Physical Description: Justin is a tall kid, and skinny for his height. However, most people will attest that he's actually pretty strong. His nose is crooked from an old break, and he has a lot of little scars all over his face and body. He keeps his brown hair in a simple crew cut. He's not ugly, but he's not pretty either. If he has a good feature, it's his baby blue eyes. He usually wears and old pair of jeans and a faded t-shirt (not vintage, just well worn), with a camo jacket when it's cold.
Personality: Most people shake their head even as they say the nicest things about Justin. He's a sweet kid who'd do anything for a friend and almost as much for a stranger, but he's probably going to age in a bad way. The main problem is that he doesn't plan ahead or think about the consequences. So if a small party is getting boring, he'll liven it up by pulling some daredevil stunt that's going to land him in the hospital some day. And he knows that some of the things he does are illegal, but he can't picture himself going to jail. He could pull himself up to a successful life if he worked at it, but he doesn't display the right drive. If he's lucky he'll settle into a decent blue collar job, and if he's not he'll wind up dead, burned out, or in prison.
The one thing that does get Justin motivated is the pursuit of adrenalin. He likes high places, fast cars, stupidly dangerous jumps, and the occasional harmless misdemeanor. Of course, he also like the praise and admiration he gets when he does something impressive enough.
Background: Justin's mother, Christina, was a Morning Dove Orphanage girl. When she came of age, she moved away and wound up a secretary in Salt Lake City. She caught the eye of a yuppie lawyer named Jesse Hendricks. Romance happened, a wedding followed that, and then a boy named Justin came along. When Justin was six, his parents went out on a date night. On the way back, a trucker fell asleep at the wheel and swerved into their lane. Jesse Hendricks was killed instantly, and his wife Christine was left with a bad back. She and her son could have stayed with her husband's family, but she retreated to where she knew best, Spring Creek. A few years later she married a local mechanic, Drew.
Justin's memory of his life before Spring Creek is rather hazy. He considers himself to be a native, most people think of him the same way, and he doesn't care much about the world beyond the Black Hills. However, he does have a small amount of hero worship for his biological father, and is at least nominally a Mormon just like his dad was.
Justin's stepfather got meaner as he got older, and Justin's early teenage years were marked by him coming home late or not at all. Instead, he spent a lot of time with people who could be charitable described as "bad influences". He's a B average student, which is impressive considering how little attention he pays to school. He's got an old faded red pickup truck, which he's yet to have even a minor accident in. That's not normally notable, but Justin drives fast, aggressive, and more than a little crazy. Justin's pretty popular around town, partly because he has a reputation as a fun guy, and partially because he's a good running back for the school's football team.
Things with his step father came to a head a few months ago, after a long cold war. Drew totaled his truck, and demanded that Justin turn over his pickup. Justin refused, but offered to drive his stepfather around until he could get a new truck. His stepfather put the issue in very plain terms. Either Justin was going to give him the truck, or he could pack his bags. Justin decided he liked his truck.
Justin's doing alright for himself right now. He has a long list of people willing to let him stay for a few days or weeks, and he always does his fair share of the chores and leaves before he can overstay his welcome. He's in his senior year, and isn't planning on going to college. He's got a few part time jobs to work at, and is saving up to buy a small place of his own. The only job he really like is working for his stepfather's brother, who owns a hunting lodge and pays Justin to help guide the tourists around the hills.
Appearance: Rose is on the short side (5'2") and definitely wide (160 lbs.), with mixed fat and muscle. Her fair complexion and blue eyes clearly indicate the German/Norwegian heritage common in the region. Her blonde hair is usually worn above the shoulder (to avoid wrestling injuries). Thick glasses normally conceal her eyes, which are usually downcast unless she is in a temper.
Background: The Starkes are a local farming family: Rose is the youngest of four children, and the only daughter. Rose's mother died when she was eight, so she has spent much of her life since then both acting as "woman of the house" for her father and brothers and becoming a "tomboy" in their rough-and-tumble world. Two of her brothers have now left Spring Creek in search of better opportunities, but Rose still helps take care of the family: she can cook, garden, do minor household repairs, and drive a tractor. Rose has always been both shy and stout, so her brothers have helped Rose take care of herself: she caused a minor local scandal in her freshman year when her father insisted that she be placed on the high-school wrestling team (which was entirely male). She has won several matches, and few are willing to bully her any more. As she has grown older, Rose has taken to rambling around Spring Creek Valley, and has discovered a deep love for geology. She disdains the biological sciences (squishy and icky) but loves minerals and fossils of extinct animals.
Personality: Rose is shy around anyone new. (This makes wrestling matches difficult, but at least the setting is highly controlled and you don't usually look someone in the eye while you're sweeping them to the mat.) To those she knows, though, she is a fast friend, almost always willing to lend a hand. In her childhood (particularly after her mother's death) Rose had quite a temper; she has steadily learned to control it, but still tends to wear her heart on her sleeve for all to see. She is definitely not a "morning person," and teachers in the first period of the day know they will not see Rose working with her usual quiet determination. She is insatiably curious, and knows a fair bit about the geography and history of the entire Spring Creek Valley area.
Direction: Fairly obviously, Rose is intended to become a "brick." Her powers will have earth-element connections, probably giving her the "hero name" of "Rose Quartz" (the state mineral for South Dakota). I'm still working on the power package, but I suspect, after some attributes raises, etc., most of the points will go to two alternate forms: a massive, mute crystalline golem with high strength and DR, well suited for combat and feats of strength; and a diffuse cloud of sharp crystals, suited for stealth and mobility. I'm tentatively considering a third shape: a gemstone the size of one in a ring, sessile and without manipulators, but with extraordinary awareness and senses.
