I love my Edge City game.
One of the NPCs is Swashbuckler. His costume is a big beard, a greatcoat, tricorn, all of it. He is an immortal (like Highlander) and he has a cutlass handy at all times.
He was madly in love with a PC’s former life, and firmly tells himself that her current incarnation is not the same person (though she feels the same to him.) Hah!
Also, when he was romantically involved with her former life, he got to know her grandfather, who lived in Kingsport until he became captain of the White Ship (Lovecraft Mythos, Dreamlands.) Because he helped save the world once by temporarily signing on to the White Ship, he was given a gift of one of the Ship’s longboats, so he can navigate through dimensionally tricky bits in it. He took inspiration for his Swashbuckler persona from his terrible job imitating the captain of the White Ship.
Garth Telson (Swashbuckler’s more or less real name) held a PC’s character’s former life in his arms when she was died; a cult was trying to sacrifice her so she could not be reincarnated, and he “saved” her by killing her. That messed him up, more than a little. The PC only found out about it after knowing him for a while, and discovering the information in typed correspondence from the cultists that failed and their bosses; it is chilling reading about your previous life’s death, and their intent to complete the ritual when you next resurface…
Swashbuckler must have a hell of a day job. He knows lots of rough stevedore types, and they pretend to be pirates in the evening; he owns a pub called the Barnacle Bar, where the “pirate crew” hangs out. If you want to talk Swashbuckler business, bring a special bosun whistle to the barkeep; that’s the secret signal.
Swashbuckler also has two hench wenches, Pirate Booty and Treasure Chest. (Think about it for a minute. In reserve, I have Peg Leg Peg and the Figurehead. One of the PCs was offered a position and politely declined.) They help with communication, leadership, and intelligence / counter intelligence operations.
Swashbuckler has a ship, Our Lady of Mists, that is capable of moving in and out of the Mists of R’lyeh, a half-step off prime; ideal for surprising prey and escaping the law. The PCs still do not know how he got this age-of-sail ship.
Mostly, they target smugglers and criminals in the Torpedo Bay slums of the city. Rather than messing around with complex evidence laws, one of the most successful tactics Swashbuckler uses is his “confess or maroon” program. He puts criminals on a tiny spit of land somewhere off the coast of North Carolina, with food and water, and periodically checks in to see if they are ready to confess. If they lie, escaping the island and not confessing… well, Swashbuckler’s “crew” has a long reach. And the liar will be back on that island in no time! Or the hospital. Or on the island in need of hospitalization. Still, the rules of the city (as laid down by the Gray Ghost) are, no killing. So Swashbuckler does not kill.
The Dusk Clan, hard-core ninja, also operate in Edge City. They are sworn enemies of Swashbuckler and his crew. So yes, we have a long standing pirate/ninja rivalry in the city, WITH A COMPLETELY STRAIGHT FACE. More or less.
Swashbuckler has been around for years, and the players have managed to find out a lot about him (represented above) but it pleases me that I’ve got even more of his background and history to come out over time. He is a fun NPC ally for the player characters.
He really drills into the Adam West Batman style comic book cheese, and embraces its glory, but he’s a real person under all that with more darkness and complexity. There is a dash of Goonies, a mass of Highlander, a foundation of comics aimed at kids, a pinch of internet meme, and a wrapping of Edge City awesomeness.