neverasked4this: Mystery Case Files detective's badge (Default)
Player's Name: Dragon
Contact info: Plurk @OldMaidDragon or PM this account
DW: Player acct dragondancer5150, muse acct neverasked4this

Character: Special Agent Darnell Barrett, Master Detective
Canon: Mystery Case Files (HOS/Adventure casual game series) - Link to Wikipedia page 
Version: NA – however please see NOTES below
Canon Point: Post Game #15: The Black Veil
Age: 32
Gender: Male
NOTES: The nature of the early games was such that there was no POV character, and the tagline of the series was “You be the detective!” However, as style and the mechanics of game play have evolved over the years (first game premiered in 2005, most recent just came out a month ago), the POV as an actual character, known simply as the Master Detective, became a stronger and stronger presence through written journal entries and POV comments across the top of the screen in reaction to specific events and/or the player clicking on items or areas. For most of the series, the Master Detective has been accepted as a character in his/her own right. By and large, though, the game developers have been very careful not to “prove” the Master Detective’s gender one way or another (continuing to allow the player to imagine him/her as they choose). Fandom in general seems to have “set” the character as being female, but I’ve always had a male take on the detective, myself. The name is one I chose for him, as none is ever given in canon – the rare times a name is used, the system pulls in the player’s profile name.

History: Agent Darnell Barrett started out as an inexperienced intern with a lot of potential, working for an American federal investigative agency called Mystery Case Files. His first cases were to solve a series of baffling local crimes for a small town in Texas, catching some wacky criminals. He even discovered and broke up a crime gang, earning himself a position as one of MCF's elite master detectives. On the heels of that success, he was asked by a FBI agent to assist with recovery of a rare diamond from Britain's royal family, which had been stolen from a gem convention. His success in doing so not only got him awarded an honorary position with the FBI, it also earned him the attention of the queen herself. After that, the queen sent him a letter and a newly-recovered old diary, asking him to look into a case that had thus-far baffled many of her own agents, a 100-plus-year-old mystery surrounding a supposedly haunted manor in a sleepy little seaside village in northern England. The diary belonged to a young American woman who had gone missing back in the 1890’s after being a guest of, and courted by, the master of the manor. This was the case where the master detective's career took a hard left turn into the strange and macabre (and has never recovered, whether he likes it or not). Darnell uncovered what happened to the young woman Emma Ravenhearst, who was murdered by her suitor, Charles Dalimar, to keep her from leaving him. The manor had been built and named in her honor. Darnell freed her spirit when he found and opened her coffin hidden in the cellar, her skeleton still dressed in the tattered remains of the wedding gown Charles had dressed her in.

His next major mission took him into upcountry Britain to an old-time carnival, summoned by the owner, the fortune teller Madame Fate. She had foreseen her own imminent murder and called on the master detective to help her find out who it would be in an effort to prevent it, assuming it to be one of the other carnies (they all had motive, turned out). However at the end, Fate proclaimed that her death was Darnell's fault! Her murderer was a dark and vengeful evil that had followed Darnell there, intent on making him suffer. Before either of them could truly react to the revelation, however, the entity showed up and committed the murder, snarling at Darnell for having invaded its home and taken that which was the spirit's, though he'd never steal the creature's true love. The detective found a payphone, connecting with the Queen of England herself who informed him that a great evil had apparently been released from Ravenhearst Manor when he freed Emma's soul. All Darnell could say was, "I know."

So back to that awful place Darnell went, where he discovered that Charles hadn’t just trapped Emma’s soul but that of her maid Rose as well as Rose’s little girls, a pair of twins. There was a LOT more to the manor and grounds than Darnell previously realized, including an elaborate underground. He also made the horrific discovery that all the souls – Rose’s, the twins’, and Emma’s before she was freed – were powering a terrible, technological-and-black-magic machine that was keeping Charles in a state somewhere between death and life, served by his illegitimate son who was ancient and decrepit (and just as mad as his father) but somehow very much still alive due to his father’s black magic. Darnell successfully freed Rose and the girls, then faced Charles and his son Victor, destroying the machine, but Victor escaped in a time travel machine.

