A Dark Night's Ride
Born a naive farm hand, his experiences in the War caused him to grow up quickly. He now works to preserve order above all..
32 years old
6’3", 185 pounds, fair complexion with sandy blond hair.
Color: White-Blue. James believes in order and peace, and will not countenance anything that allows the return of the widespread butchery he saw in the War. He also believes in planning and preparation whenever possible, and through the proper use of technology to accomplish his goals.
Complications: James is quite afraid of any body of water deeper than a bathtub due to an incident in a (nearly) frozen pond where if not for the quick actions of his brother John he would have died.
Pinkerton Package: K(Law Enforcement) +1, Survival +2, Pistol +1, Intimidate +1, Sense Motive +2, Spot +1 Ride +2, Well Connected
Background skills: Concentration +6 (total), Craft(Device) +8, Craft(Explosion) +6, Disable Device +7, Handle Animal +2, K(Geography) +5, K(Military) +6, K(Engineering) +7, K(Railroads) +6, Profession(Smith) +2, Sleight of Hand +5, Rifle +1
Feats: Luck, Inventor, Diehard, Uncanny Dodge, Improvised Tools, Equipment x2, Master Plan
Languages: English, Morse Code, passably able to read Latin and French, but verbal conversations in those languages would be laughably bad
His tool chest, fully stocked and water proofed to allow him to address the vast majority of mechanical issues he finds.
Two scatterguns with slug and spread ammo. The one he carries openly is normal, the other is Matilda, with a sawed off barrel and stock that he keeps hidden on his person for ‘special’ occasions when it is best that he not carry openly.
Colt frontier model .45 caliber single action revolver
Black duster, vest, white shirt patched at the left elbow, slouch hat, leather boots (not cowboy style), goggles, black leather gloves
Magnifying spectacles (for detail work), alchemical lights (read: primitive road flares), lock picks, skeleton key
Homunculus, named Philo: Str 4, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha -. Philo (named for Philo the Dialectician (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo_the_Dialectician) is one foot tall, and needs winding daily (James keeps the key around his neck, and a spare in the tool kit). It can follow simple commands, but has very little resembling independent intellect. Philo resembles a small tin-man type toy. He is made of brass, but if one were to open him up he would resemble a wonderfully complex Swiss watch. He can communicate through clicks, usually just once for yes and two for no or using the clicks for simple Morse code, or through simple hand motions and head shaking. His gearing and create a mechanical memory, where part of it is like a music box (unchangeable, think basic boot program on a computer) and the rest is random rewritable memory (which is kept in his gearing but would be lost if his gears come undone or if it needs to be overwritten for newer memories).
James is 32 years old, 6’3", 190 pounds. He was born and raised on a dairy farm outside Madison, Wisconsin. The hard work and harsh winters bestowed upon him vigor and health, if not necessarily the matching strength to go with it. The long winters also gave his remarkable mind time to develop a talent for engineering and mechanics. He spent time reading from his Uncle Malcolm’s library and working in the blacksmithy repairing farm machinery. But the horns of war changed all this. His elder brother John enlisted, and James secretly followed, for which his parents and other brother Jacob never forgave him.
His very first battle was as a drummer boy at the Battle of Antietam, which saw him paralyzed with fear. He stood near his brother, to afraid to do anything but pee his pants. A Rebel cannonball landed nearby, its fuse fizzing and popping. John threw himself on top of James, whispering to his younger brother, “Be brave!” James never heard the explosion, but he saw the light fade from his brother’s eyes.
He served his entire career in the 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, serving well but with average valor; his career is notable for its uninterrupted length more than anything – his lack of injuries made him a bit of a good luck charm for the rest of the unit eventually. James of course felt it was John looking over him from beyond. He made it through the Battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and the Siege of Petersburg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6th_Wisconsin_Volunteer_Infantry_Regiment). He slowly rose through the ranks from drummer boy to sergeant, most of it as an engineer and sapper, putting his mechanical abilities to use. He showed himself to be cautious, often putting himself at odds with his more fire-brand comrades. He would rather plan extensively then strike decisively, instead of rushing in blindly and violently.
This trait put him in direct contravention to his commanding general’s views during the later part of the War. With the ascension of General Grant to the command of all Union armies and his taking personal command in Virgina against Lee, the Army of the Potomac took on a much more aggressive will. Grant’s motto of “Attack! Press! Attack!”, while militarily valid at this point of the War due to the South’s inability to replace any losses, earned Grant the reputation of ‘Butcher’ well. The Battle of Cold Harbor was a singular point of personal horror for James, as he watched so many of his friends and comrades fed into the meat grinder. The Battle of the Crater during the Siege of Petersburg cemented his anger at those who do not tale planning and preparation seriously, and meddle in affairs they do not understand at the last moment, leading to useless slaughter and wasted opportunities.
After the war, James found himself unwelcome at home, so he found himself on a train to El Paso, simply because it was going away from home. In time, he found what amounted to a home on the growing nation’s trains, working as a mechanic and engineer for ten years. The long hours on the rails suited him well, giving him the years of solitude he needed to come to grips with the horrors of the War. It also gave him time to again hone his mind, tinkering with spare parts in his off hours and while on the endless miles between stops.
His work on the rail lines would often involve him in operations with the Pinkertons, investigating sabotage and evaluating fortifications for the security outposts setup by the railroad companies. He became known as the ‘Fixer’, for his talents in being able to solve any engineering issues found over the prairies, deserts, mountains, and cities. Eventually, he accepted their offer to return to civilization and deal with certain problems that cannot necessarily be solved with a wrench and a strong arm, and to assist with the preservation of peace and order.
That was a year ago. Since then, James has found a small apartment above a smithy, working with the Pinkerton on designs for early armored cars or wagons for use in more lawless areas. He remains a bachelor, finding little interest in meeting people that have flooded the DC area lately that treat the War as merely some speedbump of history. He assists the aging Mr. Hammond in his smithy whenever possible, keeping his skills up and earning a little extra pay. Most of the rest of his time is spent perfecting Philo or reading – currently he is working on Greek philosophy, but is finding it hard to have common ground with people from so long ago. However, he does enjoy reading the work of those that focused on logic rather than more abstract ideas.