Motive: +4
Unarmed – +1 to hit, DC 16
Boot Knife – +1 to hit, DC 17
.45 Smith & Wesson – +3 to hit, DC 20
Attack Focus I (Ranged) – +1 to ranged attacks
Eidetic Memory – untrained knowledge checks & +4 to memory
Dodge III – +3 to Defense
Connected – use Diplomacy to call in favors
Equipment III – 15 pp to spend on equipment
Precise Shot – ignore penalties for shooting into melee
Benefit II (Wealth) – +8 to wealth checks
Benefit I (Status) – upper-class
Leadership I – spend a hero point to remove negative conditions from allies
Well-Informed – may make a Gather Information check to remember people/things
Quickness III (mental only) – perform mental tasks 10x quicker than the average person
two .45 Smith & Wesson 3 revolvers (Blast 5), ammunition, bootknife (Strike 1 mighty), handcuffs, binoculars, fine clothing, badge, briefcase, padded vest (Protection 1)
My grandfather once told me “Never use a pistol when your fists will nobly fill the role.” A bullet shattered my shoulder once for believing that. Mind you, I love my grandfather, and in most cases, living up to his example is, in the strictest sense, the best choice I can make. But he is a little old, a little out of touch, and if I do say so myself, not very good with a pistol.
My name is Horace Gallagher Bell, though because I was named after my father, I typically sign as H. Gallagher. My father passed away when I was very young, and I never got to know him. Thus, no need to steal his name, eh? He was an engineer, and was in Cuba for a surveying mission when he caught the cholera. I grew up with my mother, grandfather, and grandmother at Berrymoore Manor, my grandfather’s estate on the Hudson River.
Life at Barrymoore was grand. The winters were never too cold and the summers only occasionally too hot. I learned horsemanship from my grandfather, practiced hunting and swimming on the expansive grounds, and studied with the brightest tutors both at home and in New York City. During the war, my mother hosted regular gala events to raise money for a variety of charities, and I was a quick student of both dance and conversation, especially with the many fair ladies who attended.
Selfish as it is, I admit I took full advantage of the fact that most of the young men were serving the army, in various safe administrative capacities of course. I only know a few of my generation who saw actual combat, a fact that, though peculiar on its face, makes perfect sense. We all knew how much change the country was to see in the following years, so why risk such important resources as our young and brilliant leaders who would surely be called upon in the decades ahead to create meaning and opportunity from the war’s devastation? As such, I felt little guilt about my staying at Berrymoore.
I graduated from Columbia College in 1869 having studied such gentlemanly subjects as latin, literature, philosophy, the natural sciences, and my personal passion, mathematics. So talented was my mind for numbers that I was quickly pressed into service as an investigative auditor for the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. My grandfather was delighted for me, saying that I would one day make a brilliant Secretary of the Treasury. I cannot say that I really dove into my work, there being so many other distractions for a man of my position in the city, until I was fortunate enough to be assigned a case with Detective Inspector Seamus O’Toole.
Seamus fought in the war, for sure, but those four years were merely part of a long and storied saga of fighting. By the time I met him, Seamus had fought the Mexicans, the British, his first wife, the Africans, the French, the Indians, his second wife, the Rebels, his third wife, the Union, his fourth wife, and a host of varied and sundry individuals in between, often while drunk. Never had a man better lived up to his brigade’s motto than this fightin’ Irishman. It is clear, in my eyes, that the government hired him knowing only that, if Seamus was to be fighting, it was better that he was on their side.
Seamus represented a new sort of investigator for the Service. Instead of analyzing records and calculating sums in an office, Seamus took to the streets, examined places where crimes were committed, interviewed persons of interest, and even occasionally pursued and apprehended suspects. Also, often while drunk.
Twenty-seven months into my work as an investigative auditor, the Commissioner asked me to work with Seamus on a matter that required delicate if alacritous handling. An important political figure’s wife had hanged herself just before a charity she had created closed down. Seamus suspected foul play, and was able to acquire a substantial set of financial documents that, once I looked them over, quickly proved that the charity had in fact been used to hide money from the city and national taxing authorities. Upon further investigation, we discovered that the politician actually murdered his own wife and disguised her suicide once she discovered the subterfuge. That was merely the beginning.
Over the next two years, Seamus and I solved a series of dangerous and nefarious plots. We soon teamed up with a third investigator, Rebecca Sturn, a Jewess of considerable technological talent. On at least a dozen occasions, Rebecca rigged up an elaborate entrance mechanism, allowing Seamus and I access to someone’s private study in order to quickly create facsimiles of financial and personal documents (using another of Rebecca’s devices) that would later be used to prove all manner of villainous schemes. Usually, the insertion machine would break, and those nights ended in a firefight and a wild chase as we attempted to escape with our lives. I do not at all begrudge Rebecca, but sometimes reflect on how magically able she was to get us into trouble and how dramatically unable she was to rescue us. Frankly, it might have contributed to how smitten I became with this small, striking Jewess.
Rebecca and I were married in the summer of 1875. Though my grandmother was perturbed at the start that I should marry one of the hebrews, the family quickly took a liking to her and she and I moved to Upper Manhattan. Though a small house, it possessed a large basement which made for a fine workroom for Rebecca’s constant experimenting. The same year, Seamus put away his badge, and I mostly went back to working mundane auditing cases. Yet tragedy befell my family not more than two years after its happy beginning. Both Rebecca and my baby boy died during childbirth earlier this year. They are interred in a plot at Barrymoore, though I sadly still live in the city.
My grandfather also once told me to “Keep a brief story of your life to date behind at home if you ever wander off somewhere dangerous. It’s easier for the papers that way, and you don’t want the papers talking about you like they did your father, hrmph.” Though a little old and a little out of touch, I have decided to follow his advice again. Mr. Thomas has asked me to attend to a matter in New Orleans involving the President of the United States. My train leaves tomorrow evening, and since I believe Seamus has just knocked on my door come round for his nightly visit of porch-sitting and whiskey, I believe my tale to be at an end. If necessary, thank you, Grandfather, for your everpresent guidance and affection. And though I miss you, Rebecca, you are forever in my thoughts.
Physical Description – H. Gallagher Bell stands somewhat taller than most men at 5 feet 10 inches in height. He has a lean and lightly muscled build like most young men his age, and his thick brown hair is swept to one side. Though Gallagher has a wide selection of fine clothing from which to choose, he often dresses in a fine white linen shirt, a darkly-colored simple vest (padded on the inside with a special material designed by his wife to offer a modicum of protection), a gentleman’s overcoat, and a pair of black or grey well-tailored trousers. He wears two leather shoulder holsters for his Smith & Wesson 3’s and carries extra magazines clipped to the back of his belt. A silver pocketwatch hangs from his vest’s front pocket, and he carries an unworn leather briefcase with the phrase “always come home – RS” emblazoned on the clasp.