Darnell didn't even make it back to London before his next major case. Driving home from the fire-devastated ruins that were once Ravenhearst Manor, Darnell got caught in the worst snowstorm in history, one that was plaguing all of Great Britain (and threatened to spread beyond to the rest of the world). He was forced to take refuge in a closed summer resort village called Dire Grove . . . only to later learn that the source of the blizzard was right there. There was another abandoned car here, with a camcorder and videotape inside. The case went very Blair Witch Project after that, as the detective continued to find videos that hinted at the fates of the four university students who had come here to learn more about a relic that archeologists recently uncovered in the vicinity. The relic turned out to be one of four needed to free a local banshee, the Ice Lady, who had now possessed the four students to get them, along with Darnell (by tricking him into performing certain actions), to free her. Battling hypothermia through ever-dropping temperatures that rivaled Antarctica, the master detective managed to reverse the ritual, resealing the Ice Lady and freeing the students. He was publicly thanked for saving the students (and the world) at the end of one student’s presentation, anonymously per his own request. He returned home to the United States probably shortly after.

Darnell was sent by his superiors at MCF to investigate a case in the Louisiana bayous, which wound up proving just as supernatural as his last few major cases. He'd been called in to help a wife find her missing husband, who had recently disappeared. According to their daughter, the last to see him, he had been taken by the ghost of a local, notorious pirate captain protecting his treasure. Turned out, though, that the detective had been duped – the whole family, even their daughter, was in on the scheme, to get the famous master detective to find the elusive treasure for them. Which he still did…at gunpoint. The husband was about to kill Darnell to silence him, but then the whole family was suddenly washed off the pier and drowned by the very real ghost of the pirate, who spared Darnell, though the detective didn't know why. After laying the spirits of the captain and his crew to rest, Darnell was all too happy to get out of the mysterious bayous.

It was through an anonymous package that Darnell learned of a mounting number of disappearances in Blackpool, England - the little seaside village on the Irish Sea where his most terrible nightmares to date resided. The package simply contained articles regarding the missing persons cases wrapped around a cryptic invitation - "I have something to show you..." Despite having sworn off ever returning to that horrific place, Darnell found himself standing once again on the fire-blasted steps of ruined Ravenhearst Manor. He was joined by the spirits of Emma Ravenhearst, Rose Sommerset, and the twins Charlotte and Gwendolyn, who thanked him again for freeing them and in return promised to help him however they could, even as they tried to warn him of the terrible danger they sensed that he was in. But Darnell was adamant – he needed to try to find the missing Blackpool residents…and whoever had sent him that package.

Darnell searched the grounds for clues as to what was going on THIS time, only to stumble upon an open grave with that day's date and his own name carved on the headstone! Before he could fully process this discovery, he was suddenly shoved from behind, falling into the grave! He looked up to Victor Dalimar standing over him. Victor pulled on the headstone, and the detective was sent tumbling down into an underground chamber. Via a mannequin with a television for a head, Charles welcomed him back and told him that he would help Charles bring “his family” back home. Victor somehow had brought Charles back to life (or just prevented his death, since he went back in time, not sure.)

Charles managed to recapture the souls of Emma, Rose, and the twins to power a new immortality machine. To free himself and the trapped spirits, Darnell was forced to play by Charles’ rules, making his way through twisted, dark, and exaggerated versions of Charles’ birth, abusive childhood, time in a mental institution, and finally the wedding he’d planned for himself and Emma. Darnell performed tasks, solved puzzles, and opened complicated locks to make his way through the labyrinth of twisted, horrific tableaus, all the while trying to remain sane himself through the terrors and madness around him.

Once he’d made his way through the sick showcase, Darnell finally reached the center and found the new immortality machine, which was being powered not only by the kidnapped citizens of Blackpool but by Emma, Rose, and the girls who somehow, miraculously, had been restored to life! And there was one empty slot, the one reserved for the “newest member of the family.” Darnell swore they’d never get him into that thing. Jumping through a few more hoops, the detective successfully destroyed this machine as well, killing both Charles and Victor once and for all in the resulting explosion and raging fire. Unfortunately, everyone from Blackpool died in that inferno as well. Darnell was only able to rescue himself and his four friends. The five of them escaped back to the surface, where they all hoped that this was, indeed, finally over for good. (It's not dealt with in the game, but one would think/hope that the master detective took the four Victorian-Era women back to London for the royal agency to help them create new identities and lives in the modern world.)

