Reb Pinhas ben Nahum

(First try on stats: built as a standard Companion. Character would work enormously better as a Mythic Companion, though. bats eyelashes at JL)

Pinhas was born and raised near Cordoba, in an area that had passed into the hands of the Christians mere years before. Life under the Christians was harder than life under the Moslems, but Jews endure wherever they are.

He was a promising student at the Yeshiva, distinguished by his intelligence and feared in disputation for his keen grasp of the pilpul. The path of the rabbi was a natural outgrowth of that. He was ordained as a rabbi, got married to a nice young woman named Rachel (which opened the door to a study of the Kabbalah -- you aren't allowed to delve into the mysteries until you're over 30 and married), and settled in to a nice quiet life; supporting himself and Rachel as a shochet, acting as a rabbi to his community, and studying the Torah and the Talmud.

Life interfered less than two years later. Rachel was ambushed and despoiled by a passing caballero with the stink of the Infernal about him. Pinhas tracked the caballero down and banished the creature that was riding him -- but when he returned to his town, he was told that Rachel had taken her own life, unable to live with the shame. After he had recovered from his grief, he laid down his rabbinical responsibilities and swore an oath: to track down and oppose the creatures of the Sithra Achra where-ever they might be found.

He's wandered since then, tracking down and opposing demons. Holy cause or not, a man must eat: he's acted as a shochet, hired himself out as a laborer, or sold amulets and charms to keep himself fed. Whatever it takes.

Characteristics: Int +3, Per -1, Pre 0, Com +3, Str -1, Sta 0, Dex 0, Qik -2
Size: 0
Age: 45 (45), Height: 5'8'', Weight: 140 lbs, Gender: Male
Decrepitude: 0
Warping Score: 0 (0)
Confidence: 1 (3)
Virtues: Adjuration, Craft Amulets, Educated: Hebrew , Arcane Lore , Kabbalah, Sense Holiness and Unholiness;
Flaws: Outsider (Jew), Driven (Oppose demons), Continence, Pious (Major)
Dodge: Init: -2, Attack -, Defense +1, Damage --
Fist: Init: -2, Attack +3, Defense +1, Damage 1
Kick: Init: -3, Attack +3, Defense +0, Damage +2
Soak: 0
Fatigue levels: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: 1 (1-5), 3 (6-10), 5 (11-15), Incapacitated (16-20), Dead (21+)
Abilities: Magic Lore 2, Infernal Lore 4, Dominion Lore 2, Artes Liberales 4, Hebrew 4, Spanish 5, Arabic 4, Kabbalah 4, Adjuration 4, Craft Amulets 4, Sense Holiness and Unholiness 2, Profession: Shochet 3, Rabbinical Law 3, Theology, Jewish 5, Area Lore: Area 3, Bargain 2, Brawl 3, Folk Ken 3, Survival 2, Teaching 4, Area Lore: Area 3

Encumbrance: 0 (0)

It's not necessarily me that needs convincing. Convince the troupe. My main concern is they can get awfully munchkinny and shift focus away from the magi. I would also suggest that for several of the last few years he has been at or knows of Phoenix home of Ra'am, Abigail's father.

I'll need to do some searches, but that should be doable.

My main reason for creating the character is because it's a cool concept, and because I want to see what it's like to play a very devout, very learned Jew. I think the potential inherent in interactions with the very devout Christian Roberto is very great. That can be done with a Companion just as well as a Mythic Companion, of course: I tend to stay away from Mythic Companions because I share your concerns.

However, there's one thing that prevents the character from being munchkinny. This is, quite literally, the first time I've ever created a character with rules from RoP:TD. I have only the vaguest idea of what he can do, or what he would need to roll in order to do it. I probably couldn't munchkinize him if I tried. There are only two reasons I want to make him a Mythic Companion rather than a regular one.

  1. apparently, if I'm reading the rules right, he couldn't have done what I said he did in the background -- casting out a demon -- without the Purity method. (I'm really, REALLY not sure how Purity 'plays out' anyway: when I think about Judaic traditions and try to translate them into Ars Magica terms, I think most Adjuration effects should be done with Invocation instead, but that's a separate discussion.)

  2. I really, really want to play with Gematria. Not Gematria the Holy Method, but the actual skill of translating Hebrew words to numbers, running the transformations, and seeing what words come back. Unfortunately, by the rules I need to have the Gematria Holy Method in order to do so. :stuck_out_tongue:

I also don't think he's in any danger of overshadowing magi. He may well be a 'one-shot' character anyway, because he may not come back with Roberto to Mons Electi -- and even if he does, he's going to have grave concerns about working closely with magi. The Torah is, unfortunately, rather strict on what can and cannot be done. I don't anticipate him being in very many stories at all, beyond this one.

So... is anyone in the troupe not convinced? :slight_smile:

Did some research on Phoenix and Ra'am: yes, that works very well. He probably wouldn't stay at Phoenix unless strictly necessary, but may well keep in touch, and they may well have a pretty good idea where to find him.

My only concern would be if he were to be a Mythic Companion (which, I think you said he wouldn't be), only because I have a real problem with having 20 Virtue Points and only 10 Flaw Points. That sounds just plain wrong to me for some reason, but it's one of my few real prejudices in this game, so shrug.

I'd like to make him a Mythic Companion, for reasons stated above. But I'd be perfectly comfortable with not taking the full allotment of 20 Virtue points if I do so. The book says 'you may take them', not 'you must take them'. :smiley:

I have concerns about this being a one off character or not. I don't have an objection to running a one off character for Roberto's story. I'd rather see efforts devoted to a character who will appear more consistently.
Now, if this is a one off or a very infrequently recurring character, my objections to a Mythic companion kind of evaporate.


