Stephen Alzis

Stephen Alzis is the master of the Fate, a powerful US crime syndicate. He gained this position shortly after World War II by being one of the most powerful sorcerers alive or undead. Little is known about his actual history, though much has been rumored. To give you an example of the dark legendry that has built up around him, there is a belief that everything people say about him is true. Even if the person who started the rumor was deliberately lying, it would turn out to be true. Not only would it be true, but it would turn out that the victim in the story would be the person who started the rumor, even if the story was set a hundred years before he was born.

Alzis appears to be an Arab who is always well-dressed and finely manicured. He speaks English (and most other languages) with a faint but unplaceable accent. He is a charming conversationalist, and is intimately familiar with the details of many unexpected topics. His resources are unknown but impeccable.

Some people say that he is an avatar of Nyarlathotep, a rumor that he will not confirm or deny. His death has been witnessed on 15 separate occasions since 1930; a rumor he occasionally confirms. Some observe that Otto Schmidt, one of the founders of the Fate, was accompanied by a mysterious woman named Stephanie Aldercott for part of his career. Moving further back, a man known by the initials S.A. was possessed by the demon Belapt; a transcript of his interrogation still exists. Alzis has a controlling interest in the New York City venue Club Apocalypse.

Gil Trevizo's interpretation

Posted on the DGML on 2009-07-15:

My personal take on Alzis is that he doesn't engage with DG cells out an ulterior motivation to complete some secret plan or even just to individually corrupt them, because he doesn't have motivations, period. As an Avatar of Nyarlathotep, he is less of an individual being than a reaction, an image created by the interaction between humanity and the Mythos. His appearance, his mannerisms, what he says and what he does, are not self-directed, by a mirage constructed by human perception of the unimaginable alien ideal that is the true face of whatever "Stephen Alzis" represents.

In other words, the reason Alzis interacts with DG cells and has them do missions and so on is not because he needs them, because there is no "he" - it's because that's what the monkey-brain DG agent perceives and expects, creating the fictional construct that is "Stephen Alzis" in their own minds that serves to both protect and blind them from the real nature of what they are dealing with. That Alzis is a fictional construct shared in the same way by every human that meets him says more about the collective unconsciousness of humanity than the true nature of what Alzis "really" is.

This is why Alzis cannot be killed, because he is an illusion, a mass hallucination, and will continue to exist as long human beings do so and continue to interact with the Avatar. And that is why I surmise he only really cares about his collection of photographs that place him with others during historical events - either consciously or subconsciously, the fictional construct that is Stephen Alzis realizes that he has no form, purpose, or identity unless he is entangled with the past.

What happens when Alzis gets shot

On 2009-06-30, fantasywarriors888 posted a question to the DGML, about the actions of agents in his cell:

The group's moral compass, a player who has the character of the FBI forensic specialist, caught me a little by surprise last night, when the whole group was invited to Club Apocalypse where a business deal was proposed to them by Stephen Alzis. I played up the creepy, suave businessman, supremely confident, well educated. They had minor hints of things being slightly off, [—-]. The business transaction was progressing well, with Alzis holding court and playing the agents, when things went sideways, the negotiations began to crumble, and the agent, not acting rationally, pulled his pistol and shot at Alzis (the others took the hint early on, he doesnt need to disarm us, he knows who we are, we cant touch him). Alzis took a bullet in the shoulder, before exclaiming "Oh, you have ruined a good jacket", and pressing the security button under the desk.

I would like to hear your suggestions on how to proceed. I have several courses of action in mind, but am always looking for the curve-ball idea. The evening's play session ended with a bang, with another of the agents jumping up and grabbing Doctor Lansdale's wrist and wrestling for the pistol while screaming "You crazy fu**, youve killed us all."

I want to keep Alzis in there as a credible NPC who is untouchable, seemingly all powerful, and am wondering how best to handle it [—-]. I don't want crits about why I let Alzis get shot, I like that he got shot, it was very, very exciting and amusing, and great fun was had by all, a real player-thrown curveball. Now I need to contemplate suitable Alzis-like responses. Your ideas are greatly appreciated.

