Nightstaff Character in Tales of Justice | World Anvil


Mason-Baptiste Lafayette

Mason's had a real hard time and had to come back from a really dark place.

But... I think he's finally 'comfortable in his own skin'. Being a person that was buried inside all along. There's something to be said for that.
Silverwing, Hero of Metropolis
Mason-Baptiste Lafayette was born John Lafayette DeSalle to American parents in the North Dakota region.
His family moved to Quebec when he was young where he attended school. His native language is English, but growing up in Quebec meant he became fluent in French as well. Post-school, he did a short and moderately successful stint as a boxer and MMA fighter. Realizing the limitations of that career, he joined a Canadian Search and Rescue service, where he worked for some number of years.
During that time, he was approached by the US Central Intelligence Agency, who recruited him as an asset to monitor for terrorist and smuggling traffic coming through Canada into the US. He excelled at it until his success caused the son of an international corporate businessman to be caught.
Pulling strings, the CEO worked to pull funding and expose the CIA’s operation. In a panic to shut the situation down, John was cut loose without warning. The CEO, using his connections in the CIA, arranged for John to be ‘bought’ and picked up by Infinity Inc.

A Living Weapon

Infinity Inc recognized the genetic potential in John, as a mutant whose abilities had not yet manifested. They triggered his mutations but also altered them. The intent was to create a living Chimera weapon.
To stabilize the chimera abilities, which were genetically altered from his own mutant powers, they flooded his bone marrow with an untested stem cell therapy drug. The drug interacted with his own altered genetics, resulting in his bones being laced with a titanium-magnesium alloy, and the ability for his body to produce more. The original process created too much, which slowly poisoned John over time.
This side effect inspired the company to use it as a means to keep John under control. Regular treatments kept the process stable, and therefore John wouldn't suffer the effects of the poison.
During his time as a living weapon for Infinity Incorporated, he was given the code name of Timber Wolf. As with Feral and the rest of the prototype unit, he managed to escape when they did from the Niagra Falls hidden lab. Once they split up, he laid low, keeping to himself until he set up a life in Chicago.
Unfortunately, the metal alloy in his body was still seeping toxins in his body. An engineered 'kill switch' by Infinity Incorporated,
This resulted in manic episodes that eventually resulted in John having a failed attempt at a vigilante in Chicago. He fled north out of the US and managed to get treatment using experimental dialysis. This, combined with his own heightened regeneration, removed the poison and permanently stabilized what was wrong.
John headed back south to rebuild his life in Detroit. After all the years gone, he knew the people he had worked with - and hurt - would be gone, or less than thrilled to see him. So, he used what connections to look for someone to help him build a new identity. A way to rebuild.
Former co-workers from years ago put him in touch with what John thought was Interpol. Instead, it was actually SAFEGUARD.
Eager for more information on Infinity Incorporated, they agreed to help John assemble a new identity in exchange for the information. The caveat was that SAFEGUARD would keep in touch on how John was doing in Detroit. In case he might be interested in some consulting work for the organization. A select few, like John's immediate family would know the secret of his name change but outside of that, SAFEGUARD took steps to erase 'John Lafayette DeSalle' for their part of the bargain.
With his new identity in place, John - now Mason-Baptiste Lafayette - set up shop in Detroit as a private detective. To help combat his PTSD problems, which he still has, he visits a local Catholic priest, Father Abrigail Hannigan for regular therapy. Mason also takes medication to help with the lingering chemical imbalance from Infinity Inc's chemical 'kill switch' attempt.

New City, Old Problems

Detroit, like any city, has its own unique problems. Crime and criminial enterprise is one of many. John, now as Mason, found that his work as a private investigator paid the bills. However, it led him right into the path of the wealthy exploiting Detroit and its citizens who didn't have the resources to defend themselves.
His failed attempt at a vigilante still haunted him but he couldn't let people just be ground down. Mason took on a new approach. Using his powers and skills, Mason forged a new 'hero identity' but with some differences.
Before, he was willing to do what it took to stop the problem. He sought out Justice however he could get it. That failed.
The work he had done with Father Hannigan put the world into perspective for Mason. At least, for him it made things a bit clearer.
Justice wasn't something to hunt down. It was something to be supported. People, in general, just want a better life. They wanted to be better. To Mason, being a vigilante, a hero, wasn't about beating down a criminal. It was about compassion. Helping people who were going hungry, overcoming human injustice. Just showing that there really is a path forward out of darkness. A darkness he knew all too well.

