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Duke Sam Vimes (Pratchett's Discworld watch) painting with cigar

Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh-Morpork

(Profile #2)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This profile utterly, totally, unambiguously follows the Captain Samuel Vimes profile. Which you should thus read first.


Background

  • Real Name: Samuel Vimes.
  • Former Aliases: John Keel, Insert Name Here.
  • Other Aliases: Blackboard Monitor Vimes, Duke of Ankh-Morpork, Ankh-Morpork City Watch No. 177, King of the River.
  • Marital Status: Married.
  • Known Relatives: Lady Sybil Deidre Olgivanna Vimes (née Ramkin) (wife), Sam Jr. (son), Thomas (father, deceased), Gwilliam (grandfather, deceased), Suffer-not-Injustice ’Stoneface‘ Vimes (ancestor, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Ankh-Morpork Watch.
  • Base Of Operations: Pseudopolis Yard, Ankh-Morpork.
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 160 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


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Powers & Abilities

Vimes has developed into a far more confident fighter, although he continues to use any method necessary to subdue an opponent alive. His detective skills have improved, despite his suspicion of clues, and surviving a string of assassination attempts has made him more observant.

His control over his own impulses means he’s especially resistant to outside influence. One example is when he detected the Summoning Dark and forced it out of him. All previous hosts had died insane.

A touch of darkness

When the Summoning Dark abandoned its attempts to possess him, it left its mark on his arm. The symbol has a cultural effect on any dwarf who sees it, intimidating them so he stands a better chance at interaction Checks.

The possession has also left other gifts, such as the ability to see in darkness, and to communicate with others who dwell in darkness. The latter part is supposition, but until he’s seen communicating with non-darkness dwellers in this way it seems reasonable).

The only example of this so far is when he spoke with goblins, each in their own language. They understood each other, but the other human bystander only heard each speaking in their own languages.


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He can also communicate with the Darkness, which knows of everything that happens in darkness. He once took a witness statement from it, but only for the purposes of convincing a suspect he knew so much that keeping quiet would be pointless.

Vimes is reluctant to use the Darkness in this manner too often, both due to the legal complications of presenting such evidence, and because he doesn’t trust the bugger not to lie.

Enforcing the law

The standard equipment for guards is a chain shirt, iron breastplate, and iron or brass helm to wear, and a short sword and truncheon as weapons. In times of emergency they also have access to a crossbow, and either a pike or halberd.

He’s also of the viewpoint that any workers’ tools are likely dangerous weapons, and will use anything as such when in a pinch.


History

(A general history of his time with the Watch can be found in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch entry, and his earlier history is covered in the Captain Samuel Vimes entry.)

Men at Arms, part 1

While preparing for his wedding to Lady Sybil, Sam also had to deal with the expanding Watch being forced to recruit minorities. A series of killings among guilds, and a denied theft from the Assassins Guild, didn’t help matters. Especially when they exacerbated tensions on the streets.

Public unrest grew and spread when the daytime guards got too rough. They soon lost control. Vimes continues his investigation despite being ordered to stand down, and discovered the murders were caused by a device stolen from the Assassins Guild: the gonne.

After preventing an assassination attempt on Lord Vetinari at the wedding, Vimes and Carrot chased the murderer. It was revealed to be Doctor Cruces, head of the Assassin’s Guild.

One of the students, Edward d’Eath, had deduced Carrot was heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork. He planned to set up events so he could come to power and make things right. Cruces killed him and took on the plot himself.

Men at Arms, part 2

Vimes fell under the sway of the gonne after taking it from Cruces, but resisted its malign influence. Despite his anger and desire for justice, Vimes forced himself to arrest Cruces rather than kill him. Cruces continued resisting, though, and Carrot had to kill him.

This began a feud between Vimes and the Assassins Guild. It led to an increasing bounty on his head and a steady stream of ambitious young assassins trying to kill him honing his survival skills. It also led to irate citizens wanting to have him killed. Vimes renovated Ramkin Manor and the Watch House to be hazardous to the approaches assassins preferred.

The murders solved, Vimes was married. In the aftermath of the chaos, Lord Vetinari, upon suggestions from Carrot, consolidated the Watch into a single entity under Commander Vimes. He also knighted Vimes, which wasn’t welcomed by him, but Sybil like it, so that was that.