Personal after-effects

In direct response to fantasywarrior's own idea, Ricus/JoB commented:

In my mind having the unfortunate Dr. Lansdale being dragged out by bodyguards to a messy end in a tiled room feels a bit too mundane, something a mob boss would do, not Alzis. So I suggest something along the following lines :

Alzis elegantly shakes out the flattened bullet from his sleeve, holds it up to inspect it and then drops it in a clay bowl on his desk where it lands with a small jingle suggesting many other metal objects in the bowl. Then he looks at the group with an inscrutable smile.

The door opens and six girls around the age of eight silently walks in. They surround Dr. Lansdale and mutely hold out their hands for the gun. If he refuse they will grapple him and try to take it from him. He can of course throw them off or even shoot them (any attempts to attack Alzis will lead to them intercepting the attack with their own bodies), but no matter what he does no signs of pain appears in their vacant faces. They will not stop until they are dead, unconscious or has received the gun. Hopefully he gives up the gun (otherwise Alzis will sigh, and the girls broken bodies will rise again, but this time to tear the flesh from the good Doctor's bones with pale iron-hard fingers) and calms down. The girls leave. Alzis hints that he really liked that jacket and taking the deal would be favourable for everyone. Anyone with intact survival-instincts should comply.

When the group leaves, Alzis should say something along the lines "Oh, and <Dr. Lansdale's first name> … be seeing you.".

A couple of days later the doctor finds his workload including one of the girls he met at Alzis. She has been raped and has had her throat slashed with a scalpel. And slowly he realize that all forensic evidence he finds point to himself. Then he hears about a second girl found murdered, and somehow the investigation will find more and more evidence pointing to him … including old murders …

He may end up bleeding in a tiled room, but it will probably be the showers of a max security prison …

A quick mundane approach

Christoper Wayne suggested this:

My first thought would be that they grab the trigger happy doctor, give him a cosh on the head and drag him out. When the other players are done with their deal, Mr. Alzis gives them back the doc's pistol and says "You can pick your friend up at the bar." They go to the bar where the doctor has an icepack and a drink in front of him.

Alzis takes the view that why bother with something so insignificant as that guy. Even worse than being killed is being shown that you do not matter.

The shooter makes a deal as an NPC

Robert Lint had an idea hinged on Doctor Lansdale's player being amenable to not playing the character further.

The bodyguards come in and restrain the doctor. Alzis unflappably says "It seems you need a few moments to collect yourself, Doctor," and motions toward to door. If asked "where are you taking him" or similar questions, Alzis states the Doctor won't be harmed and that he's just being removed as "he's clearly incapable of thinking clearly about the offer on the table."

Try and keep the tension and the pacing fast and get them to the point where they agree or not quickly, and then rush them out the door without their friend.

After a month or so of game time, have the Doctor (now an NPC) be the subject of a front-page science article where he's discovered a new revolutionary character appropriate surgical technique/cure for a specific cancer.etc. If they track him down, he's received a new grant and become head of a institute named after him and dedicated to further medical research. He seems friendly but distant, and avoids conversations about the night he "lost his cool."

If he can be alone with one of the team, he will make a breezy, almost jokey request for that person to kill him, then whisper "You see, part of the deal is that I can't do it myself." The Doctor then changes the subject and acts first confused then threatened if the topic continues.

Magic based on The Ragman

Gregory Muir answered:

I know this is slightly derivative but the thought I had was the gun is wrestled away from the shooter by other PC's, Alzis is nonchalant, continues the meeting as if nothing has happened. At the end the group is ready to leave and Alzsis says "Seeing as you have ruined my jacket, it is only fair for you to provide a replacement." He takes the shooter's jacket and exchanges it with his own. The shooter puts the jacket on, surprised that it seems to fit seeing as Alzsis appeared to have a smaller cut than he. Then he grimaces in pain. The jacket is on and the wound is leaking fresh blood. The PC's look more closely and see that the hole in the jacket leads into torn flesh. The PC is beginning to bleed profusely and is turning white. The PC's rush him back to the safehouse and do some field surgery. They pull a bullet out of him. His bullet.

