Herbie Reed

Ex-Circus Clown turned lounge singer with a chip on his shoulder and a bit of a boozing problem.


Drive: Revenge
Personal Goal: The location and Elimination of the THING that killed his wife
Pillars of Sanity: Beauty of Music, Virtue of Wife’s Memory, Love of the Circus
Contacts: Jimmy the Fixer (speako bartender), Honest Abe (circus ringmaster)
Positive Connection #1: Walter Plunkett – Got him out of bootlegging and became a snitch.
Positive Connection #2: “Preacher” Lawrence G Mayfield – Worked together as Rum Runners.
Negative Connection: Edmund Stuyvessant – Herbie thinks that everything Edmund does is an act of mockery. He doesn’t do anything because he needs to he does stuff because he can.
NPC Connection: Jimmy the Fixer – Speako bartender, an Honest Abe who is a circus ringmaster.
Location: The Musty Trumpet – A speakeasy in Boston.

Once a proud man, Herbie is now a little stooped and a little swilled. In the clubs he cleans up in a slightly faded two-piece black suit and colorful bow tie. He might look like a passably well trimmed fella but for a perpetual stubble that is now starting to gray with wear. His hair is brown, thinning, and unkept but often hidden beneath a bowler cap.

On the regs, his suits are worn and not maintained. His pants are held by suspenders to account for the slight booze belley he’s been nursing over the years. On a good day, his cologne covers the scent of booze. Herbie looks like a man weathered by life. He walks with a little hitch in his step from an train accident he doesn’t like to remember but can never forget.

Academic Abilities Academic Pool Points Interpersonal Abilities Interpersonal Pool Points Technical Abilities Technical Pool Points
Accounting 0 Assess Honesty 2 Art 2
Anthropology 1 Bargain 1 Astronomy 0
Archaeology 0 Bureaucracy 0 Chemistry 1
Architecture 2 Cop Talk 1 Craft 2
Art History 0 Credit Rating 3 Evidence Collection 0
Biology 0 Flattery 2 Forensics 0
Cthulhu Mythos 0 Interrogation 0 Locksmith 1
Cryptography 1 Intimidation 0 Outdoorsman 0
Geology 0 Oral History 2 Pharmacy 0
History 0 Reassurance 0 Photography 0
Languages 1 Streetwise 2
Law 0
Library Use 0
Medicine 0
Occult 0
Physics 0
Theology 0

Known Languages: Fill this in if you know any languages other than English.

General Abilities General Pool Points
Athletics 8
Conceal 4
Disguise 6
Driving 4
Electrical Repair 0
Explosives 2
Filch 3
Firearms 0
First Aid 0
Fleeing 0
Health 9
Mechanical Repair 0
Piloting 0
Preparedness 1
Psychoanalysis 0
Riding 0
Sanity 9
Stability 8
Scuffling 9
Sense Trouble 2
Shadowing 2
Stealth 6
Weapons 0

Herbie lived a fullfilling and content life. He spent every day of his life cracking jokes and making people happy. He was on the road with his wife and friends. His marriage was a fountain of joy and fulfillment. He spent countless hours absorbed by artistic craft. He lived among a motley bunch of circus folk in a travelling show. He acted, dressed up, and sang every day. When he wasn’t entertaining the enthralled masses under the big top tents, he was using his skills to make his wife smile. In his mind, Herbie had made it.

One disaster washed out that happiness like the scalding burn of bad whiskey tearing down the throat. Inexplicably, there was a fire on the train during travel between Bangor and Atlantic City. The uproar and madness it caused were catastrophic. People and animals panicked. Then the engine exploded, setting the scene for a mass derailment. Herbie was actually thrown from the train as the cars began to blast out of line. He rolled down a short embankment. When the pyrotechnics car caught fire there was a second explosion. The car Herbie’s wife was in was engulfed with death’s fiery fingers.

It was a nightmare. A lion ran out of the wreckage screaming because it’s mane was on fire. Those who could were trying to gather up the animals and savlage what they could amidst the disaster. Herbie couldn’t help but stare at the travelling car that had been his home with his wife. He could see a body through the window like a charred husk, with gouts of flames coming out the eye sockets. That was it. That was life right there before his eyes, steaming out of that hollowed out car, like water from a boiling kettle. It broke the man he was.

Looking away in pain, his eyes set upon wreckage of the pyrotechnics car. They had ironically called it the Blast Car. Nothing living had ever been in there. But something alive walked out. Something black and cracked, like that charred body, with red hot heat bubbling from every crevice and waves of heat echoing off its body stood up in the wreckage and turned its head to look at him. By no account could that form be anything but dead. But this was alive. The fiery eyes that stared back at him seemed to burn into his soul with a hateful scorn and malevolent intelligence. Without a spec of further communication, calm as a winter lake, it turned and walked away, leaving a trail of ash in its wake. That thing shouldn’t be. Herbie knew that. But it was. And whatever it was, it had taken his wife from him. And nothing could escape that horrible gaze.

Herbie ducked his head into a bottle after that and left the circus. Nearly destitute among depressed masses, Herbie fell in with a bunch of bootleggers. His skills proved quite helpful to people trying to hide in public. And he got plenty of boozing out of the deal as well a few new skills.

Late at night in a cold bed, he’d dream about the cold demeanor of that awful thing that destroyed his life and he’d let a red-hot hatred consume him. Someday, he’d get back at it, whatever it was. He’d follow what leads he could dig up, track donw anything that didn’t seem to belong, and wipe it out the same way it wiped out his wife.

With prohibition winding down, the opportunities for bootlegging were starting to thin out like watered down milk in depression slums. After a few close nips with the buzzers (cops), Herbie decided to try again at his craft. He used his connections to get some gigs crowing at speakos for the late night birds. It wasn’t the same, but it felt good to be up in front of an audience again.

Every once in awhile he’d see something in the news about some circus or other. Usually about them going bankrupt. Folks didn’t have the dough to spend on escapes like that much anymore and the moving pictures were killing the industry. Everything he’d known was reeling out of his life in a brief montage played out in a dark theater on a deathly pale screen. “Play out.” He’d think when alone in his head. Wasn’t much left for him to do but get by and get even. He sure wasn’t ever gonna get back to before.

Herbie Reed

The Armitage Files atweibel