Tommy Casper, as a resentful newcomer, doesn't seem to offer many opportunities for connection. I see he has a point in Wrestling; something there?
Reia Hayes is a massive contrast to Rose; building that relationship will probably be an interesting part of the first few adventures.
Justin Hendricks is one of those wildcats who makes responsible Rose quite nervous. As with Reia, there will be some "getting to know you" time.
Geoffrey Lewis and Titus probably ran into Rose during one of her frequent rumbles across the countryside; she was assuredly shy, but quite civil.
Jason Markowski and Rose could easily be study-buddies, though she'd be unlikely to be the one to make the suggestion.
Leonard McKinsey and Rose have obviously competed against each other in wrestling, and may occasionally do schoolwork together. They're both shy, so it's probably quite tentative.
I put together a more 'acceptable' character concept in Tommy Casper, formerly of Chicago.
Tommy has a 5 point Unusual Background to account for his past. His powers will be Electrical in nature, to include an 'energized' nervous system that gives him better reflexes, etc. He will also have an 'Lightning' form, that can travel through the power grid as a living electric current.
John Jacobs (he’s heard all the jokes before; John Jacobs Jingle-heimer Schmidt was all he was called until the tenth grade) is a nice kid. A little bit opinionated sometimes, and perhaps a tad arrogant, but overall, friendly, well liked, and reasonably groomed.
Far from unintelligent, John embodies the idea of ‘only excelling at what you’re interested in’. While he does decently in school, getting passing grades, the concept of sitting down and focusing on something he doesn’t plan to use is completely foreign to him. Physicality keeps him focused; sitting in class just makes him sleepy.
Dabbling in sports, but never really finding one he liked, John is an avid pupil at the local karate instructors ‘dojo’; while it is generally just a belt mill for kids from the suburbs, John has managed, through talent, perseverance, and stubbornness, to actually learn a lot from the teacher, a middle-aged black belt who really doesn’t know as much about the ‘art’ as he says. He knows enough, though, and mingled with a few self-defense classes taught by a former Ranger on alternating weeks and things he’s picked up from the internet, John is actually quite good. Good enough to place in a regional tournament, though not to win, due to his lack of interest in tactics and patience.
When not in class or practicing at the gym, John can typically be found roaming the relative wilderness around his neighborhood. Not quite out in the middle of nowhere (at least, not by Dakota standards) but right on the edge of it, there are plenty of trails to go hiking on, deep creeks to jump into, ponds, fields, and streams to splash around in. He hunts, some, though he only targets small birds or squirrels and the like. He doesn’t like the idea of shooting something larger and only wounding it, and having to put it out of its misery. The first shot, he could take; the second, he’s not so sure about.
Although John has friends, he’s not particularly close to anyone, never having had a ‘best friend’ like so many of his peers. Instead, John focuses on activities, reading his extensive fiction collection, or napping, a favorite activity of his.
Unlike many of his friends and classmates, John is not planning on attending college, beyond perhaps a two year degree at a community college thirty minutes away. What he really wants to do is open a dojo…but what he’ll settle for, is working in his parents restaurant, the local greasy spoon diner. His father pays him well, and as he was a late child, it’s clear his parents want to leave the restaurant to their only son in the next ten years or so.
Still a work in progress, but enough to get the basic idea across.
Jack Lockett is a drunk. What's worse, is that everyone in town knows it. Hard not to in a place the size of Spring Creek, but it still sucks to be the son of the town drunk. Cody's mother died in childbirth, and something about that just broke Jack. The man went from raging about the "Damned Lakota Witch Doctor" to drowning his sorrows. The problem with drowning sorrows is that they tend to keep sinking.
With a father that seldom held a job for more than a few months, and that was prone to drunken violence, Cody didn't have what most people consider a decent childhood. He grew up tough, though, and with a temper to match his father's. Cody has been in and out of trouble with various levels of officials since middle school, and most people don't expect him to amount to much more than his father.
The sad thing is, Cody has real talent with a wrench in his hand. He rebuilt his motorcycle from a hunk of slowly rusting junk into a machine worthy of praise, and his work in autoshop brought the highest praise of any of his teachers. Mr Jameson even suggested that he attend the ASE courses at a technical school in Pierre and get himself out of this town. Cody, though, deep down, still loves and fears his father, and isn't willing to cut those ties. Yet.
Cody developed a reputation as an a**hole in school, getting into more fights than most and tending to win them using every dirty trick in the book. More and more as he's gotten older, though, he is more likely to ignore anyone that doesn't directly anger him. His grades are passing, but not by much (except in Autoshop), just enough to keep him eligible for the Baseball team, which is his only real interest outside the shop. When he's not at school, he's usually exploring the area on his bike, or working his part time job at the Two-Horse service station (owned by Charlie Two-Horse from the Lakota Res, another sore point with his father). While he does show up at the local parties, he doesn't have many friends. Most people think he doesn't want any.
Cody has begun to realize that he's set himself up for failure by alienating his peers. None of them realize that he's still fighting off the effects of being his father's son. He's started trying to open up, looking for a way to make a connection and become more of a member of the community of the high school. His past is proving hard to compete with, though, and he's only just getting started. Maybe, if something would just change, he could prove to people that he wasn't just a hothead....