Monday, August 31, 2015

The Black Dwarf and his Gangbusting Gang

The never-before-revealed origin of the Black Dwarf and his cadre of crime-fighting semi-reformed criminals! (By Steve Miller, based on characters created by Paul Gattuso. Read more in The Black Dwarf from NUELOW Games.)

Art by Paul Gattuso.

In 1940, professional football player Peter "Shorty" Wilson was injured during a game and left unable to play. He retired and managed to turn his small nest egg into a large fortune with a series of successful investments With his new-found fortune Shorty became a target for grifters, gangsters, and thieves. As fearsome has he had been on the football field, Shorty was unequipped to deal with this new onslaught... and his new fortune was almost taken from him as soon as he gained it. Even his own accountant was stealing from him.

But one of the grifters came to his aid. Patricia "Arsenic" Gaynes originally entered Shorty's life looking only for his money, but his good humor and good heart soon made her fall in love with him. She revealed herself to him,  showed him all the ways he was being taken advantage of, and helped him bring several of the crooks to justice and recover as much of his money as possible.

One of the predators who had come after Shorty's fortune was not going to go away easily--Victor Spunetti, One of the city's most feared gangsters, Spunetti operated a number of illegal gambling parlors and other shady businesses. Shorty's accountant had been paying off gambling debts to Spunetti using Shorty's accounts, and he had further led the gangster to believe that Shorty was paying the mortgage on one of the gangster's buildings as an investment. When that stopped, the gangster came to meet Shorty and demand his money. Shorty, over Arsenic's warnings, beat him up and threw him into the street.

Spunetti vowed revenge against Shorty. To protect her love, Arsenic turned to some friends--cat-burglar Terry "The Fly" Holcomb and pickpocket Matthew "Dippy" Mason. She asked them to keep an eye on Spunetti and his key hoods and give her warnings if they were moving on Shorty--something they did gladly, since they had themselves been threatened by Spunetti's crew. Within days, the warning game that Spunetti had dispatched expert safe-cracker and reputed assassin Joseph "Nitro" Lemerise to rob the safe in Shorty's home. If Shorty also happened to get blown up in the process, Nitro would receive a huge bonus.

Shorty and Arsenic grabbed Nitro the moment he entered the apartment. The safe-cracker offered to help them deal with Spunetti if they would forget he tried to rob them. When asked why they should trust him, Nitro explained that he wasn't an assassin--and that anyone who thought he was was dredging up memories of an accident he'd rather forget. THOSE people, like Spunetti, he didn't mind blowing up,

A few nights later, Shorty, Arsenic, Nitro, and The Fly struck at Spunetti's fortified mansion. The Fly climbed the walls to an upper window and let them in through a side door. Arsenic distracted a guard, so Shorty and Nitro could get into Spunetti's office and break into his safe where the ledgers of his illegal businesses were kept. Before they managed to crack it, Arsenic and The Fly were captured by Spunetti. Shorty, desperate to rescue them, but knowing he was out-gunned, grabbed a blackout curtain from the office windows and a gaucho hat from a rack, put them on, and burst into room where Spunetti was about to torture Arscenic for information.

Shorty's bizarre appearance startled the assembled thugs to the point where Arsenic was able to snatch Spunetti's knife and use it to stab him, while Shorty gunned down the rest of the gangsters. As they prepared to flee the scene, the sole surviving gangster asked, "Who are you?" of Shorty.

"I am the one who's going to put an end to all crooks and racketeers in this city," Shorty replied. "Tell your gutter-scum friends that the Black Dwarf is coming for them."

Safely back in Shorty's apartment, Arsenic asked where the "Black Dwarf gag" had come from. Shorty replied that it was just a spur of the moment thing, but that maybe it was worth pursuing. For all of them.

"If you three go straight," he said, "together we can go good for the law-abiding citizens of this town. We can use your knowledge of the underworld to bring it down. In the process, you can make more money than you could if you continued being crooks: Everyone gangster we bring down will have a bankroll that we'll skim part of that you can split. How does that sound?"

"For love or money, darling," Arsenic said, "I'm in."

"I'm okay with just the money," The Fly said, with a broad grin. Dippy nodded in agreement.

"We'll need a hide-out that can't be traced back to your lovely home, boss," Nitro stated. "I know just the joint..."

The Black Dwarf is available at RPGNow and DriveThruComics. It collects six tales with art by the character's creator--Paul Gattuso. It contains the selection of RPG material you've come to expect from our releases. Meanwhile, here are ROLF! stats for Shorty and his pals.

Art by Paul Gattuso

aka Peter "Shorty" Wilson
Brawn 22, Body 15 (includes +1 Hat Bonus), Brains 7
  Traits: Honorable, Martial Artist, Nimble
  Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Dodge, Double Tap, Kung Fu Face, Murderous Mitts, Run Away!, Sure Shot, Withering Insult
  Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Two Automatic Pistols (Medium Weapon, both fire simultaneously. Deals 4 points of damage that ignore armor.) Black Gaucho Hat (+1 Body when worn). Black Cassock and Cape (Superhero Outfit, armor, absorbs up to 2 points of damage).

ARSENIC (Female)
aka Patricia Gaynes
Brawn 17, Body 17, Brains 6
  Traits: Dead-Eye, Improv Master, Nimble
  Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Castrate, Disarm, Run Away!, Seduce, Strike Pose, Sure Shot
  Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Fashionable Clutch (Purse, Small Melee Weapon, deals 1 point of damage). Pistol (Small Weapon, deals 2 points of damage that ignore armor). Slinky Dress (Clothes).

DIPPY (Male)
aka Matthew Mason
Brawn 16 (includes +1 Hat Bonus), Body 15, Brains 5
   Traits: Nimble
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Knock Out, Snatch Weapon, The Walk, Walk and Chew Gum
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Sap (Small Melee Weapon, deals 1 point of damage that ignores armor. If used at the beginning of the ABBA sequence, a struck character must make a successful ATT Brawn check or be knocked unconscious.) Fedora (+1 to Brawn when worn)

NITRO (Male)
aka Joseph Lemerise
Brawn 13, Body 11, Brains 5
   Traits: Coldhearted, Dead-Eye
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Disembowel, Double Strike, Run Away!, Signature Move
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Knife (Small Melee Weapon, deals 1 point of damage). Mini-bombs (Ranged OR Melee Weapon, deals 5 points of damage that ignore armor to all characters within Melee Range of where the bomb goes off).

THE FLY (Male)
aka Terry Holcomb
Brawn 18, Body 13, Brains 5
   Traits: Improv Master, Nimble
   Combat Maneuvers: Backflip, Basic Attack, Climb the Walls, Dodge, Run Away!
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Nothing.

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