Character: Wilhelm

New character thread!

Wilhelm von Brahm grew up in Bremen, fifth son of a rich family that straddled the line between merchants and nobility. His life was good, he loved talking to travelers and merchants and hearing their stories, but he wasn't good at respecting boundaries or rules. He was loved by his family, but having a small boy who would regularly sneak out of the house down to the docks and talk to random sailors was very frightening for his mother, and repeated punishments, up to and including beatings, didn't stop him from basically doing what he wanted. On top of that, they knew the boy seemed to be able to speak to and understand anyone he talked to, which was also frightening in its mystery, though it made his father look forward to the master trader that he could grow up into.

Finally, when he was eight years old, it was decided that he had to learn discipline, so he was sent to squire for his Uncle Karl, a Teutonic Knight at Acre. The loss of the posh life was a rude awakening, but the new city was a fascinating place, full of mysteries. Wilhelm's strange ability became immediately apparent. From the moment of his arrival he could speak with the natives of the city effortlessly. It didn't seem strange to Wilhelm, he'd been doing it all his short life, but the Knights noticed, and choosing to believe it was a blessing from God, they began to use the young squire as a translator, and his martial training became less of a priority.

His uncle found the ability useful for a different reason. Karl von Brahm, as well as a couple of more junior knights, was searching for an ancient site in what was once Canaan, a place called En-Dor. He didn't tell the boy why, but he took the boy all over the land, translating for him as he searched. The ability to communicate, and the charming nature of young Wilhelm that made people more friendly and helpful than they might be otherwise, made all the difference, and after a couple of years, they found what they were looking for. Karl had told Wilhelm by now that they searched for an ancient secret of speaking with the dead. Wilhelm found it odd that a crusader would be looking for such a thing, but he also found the lure of the secrets of the dead fascinating, so he didn't question much.

What they found was a cave. They managed to get inside, not understanding that they were entering regios, and they found the ghost of an ancient necromancer. Karl spoke some Hebrew, but the ghost paid him little heed. Wilhelm was a different matter. A charming young man, who could speak to her fluently, and whom she sensed had the Gift, was fascinating to her. Karl wanted the Teutonic Knights to have this power, so once he understood that not just anyone could learn it, Zephaniah's offer to teach Wilhelm suited him perfectly. So the young man spent the next two years in Zephaniah's cave, learning Canaanite necromancy, eating food brought to the cave entrance by local villagers, paid by his uncle.

Once he had learned all Zephaniah could teach, he returned to Acre. Unfortunately, he never learned what his uncle's plans were, because in the intervening time, his uncle's activities had been questioned, the order had learned of his clandestine activities, and he had been cast out and excommunicated, as much for pursuing a personal agenda without the approval of his commander as for anything else. Wilhelm's position was more complicated. He had followed orders, he hadn't been seen to do necromancy, and he was only 12, not responsible for his own soul yet. But nobody wanted him as a squire, and in the end the decision was made to send him to a monastery for education, to return to the Knights as an administrator later on. And so he went to the Abbey of Fulda.

The journey was difficult. Wilhelm discovered that ghosts had begun to learn that there was a living human who could speak to them, and they came to him, begging him to take care of their problems, solve unfinished business, talk to their relations, and so on. He enjoyed meeting new people, dead or not, and hearing their stories, but he started to get tired of it over the course of the journey, and he was happy when he entered the monastery and found that the divine aura prevented the visitations.

Monastery life went well, as did his studies, for quite a while. However, as always, he felt the need to sneak out into town. At first it was just innocent curiosity and the desire to speak to non-monks; but as the years went on he discovered girls. He was lucky for a while, he would sometimes get caught coming or going, but he could always manage to think of a good excuse. Until one night, when the father of the girl he was visiting caught him; and he was dragged bodily to the monastery. He managed to convince the man that the monastery's justice was worse than anything he could do, so he was handed over without physical harm beyond a beating. When it came to the monastery's justice, he almost got away with just penance, but then the monks discussed how frequently he'd been caught coming or going when he shouldn't, and the abbot realized that Wilhelm's lechery was a habit, not a singular mistake, and his time as a monk was suddenly over.

Wilhelm relocated to Berlin, where nobody knew him, or knew that he was a failed monk, and he worked as an advocate and clerk for a few years there. As he occasionally did favors for clients looking for information from dead relatives, word slowly seeped out that he could speak with the dead. One man came to him, seeking to speak to an ancient scholar, Heron of Alexandria. Something about the man put Wilhelm off, though, and he feigned ignorance, disclaiming any knowledge of speech with the dead.

Later, of course, he went looking for the man on the Other Side, and found him fascinating. He would have spent more time talking with him, and learning from him, but there came an interruption. Daria LeGris, and Remi Museau.

The two needed an advocate, and Daria had done divinations that led them to a Gifted legal scholar in Berlin. In fact, to Wilhelm's front door. Unlike Wilhelm's previous Gifted visitor, these two were respectful and courteous, and they talked long into the night. He worked with them for a number of months, learning about the Order as he took care of pressing legal business for them, and they eventually inducted him into the Order, inviting him to come and reside in their covenant. After a few more weeks taking care of pending cases and putting his affairs in order, he journeyed to their home in Triamore.