Feet of Clay

While Vimes had little interest when Sybil insisted he needed a family crest of his own, he was irritated on learning he couldn’t have one.

His ancestor’s was banned following a minor matter of regicide – Suffer-not-Injustice “Stoneface” Vimes had executed the last king of Ankh-Morpork.

Jingo

Introduced to Prince Khufurah and 71-Hour Ahmed before the ceremonial march, where the assassination attempt was to take place, Vimes was immediately suspicious of Ahmed. It took a while for him to realise this was because 71-Hour Ahmed was also a policeman, just one with a larger territory and a different way of doing things.

While uncomfortable with his titles, Vimes used his knighthood to raise a militia as a means to continue his duty of upholding the law. Its usefulness made him no less grumpy at being made Duke of Ankh-Morpork for his part in avoiding a proper war, but he had little way of avoiding it.

The Fifth Elephant

On catching another assassin in the traps arrayed around the manor, Sam learned she was only there to spot him without getting caught. The bounty on him had been suspended due to a lack of takers. He joined Lord Vetinari as being the only individuals the Assassins Guild refused contracts on.

He was unwillingly dispatched as ambassador to the coronation of the Low King. Sybil and Lord Vetinari had agreed on it beforehand, leaving Sam unable to get out of it. He remained awkward in diplomatic situations, seeing himself as a copper rather than a duke.

In being presented to the Low King, with all his titles embarrassing him, Vimes flippantly added he’d once also been Blackboard Monitor. To a culture for whom written words are sacrosanct and not to be destroyed, this did not go down well with many hardliners, and the title became a derogatory one among them.

Night Watch, part 1

While Sybil was close to having their first child, Sam led the Watch in hunting the psychopath Carcer Dun. The hunt reached the rooftops of the Unseen University, where Vimes and Carcer fell into a magic event.

Sam landed a few decades before he fell, days before the events of the Glorious Revolution of the 25th of May, separated from Carcer. Disoriented and not wanting to give his identity away, Vimes gave his name as John Keel, his hero and mentor.

Realising where he was, and ending up in Watch custody, Vimes replaced Keel as his own mentor after learning Keel had been murdered by Carcer.

While guided by Lu-Tze, of the History Monks, Vimes tried to make things go better than they had done. There was only so much he could do. With Carcer having gotten a role with the Unmentionables, Vimes also had to keep him from altering history – especially by killing younger Sam Vimes.

Night Watch, part 2

Reliving his own history, Vimes managed to make things slightly better. He also prevented Carcer making them worse. He appeared to die, the History Monks replacing him with Keel’s body, and Vimes and Carcer were sent back to their own time.

They arrived at different points, and Vimes had the Watch on alert as he rushed home to the birth of his son, Sam Jr.. Carcer inevitably tried to kill Vimes – when he visited Keel’s grave – but was beaten and arrested.

The only people besides Lu-Tze who know what happened were:

  • Lord Vetinari, who’d secretly saved Vimes’ life in the past.
  • Doctor Lawn, whom he’d lodged with in the past and called on when Sybil’s delivery got too much for the midwife.

Thud!, part 1

Scratching himself on a nail while exploring the dwarf mines under the city, Vimes was unknowingly infected by the Summoning Dark. It had trouble getting used to his mind, which was the night-time streets of Ankh-Morpork, patrolled by his inner watchman, but it latched on to his growing anger with the Deep Delvers.

The Deep Delvers went too far when they had their agents tunnel into the Ramkin mansion. They threatened Sybil and Sam Jr.. Vimes and Wilkins the butler killed the intruders, and Vimes was determined to end the grags even if it meant following them to Koom Valley.

Separated from the watchmen he’d brought with him, the exhausted Vimes fell under the control of the Summoning Dark as it got closer to the time of day he ensured he read to young Sam.

Thud!, part 2

Furious and half insane from being battered by the underground river he’d been swept along, Vimes hacked through the Deep Delvers’ guards while screaming out the words to Where’s my cow?