The master detective next went to investigate a ghost town in Maine, abandoned after being all but destroyed by a mysterious earthquake back in 1973. He'd been requested there by a psychic who helped him in his investigation by doing auto-drawings. Darnell traced the fates of various former residents who had each held an ancient relic, a horn of some kind. It looked like a bull’s horn but broken from a clearly massive beast and carved with arcane symbols. Turned out all the souls of those who died while possessing the horn were now trapped in it, and the earthquake had been caused by the unsuccessful efforts of the local priest, sheriff, and coroner when they tried to destroy it. It belonged to a demon and wound up possessing the psychic to make her perform a ritual to free the demon. The detective interrupted the ritual, broke the curse, and freed the psychic and all the trapped souls. Before the end of things, however, he found a mask-like object that contained an admission ticket to Fate’s Carnival . . . the same one he investigated several years ago now.

Darnell returned to the old carnival in upcountry Britain where he was confronted by a very powerful and very angry spirit – Charles Dalimar’s father, Alister, who was trying to create a new earthly body for himself, devoid of human weaknesses. The detective made his way throughout the carnival, locating all the carnies – freeing the imprisoned ones, finding a few dead, and defeating a few that willingly served Alister. The detective destroyed Alister’s spirit (but only apparently, it would turn out), freeing Madame Fate's spirit and the others under Alister’s control. Before he left, however, the detective learned from some of the surviving carnies that there was trouble brewing once more in Dire Grove.

So back to Dire Grove. It was once again unnaturally snowy and cold there. The trouble this time was between a group of the town’s hunters and a clan of druids, the Mistwalkers, whose sacred lands the hunters were threatening. And defiling. The trouble came down to one of the hunters, Derek, who had captured the child of the Forest Spirit – a powerful entity that appeared in the form of a white stag – intending to trade it back in return for his brother whom he believed the Mistwalkers had kidnapped and held captive since they were both children. Darnell helped bring reconciliation in the feud between the hunters and Mistwalkers, including the druids’ leader who turned out to be the missing brother, Peter, having joined them of his own accord. Working together, Darnell, the druids, and the other hunters found Derek, rescued the supernatural fawn, and broke through Derek’s rage (and an apparent outside darkness affecting his mind). Derek’s honest repentance as well as the return of the fawn to its parent broke the curse of threatening cold on Dire Grove.

Derek and Peter bid him farewell together, but Darnell had no sooner gotten into his car to return home when some kind of force blasted through him, knocking him out for a few hours and freezing his whole car shut by the time he finally regained consciousness. He managed to get himself free and found Ulf of the Mistwalkers taking care of Samuel, Derek and Peter's father, who had been attacked by "the hermit", an outcast of the Mistwalkers who lived deeper in the forest and whose dark magic was strong. The hermit had taken Peter and Derek. The other hunters had already left to tell the rest of the Dire Grove residents that it was safe to return, and the remaining two Mistwalkers had gone with them. Ulf needed to stay with Samuel and care for him, so that left Darnell to go after Derek and Peter. In the course of things, Darnell discovered the identity of the mysterious hermit - he was none other than Darnell's sworn enemy, Alister Dalimar. Turned out that it was he who was responsible for the death of Samuel's wife, Lily, the events that led to Peter leaving for the Mistwalkers and Derek thinking he'd been kidnaped, and who had been the dark power behind Derek's rage and decision to steal away the Child of the Forest. He was also Lily's father, which made Derek and Peter his grandsons . . . and the perfect sacrifices for his vile ritual, one that extended his life (who knew how many times he'd performed this ritual to survive, but Darnell had found evidence that Alister had been around since the 1700's). Once more, Darnell interrupted the ritual, freeing the brothers, and Alister disappeared in a billow of black smoke, once more seemingly destroyed.

Rumors of Ravenhearst Manor being restored – as a museum, because “the tragic story of what happened here must be remembered” – had the Queen summoning Darnell to travel, yet again, back to his old nightmare to investigate. He found it to be inexplicably, terribly true, the manor restored to brand new as it must have looked over a hundred years ago, as proud and menacing as ever. The museum was presided over by a haughty young woman with a mean streak, served by her husband, a poor yes-man with a strangely vacant stare. Gaining entry, Darnell made a number of horrific discoveries. The absent-minded man, Benedict Caldwell, was the architect of the manor and, along with construction that reached straight down deep into the rock below, had designed the place as a massive key. He also had some kind of mental illness that stole his memories and his sense of self – in a lucid moment, he begged Darnell to help him remember and regain who he was, which the detective did his best to do. However, he was dogged by the man’s wife . . . and her twin sister. The two women proved to be none other than Gwendolyn and Charlotte, Rose Sommerset’s daughters, somehow aged some twenty years from the last time Darnell had seen them! It turned out that Rose’s husband had not been the father of the twins but rather Charles Dalimar was, which made them Alister’s granddaughters. Somehow, at some point, he’d gotten to them, twisting his descendants to his will. They were of his blood, after all. It was practically inevitable that Alister's curse on his descendants would overtake them.