Death and a rain check

Del Rio wrote:

Assuming that I allowed the agents to have a face to face meeting with Alzis, which I would only do very reluctantly, I would have them all very professionally frisked both for mundane and arcane weapons (the latter probably done by a thng whose outward appearance of humanity doesn't fool anybody).

If the agents somehow did manage to wound Alzis, I probably wouldn't take any extaordinary measures to make him seem impervious or supernatural. If they killed him outright I would have his assistant contact the agents through whatever means was used to set up the original meeting, with the message that Mr. Alzis was dissatisfied regarding certain points from the original meeting, and and would like to continue the negotiatiions.

Security would be tighter than previously and Alzis would be hale and whole, with a "patiently aggrieved" air about him, as if the agents had been insulting about the catering at their last meeting. If they insisted upon broaching the topic of his death he would circumlocute the topic in a gently condescending manner, as if to 4 year olds that were inisisting that they *did so* understand how airplanes flew.

Family dies instead

Marshall Gatten replied:

I had an agent shoot Alzis once. Right in the chest.

He looked down at the bleeding wound and conversationally asked, "You know what I love? I mean, there are plenty of things in the world worthy of love, but you know what I really, really love? Me. Really. I mean, I know it's kind of narcissistic, but I just have to admit it: I really love myself. I'm also a really big fan of that whole eye for an eye thing. The problem, Agent Smith, is that you've just shot somebody I love." He then got up and walked out. As he did, the agent shot him again in the back. This seemed to be ignored.

Immediately the Agent's cell phone rings. It's a hospital calling to let him know his wife has just been admitted to the emergency room with multiple bullet wounds. The timing on all this indicates that she was actually shot some time before the agent shot Alzis.

Alzis is nowhere to be found. The wife died in hospital. She had two bullet wounds - in the chest and back. Police investigation showed that she was shot in her home and there was no forced entry. Ballistics determined that the bullets were fired by the agent's service revolver - the one that he used to shoot Alzis. He had no alibi because he'd called in sick that day so he could meet Alzis with the group. He asked the other cell members to back him up, but they would have had to blow their own covers for that. He was hung out to dry and went to prison for killing his wife.

The player learned: Don't shoot Alzis.

A 1990s theory on Alzis' identity

Poor formatting and sourcing below…

Who the hell is Stephen Alzis?

Because my ego demanded it, I'm gonna repost the idiotic little thingy I wrote about Mr Alzis back when I was more active on the list.

2) Is he Nyarlathotep? Keep in mind, plotting to destroy Earth isn't

Last night, in a fit of delirium, I came up with a theory regarding just who Stephen Alzis is. Y'see, Nyarlathotep is already Hitler. While I wouldn't put it past Nyarly to be running around as five dozen different monstie types as once, I really wouldn't want Nyarlathotep to be the bad guy of two major organizations in a chronicle. My choice as Keeper. Some folks may like the idea of Nyarlathotep running around and just controlling everything. Me not. (Though the idea of Nyarlathotep being behind multiple things, many of which crash into one another and conflict, is interesting. Is he doing it for fun or is he doing it because one avatar doesn't always know what another avatar is up to?)

Stephen Alzis (samech yod zayin lamed alpha nun vev teth samech) equals 233.

233 is the same number as Etz ha-Chayim, Hebrew for the Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life is still but a tree. (Etz : ayin tzaddi. 160.)

160 is the number that the letters samech yod mem and nun add up to.

These just happen to be pronounced Simon.

That's all of that, I promise.

