Lothar the Stonemason

Lothar was born in a village close to Regensburg in Bavaria. His father was a renowned blacksmith and his son was expected to take over his trade. However when Lothar was only 6 years old a big fire erupted in the smithy and burnt down the entire house the family lived in, killing both his parents. Lothar and his two sisters just barely escaped, but Lothar got some burn marks on his arms and neck that still shows.

The children's uncle and his wife brought them up and being a stonemason he took Lothar as an apprentice a few years later. Lothar refused to go anywhere near a fire bigger than a torch or a small campfire and didn't want to continue his father's craftsmanship because of this. His older sisters were married off to other craftsman families in Bavaria while Lothar himself set off north after finishing his apprenticeship. He spent most of his time as Journeyman travelling between the towns and cities of Saxony taking jobs for different stonemason masters.
At the age of 26 he was appointed by the local guild in Bremen to take charge of a project to extend and renovate the townhouse of one of the prominent merchant houses in the city. One and a half year later the work was finished with excellent reviews and soon after Lothar was promoted to master by the guild.

Lothar married his wife Matilda, the daughter of a carpenter's master, soon after and they got two children, Sigfrid and Vala within the next two years.

After becoming a master he took two young apprentices. One of them was the youngest brother of his wife, Jürgen, 14 years old and the other was a boy named Wilhelm who was extremely strong for his young age.
Lothar took a few minor jobs at first, but in the spring of 1210 he got a bigger job to add another storey to an inn and add stables. Lothar hired some men and started the project. One day, in the summer, a fire broke out in a shed on the construction site. Jürgen and another worker which happened to be the son of another stonemason master that served under Lothar as Journeyman was trapped inside and burnt to death. The project was stopped and the remaining workers said the site was haunted by something because they had seen or heard strange things in the days before the incident.

Lothar got into trouble with both his wife's family and the stonemason master because they blamed him for the deaths. He got into a physical fight with the stonemason master and beat him soundly since he felt discriminated and unfairly judged by the whole guild. He claimed that he had done what he could to save those poor boys.
All of this made it difficult for him to get new jobs and he felt a strong need to move away from Bremen and the Saxony mainland for a while.

Lothar has the blood of the dwarfs running in him from his father's lineage, but he has no idea about this himself. He has always been plagued by nightmares of fire ever since his parents was burnt to death and it seems like something is haunting him, perhaps some kind of fire faeries or spirits? Something that knows about his heritage perhaps? Could they also be the reason why he rarely seem to have much luck when pure chance is involved?

Lothar is of medium height but rather stocky built with broad shoulders and muscular arms and legs. The skin on his neck, chin and right arm is all red and blotched from the burning injury he got when he was 6 years old. No hair grows on the back of his head because of this and his facial hair is spotty at best, so he prefers to keep himself clean shaven even if it makes his burn scars more significant.
He wears sturdy craftsman's clothes made of leather and wool.

Age: 30 (30)
Size: 0
Confidence: 1 (3)
Decrepitude: 0
Warping: 0

Personality traits: Stubborn +2, Proud +3, Overprotective +1

Int +2 (creative), Per +1 (an eye for details), Str +2 (muscular), Sta +2 (hardy), Pre -1 (unattractive), Com +1 (firm voice), Dex +2 (elegant touch), Qik -2 (slow)

Guild Master, Craft Guild Trained, Enduring constitution, Faerie blood(dwarf), Improved Characteristics, Puissant Craft(Stonemason), Well-Travelled

Supernatural Nuisance, Fear of Fire, Proud (minor), Disfigured, Lesser malediction: Unlucky.

Area Lore: Bavaria 1 (populated areas), Area Lore: Lower Saxony 2 (populated areas), Animal Handling 2 (beasts of burden), Artes Liberales 1 (geometry), Athletics 4 (heavy lifting), Awareness 1 (searching), Bargain 3 (construction work), Brawl 5 (fist), Carouse 3 (staying sober), Craft: Stonemason 5+2, Craft: Blacksmith 1(tools), Chirurgy 2 (binding wounds), Concentration 2 (working long hours), Etiquette 1 (craftsmen), Folk Ken 2 (craftsmen), Intrigue 2 (guild politics), Leadership 3 (leading craftsmanship), Latin 1 (classic works), Low German 4 (craftsman's vocabulary), High German 5 (Bavarian), Organisation Lore: Stonemason's Guild 3 (journeymen), Survival 2 (hills), Teaching 2 (masonry)

Working clothes
Set with different sorts of chisels and hammers
Measuring tools
Stonemason's Guild master sigil

Combat stats
Dodge: Init: -2, Defense +3
Fist: Init: -2, Attack +8, Defense +3, Damage +2
Kick: Init: -3, Attack +7, Defense +2, Damage +5
Dagger: Init: -2, Attack +9, Defense +3, Damage +5
Soak: +2
Fatigue levels: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: -1 (1-5), -3 (6-10), -5 (11-15), Incapacitated (16-20), Dead (21+)


The following comments should be taken with a grain of salt. They are aimed at furthering the discussion and development of the character, and are open to dicsussion.