Through drugs and dark magic, the twins had taken control of Benedict's mind, getting him to design the new incarnation of Ravenhearst Manor. And when they were done with him, Darnell found him along with all of the missing construction workers, gardeners, plumbers, and everyone else who had worked for - and died for - the resurrection of the manor. All of them were held in fluid-filled pods powering some kind of soul-collection machine that was feeding power to none other than Alister Dalimar, very much alive (inasmuch as he was "alive" in any sense) and holding up a relic that Darnell recognized instantly. It was Madame Fate's Ball of Fate, which Alister must have obtained from Fate's Carnival. While Alister was thoroughly immersed in and distracted by the energies coursing through him and the Ball, Darnell managed to knock out both twins. Alister was still weakened from a regeneration process he'd undergone after his defeat in Dire Grove, and Darnell figured he wouldn't survive an added burst from the machine. But the detective was messing with something he didn't understand how it worked, and he overloaded it completely by mistake. Alister turned and spotted him, snarling vengeance right before the Ball of Fate exploded with power. Darnell threw up his arms to protect himself and felt something stab into the heel of his right hand. Before he could register what it was, however, the machinery in the room blew something and caught fire. And the damage released more than flames. Darnell watched, dumb-stricken, as hundreds of souls were released. But the flames were spreading quickly, more sections of machinery catching fire and exploding. Not for the first time, Darnell was sent racing for his life through the caverns under Ravenhearst ahead of a volatile fireball. Finding his way out to a cave mouth on the face of the sea cliff, the detective dove headlong over the edge even as the flames overtook him.

By some miracle, he cleared the rocks at the bottom of the cliff - or at least enough to not kill himself outright on them - and landed in the ocean, the water closing over his head even as he lost consciousness. He drifted in and out, lucid enough now and then to know that a rescue boat found him, that he was taken to a hospital and into surgery, that he had a severe concussion, multiple lacerations, a shard of unknown glass extracted from his right wrist . . . and that he was delirious and babbling like a lunatic about being "some kind of master detective" (he must have lost his badge and wallet in the ocean) and about dark magic, twisted sisters, and an evil nemesis. By the time he was fully back to his senses, he'd been transferred to Manchester Lunatic Asylum, the same historic madhouse that both Charles and Alister Dalimar had been committed to over a century earlier. Before he could fully appreciate the ramifications of his predicament, he had a very unwanted visitor. Charlotte Dalimar had tracked him there, coming after the shard, which Darnell realized was a piece of the Ball of Fate. While she went to find the key to his cell, Darnell put every brilliant, improvisational jerry-rigging trick he had to work to escape his cell. He managed to trap Charlotte in a secure storage room, but she passed the shard through a window to Alister's raven familiar, Tanatos. Desperate, Darnell broke the code on the exit door and dashed from the asylum, taking Charlotte's car to race after the bird, chasing him all the way back to once-again-destroyed Ravenhearst Manor.

Darnell picked his way through the blasted rubble to spot Alister and Gwendolyn in the cemetery beyond. Tanatos delivered the shard, which Alister used to complete the cracked Ball of Fate. That done, he murdered Gwendolyn, spilling the blood of his blood to add to the Ball so that he could finish the ritual he'd started before. He moved to the edge of the cliff and called up an ancient town from the depths of the ocean! Darnell entered the town after Alister, following in his footsteps . . . suffering visions of Alister’s doings on his original visit here 500 years ago via a brand that had burned itself into existence on his right forearm, a stylized raven’s skull. Alister was here to finish what he’d started all those centuries ago – take the Ball of Fate, the Key he needed to gain access, to the Well of Souls, a mystical place of power beneath the medieval town. Between the two of them, the vile sorcerer would finally gain the permanent immortality that he so desperately craved. In the course of hunting down Alister, Darnell met three people who’d been caught in the curse that had sunk the town 500 years ago, surviving somehow from near-antiquity until today. The first was Lord Ravenhearst, poor Emma’s distant ancestor and the petty, greedy tyrant who had once ruled the town without mercy. The second was the lord’s haughty and dissatisfied wife who had conspired with Alister the first time around, aiming to help him gain access to the Well in return for him destroying her hated husband and freeing her to rule the town. The last was Ellen, a young woman he found locked in a sunken cell under the floor of the bailiff’s office.

