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This Supporting Cast article is based on the real-world job description of a laboratory researcher who is on call for their local Chemical Emergency Response Team. All the skills (with the exception of the Guns and Hobby skills) are oriented towards these job descriptions. The article is composed of approximately 30% background, 30% adventure seeds, 30% GURPS Stats. (The remaining 10% being headers and links.) Notes to convert the character to 3rd edition are included in the "variants" section. The word count is approximately 1,750.
Lize Redstrom - Post-"Accident" Investigator / CERT member
- By Eric Funk
Elisabeth ("Lize" to her friends) graduated with a background in toxicology from an institution outside the campaign city, but her first job prompted her to move there. She was hired to monitor and analyze pollutant levels at various sites owned by a large chemical firm (possibly with a negligent or evil side that she has not yet discovered). Although Lize has made a few acquaintances in this city, she still keeps in touch with old friends. Physically unimposing, she gets results asking clever questions, and tries to present data as objectively as possible, believing that it should speak for itself.
Her innate curiosity spurred her to dig deeper toward the underlying causes of the "accidents" that her team was occasionally called to analyze, and she eventually ended up on the investigative team. Here, Lize excelled at identifying reactions and establishing good experimental data. This experience, coupled with her keen eyes and self-motivated First Aid training qualified her for the company's Chemical Emergency Response Team (CERT). As part of her training, she has since been deployed to chemical spills to contain them, gather samples, as well as sterilize environments. Because of her Intuition, Luck, keen eyes, and access to a lab, Lize is a natural ally, competitor, or annoyance for a paranormal investigator.
These days, Lize buys the local newspaper and watches the evening news, keeping an eye out for any clues to explain the strange happenings in the area. She has also been called in to fires involving unusual chemicals and their residue. Sites have been disturbed between examinations, yet security records show no one was cleared to enter them. Strange things have been happening lately (see the Adventure Seeds, below), and now that her self-study in Occultism has just finished, she is as prepared as she is going to get on her own. Odds are that it won't be enough...
As an NPC, the most direct ways to encounter her are:
1) Snooping around areas where the PCs have just acted, finding traces of their power use. She may find a pattern, simply guess the next place by Intuition, Luck, or perhaps she could be tipped off to the next location (by the/other heroes or their adversaries, see below).
2) As above, but the locations are getting closer and closer to the adventurers' homes and/or base of operations.
3) As either case above, but it is a villain's trail/hideout that she is investigating. The heroes must decide whether to bring her in on the threat, scare her away, or risk her being kidnapped/killed/brainwashed by the foe. The villain may also take this opportunity to begin to move to a more secure base.
A Different Approach
If she instead has a Criminology/Forensics background, she could be following a string of unusual/unexplained fires/deaths, and finds traces of strange goo/toxins/radioactivity/burn marks.
She could have a husband who is becoming concerned with her research into the occult. Common plots revolving around this dependant type seem to involve disappearances, with the husband approaching the PCs over his missing wife on one side, and an investigator worried about her missing husband on the other...
Radiation is a common cause for alarm in this setting, spawning monsters and/or powering infernal devices. Having an ally (or competitor) who can use sensors well, has a sense of Intuition and a keen eye can help one find the source of the Horror, and she may have enough Luck to get out alive!
In a large, organized kingdom, the Crown could require a team to clean up after undead uprisings, deaths of dangerous para-elementals (such as dragons with acid or chlorine blood), to balance death-aspected mana areas, and reinforce reality in places that encourage portals to Places With Things That Want To Come Here. (Mages in Black? "May I please direct your attention to this wand and all your questions will be answered...")
Depending on the technology path, replace Driving and Explosives (Fireworks) with Freefall, Vacc Suit, Electronics Operation (Robotics), Electronics Operation (Force Fields) and/or Electronics Operation (Nanotech).
Lize has apparently invented a device that allows her to hear Disturbance. Following the loudest signals, it has led her to sites recently damaged by no force known to her (e.g. celestial or ethereal), or finding unusual bodies (undead). It could be that that she has six Forces and only believes she can perceive Disturbance when using the device. Alternately, she could be possessed by a Shedite (of Dark Humor?), and it is echoing Disturbance into her mind. Any way it is played, she needs all the help she can get!
Atomic Liches could be fierce opponents for such a mundane investigator trained to ferret out their lifeblood...
Teamed up with an infomorph in a (canine?) cybershell and using cyberswarms, this environmental detective can expose operatives, secret bases, and people with poorly shielded power supplies or leaky fuel supplies...
WWII / Cliffhangers
Convert all skills to TL6, Computer Operation to Typing, and add a tracking dog (link to http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/login/article.html?id=5037).
Elisabeth "Lize" Redstrom (pronounced Leez') 
Human female; Age Mid-20s; Ht: 5'6" Wt: 150 lbs
Brown eyes behind thin-brimmed glasses; Neck-length dark brown hair tied back when using NBC suits.
Primary Attributes: ST 9 [-10]; DX 10 ; IQ 13 ; HT 10 .
SM 0; Dmg 1d-2/1d-1; BL 16.2; HP 9 ; Will 14 ; Per 14 ; FP 10 ; Basic Speed 5 ; Basic Move 5 ; Dodge 8 .
Advantages: Charisma +1 ; Contacts ; Intuition ; Luck ; Security Clearance ; Talent ("Eye for Detail": Body Reading, Diagnosis, Forensics, Forward Observer, Lip Reading, Naturalist, Navigation, Mathematics (Surveying), Observation, Prospecting, Search, Tracking) +1 .
