Mayor Ariel Levitt

Ladies and gentlemen, rabbits and robots, we here at Electic Eye are happy to profile the beloved man in Saskatoon: in a city wracked by corrupt politicians, organized crime, and wanton Toonpunkery, there is just one man who stands, paladin-like, against the awful dangers of bourgeoisies and minorities. This man is Mayor Ariel Levitt, devout champion of the people and outspoken enemy of crime everywhere. It was Ariel Levitt who spearheaded the investigation into Big Papa Giocomo, which ultimately destroyed the Giocomo Mafia; and when the RMBI launched an official inquiry into the Hackerschmidt shipping empire, it was Ariel Levitt himself who wore the wire that captured William Hackerschmidt’s damning confession.

He is the champion of the Saskatoon general area—and he is very likely to be an invisible thorn in your side for as long as you work the night job. During his 20-year-long tenure, district courts normalized intense and far-reaching punishments for anyone convicted as a Toonpunk—with life imprisonment, or extradition to Planet Hell, being almost inevitable. It’s because of this jerk that if you ever go down in the line of duty, you’re probably never coming back up again—and he is currently the only person in the solar system to be the four-time winner of the Electric Eye Quintennial Five Million Credit Bounty.

But what about the man himself, you may wonder. What is Ariel Levitt like as a person? Where did he come from, and how did he become who he is today? Why is he such a sanctimonious asshole?

Ariel Levitt was originally the main character of Kings of America, a six-issue comic miniseries published in 2006. In the story, Ariel is a struggling artist living in Mississippi; and on his 40th birthday, he inherits his birthright as the King of Wind, which grants him incredible powers of flight and air manipulation. Using these, he begins terrorizing the heroin trade in his city. Soon he enters into conflict with the corrupt county Sherriff, who is secretly the King of Stone. The series was, on the surface, a small-town adventure story about two old men entering into a superheroic rivalry; but it was praised by critics and audiences for its complex themes, which examined the decline of Christianity in the American South.

Ariel’s homepage is the cover of Issue #4, in which he is depicted lazily floating above a bank of clouds while painting a self-portrait. At this point in the story, he is at the height of his power, and preparing to begin open conflict against the corrupt city police—a conflict that ultimately costs him his life in issue #6. Ariel, as a character, is defined by his relentless optimism and idealism. His faith in the inalienable good of mankind is what drives him to adopt his short-lived career into superheroics; and it is what drives him to pursue his political agenda with relentless fervor. While he no longer has his powers, he still has a superheroic heart!

Sickening.

GM’S EYES ONLY:

Everything you just read is bullshit. Ariel Levitt is a bitter and broken man, whose selfishness borders on sociopathy. Utterly engrossed in his own well-being, Ariel is a shadow of his former self: and more than that, he is the secret benefactor of the Malorn crime family. Nearly everything he does serves his own gratification, and that of his criminal accomplices: his persecution of toonpunks is done specifically to limit their interference in Malorn family matters, and his prosecution of organized crime is pointed entirely at the Malorn family’s rivals.

Ariel’s current incarnation is his fourth; and the previous three all committed suicide. Robbed of his powers, thrust into poverty, and aware of his own canonical demise, Ariel suffered a psychological break that left him without his faith and optimism. Embittered and destitute, he abandoned his heroic inclinations in favor of his own well-being. Unlike most villains, Levitt does not rationalize his actions. He knows he is a bad man, and that he is doing bad things: but he abandoned his morals in the face of an undeserving world. He believes there is nothing worth helping and no-one worth saving, and so he is determined to enjoy himself at any cost.

BEING ARIEL LEVITT

Despite this, however, Ariel clings to his reputation as an idealist and a hero. He shrewdly abuses this to gain the trust of his constituents and honest employees. He commits to this part with unerring accuracy, to the point where he will deliberately jeopardize his health or career in pursuit of ‘justice’. He will often refuse and publicly expose bribery attempts or goad on criminal organizations—banking, in the end, that the admiration of the many will afford him more power than the favor of the few. He only reveals his true colors to those he knows have poor morals and criminal intention.

He disdains his inner circle of criminal cohorts, however—knowing them to be every bit as morally bankrupt as he himself is, he cannot bring himself to feel much more than disgust towards even his most loyal henchman. The only person he genuinely respects is Commissioner Walker Stone of the Saskatoon PD: while they were formerly nemeses, Levitt admires Stone’s conviction—even if Levitt often exploits or deceives him for his own benefit. More than anything else, though, his defining motivation is a combination of wanton hedonism and self-loathing: even though he is living quite well, he is disgusted at himself for having betrayed his morals for his own comfort.

AS A FRIEND OF THE PLAYERS

Ariel Levitt is not likely to be a friend of most players: he’s tough on toonpunks, and on organized crime outside the Mallorn family. However, that doesn’t mean he will never be friendly. If you are running a game where the players work inside the law, he can be used as the principal in a bodyguarding contract. If you are running an idealistic or hopeful sort of campaign, Levitt can be an excellent foil for your players: their characters will likely only know Levitt’s public image, and if they are particularly noble or heroic in their own right, he may come to remember something of his old self, and perhaps even seek out redemption following their example. The player characters, upon discovering his fall from grace, may experience a crisis of faith, or depart his service.

Contrarily, the player characters might be aware of his corruption from the outset, and assist him in his illegal ventures: he might contract them to intimidate, spy on, or blackmail political opponents and rival mobsters. He could even go so far as to commission an arson or assassination, if you want to play him as someone who does not just benefit from crime, but actively causes it.

AS AN ENEMY OF THE PLAYERS

Ariel Levitt will make himself felt to the players long before he makes himself known: he is an invisible hand, manipulating the Saskatoon civil corpus for the enrichment of the Malorn family. If the players are operating against the family, or for a rival mafia, they can expect him to take an interest in their case after just a few jobs: they may be met with unusually zealous police responses, or suspiciously successful investigators. If they are particularly successful or violent, Levitt may take to the podium to issue a public condemnation or call to alert—making it very difficult indeed for the characters to move through the city without a disguise.

They will likely never be made aware of his true nature until such a time as they begin dealing with Papa Malorn and the upper echelons of the family. He will keep himself so far removed from the day-to-day dealings of the family that the players will likely never suspect him until they are ready to strike at the very heart of the mob itself. As such, you would be well-served keeping him far removed from the players’ sphere of influence—if you intend to use him as the ultimate villain of your campaign, only feature him piecemeal now and again, as a character on a newscast or something similar: build awareness of the character, without familiarity.

Experienced or cynical players will no doubt cotton onto his involvement fairly early, however. If you are arranging a game for veteran players, who may already know to distrust him, consider an exciting twist: play Levitt as a man who has [i]not[/i] abandoned his idealism, and is in fact being used as a puppet or mouthpiece by a hidden antagonist; or for a simpler story, use him as a zealot-like figure who will catalyze a manhunt against the players.