Ellen, as it turned out, was Darnell’s 16th century counterpart, a master detective tasked by the queen to travel the whole of England, confiscating dangerous artifacts and arresting dangerous practitioners of dark magic. She’d tracked Alister here, but he’d proven too devious and clever and outmaneuvered her, locking her away in that cell. Ellen meant well, but Darnell suspected her own stubborn pride and sense of self-righteousness, born of the importance of her job, might have made her a bit overconfident and contributed to her defeat as well. Ellen was determined to finish what she’d started . . . alone. After sending Darnell on a goose chase didn’t deter him, she surprise-attacked him, knocking him out and binding him to one of the stretchers in the dungeon – for his own good, of course – promising to return and release him once Alister had been dealt with. But, as she later admitted, she underestimated Darnell, who managed to work himself free and give chase.

Uncovering another artifact along the way, a magical staff, Darnell finally caught up to Ellen and to Alister and Lord Ravenhearst, who had gained access to the cavern of the Well of Souls. Alister knocked out Ellen, then he and Ravenhearst struggled for control of the Ball of Fate. Darnell managed to crack free some stalactites above them, knocking them both over the edge of the Well into the powerful waters within. It killed their bodies and partly fused their spirits together along with the Ball of Fate. Darnell helped a recovering Ellen to her feet as the two evil spirits put their differences aside for now to finish off their common foes. Ellen sacrificed herself, taking the full brunt of their assault and distracting them from Darnell, so the modern master detective could use the staff in his hands against Alister/Ravenhearst. Darnell further cracked and finally shattered the Ball of Fate, destroying Alister – and Ravenhearst – once and for all . . . unless Tanatos, Alister’s raven familiar, escaped once more. As the power of the released energies started bringing the cavern down all around Darnell, he saw Tanatos panic and try to flee. Ellen’s spirit left her body, flying after Tanatos and taking him over. The black raven changed into a white seagull, and bird-Ellen swung around mid-air. The last thing Darnell saw before darkness overtook him was the sight of the diving bird making straight for him. Ellen’s face appeared before him in a flash of brilliant light – “Case closed, Master Detective.” Darnell’s sight cleared to see grass under his hands as he found himself knelt by the cliff’s edge just past the cemetery behind Ravenhearst Manor. He looked up to watch the ancient town sink back under the ocean’s waves.

No rest for the wicked, though . . . nor those who oppose them. The detective’s next case took him back yet again to England at the queen’s personal behest He was to investigate a bizarre and secretive boarding house, attached to a well-known and equally mysterious clock tower, where a personal friend of the queen had gone missing. Those who boarded there were held to a very strict schedule, overtly to experience an authentic retreat into Victorian Era life but covertly to hide the real goings-on in the boarding house – siphoning life force from the boarders, eventually killing them. This was perpetrated by the house’s caretaker, the father of a young lady who proved to be the actual mistress of the house, a cruel woman named Meredith who ruled with an iron fist. Turned out, sometime in the past, Meredith’s husband, a brilliant surgeon, was convinced that he’d discovered the secret to immortality – a surgery that replaced the heart with an artificial one that could keep the body alive indefinitely. Meredith had been very sick, and to save her life, Meredith's husband convinced her father to help him perform the surgery on her. It worked . . . but it left her an emotionless monster. She toyed with Darnell for a bit, trapping him in her inner sanctum and demanding he do certain things for her. She had likely planned to kill him after making him serve her, but then a massive jolt of electricity passed through the building, knocking her out cold. Darnell managed to escape her sanctum and continued his investigation, finally finding the source of her artificially-prolonged life, a bizarre contraption hidden at the top of the lauded clock tower. Meredith followed him up there, wielding a large carving knife and forcing Darnell to dance about the clock tower trying to keep the strange machine between them. The machine was already malfunctioning, sending out jolts of electricity that kept temporarily shutting Meredith down and giving Darnell brief chances to mess with the controls. Finally, he disabled the machine, causing it to overcharge and explosively short. The force of the blast threw Meredith out of the tower through the massive clock face. As she fell to her long-overdue death, Darnell heard her thank him for ending her suffering.