Wilhelm Von Brahm

Gregarious +5; Inquisitive +5; Unruly +5

Int +3; Per +1; Str 0; Sta 0; Pre +3; Com +3; Dex -3; Qui -3

Area Lore: Bremen (History) 1
Awareness (Searching) 1
Charm (First Impressions) 2
Folk Ken (Nobles) 2
Intrigue (Nobles) 2
Native Language: Low German (Stories) 5
Organization Lore: Order of Hermes (History) 1
Artes Liberales (Astronomy) 5
Civil and Canon Law (Holy Roman Empire) 5
Dead Language: Latin (Writing) 4
Philosophiae (Natural Philosophy) 5
Code of Hermes (Tribunal Procedure) 3
Parma Magica (Mentem) 1
Canaanite Necromancy (Controlling) 5

The Gift (Free, General)
Gentle Gift (Major, Supernatural)
Canaanite Necromancy (Major, Supernatural)
Free Study (Minor, General)
Gift of Tongues (Minor, Heroic)
Good Student (Minor, General)
Unaging (Minor, Supernatural)

Lecherous (Major, Personality)
Supernatural Nuisance: Ghosts (Major, Story)
Heroic Personality (Minor, Heroic)
Failed Monk (Minor, Social)
Carefree (Minor, Personality)

Holding for Advancement

A few words about Wilhelm:

  1. I switched from Mechanica to Canaanite Necromancy, but he will learn Mechanica from the ghost of Heron very early on. Other than that, I don't have any particular virtues I'm planning on learning right away, or any traditions I'm planning on getting him Opened to. (Though I'm totally open to that happening down the road, in an unplanned manner). I hope it doesn't seem like I'm "pulling something", this was just an idea that came to me as I was flipping through Ancient Magic and contemplating character ideas (basically sparked by seeing that the Teutonic Knights are searching for Canaanite Necromancy by canon.)

  2. I took Heroic Personality not knowing someone else was; the main reason was that I felt I should have a Heroic Flaw to offset the Heroic Virtue I took (since Legacy doesn't make sense without the Order around) I don't mind swapping it out; I am more attached to the Gift of Tongues, though. I don't see it as a conflict with the Frere because it doesn't give the ability to read/write. If it's a big problem, I'll accept that troupe decision, but I'll probably go back to the drawing board for a different character.

  3. I'm ok with making minor story/stat adjustments if they're deemed necessary. Big changes won't make me mad, but will probably kill the character concept in my mind (I have a problem keeping concepts alive in my head before they actually get played), and I'll need to come up with something else.

I put everything on hold because I was digging into Canaanite Necromancy. I think it needs a look by the troupe. As written, Zephaniah could hardly do the stuff she actually did in canon.

I decided I liked the character enough to go forward regardless, but I'd like Canaanite Necromancy to actually work.

There are no problems with Frère Sulpice here, who has a very different approach to languages.

But there is a technicality: HoHTL p. 104 Heroic requires either Blood of Heroes, Mythic Blood or Legacy to even be allowed to have Heroic Virtues or Flaws. This you should discuss with @Xavi: perhaps he allows more.

Is the Legacy Flaw instead of Heroic Personality breaking your character? Being descended from a legendary Seeker of two centuries ago might have motivated a lot of Wilhelm's useful escapades in dark alleys, and might have made him more appealing both to Karl and to Zephania.

I'd be fine with Legacy but I thought it would be inappropriate without the Cult of Heroes around. Or maybe they are around? Could be an interesting npc group in the absence of the order.

Though that does leave me shopping for a new flaw because I can't have a major and minor story flaw.

That Seeker ancestor might indeed still be around him: as a ghost. Plagued by Supernatural Entity: Seeker Ancestor?

If it's cool to have Legacy and Plagued by Supernatural then consider it done. I'll wait to see what Xavi says.

I see him as plagued by lots of different ghosts that come and go but that could definitely be one of the more persistent ones.

I see! No reason to absolutely take the Ancestor as a Flaw, if he is already covered by Legacy.

Legacy is the more apt one and does not need additional Flaws to justify it. You are a descendant of a Hero of Legend like Hermann (known to the Romans as Arminius) or other Germanic Heroes. The important thing is that the people know you to be a descendant of theirs and expect much of you.

On a lighter note... How about Asterix, Obelisk, Getafix, Psychoanalytix, Valueaddedtax, Botanix or Vitalstatistix? :grinning:

You lost me. I get that some of those are from Asterix but other than that I need help. :slight_smile:

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:laughing: You would have loved Valueaddedtax, he's a Belgian druid BTW.

On a more serious note, if your Heroic Virtue is Gift of Tongues, then you might have been descended from a Hero known to be a good arbitrator and seek you out to mediate, which delves right in to you being an Advocate.

Legacy sounds great then.

Two points for the record.

  1. Canaanite Necromancy as written doesn't easily allow speaking to the dead. It's a roll of Com + Necromancy vs EF Mag×3. So with r/d/t added, the simplest effects are EF 12+, with most effects 18+.

  2. Wilhelm would not be initiating. It would just be learning a new Supernatural Ability through the teacher/student method, with a good enough study total.

Interest withdrawn. Have fun, guys!

Pity then, but I suppose you did not like the restrictions I put in place. Very understandable. Have fun and thanks for your contribution to the discussion of setting this idea up!