Val CHA Cost Roll Notes 13 STR 3 12- Lift 151.6 kg; 2 1/2d6 HTH Damage  12 DEX 6 11- OCV: 4/DCV: 4 13 CON 6 12- 10 BODY 0 11- 13 INT 3 12- PER Roll 12- 10 EGO 0 11- ECV: 3 10 PRE 0 11- PRE Attack: 2d6 10 COM 0 11- 4 PD 1 Total: 4 PD (0 rPD) 4 ED 1 Total: 4 ED (0 rED) 3 SPD 8 Phases: 4, 8, 12 6 REC 0 26 END 0 24 STUN 0 Total Characteristics Cost: 28 Movement: Running: 6"/12" Leaping: 2"/4" Swimming: 2"/4" Cost Powers & Skills Perks 5 Contact: Captain Hollister, Homicide Division (Contact has useful Skills or resources, Good relationship with Contact) 12- 1 Taxi Driver's License: Fringe Benefit: License to practice a profession Talents 5 Fast Punch: Lightning Reflexes: +5 DEX to act first with Single Action 3 Has Taken The Third Degree A Lot: Resistance (3 points) Skills 5 AK: Los Angeles and Suburbs 14- 5 Combat Driving 12- 5 Conversation 12- 3 Criminology 12- 5 Deduction 13- 5 High Society 12- 4 KS: Alcohol 13- 3 KS: Nightlife 12- 2 KS: Police 11- 3 KS: Who's Who 12- 2 Navigation (Land) 12- 2 PS: Taxi Driver 11- 3 Shadowing 12- 5 Streetwise 12- 0 TF: Small Motorized Ground Vehicles 1 WF: Handguns 67 Total Powers & Skills Cost 95 Total Character Cost 50+ Disadvantages 20 Dependent NPC: Elderly Mother and Invalid Sister 8- (Incompetent; Group DNPC: x2 DNPCs) 5 Distinctive Features: Taxi Driver Uniform (Easily Concealed; Noticed and Recognizable; Detectable By Commonly-Used Senses) 10 Hunted: Pat Regan, Dispatcher at Red Owl Cab 11- (As Pow, PC has a Public ID or is otherwise very easy to find, Watching) 5 Money: Poor 0 Normal Characteristic Maxima 5 Psychological Limitation: Pretends to be Cynical (Uncommon, Moderate) 95 Total Disadvantage Points
Background/History: Steven Middleton Knight was born into the wealthy Knight family sometime in the first decade of the Twentieth Century. Sadly, he did not choose to devote himself to a study of science, or a nighttime habit of fighting crime (yet.) Instead, he chose to become a drunken playboy. Even the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and the subsequent suicide of Steven's ruined father didn't pull him away from his lifestyle of drunken licentiousness.
But at some point the money ran out. Steven woke up one morning sober, broke, and with an aging mother and invalid sister to support. He swallowed his pride and begged for a job at a local taxi service. (As it happened, he was a pretty good driver.)
Steven got stuck on the graveyard shift, and between that and a wish to protect what was left of his family's reputation, he started going by the nom d'auto "Steve Midnight." Strangely enough, during the early 1940s, Steve became involved in a number of murder cases, which he solved.
Steve lives and works in Pacific Park, a seedy suburb of Los Angeles near the ocean. Its primary attractions are a Coney Island style amusement pier, and an assortment of downscale nightclubs and honkytonks.
Personality/Motivation: Steve Midnight likes to pretend he's a hard-boiled, cynical sort, but in reality feels honorbound to help innocents in trouble, and will even give known criminals chances to redeem themselves. Though he needs to send a constant supply of money to his relatives (living on a rest farm in Arizona), Steve will not take large bribes, but tries to gain his money semi-honestly. While Steve is irritated by the cops' tendency to arrest him and apply the third degree on general principle, he understands that they're just doing their jobs. He usually gets to show them up at the end in any case.
While Steve was a drunk for many years, he is not an alcoholic, and can abstain from booze at will. He also no longer dates, or even flirts! He also never smokes while he's driving.
Quote: "I had the bulge on the cops," I continued, "because I used to be a playboy, a matinee dancer, a teacup balancer. So I know more about women's clothes than the average cop."
Powers/Tactics: Steve is a healthy adult who gets quite a bit of exercise, especially considering he sits down and drives a car all night. He's quite knowledgable about Los Angeles and the surrounding suburbs, especially the streets and nightlife. He's so familiar with alcohol that he can make a good guess as to brand just from the smell. While he doesn't normally carry a gun, Steve is a decent shot, and knows quite a bit about firearms and the wounds they cause. He keeps a Colt in his apartment for emergencies. He's also a darn good detective.
While Steve has a remarkable talent for getting in the first punch, he's not really much of a scrapper, being no match for even a mediocre professional boxer. He prefers to make that punch and run before his opponent can recover. Failing that, he gets knocked out a lot. He can roll with the punch pretty well.
Note that while Steve often has access to a taxicab, it belongs to the Red Owl Cab Company, not him, and any damage to it comes out of his salary.
Campaign Use: Steve Midnight is a taxi driver, which is an useful contact for any pulp character who happens to be without their own transportation. He might not let you ride for free, but you know he's got your back. A wealthy character might know him from his old playboy days, as might nightclub entertainers. If used as a Contact, the GM will probably want to de-emphasize his detecting skills and emphasize his knowledge of the streets (both literal and metaphorical.)
Steve is easily adapted to any modern big-city setting, you simply need to edit his background a bit. (As did the original writer, in the final known story. In that one, Steve had been hacking since before 1929!)
The Milieu: A few words about the Red Owl Cab Company: As of 1940, there are no radios in their taxis. While radio cabs do exist, they're an innovation Red Owl isn't willing to upgrade to yet. Instead, the drivers park in specified locations near callboxes. When the dispatcher receives a request for a taxi, he calls the callbox of the nearest taxi driver, and hopes they pick up. If not, then calls the next closest and so forth. The usual reason for a taxi not responding is that it's got a fare (It's supposed to be the only reason.) Steve's corner is an unusually cold street near the Corinthian Club (also spelled the Carinthian Club.)
Pat Regan: Chief dispatcher for the Red Owl Cab Company. He's greedy, cowardly, hypocritical, likes bullying the drivers and is highly concerned with the effect the drivers' behavior/appearance has on the reputation of the company. You remember Danny DeVito's character from Taxi? Like that, but of Irish descent. Pat has a habit of firing Steve whenever the taxi driver gets into trouble, only hiring him back when Steve once again covers himself with glory.
Captain Hollister: Homicide detective with the Pacific Park police. He's an old friend of Steve's father (even when the backstory changes), and is pleased to see Steve earning an honest living. Captain Hollister is also pretty impressed with the way Steve is able to solve cases. This earns Steve a lot of leeway from the captain. It doesn't, however, mean that Hollister will pull Steve out of the room with the rubber hose until he's absolutely sure Steve didn't commit the latest atrocity. Captain Hollister is a large man with graying hair. He likes smoking cigars down to the last nub, and is a huge boxing fan.
Ollie Greenberg: A fellow taxi driver who appears in several stories. He's rather chubby, is married, and thinks he's a comedian. No one else agrees. He likes to tease Steve about the latest mishaps the other driver has gotten into.
Appearance: Steve really isn't described in the stories, beyond being "broad-shouldered." The illustrations show him as on the tall side of average, with close-cropped black hair. While on duty, he wears his taxi driver's uniform, which is described as "whipcord" and is reminiscent of a chauffeur's getup, and his pink taxi driver's cap.
(Steve Midnight created by John K Butler, character sheet created by Scott Jamison)