The situation surrounding some kind of rapid-aging sickness that forced the flight of most of the citizens from Dreadmond, Scotland, was described by a reporter as "unbelievable, just unbelievable." The queen called upon her expert detective to go investigate, asserting that "unbelievable" was his calling card. Upon arrival, Darnell encountered the young reporter who immediately recognized him – he had saved her, Alison, back in Dire Grove when she and her friends were there. She was the one who thanked him at the end of her dissertation on the artifact and the legend – and reality – of the Ice Lady. Over the past almost decade, she had abandoned her archeology studies to become a reporter and was here to visit another friend from university, Stacey. When they finally found Stacey, however, she looked like she was in her 80’s!

Darnell and Alison, with some help (almost more of a hindrance, really, oops) from Stacey’s young son, Henry, went after the one responsible for the aging of the town’s residents, who proved to be a local named Richard Galloway who was thought to be the great-grandson of a WWI vet…but who actually WAS the vet, now an immortal after surviving his lethal wound at the Battle of the Somme. Turned out that, when a death entity, a goddess named Ankou, came for him, he was not only able to see her (probably because he was dying) but he reached up and plucked a feather from her, which tied him to her…and her to him, apparently. In the intervening years, Richard had gone insane and determined that he was going to do mankind a favor and force them to shed their mortal coils, freeing them into immortality as well, and he was going to do this by releasing Ankou - whom he'd managed to imprison - into the world to destroy everyone. Unwittingly, in trying to find a way to stop Richard, Darnell instead played right into his hands. It wasn't even the first time Richard had played the detective for a fool, but Richard further messed with Darnell's head, having already proven to know a great deal more about the detective's previous cases than should have been possible.

Richard claimed to have, in fact, orchestrated the master detective's entire life, grooming him to ultimately play the part he just had . . . and after fulfilling that usefulness, Richard stabbed him and left him for dead. Darnell was forced to face some of his darkest memories – Ravenhearst, Dire Grove, etc – but then Ankou spared him, giving him a second chance. With that, the detective was able to foil Richard’s schemes and free Ankou – not to destroy the world but to destroy Richard. With that, the aging of the surviving citizens was reversed. Alison bid the detective farewell, and Henry, who’d been seemingly mute up till now, said that he wanted to “grow up to be just like you.”

Personality: (There have been a number of small embellishments, necessarily, but I have based everything on canon clues or on things that just make sense for a character in this position/career. Still, he’s functionally a canon OC. If the mods or anyone has a question about any character trait, or anything else, please feel free to PM me. ^_^)

If there’s one defining trait that Darnell has, it’s that he’s a snoop by nature, and very good at what he does. Though he promises he only uses his powers for good! In all seriousness, though, Darnell is nothing if not smart, quick on both his mental and physical feet, and enjoys a good challenge as much – if not more – than anyone. Which is probably a good thing, because he can hardly resist one, either. Especially mental challenges. Put a puzzle in front of him, and he’s all but compelled to solve it. Which, again, is probably a good thing. After all, in the course of his investigations to date, he’s lost track of the number and dizzying variety of puzzle locks and other challenges he’s had to solve just to make headway – jigsaw puzzles, kinetic locks, math- and number-based challenges, patterns and sequences, even musical/instrument-based challenges. Give him time and he can work out anything that has a solution, regardless of how difficult. He’s quite proud of the fact that there’s yet to prove to be a lock he can’t open or a puzzle he can’t solve. (His player, unfortunately, has to use the Skip button a lot, oops.) By the same token, he has an excellent head for putting the “pieces” of case evidence together as well and getting to the bottom of what’s really going on in a given investigation. (Think NCIS’s Ellie Bishop’s ability to analyze and see patterns in events and people’s behavior, piecing them together to quickly comprehend a situation.)

As a person, Darnell is kind-hearted, friendly and outgoing, fairly laid back for an agent, inquisitive, and has remained humble in the face of his dubious fame of recent years – he’s been getting known as the guy to call for particularly baffling cases, especially if there might be some kind of supernatural bent to them. The fact that the Queen of England has called on him personally more than once has only further contributed. But really, he’s just a nice guy who likes helping people. He doesn’t like seeing anyone upset or suffering and will do all he can to help remedy a situation. Despite his job and its demands, he doesn’t carry a gun – at least not when he’s on a solo case – and although he’s trained in hand-to-hand as any agent is, he prefers to find non-violent solutions to situations. “Brains over brawn” and all that.

