Tales of the Old World
5'10", 160 lbs., dark hair with grey streaks, blue eyes, horrible scars that protrude from both sides of his mouth
Creation points allotted: 25
Strength 2 (7 creation points) 4
Willpower 2 ( 1 career bonus and +4 creation points) 4
Points spent as follows:
0 pts for “Poor” wealth level – Which includes clothes on my back, a pocketknife, and five brass coins
3 pts for 4 skills +2 specializations – Skill training purchased: Intimidate, Skulduggery, Stealth, and Guile. His two Specializations (under Skulduggery) are Pick Lock, and Disable Traps.
3 pts for 4 actions – In addition to the basics we already get I chose: Mighty Blow, Perform a Stunt, Surprise Attack, and Nimble Strike
2 pts for 2 talents – Connected, I know a Guy
This gives him a wound threshold of 12, and corruption threshold of 8
Encumbrance: at 5 x his ST 4, he is allowed 15 encumbrance
Otto Gauss. Premauturely grey in areas, he is younger than he looks.
No apparent weapons, he carries a messenger bag that doesn’t look all that full. His clothes are a set of very worn dark leathers – including a pair of soft, knee-length, leather boots.
If you take the time to notice his hands, the knuckles are criss-crossed with small white scars.
The goatee does a poor job of hiding his “Glasgow smile”, but for some reason you don’t feel as if he really gives two shits who sees it.
The one thing that does stand out – his gaze. Intimidation? Allure? It all depends on the beholder.
Care to introduce yourself?
An Aldorfian’s Tale
My mother was full of little sayings as I was growing up. This one was her favorite -“To the bat, darkness IS the light.” She always emphasized IS to make sure I was listening.
Zephia Gauss, my mother, was blind.
What was she like? She was a beautiful woman. Her long blonde hair and sharp features made more than one man’s head turn. She worked out of our home as a seamstress – spending days upon days knitting, sewing, and crocheting to help keep food on our table. I was always amazed at how someone who couldn’t see could stitch such perfect lines. Her ability to create was not unlike a painter or a sculptor. On occasion she would require my help in picking out fabrics, but most of the time she didn’t require any assistance at all – she maneuvered through her shadowy, murky, world with the grace of a sunny summer stroll.
I never met my father, nor did she talk about him. It was the only topic that would put her in a bad mood.
When I turned 7, she finally married. She had many suitors – some rich, many good looking, but she finally settled on Paval Gauss. Paval was the local Rat Catcher. He was tall and willowy, but his muscles were a sinewy map that screamed of an unnoticeable strength. He often smelled of spoiled milk and rotted wood, but could easily cover it with a few puffs of his pipe. He was far from an attractive man, but he was incredibly kind, and treated her with unbelievable affection. He worshipped my mother, and as a testament to the man he was, he treated me as if I was his own.
Between the two of them, they made enough money to keep us living in a small basement in one of the larger buildings in the middle of Altdorf. I even had my own room.
At the age of 10, Pavel let me tag along with him on his job. He had contracts with several businessmen in town, as well as the local city government. He was given a bounty on each and every rat, mouse, snake, or associated vermin he could exterminate.
This was a time of learning for me. By running through the streets and sewers in the evenings, I discovered trap doors that opened into prominent businesses, explored forgotten sewer pipes, uncovered sealed sewer grates. It was always an adventure.
Over time I collected a nice trove of discarded or lost items. Any money I found I turned over to Pavel, but the REAL value was in the “treasures” I found. You can imagine what a young boy considers to be valuable – a broken mirror, multi-colored marbles, a horseshoe, a pair of spectacles with a missing lens, a hammer with a busted handle, rusty scissors – the list goes on and on. The one item I still possess to this day is a pocketknife that holds several collapsible tools and blades. When discovered, the lack of rust proved it hadn’t been in the sewers that long. I knew it was valuable, so I gave it to Pavel, who in turn let me keep it. He said a boy should always have a knife. I’ve carried it ever since.
Unfortunately, much to Pavel’s sadness, I also learned that being a Rat Catcher was NOT what I wanted to do with my life. There was a lot of work involved, for very little pay. The people treated my step-father like a disease. I came to despise many of the affluent people in the city for the way they looked down on us. I ended up in more than one fisticuff. I lost more than I won – at least at first. However, over time I became quite the scrapper.