Finally cornering the cowering grags, Vimes’ inner policeman collared the Summoning Dark just in time. The inner copper expelled the Dark before Vimes slaughtered them. It left its mark on his left arm though, one which intimidates any dwarf who sees it.

The Low King and Diamond King were both grateful. Among dwarfs Vimes became known as Blackboard Monitor Vimes without the previous meaning: he was now someone who had the right to erase words.

Snuff, part 1

Unwillingly dragged along on vacation to the Ramkin country estate, Vimes soon detected intrigue among the local nobles who tried to put him off. Thus, he looked into the murder of a goblin girl.

Vimes disliked goblins due to a childhood incident with a picture book showing a scary goblin. But his dislike of people ignoring the law was more prominent. He disagreed with the general classification of goblins as vermin, and investigated.

Aided by his butler, Wilkins – himself a former street tough in his youth – and local Constable, Feeney, Vimes learned of goblins being rounded up. They were then sent into slavery on distant plantations as part of the tobacco and troll drug smuggling trade.

Snuff, part 2

Learning they’d abducted another batch of goblins, Vimes rode after the barge carrying them downstream. The weather turned stormy, running the risk of a dangerous flood on the river. But the barge hadn’t been anchored to the banks for the night because the criminals had taken over.

Jumping onto the barge, Vimes and Feeney dealt with the smugglers. Vimes, having discovered the Summoning Dark’s gifts to him included the ability to see in darkness, helped the freed crew steer the ship ahead of the flood.

It landed on the beaches near Quirm. But they survived, and Vimes was given the title King of the River, and henceforth allowed free passage on any vessel sailing the river.

While Vimes dealt with the local magistrates behind the incident, Sybil arranged a surprise concert to introduce society to a musically gifted goblin girl. This did more for gaining goblins acceptance as a sentient species than any amount of politicking. They then extended their vacation and travelled down the river to Quirm for a while.


Personality

No matter how many titles he’s saddled with, Vimes remains a copper. He’s also at least suspicious of those in authority, if not openly anti-authoritarian. So much of his life has been spent in the job that it’s who he is, and has shaped his worldview.

While having an idealistic view of how the world should be, Vimes remains cynical of the actions of individuals. Most people are guilty of something, and it’s his job to determine whether what they’re guilty of is worth his time.

He sees social injustices as equal to or greater than legal injustices. Thus, he will do his best to find an applicable law with which to get the offender, or do his damndest to get such a law passed.

Crude detection

He’s not much of a detective, being suspicious of clues (facts are certain, clues are open to interpretation). While he can make deductive leaps he generally investigates by asking uncomfortable questions, chasing those who leg it.

While occasionally accused of bias against other races, his defenders point out that its only because he dislikes pretty much everybody. While resistant to minorities being introduced to the Watch, it was only being forced to take them on that was the problem. Once they’d proved themselves as watchmen he was fine with them.

The one bias he does maintain is against vampires, because, teetotal or not, they always attempt to dominate people.

The Inner Policeman

Outwardly impassive when on duty, Vimes keeps his emotions out of the job as much as possible. He does not want his anger to gain control. He’s continually on guard as much against his own darker impulses as he is against the crimes of others. Vimes is afraid that inside he’s a fundamentally bad person, because he knows what he thinks rather than just what he says and does.

He came under the influence of the gonne at one point, which tried to use him as it had others who’d held it. The gonne wanted to kill, and manipulated Vimes’ anger against the killer. It wasn’t enough, and despite his rage Vimes’ adherence to the law allowed him to resist the malign weapon and discard it.

When he later became host to the quasi-demonic Summoning Dark, its influence was more gradual. It fed his growing rage while trying to gain a hold on his mind. His mindscape was the city at night.

The Summoning Dark used his rage and exhaustion to slaughter his way through the Deep Delvers’ guards. But when he reached the cowering grags themselves Vimes’ determination to police himself, as manifested in an inner watchman, expelled the Summoning Dark. This allowed Vimes to stop himself.

Duke of Ankh-Morpork

He’s extremely uncomfortable with his social station, often feeling out of place in polite society. The barely concealed disdain with which he treated his social superiors has had to adjust to the fact he now has very few social superiors. And those who fall into that category are generally heads of state with whom he has to exercise diplomacy.