Darnell has a tendency to talk aloud to himself a lot when he’s alone. It’s in these moments that the sillier side of his personality comes out. He has a wry sense of humor, loves puns, and…frankly, can say some really dumb things sometimes trying to be funny or clever, especially under stress. Sometimes, he just manages to stick his foot in his mouth. (There are countless little instances of POV comments that have me laughing “Detective, you’re a dork!”) Some of his humor can be pretty sardonic, too - it's one of his coping mechanisms for all the bizarreness and horror he's seen in so many of his investigations. Another quirk of his is that he never cusses. Ever. “Yikes!”, “blasted,” “drat,” and “holy smokes!” are the caliber of his “colorful” language.

He gets creeped out and scared the same as anyone would, but he’s nothing if not resilient, pushing past any horror he feels at a situation to do what needs to be done. He has, unfortunately, had a lot of practice at doing so, considering the range of monsters and mad men he’s had to face over the years – banshees and angry spirits, vengeful lunatics, malicious immortals, possessed animals. He also harbors an incredibly strong sense of duty and responsibility. This was most evident in the middle of one of his most horrific and terrifying cases, his third trip to Ravenhearst when he’d been locked underground feeling like a rat in a maze as he was forced to make his way through the twisted nightmare that Charles Dalimar had built just for him. At one point in the investigation, he finally made his way outside, breaking through a rock wall to find himself on a cliff face, on a ledge he’d reached from above only hours before. The garden hose he’d used for a rope still hung down, and he climbed to the top. He was free, he could leave and never come back . . . but he couldn’t. Emma, Rose, Gwen, and Charlotte were still down there, as well as the missing Blackpool residents. He couldn’t just leave them, no matter how badly he did NOT want to back into that terrible place. Duty won out over horror, and after retrieving a few things he knew he needed, he climbed down and headed back into the nightmare to finish what he’d started. Of course, a healthy dose of anger that had managed to well up through the terror by then helped too, anger at Charles for making him dance like a puppet on strings for his own mad amusement.

He's been through enough by now (fifteen games to date) that he's developed a sort of "been there, done that, here we go again" attitude. Not a lot surprises or scares him anymore (or so he thinks), though he can certainly still be rattled by things. He's a little jaded, and some of his sardonic humor has tipped towards snarky, but he's far from callous. He’s still a sweet guy at heart out to right wrongs and help people in need.

As an aside, he really dislikes crows and especially ravens. Anywhere those ugly black birds show up is sure to prove to be a supernatural and difficult investigation, even if they’re not directly involved. Every. Blasted. Time.

Fears: He's afraid of heights. Not cripplingly so, he can make himself do things if he has to for a case, at least if they're stable and secure, but he won't like it. At all. Also, he doesn’t like clowns, including toys/dolls of clowns. Not so much that he wouldn't help or talk to Puddles, one of the prisoners at Fate's Carnival, but then Puddles was both a normal human and a melancholy "sad" clown, not an evil clown or even a weirdly happy one (even "good" clowns can be kind of off-putting and even creepy with that exaggerated make-up they wear). Mannequins creep him the hell out too. If they didn't before some of his experiences in the nightmares under Ravenhearst, then they certainly do now. Doubly so if they're mechanized or otherwise animated in any way.

In terms of more intangible fears, he fears failing people and not being enough. If he couldn't solve a case - and do it in time - too many times, a lot of people would have suffered terribly. And one time, they did. Darnell was able to get his former-ghost friends out from the caverns under Ravenhearst that one time, but he couldn't save the rest of the dozens of prisoners, all those kidnaped from Blackpool. They all died. On his second visit to Fate's Carnival, Marlena would have drowned, Larry and Fabiano would have been cut in half, Lance would have been impaled, Bianca blown up, and Puddles electrocuted if Darnell couldn't manage to get them out of their traps in time. And most recently, Alison and Henry were captured and locked into tubes in a bizarre contraption, the tubes filling with water. The contraption involved several complicated puzzles to solve in order to free them before they drowned. Darnell panicked for a moment and had to talk himself back down, assuring himself that he could do this, that he could solve the puzzles and save them. He's had so many times where he COULDN'T FAIL (and that one time that he did…badly) that it's worn on him. On the flip side of all this too, he also fears finding himself in a cage/trap/maze again and NOT being able to worm his way back out. He’s been trapped in underground complexes a few times before and had to make his way back out of the horrors he’s been subjected to. There’s bound to come a day that a puzzle or other challenge stumps him, or simply has no solution, and he’s left imprisoned with no way out. The thought scares the hell out of him.