Figured out what was bugging me about this bit.
Purity is essentially asceticism: "going without food, drink, or sleep". Deprivation. Abnegation: denial of the needs of the body. In Christian doctrine, that is not only normal but praiseworthy. Judaism, however, considers such behavior at best completely pointless and vaguely impious. At worst, if it's practiced to the extent of damaging one's health, it is completely forbidden under pikkuach nefesh.
As far as I'm concerned, no truly pious Jew can practice the Purity method as set forth in RoP:tD rules. So, I shan't be taking it. :slight_smile:

I would say no to mythical companion. See what you can do with the normal companion.

Y'know what, guys, never mind.

With the Purity thing, I can't make the character do what I know damn well he should be able to do. (He can't even make a mezuzah. That's ludicrous.) Plus, I seem to be the only one who's even a little excited about the character, period.

I'll make a grog or something.

i was in the same boat with Renaud. First design was a Mythical companion. It proved to be too powerful. And no one wanted to play the redcap with a really cool story that JL had set up so I made him a companion. Again, i would say, make him into a companion and see how it works out. Marko wants me to do a companion for Roberto but I have too many characters on my plate at the moment. You could also take the crazy half giant monk/apprentice Marcello.

Jebrick, you misunderstand. It's not about the power level, it's about the rules in RoP: tD making no sense. I couldn't make this character work properly if I had 50 Virtue points. :stuck_out_tongue:

What do you envision? Realize that I will have to dig out RoP:D again to help. I'm more familiar with RoP:I so what does that say :smiling_imp:

IIRC, holy Magus are very powerful in limited ways

Instead of this concept, let me suggest that a combat orient companion is sorely needed. Mufarjj is old, he's like 42, so his best fighting days are behind him, and he would be a good choice to take, because he knows Arabic, but he doesn't know the area. Roberto was told he would have access to resources in Cairo when he arrived...

shrugs All right, whatever. I'll stat our a combat oriented Companion.

The Ayyubids still hold Egypt at this point, yes? Malik al-Kamil is the sultan, putting down a rebellion in Syria, so he's about to cede Jerusalem to the 6th Crusade so Frederick doesn't ream hi... er, I mean, land hostile forces in his rear? (Wait, that still sounds wrong)
Do I have the history right? And is Egypt the right area to focus on for this Companion?

I suggested a combat oriented character, since you seemed less interested in the concept you started with. You can certainly do as you'd like. If you aren't feeling a combat character, then that's fine, leaves more for Roberto and the grogs. :smiley:

Oh, I still love the concept. The only problem is that in order to make it work stats-wise, I'd have to do two things.

  1. Redefine the Purity method, for a pious Jew, to mean "an intense mental effort that costs a Long Term Fatigue level, and requires prior observance of all points of the halakha, as well as using specially prepared tools when necessary". To use my example of a mezuzah: it requires special parchment and a special quill and (I believe) specially prepared ink, as well as an immense amount of care taken in the actual preparation to make sure that the Holy Name and the prayer are written exactly right, not a particle of ink out of place.

  2. Either make the character a Mythic Companion, or take True Faith. The Troupe doesn't feel that a Mythic Companion is appropriate, and I am not sure I can play True Faith right.

Why? Because Adjuration and Invocation in concert (according to the guidelines) don't let him defend his community from supernatural threats, and don't let him do any of the things the Talmudic rabbis were supposed to be capable of. For wards, for exorcisms, for defenses, you need to have Purity. The only things you can do with Adjuration are "force a supernatural creature to adhere to a written contract" and "force a supernatural creature to tell the truth" -- useful powers, certainly, but NOT the main thrust of what a Kabbalist is supposed to be able to do (according to my understanding of Judaism, not according to RoP: tD).

He has to have Educated (Hebrew), because he's a rabbi. He has to take Craft Amulets because I can't envision how his powers would work otherwise: Kabbalists do everything with writing and the Divine Name, it's only the holiest of the Gaonim who could merely say things and make them happen. He has to have Kabbalah. That's 5 Virtue points. There just isn't enough room to take Adjuration AND Purity.

Make sense now?

If you'd like to take additional flaws to compensate for the additional necessary virtues, I'm OK with that. Or, Outsider would only be taken into account once he were to join the saga, thereby inflicting that flaw on him later to balance out the additional necessary virtue points spent. I mean Maimonides lived in Egypt, served under Saladin, so Jews aren't exactly Outsiders there, not like in Christendom...

I think we can make this work within the framework of the standard Companion, but it will be tough and we may need to stretch some rules, but if it makes for a good story, I'm on board. I have a limited understanding of the Kabbalah and am interested in exploring such a character. The main thing is to consider that maybe he can't do it all, at first. I think the primary issue is you seem to want him at the height of his power to help Roberto, or at least have everything he needs (in your mind) to be useful. Such a character is difficult to handle for me, so he's either a one and done, or we scale him back and find ways to initiate additional Virtues as is necessary to fulfill the vision of the character as you want him to ultimately be. And, if he's from Phoenix, he know someone who makes "kosher" longevity rituals, so long as he can ignore the fact that Ra'am is pious in every area of his life, except using Hermetic Magic... :smiley:

After going through RoP:D I see why they put a Kabbalist as a Mythical Companion. They lump a lot of things into there. I pious Jew would not associate with magi which could be a problem.