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As the name implies, the crusader is out to further some cause that he believes in–ending crime, converting the infidels, saving the environment, killing a huge fucking shark, whatever. The crusader rarely acts out of pure altruism; he has personal reasons for doing what he does and is not necessarily interested in doing good if it doesn’t further his own goals.
Crusaders can be found in just about any type of story, as long as there is something they can fight for. Although crusaders work great in stories where right and wrong are clearly defined, they are often more interesting in settings that include a healthy dose of moral ambiguity. Such settings allow the player (and GM) to use the character to explore ideas like justice and morality in ways that righteously slaughtering the evil minions of ARARARAAR, god of FIRE! and EVIL! simply doesn’t permit.
The Name Game
While some crusaders are flaky hippie types with appropriately granola names, the classic crusader is a capable warrior with a strong, direct, manly name, often one that hints at his prowess. Holy warriors may take on the names or prophets and martyrs or use names that evoke religious imagery or symbols. In hard-boiled, noirish settings, the crusader should have a name (or code name) that sounds like a punch to the nutsack and strikes fear into the hearts of his enemies.
Old-school crusaders spread their cause at the end of a gun, sword, or pointy stick, and therefore need good Body Numbers to reflect their physical training and abilities. Modern day crusaders are more likely to fight their battles in the courtroom or the press room, and therefore need good Brain Numbers. Regardless of how they wage their wars, all crusaders need good Nerve Numbers to reflect their unyielding belief in the cause.
Suggested Jobs: Activist Judge, Attorney, Bounty Hunter, Brewer, Community Organizer, Computer Hacker, Cop on the Edge, Eco-Terrorist, Editor-in-Chief, General, Government Agent, Journalist, Knight, Lawman, Lobbyist, Mad Scientist, Monster Hunter, Moral Guardian, Occult Investigator, Paladin, Pamphleteer, Politician, Pornographer, Preacher, Private Detective, Pundit, Revolutionary, Scientist, Shark Hunter, Soldier, Terrorist, Union Organizer, UFOologist, U.S. Marshall, Vigilante, Whistle Blower
Suggested Gimmicks: Born Leader, Chosen One, Clue Magnet, Danger Sense, Die Hard, Duct Tape and Chicken Wire, Friends in High Places, God’s Little Buddy, Good Instincts, Hard To Kill, Hide In Plain Sight, Instill Fear, Knows Everybody, Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried, Media Savvy, Minions, Nerves of Steel, Polymath, Reputation, Science!, Second Sight, Silver Tongue, Super Soldier, True Believer, True Love, Wealthy, Well Read, Won’t Back Down
Suggested Weaknesses: Anger Management Issues, Battle Scars, Burden of Responsibility, Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone, Code of Honor, Cop Magnet, Criminal Record, Delusional, Dirty Hippie, Enemies, Looks Like Trouble, Monster Magnet, Perpetually Needs A Bigger Boat, Porn Addict, Price on His Head, Psychological Problems, Punching Bag, Red Tape, War Wound, Weirdness Magnet
Suggested Skills: Archery, Black Powder Weapons, Breaking and Entering, Chess, Conspiracy Theory, Current Events, Debate, Demolitions, Dodge, Eavesdropping, Fast Talk, Firearms, First Aid, Folk Singing, Freemasonry, Fund Raising, Gunner, Inspirational Speaking, Intimidation, Killin’ Nazis, Law, Negotiation, Philosophy, Religion, Self Defense, Stealth, Swimming, Swordsmanship, Tracking, Unnecessary Acrobatics, Wilderness Survival
WWPHITM? Antonio Bandaras, David Boreanaz, Bruce Campbell, Neve Campbell, Kevin Costner, Sybil Danning, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., David Duchovney, Eliza Dushku, Clint Eastwood, Corey Feldman, Ben Foster, Sarah Michelle Geller, Mel Gibson, Summer Glau, Tom Hanks, Woody Harrelson, Milla Jovavich, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johanssen, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Lawless, Liam Neeson, Edward Norton, Clive Owen, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Tim Robbins, Mickey Roarke, George C. Scott, Will Smith, Keifer Sutherland, Charlize Therone, Gina Torres, John Travolta, Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, John Wayne, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, Chow Yun Fat
Tag Line: “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”–Nathan Hale
Tools of the Trade: The equipment needed by a crusader will depend on how he carries out his crusade. Warriors for the cause will need weapons, transportation, basic survival gear, and perhaps armor. Grim vigilantes need crime caves, cool gadgets, and intimidating costumes. Legal eagles and politicians need a convincing argument, a nice suit, and maybe a research staff.
Where You’ll Find Him: Fighting for the cause. Most crusaders are consumed with their goal. When they’re not engaged in battle, they are making battle plans, preparing what they need for the battle, and replaying recent battle in order to determine how they can better fight the coming battle.
Social Circle: Some crusaders will have a large contingent of minions, brothers in arms, and volunteers who help them in their fight. Others are loners who are far too consumed with the cause to make friends.
Bruce Wayne (Batman)
Job: Billionaire Playboy (15)/Detective (17)
Gimmick: Polymath (15)
Weakness: Borderline Insane (13); Rogue’s Gallery (15); Code of Honor (Won’t Kill) (16)
Skills: Intimidation +3; Gadgets +2; Disguise +1
WWPHITM? Christian Bale
Dumb Fact: Contrary to rumors, he likes girls.
Tag Line: “Criminals are a terror. Hearts of the night. I must disguise my terror. Criminals are cowardly. A superstitious terrible omen. A cowardly lot. My disguise must strike terror. I must be black. Terrible. Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. I must be a creature. I must be a creature of the night. Mommy’s dead. Daddy’s dead. Brucie’s dead. I shall become a bat.” (from Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean)
Books & Comics
The Song of Roland
Movies & TV
Dirty Harry series (Dirty Harry)
JFK (Jim Garrison*)
The Lone Gunmen
The Lost Boys (The Frog Brothers)
The People vs. Larry Flynt
The X-Files (Fox Mulder)
*These also qualify for the Historical/Pseudo-Historical Figures category
Jack T. Chick
Joan of Arc
Senator Joseph McCarthy
Aimee Semple McPherson