Guild Master as a Social Virtue would be pretty much useless on the island, as there aren't many guild members active there. So I wouldn't require it.

I don't have a problem with Lothar being a master-level stonemason. However, what would be his reason for moving to such an isolated location, where his guild has little clout?

I'll note that Int is the most useful of stats for a craftsman. The primary stats for a stonemason would be Dex, Sta and Str. You need good hand-eye coordination to precisely cut stone, while chiseling all day long tend to develop your stamina and strength. Stonecutters tended to be paid by the number of stone they produced in a day, so a low Qik means he would be slower than most.

Meh. Do you really want lots of stories involving (his?) children? That's not very appealing to me to have to write such stories... I've seen that particular flaw used as a 'dump' flaw quite a bit, and it gets old fairly fast.

Also, Compassionate as a Major flaw precludes any kind of story involving confrontation and violence. Again, closing off many more stories than it opens up.

Remember, the flaws you select for the character are an indication to me of the kind of stories you'd like this character to be involved in. Ideally, that should be the kind of stories that can involve other characters of the saga (though ideally not your magus).

Members of a craft guild seldom learn the craft of a different guild. After all, that's what guilds are for -- to protect the guildmembers' hold on a specific craft. Putting up scaffolding doesn't really requires a separate craft. The mason can do that if he has to, although for the most part he would call upon the services of a member of the carpenters' guild. Even more true with blacksmithing.

A few neglected abilities:

  • Concentration to work long hours in a noisy environment
  • Animal Handling to manage beasts of burden to haul rocks (although this would be less useful on the island, where these will be very few)
  • Carouse could easily be much higher
  • Chirurgy for emergencies on the workplace
  • Guile or Intrigue for guild politics

Higher scores and/or more diverse Area Lore might also make sense.

Just saying... :smiley:

Let's go with Craftsman then and just assume he is a guild master. If he is just a Journeyman he wouldn't be allowed to take jobs on his own without the guild's consent. It's a good question why he is willing to go to Helgoland. I'm thinking maybe we could work something out with a different Story Flaw. Something may have happened recently that means he wants to go away from the mainland for some time when the opportunity comes up. See below.

I agree that Sta would be an important stat for a stonemason as well as Dex and Str, but I also think Int may be quite important given as Stonemasons are a bit like today's Architects as well. They must plan how they construct the buildings, bridges and whatever it is they are working on. I even thought about taking Educated as virtue for a while to get access to Artes Liberales, as geometry could be an asset, but then I thought the practical geometry that they need is probably included in the Craft skill.
Then Stonemasons usually leads a team of workers for big projects so they need Leadership and a decent Pre and/or Com to do that well.
His low Qik will mean that he is slower than most stonemasons and therefore at a disadvantage. He can't be good at everything.

I started creating this character with a character from a film as model and that's where Dependent and Compassionate came from but as you say it can be quite boring in a game like this. If it's ok with you, I will keep the family situation but maybe keep the wife alive but I will not include it as a Story flaw. They are just there in the background. Maybe I will upgrade Driven to a major personality flaw but I need to come up with something that will make him stay on or around the island for a long while.

Regarding the Story Flaw it could be a Feud with another master of the guild, someone with much more connections, status and experience. The situation at the time when he gets the offer to come to Helgoland and help with some building is so bad that he accepts it just to get away for a while.

Actually I read the opposite somewhere that many guilds were crossteaching similar crafts to some level but of course they are not allowed to take the jobs from another guild so maybe there would be a limit in skill rank of 1 or 2 for secondary crafts. If you don't allow it I'll just drop them. They are not that important.

Some of these are good. Especially Animal Handling and Chirurgy, didn't think of those in that way. I hadn't planned to make Lothar especially good at guild politics unless you want to introduce that in the saga. Of course with the Feud flaw as suggested above there will be a certain level of guild politics but then Lothar will be at a disadvantage. Maybe he needs help from the magi then? :slight_smile:

Would you allow if Lothar have an apprentice? Like a young grog, 15 years old or so, or if you prefer to handle him like a NPC without much stats.
As I mentioned above I also intend to have him married and they have two children but I'm not attaching any Story Flaws to them so they will be more of a background for him.

As for Flaws and background I was thinking something like this.