Physical Description

Special abilities

Since the metal alloy removal, John's - or rather Mason's - own meta powers have fully surfaced. This altered Mason's 'natural' physical form into that of an anthropomorphic wolf.
Along with this came superhuman levels of strength, dexterity, and increased physical density which allows him greater protection against some amounts of physical harm. Along with these physical changes comes enhanced hearing and sense of smell, akin to that of a wolf. Also, he has small claws that - when combined with his strength - can cause significant damage if he exerts himself. Something he refrains from most of the time.
Beyond the physical form change, Mason's primary powers are that of hyper-regeneration and a very rare power called a 'Chimera' ability.
The Chimera power is a metamorphic ability that lets Mason so what he refers to as 'shift' or 'skinwalk'.
This would be the ability to mimic/shapeshift his body to mimic aspects of another animal. This grants him many other powers for a limited time, such as flight, eagle's eyesight and so on. But the power only lasts for a certain duration and its use will tire him, leave him hungry. In addition, he's only ever been able to mimic/shift into the aspect of a mammalian animal.
His hyper-regeneration is just that. An aggressive healing factor/regeneration ability that allows him to survive physical trauma. As it reacts and increases in effectiveness based on the wounds Mason has suffered, it currently will almost allow him to heal in minutes from near-lethal wounds.

Mental characteristics

Mental Trauma

He struggles with his guilt over his past, what he’s done and who he’s hurt. He’s looking for a way to not see himself as a monster, but the PTSD and memories make that a constant effort for him.
Upholding the Good
Current Location
North Dakota
Current Residence
Brown-gray fur, thick like a wolf's
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
white/gray skin tone beneath the fur
Other Affiliations

What's in a Name?

Mason didn't atually choose the name "Nightstaff".
When out in his hero identity, Mason wears a deep blue, armored, martial arts styled uniform to augment his ability to defend himself. This includes a wolf-head styled mask painted in style reminiscient of a kabuki mask. He also uses a utility belt and a short staff.
It's the staff in particular that caught the media's attention. Gray-black with a protective laquered finish, the local Detroit press dubbed him 'Nightstaff' since Mason's hero activities at the time had been happening at night. The name stuck.
The media features him as a local story piece as Mason will appear as Nightstaff to help openly rescue people from accident or stop crimes in progress in as non-violent a means as possible.

Opposite Forces

Not long after taking up his identity as Nightstaff, Mason ran right into conflict with a local business tycoon named Brayden Hawkins. Hawkins, a self-made man, has a well-earned reputation for rutheless or corrupt business tactics.
Yet, his wealth and influence provides more than ample protection against local law enforcement. This leaves Hawkins free to continue his methods, all while taking what he wants from 'the little people'.
Nightstaff regularly interferes in Hawkins' plans, fouling them up and leaving the evidence for the police. Unfortunately, this has created a cycle where while Hawkins' more elaborate plans fail, his wealth keeps law enforcement from fully acting on the evidence provided by Nightstaff.

On the Clock

To help keep his life as Nightstaff and Mason Lafayette separate, Mason takes a page from historical heroes, such as Zorro and others. He takes pains to adopt a 'mannerism' as Mason that is different from Nightstaff. Mason is more retiring, a bit hesitant. A generally nice person who leaves the impression he would just prefer to stay home and read a book. Nightstaff displays compassion, confidence, and strength.
Acting skills to change his body language help with this, as does a slight shift in his voice. So far, only a few, such as his former teammates Silverwing and Puma have seen through the facade. Reations have been mixed. For example, Silverwing has taken steps to accept the change. Puma has not, souring his relationship with Mason / John.

  • 1997

    13 November

    Hybrid Prototype Team vanishes

    The prototype Hybrid Minion team of Feral, Puma , Silverwing, and Timber Wolf escape from the North America Infinity Incorporated lab. Thomas was 18 or so, David was 22, Rissa was 27, John was 61. The group split up to muddy their trail before any of them had a chance to notice that they had memory problems. Of all four, only the youngest -- Thomas, whom the others had tried to shield if they could -- had clear enough memories of their recent alliance to stay in touch. Or to know why they had originally felt the need to split up at all.

    North America
    More reading
    Infinity Inc
  • 1998

    22 March

    John De'Salle relocates
    Life, Relocation

    John De'Salle ends therapy with Dr. Gironde and withdraws from Wyldfire. He moves to Michigan and forms a partnership with Floyd Lawton/Deadshot. He reminds Thomas that it's a life-risking move to be in contact with each other -- but also encourages Thomas to "stay in touch". Floyd privately instructs Thomas to keep it to email only for a few years -- give John time to figure himself out and settle down. John and Floyd join a pilot project spun off of SAFEGUARD that specializes in containing metahuman incidents too complicated for regular law enforcement.