Diplomacy does not come naturally to him, although he’s had to get accustomed to it. He still defaults to the copper’s mentality of suspecting others of being up to something. While in diplomatic circles this may be a given, he tends to be brusque and impatient with political niceties. Most proper diplomats still view him as not so much a diplomat as a reason for diplomats.

Only his role as Commander of the Watch feels natural to him, provided he can ignore the attached paperwork. And he’d much prefer a proper title like Chief Constable. This role has also given him influence beyond the city.

The Ankh-Morpork Watch has become so successful under his command, that it trained many watchmen who’ve spread out to other cities. The men trained under Vimes (“Sammies”) are quite sought after. Thus, he has a fair amount of influence over most watchmen he might meet.

The Chase

While his alcohol addiction is under control, and he remains teetotal, Vimes doesn’t view his obsession with his job in the same way. Yet he’s always on duty. When sensing a crime he’ll keep digging, sometimes actually being subtle and discreet, until he learns the truth of what’s going on.

If someone runs, he’ll give chase. If someone tries to put him off the scent, he’ll dig that much deeper. Once he thinks a crime has been committed, whether an official one or one which bloody well should be, he won’t give up his pursuit until he knows the truth.

If that includes an actual physical pursuit, then all the better. It’s practically an admission of guilt, and in the heat of the chase is when he feels most himself.


Quotes

Carrot: “You like gargoyles, don’t you, Captain ?”
Vimes: “Yep. They may only be a kind of troll but they keep themselves to themselves and seldom go below the first floor and don’t commit crimes anyone ever finds out about. My kind of people.”

“Corporal Carrot here has a crossbow, too. I’m not sure if he’d use it. He’s a good man. He thinks everyone else is a good man. I’m not. I’m mean, nasty and tired.”

“I’ve never believed in that stuff — footprints in the flower bed, tell-tale buttons, stuff like that. People think that stuff’s policing. It’s not. Policing’s luck and slog, most of the time.”

“When we find the man responsible, somewhere at the top of the charge sheet is going to be Forcing Commander Vimes to Tip a Whole Bottle of Single Malt on to the Carpet. That’s a hanging offence.”

Vimes: “What is it I’m always telling you ?”
Carrot: “Er… Never trust anybody, sir ?”
Vimes: “No, not that.”
Carrot: “Er… Everybody’s guilty of something, sir ?”
Vimes: “Not that, either.”
Carrot: “Er… Just because someone’s a member of an ethnic minority doesn’t mean they’re not a nasty small-minded jerk, sir ?”
Vimes: “N— When did I say that ?”
Carrot: “Last week, sir. After we’d had that visit from the Campaign for Equal Heights, sir.”
Vimes: “Well, not that. I mean… I’m pretty sure I’m always saying something else that’s very relevant here. Something pithy about police work.”
Carrot: “Can’t remember anything right now, sir.”
Vimes: “Well, I’ll damn well make up something and start saying it a lot from now on.”

Dragon King of Arms: “You really intend to prefer charges ?”
Vimes: “I’d prefer violence. Charges is what I’m going to have to settle for.”

Lord Vetinari: “It would be a terrible thing, would it not, if people thought they could take the law into their own hands ?”
Vimes: “Oh, no fear of that, sir. I’m holding on tightly to it.”

Ship’s captain insists they avoid a storm.
Vimes: “You just keep straight on.”
Ship’s captain: “We’ll all be killed.”
Vimes: “Think of it as the lesser of two evils.”
Ship’s captain: “What’s the other one.”
Vimes: (Draws sword) “Me.”

“I hate it when you get too many clues. It makes it so damn hard to solve anything.”

Sybil: “You’re humming, Sam. That means something awful is going to happen to somebody.”
Vimes: “Wonderful thing, technology. I can see it has its uses.”
Sybil: “And when you grin in that shiny sort of way it means that someone’s playing silly buggers and doesn’t know you’ve just thrown a six.”
Vimes: “I don’t know what you mean, dear. It’s probably the country air agreeing with me.”

Sybil: “Have you been upsetting people ?”
Vimes: “I think I may let people upset themselves.”
Sybil: “Good for you. You do that so well.”