We'll start out here by assuming that I didn't previously prove (beyond a shadow of a Stone Cold Steven Austin) that Jesus Christ cannot be Nyarlathotep. <Note: I did this a damn long time ago. I mean, this post was originally made four or five months ago, so the- er… hey, does anyone actually have that? I didn't save it. If anyone has my 'Why Jesus isn't Nyarlathotep' post, could they e-mail it to me? Check with me first. I'm gonna poke around the Ice Cave first.> Or maybe I'm just a cultist of Nyarlathotep and I'm trying to screw with you guys.

Simon (who would later be known as Simon Magus, and perhaps even Steven Alzis) was born to the Samaritan peoples of Cyprus and was among those who was baptized to Judaeism. Like Aleister Crowley some millennium and three quarters later, he was forced into a religion he felt no part of. Though his parents never called him a little chioa (*ahem* 'beast') as did Crowley's, he still did get up to mischief. It was mischief against the old begger man, Dositheus, that drew him to the attention of the mad priest. Dositheus, once a companion and priest of Nyarlathotep in his Mask of Jesus Christ, had gone too far into the depths of madness and depravity for even the Messenger of the Outer Gods to have any use for him, and he was cast out from the cult of apostles. Dositheus raised Simon with a mind full of the truth regarding Christ, and a lot of lies regarding other things. He taught Simon all the sorcery he had ever learned, then died miserably. By this time, Christ had died for the sins of humanity. Ahem. Simon assumed that since most of the people around at the time didn't care one way or another, someone else had managed to fail Nyarlathotep in whatever bizarre plot he had worked out. (He was wrong, in that Christianity would soon take a hold of the world. He was also right, in that what Nyarlathotep was trying to do, destroy organized religion, would actually backfire on him as Christianity would become a ridiculously over structured religion.) So Simon went about gaining personal power, declaring that he was also the Son of God (hey Bob, you have three kids, right?)

Upon his first meeting with the Cult of Christ, he saw that they'd been given inherent abilities by Nyarlathotep in exchange for a life's service and things Simon couldn't quite as easily make out. In jest, and in an attempt to ken the exact price paid, Simon offered coin if they would teach him their gifts. The cultist called Peter forced Simon to his knees and demanded, nay compelled, Simon to repent. The crowd,having recognized Simon even though the disciples didn't seem to, fell to their knees before the power of Peter's faith.

Simon, thereafter, avoided the Cult whenever he could. Leaving Israel behind, he went to Rome and began once more to preach his own divinity.

For his crimes of blasphemy, Emperor Nero brought Simon to his court and had the magician's head removed. Even then, the head rolled around and taunted the Emperor. Simon's body stooped, picked up his head and set it back down on his head, then he turned and left the court.

Nero, embarrassed and angered, had his courtiers go to learn the secrets of Simon's magic. None were discovered, though reports that Simon had once been defeated reached Nero's ears. Once more, the emperor summoned Simon to his court, and once more, Simon appeared. Simon compelled Nero to have a private talk with him, and when that conversation was over,

Peter arrived, for Nero had also sent word to Peter that Simon's cult had spread far and wide in Rome. Upon seeing Peter, Simon was terrified. Nero laughed and gestured from one man to the other, demanding that they battle once more.

Peter turned to the frightened magician and with but a few words in prayer, sent Simon flying. Through the window, out into the courtyard and into the ground where his bones were smashed and his brains dashed across the ground. Nero was delighted. For the murder, Nero had Peter arrested and taken to a cell. Later that day, before he could replenish his will to escape, Peter was crucified. No one knew that among Simon's many tricks was the ability to trade faces with another. Simon ruled Rome with a hateful iron fist, though not many noticed since your average Roman emperor was a llama-buggering twit, and eventually saw the city's destruction.

So. What's he done since? I don't know. I don't have to sit here and write up two thousand years of history for you people. I mean, this is just a stupid idea. It's not like this is gonna appear in any books anytime soon. Still…

Sometime around the 15th century, Simon came upon the young sorcerer who would become Stephen Alzis. After Simon devoured his brain and stole his body, anyway.

