Commissioner Walker Stone

If Mayor Levitt is a hand stabbing at the throat of our industry, Walker Stone is the knife he’s using to do it. He is a driven, charismatic, and capable man: under his leadership, the SPD has reached record-high recruitment and conviction rates, with record low civilian casualties. His crowning achievement is undoubtedly the wholesale disassembly of the Gambino crime empire; though his ongoing prosecution of the Rasputins may one day supplant it. Perhaps most important of all is his incredible devotion to duty: despite being successfully assassinated 3 separate times, Stone has served an unbroken tenure as commissioner for the last 36 years. In fact, he aced the Bendis-Bagley Continuity Test all 3 times—making him the only certified static personality to hold public office in the city of Saskatoon.

Not everything about him is smiles and sunshine, however. Stone rose to office amidst controversy about his origins and character—controversy which persists to this day, and puts him under near-constant scrutiny: on his homepage Stone was a villain, and a particular nasty one at that. In Kings of America, Walker Stone was a corrupt county sheriff whose actions were often amoral or even cruel. In the series, the county police force is overstretched and underfunded, with violent crime spiraling out of control. Over time, Walker comes to believe that the limited order imposed by the area’s crime cartels was better than the lack of order presented by the civil government; and so allows several organized crime groups to reach prominence.

In the climactic act of the story, Ariel Levitt—the main character—discovers that Walker is secretly the King of Stone, and has the power to telekinetically manipulate stone and rock. The two briefly engage in a super-powered duel, before the more experienced Stone overpowers and kills Levitt by impaling him through the heart with a spear of solid rock. In the series finale, Stone falsely eulogizes Levitt as a victim of gang violence, and uses his death to rally the people of Levitt’s hometown in support of increased police funding. In the closing monologue of issue #6, Stone remarks that “the real tragedy is that the world will always need more dead dreamers.”

Many people were understandably nervous at the prospect of this man being put in charge of the police force. However, despite being the antagonist of the picture, Walker Stone was never portrayed as villainous—only as pragmatic and impersonal, almost to the point of inhumanity. Prior to I-day, the efficacy of his system raised frequent debate among fans of the series about whether he was truly a villain or merely an anti-hero.

After I-day, he leveraged his reputation to his advantage during several civilian careers as a lecturer, security consultant, and talk show panelist—all of which were cut short by his deaths. His fourth incarnation briefly entertained returning to the talk show circuit, before ultimately partnering with Ariel Levitt during Levitt’s mayoral bid. During the campaign, he repeatedly stressed that his actions in Kings of America were the result of extreme duress; and the size of the Saskatoon PD would allow him to work fully within the confines of the law. As a show of good faith, he regularly submits to and cooperates with the RMBI; and his approach to internal misconduct is notoriously strict—often relying on punitive measures that far exceed other cities’.

As a person, Stone is known to be stern and pensive. He prefers to listen rather than speak, and he does not like to waste words. Despite being known as a pragmatist and a tight ship-runner, those subordinates of his who remain faithful to the law say that he is understanding and reasonable, if not necessarily kind. The phrase “firm but fair” is often applied to him—though a number of less charitable things are said by those who find his single-minded devotion to the law tiresome or inconvenient. Either way, he has done a fine job of getting results—he did more than his fair share to bring Saskatoon’s Onyx age to a screeching halt, and shows no sign of stopping.

GM'S EYES ONLY

BEING WALKER STONE

Being Walker Stone is a very simple thing: be hardnosed, be unyielding, and be singularly devoted to the greater good. Despite his past as a villain, he means what he says about his motivations and his intentions: he opposes crime and wrongdoing. Do not mistake him for a Javert, however: his only goal is to ensure the health and well-being of as many people as possible, and he sees the law as the most efficient way to do it. It is nothing but a tool to him, and if it stops being the best way to ensure safety in Saskatoon, he will bend or even break it.

It is this fact that has placed several skeletons deep in his closet for the enterprising player to find. He has broken several major regulations during his time as commissioner, and he keeps these secrets buried deep—though perhaps not deep enough to evade keen-eyed investigators. First and foremost, he has cheated his continuity test: by recording the answers he gives on the test and leaving them as a coded note to himself in his journal, he has been able to successfully create the illusion of being identical between incarnations, regardless of how each one changes over time—an illusion that has allowed him to maintain his office even between deaths.

His second great secret—though this one is far less actionable—is that he has a very low opinion of Mayor Levitt, and considers him a mere pawn in his plans for the city: a smiling face and trustworthy image to which he can affix himself, and nothing more. Unbeknownst to him, Levitt thinks much the same—and is in fact a secret criminal kingpin, who cleverly uses Walker to further his own nefarious designs. A clever GM can leverage this dynamic numerous ways.

As a character, Walker is quiet and thoughtful—he likes to have as much information as possible before committing to any action, no matter how minor. When he speaks, he will be to-the-point and blunt, perhaps even standoffish; he does not like to repeat himself, because he is secretly ashamed of his lilting Southern drawl. Bear this in mind when writing dialogue for the character.

AS A FRIEND OF THE PLAYERS

Walker Stone, even though he is a stubborn police officer, is more likely to be a friend of the players than the Mayor. Despite running on the same anti-crime platform, he is not above cutting corners in the name of justice: he will tolerate vigilantes, spies, or thieves working in the common interest (but never admit so, obviously). If the players are particularly outspoken against organized crime, or even a particularly immoral corporation, Stone might even contract them for work the police cannot legally handle—though he will no doubt insist that the operation remain bloodless, and that the player characters minimize collateral damage.

He might be a valuable asset to player characters who work for justice, even if they use slightly illegal methods. As a GM, you might have him deprioritize ongoing investigations into the players’ capers, or deliberately slow police response times to their crime scenes. However, it is easy to lose his loyalty, and difficult to maintain it: if the players begin killing police officers, Stone will turn on them in a heartbeat; and it is entirely possible that a nefarious enemy might uncover his connection to the players and take measures to have Stone ousted from his position.

AS AN ENEMY OF THE PLAYERS

For murderous or chaotic players, Walker Stone is a dangerous foe. He does not abide killers, anarchists, or rabble-rousers. He does not despise their crimes per se, but rather what they represent: criminals like these are a threat to his vision of a safer Saskatoon. He does not take his work personally, but nevertheless pursues it with the compulsive obsession of a perfectionist. If the players earn his ire, they will find him to be ruthless, and utterly implacable: they can expect the police to shoot on sight, and shoot to kill. No matter how many times they kill him he will keep returning to command, more determined than before. Killing him will prove borderline impossible—removing him from power will be much easier for your players to attempt, in that it will merely be very difficult.