At 12 years old he started his apprenticeship which lasted 8 years (as per City & Guild for Mason's guild).
At 20 he set out as Journeyman and took jobs at various places as he moved around. He was known within the guild for doing a very good job with high quality but he was working slow, some even called him lazy.
At 26 he came to the city of Bremen and was appointed to lead the work to extend the townhouse of one of the prominent merchant families in the city. This went very well and a year and a half later he was appointed to become promoted to master of the guild.
He stayed in and around Bremen and led some minor building projects but last summer a tragic accident happened while adding another storey to an inn. Two workers was killed when the scaffolding along one wall suddenly fell apart. Lothar himself was severely injured, breaking a leg and his hip.

Flaws that can be linked to this are:
Lingering Injury from Grogs (-1 penalty to all physical actions, -3 after a botch on such a roll meaning the injury has got worse for a while)
Unlucky from Grogs (-1 to -3 on rolls that is based more on luck than skill. This may come from a supernatural source that Lothar himself is unaware of or he could have had it all his life mor or less.)
Enemy - One of the workers that got killed in the accident was a son of a master stonemason with a lot higher status than Lothar. Her blames Lothar for the death and does everything he can to discredit him.
Driven (minor) - His goal has always been to become a guild master so when he did he changed it to become an established and respected stonemason with a steady flow of jobs. After the accident and because of his rival in the guild he is far from this.

Then I thought about throwing a Fear or a Weakness that have nothing to do directly with his craft.
Fear of Fire perhaps. He should be able to set fire to a torch or lantern and perhaps a campfire in a confined area, but biggert than that and he becomes nervous. This would then be from some incidient in his childhood.

I don't have a problem with him having a family but no related Story flaws. To me, that's the normal situation. It is only when you (the player) want the family to produce stories that a flaw should be taken.

Same with an apprentice. He can have one, and if you want the apprentice to lead to stories then you may take a Story flaw.

I have been thinking about the Guild Master social virtue, and I wouldn't have a problem with it even though it is not from the core book. It is simply an extension on the Craftsman social status. This might make sense if you want Lothar to have apprentices.

A few thoughts regarding this background.

If you want to give it a slight supernatural spin, the building he was working on when the accident happened might have been on a supernatural site (Faerie, Magical or Demonic) and the accident was caused by the creature(s) living there (a ghost, water faeries, fire salamanders, etc.) So he might have been cursed as part of this. These creature(s) might still plague him, or his fear may be linked to the supernatural nature of the attack. The supernatural element of his background might be what drives him to return to the covenant occasionally.

If you want to add further tragedy to the accident, perhaps one of the victims in the accident were related to Lothar himself, such as a cousin or a nephew. The rest of his family blames him for this, which is one more reason for having left Bremen and going to an isolated place like Helgeland.

A few thoughts here as well.

Lingering Injury could work as a consequence from the accident, but so would Disfigured, Lame, Missing Hand or Missing Ear. All of these require less book keeping than Lingering Injury, but it's really up to you. I don't have any particular issue with it.

That would be nice as well. It could easily be linked to the supernatural nature of the accident.

Would write more, but gotta go to a meeting at work. :stuck_out_tongue:

The Guild Master social virtue is a minor compared to Craftsman which is free. The only game mechanic that differs is that Guild Master give access to Academic Abilities during character generation. I would like him to have one apprentice beside his family, none connected with a story flaw. It's your call if you want me to take the Guild Master virtue to be able to get the social advantages of being a master, that is it might be worth a minor virtue.

I thought about Supernatural Nuisance or Plagued by Supernatural Entity and something like that would tie him closer to the covenant I think, but i like the conflict with the guild as well as Story flaws goes. But maybe we could play it out both and then make the supernatural entity the reason for the problems and therefore the main Story flaw. The troubles with the guild is not as bad to need the Enemy or Feud flaws but still reason enough for him to leave the mainland when the opportunity arises. Adding a family conflict as well works for me.

That's true, but Lame and Missing Hand makes it quite difficult to perform his craft. What if the accident was a big fire caused by some fire spirit or faerie or maybe even some kind of demon. Then he may have become Disfigured from that fire while a few other workers died. Maybe his Fear of Fire started by something mundane when he was younger but that was the thing that drew the attention of the supernatural entity.

I think I'm done with him now except for a few details, unless you have any objections.

I'll go with Supernatural Nuisance which means that it is some sort of creatures of the same type that is haunting him or disturbing him at times, not one particular entity. I have connected them to his sleeping disorder and the accident that lead to his own injury and the deaths of two workers. They have haunted him in his dreams but probably also have some kind of existance in the physical world. I'm thinking some sort of faeries proficient with entering people's dreams, or perhaps some minor demons? Do you have any ideas?

Then I mixed up Lame with Crippled earlier so when I read about Lame I thought that it works pretty good and therefore changed the accident back to scaffolding falling rather than a fire. He is still afraid of fire but that is from his childhood.