In the 1930s, Simon was finally convinced that the New World was worth visiting. Two thousand years in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and even Africa had really started to bore him. He'd found evidence of Nyarlathotep cults all over, but they were all quite established, quite old, and nothing that he wanted to chance two thousand years of immortality on.

In New York, Simon, now Stephen Alzis (a private joke all his own), came across a small cult to Nyarlathotep in its infancy. As a matter of fact, Nyarlathotep had apparently not even noticed it yet. Simon, with all the dash as any M of N, came in, took the place over and made it his own.

These days, the Fate uses Simon's new name in their rituals, often replacing Nyarlathotep's own.

With his mastery of the greatest city on Earth, Simon seeks to destroy Nyarlathotep's influence on humanity any way possible. This hardly makes him a hero, though. Long ago he discovered that it was easier and just as effective to control a city through its underbelly than to control it through its bright and shiny top. If you control a politician, you control a politician. If you control a mobster, you control the mobster, the politician, the businessman, everyone who works for him, the butcher, the baker and the goddam candlestick maker. Simon has long been ruthless and as evil as a man can get. It's actually quite likely that his hatred of Nyarlathotep is more professional jealousy than any concern for mankind. If anyone's gonna rule the insects, it's going to be him.

His magic has developed to a point where he can see the near future in New York with absolute certitude. He uses this to set it up so the Adepts witness any and all important events that take place in the city, as his magic tells him what will happen, not why and how. Simon hopes to someday develop this advanced soothsaying so he can ken all events in the world, though he knows he's running out of time.

Just what relationship Simon has to the New York ghouls is uncertain, but connections between him and Mordiggian (beyond the band Charnel Dreams) have been made by occult conspiracy nuts. They are rarely savory.

A stupid theory by an occult conspiracy nut.

''From the Saint of Killers.''

On using Alzis in simulations

''From: Steven Kaye ''

OK, here's try number 2:

Two questions you have to answer about Mr. Alzis first, the second considerably less important than the first:

1) What does Alzis want? Is he the ultimate investigator, sacrificing "pawns" to gain a complete knowledge of the Mythos and its activities, and ultimately bring it crashing down? Is he an ally (or construct) of the Mi-Go, seeking to gather as much knowledge as possible before the Endtimes? Is he a follower of the Mythos, playing some complicated double- (triple-, quadruple-, etc.) game? Is he just a very well-informed crime lord?

You need to know this (although the players shouldn't, until much later in the campaign), in order to figure out his approach - does he play for sympathy to his fellow investigators, dropping hints about artifacts and myths which might help them? (and which pan out?) Perhaps Belial betrays Alzis, and he comes to the players for assistance against an even greater menace (whether Belial is a genuine menace or was put up to this is your call). Will he simply cause the characters' usual sources to dry up (Shriveling's handy for that), which forces the characters to go to him but doesn't inspire trust? Will he pull a "Usual Suspects" and force the characters to make up to him for ostensibly ruining his operation?

Also, keep in mind that many fortunate coincidences in Alzis' career could be just that. Maybe the Doolittle Sinkhole was caused by Cthonians, or too much digging by Ghouls, or was just an extreme version of your basic New York pothole. Maybe Alzis is protecting humanity by building on top of it. Those deaths since the 1930's? Amazing what you can do with some stand-ins and plastic surgery. Or blood bags.

Finally, keep in mind that Delta Green has to be cautious about equipment, use of government resources, etc. Majestic-12 doesn't suffer nearly as much from these limitations. Simply offering a safehouse, not turning in the characters when he has a chance, etc. can make characters grateful (if suspicious). You can have fun with DG friendlies - Alzis has been around since before DG was founded, as supposedly knows about Delta Green. So here's your friendly, involved in a conspiracy against the U.S. government, treating like a mushroom by these hardass guys with guns and shades, feeling left out at best. Good thing there's a sympathetic Alzis on hand… This doesn't even get into the twisted emotional manipulation Alzis can pull with the character's non-DG lives.

