Celebrity Skin: the Atlanta Skinner

Through the hood it was just possible to make out a buttery, yeasty scent. The grinding transmission and road noise drowned out any conversation: all she could tell was that the vehicle travelled at speed. Consciousnes ebbed and flowed, a merciful numbness had overtaken her limbs within minutes of the zip cuffs being applied...
After an unknown time she was roused by an increasing pain in her side, a dull steady burning, seeming to rise out of the floor itself. She was unable to move, or to cry out, the gag like a stone in her mouth. She could only lie still and take the pain into herself, consuming it as it consumed her, until once again she drifted away.
The hood was pulled off, catching her skin and hair, the cold night air like a slap to the face. A flaring light blinded her, leaving an image of stark trees standing silent sentinel. She was dragged across the ground and down a flight of stairs. Faintly she smelled gas, and old water. Brisk hands stripped away the gag, then held her as a flood of bile rose up. Weakly she tried to defend herself as her clothes were stripped away. As her tee lifted away it caught and tore a patch of scorched skin: fainting away, she never saw the needle, or the knives that followed.

"Celebrity Skin" is a story for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game, presented by Rob Shankly. It is set in the late 1990s, and the action occurs in the south-east United States, particularly in Georgia. The first session was on Tuesday 27th October, and sessions will be fortnightly. After each session summaries will be posted here. Players and casual visitors alike are invited to make comments and speculate about the story, although the primary purpose of this page is to act as a sort of filing system for the players.

 Obviously enough, the story name has been inspired by the Hole song, written by Courtney Love. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Thomas Harris, for The Silence of the Lambs. I have not decided whether this story will involve the Delta Green conspiracy, but regardless of that, I have to thank Pagan Publishing and the DG Discussion List for inspiration. If the story does involve DG, you guys will be the first to know!


Player Characters

A request for my players: when you guys have time, please write up descriptions of your own, and the other player's characters. This should increase everyone's enjoyment and also gives an opportunity for acrimonious backstabbing. Enjoy  

Special Agent Michael Brown, FBI

(Ben Wakely)
Special Agent Brown is 45 years old, and has been with the Bureau since 1976. For the last nine years he has been a psychological profiler with VICAP. He is slightly built, but he has vast experience and has joint control of the FBI / ATF task force investigating the Atlanta Skinner. His natural inclination is to defuse hostile situations through negotiation. He is careful to understand the strengths of his team, and delegate wherever possible.  

Special Agent Karl Muller, ATF

(Konrad Talmont-Kaminski)
Special Agent Muller is 37, and presents a strong contrast with Special Agent Browne. Physically imposing, at 196cm and 91kg, Muller has been with the ATF for 11 years: previously he was a Lieutenant in the US Army, seeing action in Grenada. There is a reservoir of agression in Muller, which he uses to keep both his friends and foes off-balance. Intimidating and often callous, he is nonetheless an extremely accomplished investigator- in no small part this is due to the effect he has on suspects...  

Agent Susan Schuster, FBI

(Gabrielle Kenny)
Agent Kenny is 28, she joined the FBI fresh out of Grad School. Susan is a forensic pathologist, and as such she has little previous field experience. She is highly intelligent, and passed out from Penn State near the top of her class. Although she is reasonably healthy, Susan stands 178cm tall and weighs 84kg: she is constantly aware of the need to comply with FBI fitness requirements.

Agent Tim Davis, ATF

(Description supplied by Tim Betz)
Agent Davis is the youngest member of the Federal team, aged 27. A high-school athlete, Agent Davis has become a committed weightlifter, and spends over two hours each day working out: although fairly plain looking and of only average height and weight he is corded with muscle and tends to stand out in a crowd. Although his suit is well tailored he constantly looks as though he would rather be wearing something that gave more freedom of movement (and perhaps a little more ballistic protection).

Agent Davis disliked being thought of as stupid because of his physique, and consequently has learned a little bit of everything, able to sound knowledgeable in most areas of conversation. During his first year of college he suffered an injury requiring a knee reconstruction, destroying any chance of a long term sporting career. He decided to follow his father, a police officer, into law enforcement and joined the ATF.

Trained in the "traditional" ATF manner Davis took to the job like he was made for it, perhaps a little too ethusiastically at times for his superiors. He has a gleam in his eye that hints at either an eagerness for adventure and the accompanying adrenaline rush, or a slight touch of madness (probably both). The gleam seems to particularly sparkle whenever firearms are mentioned, and if any are drawn (or heaven forbid, fired) his eyes seem to glow with an inner light symptomatic of his peculiar enthusiasm.
As much as he seems to think that brute force and bending the rules a little can solve practically anything, Agent Davis has learned two important lessons in his time in the ATF.

1) It is advisable to have bigger guns than the suspects.
2) You can't always get answers from people by pointing your gun at them.

The second is exemplified by his expertise in the field of hypnosis. This skill was something that he picked up while suspended from active duty in the field pending investigation*. It has been an invaluable tool in the gathering of information from witnesses.

* The disciplinary review board later cleared him of all charges.