Weaknesses: physically on the short side for an American male. He's still fit and all, but he's not as intimidating as he could be, if he ever tried, plus others might tend to discount or think a bit less of him for it (weird social stigmas/prejudices being what they can be – it’s not much of a weakness, but it might affect how others view/treat him). He's inquisitive almost to a fault and has a hard time leaving well enough alone, especially if there seems to be a mystery or secret to uncover. He doesn't tend to get personal (So-and-So has a love interest they're not sharing about) but if there seems to be something "off" or potentially dangerous, he'll wind up sticking his nose into it even if it's probably not advisable. If there’s something “broken”, he wants to “fix” it. Also, he really can't leave a challenge alone. Puzzles will be solved. Locked doors beg to be opened - not in everyday life, he doesn't go snooping in people's houses just because, but if he's on a case, no place is sacred.

He's kind of a pushover too, easily talked into doing things for people and willing to bend over backwards if they're truly in need, or if he thinks doing so might get him a hint to a puzzle or a clue to his case. He cooked and delivered food and even unclogged a nasty toilet once just because the bartender had asked him to help her out (and because she might share about a few things if he did). His nice-guy demeanor, desire to help people, and drive to correct whatever situation is in front of him has gotten him betrayed and used several times in the past, and surely will again.

He’s not a pacifist, per se, but he does really dislike violence, preferring non-violent solutions to situations. He’ll readily defend himself or another, but he’ll hold back from doing more injury to his opponent than he absolutely has to, and he’ll hesitate to kill. He’s not even sure he could make himself if he had to. He’ll do his best to incapacitate and arrest (if appropriate) or just get the hell out of dodge.

Mundane Strengths/Abilities: Aside from his skills as a master detective and master puzzle/challenge solver, he's a hell of a handyman. He has a really good grasp of physics (especially where it comes to patterns and predicting movement in order to win things like pachinko), a fair grasp of basic chemistry, and a decent spread of experience in basic electrical, mechanical, and auto repairs, having fixed everything from damaged machines to a broken AC unit to old cars, to the point he's joked at least once that he should add "engineer" to his resume. His abilities to improvise and jerry-rig have been tested and proven numerous times. He's a pretty good cook (and a big fan of Rachel Ray). He has a pretty good singing voice and can play keyboard instruments (piano, simple organ). He has a federal agent's training in firearms, martial combat, tactics, and basic survival. He's also a really good artist, at least in graphite drawings. He’s retained some Latin from school – maybe not enough to get the details out of something, but at worst he can get the gist of it.

Sensitivity/Magical Ability: Overall, Darnell is just a regular Joe human with no supernatural ability, though there is one minor but potentially useful point that could be made in his favor. He seems to have an uncanny knack for picking up random items and carrying them around "just because" only to wind up needing them not long after, whether he knew he would or not. It's almost like minor, subconscious precognition of a sort. Even he couldn't explain why he's carrying a broken lantern, a skull-shaped amulet, or a bottle of rubbing alcohol . . . but he's glad he happened to have them when he finds he needs them. (From one of the main game mechanics - pick up a seemingly random item or gain one from a hidden-object scene, carry it around in inventory for a while, wind up needing it for a task. Sometimes, what you pick up, you already know where you'll use it, but most times not. In one game, you inexplicably carry a fish skeleton among your inventory items for over half the game before finding the thing you need it for. ^_^)

Supply List: On his person - dress shirt and tie, slacks, dress shoes, sports jacket, trench coat, scarf, fedora, leather gloves, MCF badge, cell phone, wallet, house and car keys (MCF logo keyring), loose change, pocket knife (MCF logo), lighter (MCF logo), handkerchief
In his satchel - flashlight and batteries, three leather journals (two empty, one full from the case in Dreadmond [The Black Veil]), pens and pencils (including art pencils), paperclips, charger and extra battery for cell phone, small first aid kit, Crime Computer (mini laptop with specialized programs and attachments), Polaroid instant camera with extra batteries and film

Game Transfers: NA at this time, may change in the future with the next game release

Sample RP post:
PSL with friend’s OC
PortesOOC TDM thread starter


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Special Agent Darnell Barrett, Master Detective

August 2017

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