Then the Sleeping disorder. I have put it under Lesser Malediction rather than the Sleep Disorder flaw in Grogs as I don't really like the mechanics of that one. Can we make it simpler and more straightforward? Maybe something like whenever he needs to concentrate or focus on something that is primarily a mental activity he gets a flat penalty or he must roll against Sta to not fall asleep.

To introduce him in the saga he meets Yulia and Trond in Bremen in autumn 1210 and since he hasn't got any jobs since the accident in the summer and the problems with the local guild and the family of his wife means he is more than willing to take a job that takes him away from the city and it's surroundings. He will bring his family and the one apprentice he still has.

Starting to look good indeed. :smiley:

Although the character is fine as he is, I'll make a few more comments that you may want to consider. Strictly optional.

From what I've read over the years, craftsmen often only married when they reached the rank of master, because it is only then that the bride's parents considered him well-established and earn enough to support a family.

Considering this, if Lothar married his wife only a few years after he completed his apprenticeship and at least 5 years before a became a master seems unusual, particularly since her father is a master craftsman himself. Not impossible, mind you, but it might be worth a few more lines of text to explain it. Or you could simply make his wife and children younger, to reflect a marriage right after Lothar became a master.

Hmmm... When I made the suggestion that it might be a family member, I didn't know that his wife's father would be a master craftsman himself. Would a master send his son to be apprentice to someone else in a different craft? Most would usually take their own son as apprentice, I think. Again, nothing that can't be explained or tweaked. 8)

Note that Dietlinde also has Dowsing as a virtue. It also seems an odd fit for the character.

The last two don't add much that helps understand the character. Gaining respect in his guild won't come up much on the island.

Of course, you can add another trait or two once you've begun playing him. :smiley:

That may be true but it was probably not a rule. I can easily make the children younger though so it's not an issue.

I don't find this strange. I think it was more usual that a father sent his son away to another master, but then more likely a master of the same guild. However since Lothar was already married into the carpenter's family I think it may be reasonable, especially if it's the second or third son and one of the older ones is already taking the father's path. Carpenters and stonemasons often work closely.

I had actually missed this so I will change this one to something else then.

I'll add one or two personality traits, no problem. :smiley:

I changed the concept a bit and some of the background, but now I think it holds together better and he feels more interesting. I switched Dowsing for Faerie Blood (dwarf) which suits his craftsmanship. He doesn't know this heritage himself so might be something to exploit in game.

I also switched Lame for Disfigured: visible burn marks, but this happened in the fire from his childhood where his parents died. His father was a blacksmith.

I thought about taking Small frame as it would suit the dwarf heritage but I don't want to make him too much of a dwarf. He is human but he is stubborn and proud which I think are often the paramount dwarf traits in most fiction. Then i added Enduring Constitution instead of Reserves of Strength. Both could be said to be dwarf-related.

I also scrapped Sleep Disorder for Unlucky, just because the former seems too difficult to handle game mechanically and unlucky seems to fit this concept better.

Did some changes to Abilites as well since I had to forego of Dowsing.

Then I linked Supernatural Nuisance to the fires that seem to follow him. Fire spirits or fire faeries perhaps. I leave this bit a little up to you as Lothar doesn't really have any idea. I should be a way to create stories from, especially with the magi.

Now I really like this character.

I must admit that my first reaction when I read that you were giving him Dwarf Faerie Blood, I cringed a little. But I like what you've done with it, avoiding the stereotypical over-the-top caricature of a dwarf. I like the character.

You may want to check the number of experience you gave him. I am coming up short. Did you forget to take one of your virtues into account? (Well-Travelled and Craft Guild Trained both give you 50 xp.)

Note that even though he tries to hide his burn scar, they need to be obvious enough that people react negatively to them. Otherwise it's not a Flaw. :wink:

I know what you mean with the over-the-top caricature of dwarves and I definately want to avoid that. That's why I didn't go with Small frame and I think I will skip the beard as well and make the burn scars more visible in the face. Let's say he doesn't have any facial or head hair at all because of the burn damage.
He won't be grumpy, just proud of his work and a little stubborn. He knows how to fight with his hands but has never wielded an axe in combat.

I'll check the xp. I have made a few changes since the original write-up so it may be that some points have slipped. Oh and I added a year on his age as well to fit the background so I might have missed some there.

Apart from these things I consider him finished if you approve.

I'm good with him, pending the verification of his Abilities. You may consider giving him a low score in Latin if he is indeed missing a few xp.

I have corrected the xps. The spreadsheet I use for character creation didn't calculate the extra xp I got from Guild Trained since it's a non-standard virtue, then I forgot to add them manually.

He now have a Latin score of 1 so he knows a few words.

Approved. The character will be introduced in Spring 1211, as noted elsewhere.