Capt Peter Kerr, USACIC

(Damien Moore)
Capt Kerr was assigned to the investigation after discovery of a quantity of stolen Army munitions. Kerr is a twenty year army veteran, stationed at Ft.Benning GA.


Dramatis Personae (NPCs)

Atlanta PD
Commisioner James Lee McHale 64 y/o, community policing advocate, gives good press interviews.
Deputy Commissioner Susan Lane Barnes 47 y/o, a controversial appointment.
Lt Allan John Astrand 45 y/o, heads homicide squad.
Sgt Jesus Desoto 40 y/o, homicide detective.
Sgt Morrison Belworth 34 y/o, homicide detective.
Sgt Patrice Clarke 33 y/o, homicide detective.
Lt Robert Bellmann 55 y/o, heads tech services (phone room, taps & traces etc).
Sgt William Sullivan 48 y/o, organises phone room.
Sgt Duc Tran 33 y/o, radio services ("wires").
Lt Gordon Luria 41 y/o, heads patrol division C (southeastern).
Sgt Earl Heineman 36 y/o, police/media liaison, paraplegic veteran.
Atlanta: Local Government
Mayor Andrew Pope 60 y/o, very smooth Democrat politician. Knows President Clinton.
District Attorney Simon Gilliard 50 y/o, much less smooth Democrat politician.
ADA Maurine Kearnes 33 y/o, overwraught and snappy.
Chief Medical Examiner
 Ian Irvine Kenneally
53 y/o, quite fastidious, expert.
Assistant ME John McAvoy 31 y/o, stutters, does the messy work
Atlanta: Media
Daniel Jackson 49 y/o, Atlanta Morning Herald
James Piper 41 y/o, CNN
Clarissa O'Neale 28 y/o, Channel 4 Action News!
Anthony Larusso 36 y/o, Atlanta Post-Dispatch
Other Federal Employees:
SAIC Brendan Morrow 51 y/o, Deputy Head VICAP.
SA Martina Kuffler 40 y/o, Computer Services
SA Leroy James 39 y/o, Forensics
SA Douglas Camp 49 y/o, Atlanta Field Office
Agent Phillip Edwards 34 y/o, Atlanta Liaison
Special Agent in Charge Nathan Mitchell Head SE Division
Agent Adrian Carter Atlanta Field Office
Agent Adam Cronje Atlanta Field Office, DEA
Other Characters:
Kathy Manasis Graphic Designer, 4th victim
Adolph McKerath Georgia State Militia, 3rd victim
Sheriff Morgan T Beauregard Brownard Co. Sheriff
Cpl John Wayne Owen US Army, missing from Ft Benning
David Clarke Salesman, Owen's Gun Bazaar
Katherine Block Adolph McKerath's ex-wife
Leanne Channel 4 Action News! Adolph McKerath's daughter
David Bell Georgia State Militia, ex-mercenary?
Robert Johnson Georgia State Militia, sheltered John Wayne Owen
Sherri Johnson John Wayn Owen's girlfriend, daughter of Robert
Jason Johnson Sherri Johnson's infant son
Nurse Susan McCall Atlanta Memorial Hospital Nurse
kidnapped by John Wayne Owen

Etta Mae Johnson,
Robbie Johnson Jnr,
William Johnson,
Dorothea Burchard,
Lee Burchard,
Tammy Depaul,
Hank Depaul.
Other adult members of the Johnson family

Robert Thomas Witness, recovered Kathy Manasis' body
Georgia Strickland Witness, observed dumping of Kathy Manasis' body

Field Reports

Field Report No. 1: 28/10/1998
Field Report No. 2: 10/11/1998
Field Report No. 3: 24/11/1998
Field Report No. 4: 03/12/1998
Field Report No. 5: 08/12/1998

  Back to the index

Please feed me your feedback here (players especially)

Celebrity Skin,
by Courney Love & Hole

 oh, make me over
i'm all i wanna be
a walking study
in demonology

 hey, so glad you could make it
yeah, now you really made it
hey, so glad you could make it now

 oh, look at my face
my name is might have been
my name is never was
my name's forgotten

 hey, so glad you could make it
yeah, now you really made it
hey, it's only us left now

 when i wake up
in my makeup
it's too early for that dress
wilted and faded
somewhere in hollywood
i'm glad i came here
with your pound of flesh
no second billing
cause your're a star now
oh cinderella
they aren't sluts like you
beautiful garbage
beautiful dresses
can you stand up
or will you just fall down

 you better watch out
oh what you wish for
it better be worth this
so much to die for

 hey, so glad you could make it
yeah, now you really made it
hey, it's only us left now

 when i wake up
in my make-up
have you ever felt so used up as this?
it's all so sugarless
hooker, waitress,
model, actress,
oh just go nameless
she's full of poison
she obliterated everything she kissed
now she's fading
somewhere in hollywood
i'm glad i came here
with your pound of flesh

 you want a part of me
well i'm not sell'n cheap
no i'm not sell'n cheap

Rob Shankly 1998. Call of Cthulhu is Chaosium Inc