2) Is he Nyarlathotep? Keep in mind, plotting to destroy Earth isn't necessarily the same as being a loyal servant of the Great Old Ones, so if the answer is yes it doesn't preclude one or more of the motivations above holding true. Maybe Nyarlathotep wants to see the Great Old Ones AND humanity destroyed, so he can go wandering about the cosmos to his heart's content. This is the same figure who strikes his master's head in contempt, after all. And Victor Milan's "Mr. Skin" actually portrays a Nyarlathotep who sympathizes with humanity to some extent - because he's closer to them than to the Great Old Ones, and likes a good conversation.

Even if he IS Nyarlathotep, don't feel obliged to drop remarks about fellahin and panthers coming up to him to lick his hands and so on. Play up the uncertainty - have a story come from Kenya about a wind-born plague when they KNOW Alzis is in New York. Do you have any idea how many Arabs or Arab-Americans there are in the greater New York area? Trust me, you can run the players ragged chasing after "suspicious" Semitic types.

''From: Shane Ivey''

« And Victor Milan's "Mr. Skin" actually portrays a Nyarlathotep who sympathizes with humanity to some extent - because he's closer to them than to the Great Old Ones, and likes a good conversation. »

Blech. Was the rest of the story any good? Giving N. even this much vulnerability seems to go WAY down the wrong path, IMO. "Hi, I'm the immortal Nyarlathotep, with my hand in every cookie jar in the cosmos. Will you please be my friend?"

I figure Nyarlathotep takes such an active interest in humanity mainly because (1) he has a sense of humor, and (2) he's a god and he can screw with us without cutting into his messengering duties everywhere else in the universe.

(I still kind of like the notion that Nyarlathotep screwed with Cthulhu & his kids just as much, before they got fed up and into slumber for a few million years.)

''From: Ozymandias ''

Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 17:43:17 +0000 (GMT)

That is not dead which can eternal lurk
And with strange aeons even Olly may write:

In my current campaign I'm just about to introduce the players to the Amazing Mr Alzis. I was mainly interested to know how other GMs had handled this particular encounter.

I'd better set the scene…

…To set up the meeting, I've hinted at his existence previously. In Operation CONVERGENCE [qv "DG"] the agents saw him in the briefing room with Derringer just before they were told about Billy Ray Spivey; and in their ongoing investigation Operation SABBATH MOON one of the agents had a vision of him after repeating an incantation scrawled in blood and faeces found at the scene of a ritual sacrifice [you'd think the players would learn not to do that sort of thing, wouldn't you? <EG> ]. Anyway, in the next session an Adept will hand them a flyer for Charnel Dreams with a message from Belial on the back…and from there they'll (hopefully) find their way to Club Apocalypse and meet Alzis.

Now here's a problem…How do you get the agents (let alone your players) to trust this guy? [With the players it's mighty hard to get around the whole "What, me Nyarlathotep?" thing. I mean, how many scheming Arabic magick-users do YOUR players know? <G> ] Alright, so Steve's always ready to cut a deal…in the above scenario he can provide them with the ritual the serial killer has been using to track down his victims. But why should the agents trust this fellah who evidently has occult and crime connections all over the shop…especially if he wants them to provide distinctly dodgy favours for him in return?

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear how others on the list have portrayed Everybody's Favourite Evil Patron.

And that's all he wrote

''From: Graeme Price ''

Depends. Personally, I would try to introduce him _inside_ a secure government facility (like in a corridor, or elevator of the Hoover building, or the Pentagon). Make the players think he is supposed to be there, and has the relevant contacts. Perhaps introducing him to one player as a kind of "Deep Throat"? Good for instilling party paranoia when the other players start to wonder just how Bob gets all his good leads… when they find out who Bob's source really is of course, they may just shoot Bob for being a double agent.