Disadvantages: Bad Sight (Correctable) [-10]; Code of Honor (Scientist) [-5]; Curious (12) [-5]; Duty (CERT, hazardous, 9 or less) [-5]; Duty (Lab, non-hazardous, 12 or less) [-5]; Sense of Duty [-5]; Xenophilia (9) [-15].
Quirks: Always has a backpack and book; Attentive; Careful; Dislikes cigarette smoke; Prefers to drive vehicles with standard transmissions [-5].
Skills: Administration-12 (IQ-1, A) ; Area Knowledge (City)-13 (IQ, E) ; Area Knowledge (Region)-13 (IQ, E) ; Biology/TL8 (Earth-like, Biochemistry)-10 (IQ-3, V) ; Biology/TL8 (Earth-like, Ecology)-10 (IQ-3, V) ; Chemistry/TL8-10 (IQ-2, H) ; Climbing-9 (DX-2, A) ; Computer Operation/TL8-13 (IQ, E) ; Criminology/TL8 (Chemical and Radioactive)-13/11 (IQ-1, A) ; Electronics Operation/TL8 (Comm)-12 (IQ-1, A) ; Electronics Operation/TL8 (Scientific)-12 (IQ-1, A) ; Escape-8 (DX-2, H) ; Expert Skill/TL8 (Laboratory Science)-12 (IQ-1, H) ; Explosives/TL8 (Fireworks)-10 (IQ-2, H) ; First Aid/TL8-13 (IQ, E) ; Guns/TL8 (Rifle)-10 (DX, E) ; Guns Sport/TL8 (Pistol)-10 (DX, E) ; Forensics/TL8 (Chemical and Radioactive)-13*/11* (IQ-2, H) ; Games/TL8 (Computer)-13 (IQ, E) ; Hazardous Materials/TL8 (Biological)-12 (IQ-1, A) ; Hazardous Materials/TL8 (Chemical)-12 (IQ-1, A) ; Hazardous Materials/TL8 (Radioactive)-12 (IQ-1, A) ; Hobby Skill/TL8 (Science Fiction)-13 (IQ, E) ; Lip Reading-14* (Per-1, A) ; Mathematics/TL8 (Surveying)-12* (IQ-2, H) ; NBC Suit/TL8-10 (DX-1, A) ; Occultism-12 (IQ-1, A) ; Physics/TL8-10 (IQ-3, V) ; Poisons/TL8-13 (IQ, H) ; Professional Skill/TL8 (Lab Researcher)-13 (IQ-1, A) ; Research/TL8-13 (IQ-1, A) ; Running-9 (HT-1, A) ; Search-13 (Per-1, A) ; Traps/TL8-12 (IQ-1, A) ; Writing-12 (IQ-1, A) .
*Includes +1 for Talent
Recent trends have prompted more funding to these teams, allowing them to keep a larger membership than ever before. One effect is that not all are called to the scene of each accident. When the CERT Duty listed comes up, the GM should roll 1d; on a 1-5, it is a drill. On a 6, it is an actual emergency - roll another die. On this second die, a result of 1-5 means a normal emergency has occurred, and on a 6 a life-threatening emergency has occurred. Her Security Clearance will help against low-level evils, but may make her vulnerable to deeply infiltrated conspiracies that can access her personnel records.
Commonly Carried Tools of the Trade
"Yes, you can touch it, but as I said, it's more toxic than radioactive."
"I've been following a pattern in the effects which led me here- why do you suddenly look nervous? Do you know something about this?"
"Hey, did you know you are radiating X-particles?"
"This cellular residue is in pentagrams!"
"This is weird. I mean, octonitrocellulose, ok, but this is just plain weird..."
"Don't touch that! It took me over an hour to calibrate it properly."
Camera, Digital (1 lb, 2h powered on) (see p. B 289)
Computer, Wearable (2 lbs, 8h) (see p. B 288)
First Aid Kit (1 lb) (see p. B 289)
Flashlight, Large (1 lb, 1.5h continuous use, uses the Baton skill) (see pp. CO 67, B 288)
Flashlight, Mini (neg. wt, 2h continuous use, adds +1 to punch damage) (see pp. CO 67, B 288)
Flashlight, Mini Ultraviolet (As per Mini Flashlight)
Geiger Counter, Digital (0.5 lbs) (see p. CV 42)
Hardhat with Headlamp (DR 2 protects head, 3 lbs including integral Flashlight lamp)
Radiation Detecting Badge, reusable (neg. wt) (see "Dosiometer," p. CV 41)
Tape: "Do Not Cross", Masking (0.5 lbs each)
Radio, 2-Way (5-mile range, 1 lb) (see pp. CO 62, B 288)
She drives a used compact car similar to the Toyota Prius. In the enclosed trunk, she keeps a First Aid Kit (Crashkit, see p. B 289) and a suitcase lab (see p. B 289) in addition to the usual spare tire, jumper cables, extension cord, emergency kit, blanket, gloves, &c...
Sidekick Lize 
Remove her Luck and Intuition, and she is lowered to merely "Competent" (see p. B 487). This version makes her better suited for a sidekick or advisor NPC role.
Hero Lize 
Increase ST, DX, and HT by 1 each [+40], add Detective!-13 , remove Criminology, Forensics, Research, and Search[-4], and pick an additional -10 points in disadvantages.
GURPS 3rd Edition: Total becomes  -> IQ [-30]; Manual Dexterity [-2]; Strong Will [-1]; Talent [-3] (becomes Group Skill Bonus +1  & Reputation +1 (Large Class, Sometimes) ).
© September 2004 by Eric Funk
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