Weapons and Arms
“Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have.” -Charles Sanders Pierce
(sign above the door of The Pragmatist)
The Pragmatist is not a character. The Pragmatist is a specialized weapons shop in Khazan, a place you can go to get everything from the mundane to the hyper-exotic. For the right price they can buy/find/build almost anything, and customize it for your personal taste. They also do a notable amount of modifications and repairs. The Pragmatist has three full-time employees and a number of part-timers. (Some of these are listed below. ) The storefront, workshop, and accompanying warehouse are located in Northeast Kits, about a quarter mile east of Khazan International Airport, near The Spires. The Pragmatist also does a bit of online business, this makes up about 15%-20% of their total sales.
The Pragmatist Catalogue is a favored annual publication for many a weapons collector, detailing hundreds of pieces for everyone from the exotic sport hunter to the home-defense specialist to the vigilante on a budget. They don’t sell to out-and-out criminals and supervillains, obviously, but their weapons do occasionally find a way into the hands of Khazan’s seedy criminal underworld anyway. The Pragmatist has a reputation for craftsmanship, reliability, attention to detail, and being the stupidest place in Khazan to try and rob. Let’s meet the crew:
Zwolf Ironson is a dwarf. Not a fantasy dwarf, he’s just a short human who oddly happens to ascribe to certain stereotypes (he has a beard and a thick German accent, for starters.) He’s a consummate metallurgist, clockmaker, and absolutely brilliant with pretty much anything with moving parts. He has served as the resident smith at The Pragmatist for over 30 years, and although his current age is wholly unknown, he has a surprising amount of strength and fortitude for a man of his apparent age and stature. Zwolf is a shrewd businessman, he’s meticulous to a fault, and he has an astounding memory- he quite literally remembers every weapon he’s ever built, modified, or repaired, who he sold it to, what that person was wearing when he sold it to them, how they paid, and which pocket they put the change in. Zwolf is a firm but fair businessman, although he tends to have a paranoid streak in him- many of the more advanced weapons he designs have secret built-in fail-safes which enable him to personally disable them if they are used to threaten or endanger the shop or its employees.
Nicholas “Doc” Margrave is a former teen runaway, now in his 20s, who was informally adopted by Mama Cinco after he tried to defend her against an assailant (a decision which cost him his left leg.) He was apprenticed to Zwolf, and he eventually earned enough to put himself through college, earning a PhD in Applied Sciences. While he doesn’t have Zwolf’s uncanny skill, he is still a talented weapons designer with an affinity for electronics. He tends to work on the technological components required for certain weapons, and has even written his own proprietary programming language. Doc rarely interacts with customers, but deals directly with most of the part-time employees.
Mama Cinco is a former Black Serpent supersoldier, and rumored to be one of the deadliest women on the planet. The combination of her superior genetics and Black Serpent training means virtually anything is a lethal weapon in her hands, and that lethality is only multiplied when she gets a hold of an actual weapon. Nevertheless, Mama and Zwolf set up The Pragmatist as a legitimate business, and her days of assassinations are long behind her. She runs the register when she’s in the shop, and helps out procuring rare odds and ends for special orders.
and a few of the part time staff:
Jaime Encino is a high-strung expert in exotic energy who was fired from Levent Avionics for having an “unstable personality.” He occasionally does freelance work helping Zwolf and Doc repair or modify weapons with unusual energy signatures- artifacts , alien weapons, and the like. Jaime also speaks an astounding number of languages fluently, a talent which would be more useful if he used it for something other than swearing.
Charna is an extremely agile young woman with more balls than any man you’re likely to meet. She works as a kind of concierge, acquiring necessary rare items or information when called upon. It is rumored that she double-crossed Mama Cinco exactly once, and the resulting scars are why she wears her hood up at all times. Very few people have seen her face, although Doc seems to have developed a bit of a crush on her anyway. Charna has a special knack for finding things, an almost superhuman ability to instinctively know where to go and what questions to ask.
The Pragmatist employs a number of other part-time experts as the situation arises.
Wait, what? Ivan, what’s the point of all this? Are you planning some new character? No, I’m not. The Pragmatist serves several purposes simultaneously, including helping create a new FPL writing exercise that I think might be fun. Here’s a list of my intentions.
1: The Pragmatist is a quick go-to if your character is carrying a custom piece. Now that piece has a little extra in-continuity history just by virtue of a quick mention.
2: The shop serves as a story location that can facilitate several things. KPD investigating a murder? The ballistics experts pay Zwolf a visit. Vigilante group planning a raid on a Syndicate front? Lock and Load at The Pragmatist. Fighting a supervillain who controls metal? Get a custom cold-case fusion rifle that fires ceramic grenades. Looking to beef-up security around your Dockside warehouse? Order online now and save!
3: The Pragmatist can serve as a home base for RP stuff in Khazan- characters can stock up there and/or get missions from Doc. This is similar to the Storm City stuff Serge created ten years ago, a way to RP in Khazan without needing a huge overarching plotline: you can just get together and have a quick session. Also, the Pragmatist Catalog (below) can help create an interesting reward system where your characters can obtain powers beyond the scope of their original sheet for story or RP purposes, without having to recreate the whole character.
4: The Pragmatists Catalog is my new idea. Basically, whoever wants to can submit entries for weapons. This is like writing a single power description instead of a whole character, so it should be easy to add things to it. Also new creators can try their hand here first. The super-simple format for this goes as follows:
Item # and Name
Power Name/s, Level/s, and Modifiers
Where the Price should be based on the number of points spent. Basically a price in the hundreds indicates Standard, a price in the thousands indicates Superior, and a price in the tens of thousands indicates Supreme (The catalog doesn’t list Ultimate level weapons, those are by special order only.) Pretty simple, I think. Here are some examples.
Item # 71: Caltrops
Standard Piercing Weapon + Multi-attack
Drop ‘em on the ground. It’s that easy. These barbed, tetrahedral iron spikes will puncture the feet or tires of anything they encounter. Highly effective for evading pursuit. Not recommended for use against hovercraft. This package includes twenty caltrops.
Item #142: Localized EMP
Superior Radiation + Area Effect
A press of the button is all it takes with this simple-to-use, non-lethal ordinance. The Localized EMP emits a burst of electromagnetic radiation just powerful enough to disable any electronic device in a 30 yard radius. Highly effective against robots of all types. Not recommended for use from a moving vehicle. Two minute recharge time between bursts.
Item #1969: Sgt. Pepper Spray
Standard Inhibit Senses + Standard Illusion Control + ranged
A potent combination of pepper spray and psychedelic hallucinogens, this self-defense necessity ensures that any unwanted advances will be met with an effective non-lethal deterrent. Highly effective against both humans and dogs. Not recommended for use as a recreational activity. Side-effects listed on box.