Some people have neither good nor bad luck; they instead have a certain whimsy of fate attached to them, placing them at the center of bizarre events whether they wish it or not. Joseph Random is one such individual...
Joe is a fairly normal, bland-looking man, with short-cropped brown hair beginning to go grey around the temples, a perpetual five o'clock shadow, and eyes that seem to be permanently set into a skeptical squint in a face that has been creased by a difficult life. He always seems to have a lit cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth or in one hand, even in places where smoking is prohibited.
He prefers to wear simple, cheap cotton T-shirts and equally cheap blue jeans; if he has to play at being dressed up, this often simply means he pulls a button-up shirt on over the T-shirt of the day and wearing black running shoes rather than his more common steel-toe boots. Always present in one pocket, regardless of any conditions, is a small hip flask full of cheap, vile, and hideously strong liquor, which he occasionally takes a sip from at odd intervals - although observant individuals will notice that he seems to sip a bit more often when his employer, Audrey Adison, is in the area.
Joe, unfortunate soul that he is, has been denied the touch of regular mortal luck, with the highs and lows known to common men. Where others might gamble at a slot machine and either hit a jackpot or, more often, simply lose their money, Joe will instead have the machine dispense a secret message meant for a spy who has just come in the door, or a holy relic which an angel will drop by and ask him to deliver to a location on the other side of the world in three days, lest the world be undone by some horrid evil from before time.
In either case, Joe would simply sigh, take a sip from his hip flask, and offer the entity facing him a cigarette before either turning the secret message over or looking for a phone to call his boss about yet another unplanned leave of absence. He's quite used to all manner of wildly bizarre things coming into his life, to the point that a chorus of angels on his lawn first thing in the morning can wait until he's done fixing himself a cup of coffee and some toast, and the presence of a thirty-meter-tall horror from beyond space and time is less important than keeping his cigarette lit. Other people mistake his attitude for bravery; Joe will be the first to admit he's neither brave nor a hero. He's just been faced with so much of the bizarre and unnatural that he's become utterly numb to it. In his rare moments of good humor, he's willing to point out that it gets hard to faze him when the most normal part of his life is going drinking with his boss, who is a vampire with fastidious tastes about unpolluted blood, his coworker, a handsomely gorgeous Fabio lookalike who turns into a fluffy pink poodle (much to the shame of the rest of the pack, who are all ferocious werewolves), and an elven princess who has a rainbow mohawk, brass knuckles, and a mouth fouler than a sailor.
Honestly, he doesn't have any. The only things he's certain to have on him are a half-empty pack of cigarettes, a lighter, and his hip flash, usually half-full of truly vile liquor. He has these simply because his employer refuses to drink 'contaminated' blood; if Audrey were to ever somehow lose his need for blood, Joe would ditch his smokes and booze overnight, with no noticable effect on his appearance or attitude.
Joe's entire attitude is simple: no matter what he happens to be facing, from rescuing a kitten in a tree to the rising of Great Cthulhu, he's utterly calm, showing the kitten in the tree the same degree of concern as Cthulhu. The only things that have the ability to agitate him are running out of cigarettes or alcohol, particularly if his vampiric employer is around. His attitude is neither courageous nor suicidal, although those who don't know him might think it is. He has, simply, not only been there and done that before, he undoubtedly gets Christmas cards each year from whatever blasphemous horror happened to be involved.
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? Responses (10)
... I feel as if this was somehow my fault.
Also, what, exactly, does he do for this vampire? Or even approximately?
Whatever he needs to. In general, Joe works fantastically mundane jobs that turn out to be utter chaos - working at the deli that Audrey's "father" owns a chain of, only to have it invaded by two different tribes of urban pixies who go to war at night using the sandwich fixings and leaving an utter mess.
His job description is essentially 'retainer'; he and a Jeeves could share some fascinating stories, if either ever got to the point of griping rather than being stoic about it all.
So we look into the soul of a man who has seen the fantastic and the unbelievable, and instead of rapture and awe, we find something a little bit closer to the truth. It's only fantastic the first time around, after that the amazing simply becomes oppressing.
"Buddy, I don't care that you're the Metatron. Glaaki dropped by last night to tell me a new Revelation, Thor insisted I go drinking with him that afternoon, and I woke up today with a message from Zeus on my answering machine, telling me I was a new mother. Sod off, I haven't had my morning smoke and coffee yet."
Joe Random indeed. The name caught my attention. The setting would need to be pretty narrow for me to use him though. A little Sandmanish, Hellbazerishy thingie:) But that's just my opinion. A good quality submission Kassil.
Really, Joe was spawned entirely by a trait in GURPS - the Weirdness Magnet trait, and a reference to it in the IOU book, as well as the 'Unusual background' trait stating that 'was raised by Orthodox Jewish ninja werewolves' didn't even come close to being odd in that setting.
Joe is the poor mundane guy who gets forever caught in situations of paranormal and supernatural origin, far more than any Epic Hero. He really is the Everyman, the poor sap.
I find this fellow quite amusing, though don't have a direct use for him myself. I'd like to see stories with him in it though.
That was his initial role; I made him with intent to write about his reluctant misadventures.
Once a player in our GURPS group took weirdness magnet, thinking it would be easy points. Our DM mercilessy exploited it.... Good times, in hindsight.
Still, I can not help but wonder how a Christmas-card of the Great Cthulhu would look like....