“You told me it helps if I think of things happening one after another ! Well, yesterday, my yesterday, I was Commander of the Watch and I bloody well still am the Commander of the Watch. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. They are not in possession of all the facts !”

A.E. Pessimal: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ? Your grace.”
Vimes: “I know that one. Who watches the watchmen ? Me, Mr Pessimal.”
A.E. Pessimal: “Ah, but who watches you, your grace ?”
Vimes: “I do that, too. All the time. Believe me.”

Ardent: “They will not talk to you. They do not talk to humans. They are waiting below. They had word of your arrival. They are frightened. They do not trust humans.”
Vimes: “Why ?”
Ardent: “Because you are not dwarfs. Because you are… a sort of dream.”
Vimes: “Then let’s go downstairs where you can talk to them about nightmares, and you can point out which one is me.”

Lord Vetinari: “What would you do if I asked you an outright question, Vimes ?”
Vimes: “I’d tell you a downright lie, sir.”

Vimes: “You wanted me to hunt them down, sir.”
Lord Vetinari: “In Koom Valley ? At this time ? Taking a force there now could have far-reaching consequences, Vimes !”
Vimes: “Good ! You told me to drag them into the light ! As far as they’re concerned, I am far-reaching consequences !”

“That’s why I don’t like magic, Captain. ‘Cos it’s magic. You can’t ask questions, it’s magic. It doesn’t explain anything, it’s magic. You don’t know where it comes from, it’s magic ! That’s what I don’t like about magic, it does everything by magic !”

Sybil: “Don’t look so glum ! You’ll be upholding the honour of Ankh-Morpork, remember !”
Vimes: “Really, dear ? What shall I do with the other hand ?”

“I reckoned that if I let them give me enough titles I’d eventually get one I could live with.”

“If it turns out you know something of importance about the blacksmith you’ll have invited yourself to be an accessory after the fact, with a free option, if I can get the bit between my teeth, of before the fact, which leaves you right in the middle, and that’s a fact.”

Jiminy: “No one ever said that Constable Jiminy didn’t know how the wind was blowing, and since you’ve been so gracious as to visit my humble establishment I think I can take the view that the wind has begun to blow due Vimes.”
Vimes: “Oh, so do I, Mister Jiminy, so do I, and if ever the weathercock decides to blow the other way, I’ll bite its bloody head off.”

“Sometimes you should follow the arrogance. You should look for those who can’t believe that the law would ever catch them, who believe that they act out of a right the rest of us do not have. The job of the officer of the law is to let them know they are wrong.”



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Commander Sam Vimes

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 08 Occupation: Commander of the Night Watch
Inf: 07 Aur: 08 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 020
Init: 021 HP: 050

Powers:
Comprehend Languages: 06, Iron Will: 02, Ultra Vision: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Comprehend Languages has an area effect (+1) and only works on dark-dwelling types and Vimes (-1).
  • Iron Will is a Skilled Power (+1).

Skills:
Charisma: 06, Detective (Clue Analysis, Legwork, Police Procedure): 06, Martial Artist: 05, Thief (Stealth): 07, Thief (Locks): 04, Weaponry (Missiles, Melee): 06

Advantages
Area Knowledge (Ankh-Morpork), Iron Nerves, Police Credentials (Commander of the Watch, High), Schtick (Make-do Equipment (Weaponry)), Schtick (Mystique (on dwarfs who can see his Summoning Dark mark)), Sharp Eye.

Connections:
Watch (High), 71-Hour Ahmed (Low), Doctor Lawn (Low).

Drawbacks:
Dependants (Sybil and Sam Jr.), MIA (Alcohol), MIA (The chase).

Equipment:

  • GUARD ARMOUR [BODY 04, Skin Armor: 01, Limitation: Partial Coverage (-1CS Trick Shot to bypass)].
  • Short Sword [BODY 05, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist)].
  • Truncheon [BODY 04, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist)].
  • In emergencies he can also be armed with:
    • Crossbow [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Ammo: 01, R#02, Drawback: Long reload time].
    • Pike or Halberd [BODY 05, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist)].

By Gareth Lewis.

Source of Character: Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 12th of September, 2014.

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