    More reading
  • 1999

    12 June

    14 June

    Lord Bayne Incident
    Metaphysical / Paranormal event

    A supervillain from another dimension, seeking a world where he can become the Ultimate Evil Overlord with less opposition which might be competent to stop his dastardly conquest, picks the wrong reality. Dr. Doom invites himself into the opposition, in the process realizing that he truly does not want to rule a world. He merely wants to not live under the moral obligation to oppose Reed Richards. No: Doom wants to live quietly in a space he completely controls, exploring his theories of superscience, and going down in history as the smartest person ever to use a soldering iron.


    During the ramp-up for this adventure, Jean-Claude Gironde discovers and unmakes numerous mental blocks and hypnotic commands implanted in Jarissa Venters' mind. This includes all of the villainous work Kadaver accomplished in the previous adventure, plus several things (but not all) from the Infinity Inc Hybrid Minion mental programming.


    Also during this adventure, villain henchman-for-hire Mime gets physically split into two people. Mime/Robert Ridderhoff remains an employee of Phoenix Industries working at the Gironde mansion, as part of his parole. Ghoul is now a cannibalistic shapeshifting villain who can no longer copy new powers. Ghoul leaves to work in high-mortality areas of the world, mostly urban areas of Colombia, as a do-anything flunky.

    About Earth 1
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  • 1999

    25 August

    5 September

    Deadshot and Timber Wolf go to war against local corrupt politicians
    Political event

    As is the mandate for secret organization SAFEGUARD, two implanted agents (under cover of running a metahuman Private Investigations agency) discover that certain key aldermen in Chicago have a corrupt deal with a hospital administrator and a pharmaceutical research company to run their own little criminal enterprise, using city infrastructure to conceal their work. Deadshot and Timber Wolf team up with local law enforcement to investigate and dismantle the entire network.


    Feral has a minor supporting role near the conclusion of this event.

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  • 1999

    8 December

    Timber Wolf takes assignment from Orion Club
    Life, Organisation Association

    In what may turn out to be an early indicator of trouble, Timber Wolf impulsively takes on an offered hunting assignment from elitist mercenary network The Orion Club. John assures his partner Deadshot (and, later, his contact for SAFEGUARD) that he has handled undercover operations like this a thousand times in his career. The bad guys will start him on simple tasks, work gradually down through the shades of moral grayness, until they think he can be trusted for access to their true goals. They drew his attention this past summer by trying to smuggle some of their "captured prey" through Chicago, after all! They cannot know how much Timber Wolf knows about their activities.

  • 1999

    8 December

    Hybrid Omega 000 Simon Phoenix dies
    Life, Death

    The very first volunteer for Infinity Inc's Hybrid Omega program, a sadistic trainer who called himself "Simon the Phoenix" even before he was given bodymorphing powers, has been Dr. Doom's prisoner since the middle of June. In long-delayed payment for Feral's assistance in the matter of a problem employee, Dr. Doom brings the leopard woman to one of his mobile facilities, where she witnesses the termination of the monster Simon Phoenix.

    More reading
    Infinity Inc
  • 1999

    15 December

    5 July

    Life, Relocation

    The fight against both the corrupt politicians and undercover work with the Oiron Club left a trail of damage across Chicago, putting a warrant and a price on John's head.
    These events aggrevated the chemical kill switch implanted in John, poisoning him to the point of being irrational and dangerous. John packed up and headed north to avoid hurting anyone else.
    He is missing for almost seven years.

  • 2006

    5 July

    Mason-Baptiste Lafayette arrives in Detroit
    Life, Identity

    John returns from Canada, where he recieved experimental, and risky, treatments that strip the induced metal poisoning from his system. This inadverdently fully triggered his mutant gene. However, he survived.
    He returned to Chicago to find the warrant still out for his arrest, His former partner, Floyd Lawton ( aka Deadshot ) had been murdered along with other former associates. Those that hadn't been killed, scattered, their lives taking a downward turn.
    Unable to pick up the pieces, John heads to Detroit to try and rebuild his life. Though former co-workers he inadverdently comes into contact again with SAFEGUARD. With their assistance, "John De'Salle" is no more. Instead, Mason-Baptiste Lafayette sets up in Detroit.
    John, now Mason, gets counceling from Father Abrigail Hannigan and sets up a private investigator business.

    More reading
    Metahumanities 280


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