On a practical note, I would portray Alzis as having a very cultivated English accent (it's the one I do best… I was born with it!), with a "classic" dress sytle (Saville row suits that cost more that your salary etc.). Besides, everyone knows that all Englishmen are really villains (I mean take Hollywood). I made one of my previous players freak with the introduction (in a lift, in the Pentagon, during a DEFCON 3 alert: the investigator thought he was alone in the lift until it stopped between floors and the lights flickered: he then heard said voice behind him saying "Please allow me to introduce myself…". Luckily he wasn't armed at the time: Corny, but effective). As a character trait, I make Alzis look at his pocket watch every couple of minutes (it doesn't have any hands, but the investigators don't know that) as if he is expecting something to happen.

Keeps them on edge, which is good.

''From: Daniel M Harms ''

First of all, don't start calling in the distinctly dodgy favors just yet. As you can tell, gentlemen, having a serial killer on the lose puts more cops on the streets, leads to a great outcry from the media and public, and generally makes for bad business for individuals involved in alternative industries. Make this one a freebie - no strings attached, no nasty consequences.

Another neat little trick is the little kid. Have five-year-old Arnie run in to see his uncle Stephen while the investigators are talking. Hey, some big bad sorcerer dedicated to the destruction of life on earth wouldn't be an uncle, too, would he? Maybe Arnie is related to him in some fashion, or maybe he's just part of a play being put on for the investigators. This may ruin some of the mood, but putting a human side to Alzis (golf trophies on the walls?) might allay investigator's suspicions - until they start checking (those golf tournaments were never held).

''From: The Man in Black ''

In my current campaign I'm just about to introduce the
players to the Amazing Mr Alzis. I was mainly interested to
know how other GMs had handled this particular encounter.

Remember, as with drug dealers and other purveyors of questionable goods, the first one is always free. Once dependancy (psychological or physical) sets in, then you start to charge a steep fee for the now required services. Grifting and GameMastering are like fishing, first you hook 'em then you reel 'em in.

It's all in the salesmanship.

''From: John P. Yuda ''

Now here's a problem…How do you get the agents

Well, I don't know if it's a matter of trust. What I did in both games that Alzis has made his way into is make it such that the characters _need_ him to do whatever they're doing. then, when he doesn't screw them over the first time, they start to trust him, and then he continues to hold up his end of the deal…until such a point as the PCs trust him enough to maybe just do a favor, or something…at which point they get screwed over, if you so incline…

''From: John Petherick ''

My question is, "Didn't you get some groans from the Rolling Stones fan(s) in the group?"

''From: Graeme Price ''

No. The Player in question was too freaked about having (what he thought was) Lucifer standing behind him in an enclosed space and no way to defend himself whatsoever…. and if it suit's Mr. Alzis' purposes to be thought of as the Devil (it did… stops the Players twigging he might [or might not] be Nyarlathotep) then all's well and good.

''From: William Timmins ''

Alzis atmosphere:

When my party met him in an office within Club Apocalypse (or at least connected to it), one PC noticed a shadowy fish tank inset in the back wall. Most PCs (expecting the worst) made a point of not looking into it, but one did. She (Kiki, I believe) saw what appeared to be trilobytes scurrying around at the bottom of the tank.

Kiki pulled Wallaby Jones (Cryptozoologist) to look at it, and he, amidst a discussion about what Alzis was prepared to tell them about an attempt that was going to be made on one of the PC agent's life, indicated 'Oh yes, I had them made… quite lifelike, don't you think?'

Kiki nodded, satisfied with this mundane, if odd, explanation. The Cryptozoologist had the sneaking suspicion that Alzis was lying… but even if he was telling the truth, what sort of man keeps robotic replicas of trilobytes in a fishtank in his office?

This, plus a knack for showing up when the PCs were about to get nuked, and the PCs were hooked.

Actually, I ran Alzis as pretty 'nice'. He was using the PCs as resources and tools, which led him to structure palatable deals. You could run Alzis as a fair, equitable, and quite sympathetic character. For a while. Until the usefulness of doing something horrid to the PCs outweighs their future usefulness in 'nice' ways.

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