One day, at the age of 15, after a very bad ass-kicking (I got the worst of it); I came home to see my mother sitting at the table. Across from her was a beautiful brown-haired woman – on the table a pile of books. My mother said, “A needle should be sharp on both ends Otto. I’ve made a deal with Franka. I’ll sew her wedding dress IF she will teach you how to read and write. She has accepted. From now on when you finish your morning work with Pavel, you will come straight home for your lessons.”
Schooling – reading and writing – was for rich kids. The very ones I loathed. Yet, when my mother spoke, I listened.
For the next six months I met with Franka for an hour every other day at my kitchen table. I learned my letters, and numbers, and finally became proficiently literate. Something else happened at that time – I developed my first crush.
Franka was older by six years, but that didn’t matter to me. Even though I hated my lessons, I couldn’t wait to attend them just so I could hear her speak. When she would look at me, my heart melted. We became very good friends, and confidants, but I could tell she had no thoughts of romance. When she married we no longer spoke, and that greatly saddened me. He was a wealthy trader by the name of Reinhold Vickers. He told her since she was now his wife, she shouldn’t be seen in our part of town, or be spending time with the likes of us.
By the time I hit the age of 17 I decided to head out on my own to explore Reikland. I had very little money, and only a handful of possessions, but I was determined to see the world. I said goodbye to my parents, and told them I would return a rich man. It was one of the only times I saw my mother cry.
I traveled the kingdom visiting small towns and villages – doing odd jobs for food and shelter. The whole time I was on the road I kept wondering what my lot in life would be. Maybe a knight? Maybe a wizard? All I needed was my one big break.
It was over two years before I finally had a legitimate job offer. During that time I tried everything to be recognized in any apprenticeship, or maybe taken in as a page. I even considered the army for a while. In the end I found myself doing everything from cutting wood and killing rats to participating in back alley pugilistic events just to earn a handful of brass.
When I finally made it to the city of Schilderheim on the fork of the mighty River Reik, and the River Schilder, I was broke, hungry, and defeated. I was ready to give up.
That evening, as I was begging in the alley by one of the local pubs, I could hear two men speaking in hushed voices. I made my way slowly down that narrow space that separated the two buildings, staying in the shadows, letting myself take in the conversation.
From what I could gather, there was a “shipment” that needed to be delivered to Altdorf. The one guy said getting it down the river wasn’t the problem, but getting it to the customer was just about impossible. They couldn’t use the main streets due to the town patrol stopping all good shipments looking for tariff and duty papers. The shipment was just too big to hide.
I had nothing to lose. I stepped out from the darkness and said “I can get your shipment anywhere in the city of Altdorf”. That’s when things went black.
When I awoke, I was hogtied with a monstrous bump on my noggin. A group of men stood around me, knives drawn. One of them, a large man with a flat nose, finally spoke. His name was Chadwick – a Bretonnian. He made it plain that the only reason I wasn’t gutted was due to his curiosity. To make a long story short, I explained my previous job, noting several landmarks and shops, and convinced them that I knew the labyrinth of tunnels that ran underneath the city. They agreed not to kill me if I assisted them with delivering their “shipment”. After guiding them through my old stomping grounds and ensuring the drop-off, the gang (The Broken Locks) hired me – paying me a percentage of the take.
For the next few years my association with The Broken Locks was very lucrative. My travels through Reikland, as well as my knowledge of Altdorf made me invaluable to the smuggling outfit. I never took anyone with me when I roamed under the city, so I was the only person that could provide this service to them. The pay was very nice indeed.
During this time I reconnected with my family. My mother and Pavel were not happy with my new line of work. I tried giving them money, gifts, etc. but they wouldn’t accept them. We argued over the topic numerous times, but my mother always fell back to “Honest work means honest rest.” Her way of saying she could sleep with a clear conscience. Oh well, I seemed to get my 40 winks without any trouble whatsoever.
Then last year everything changed.
Chadwick had arranged for me to pick up a load at the usual place – 1am sharp. I poled my small raft through the sewers until I reached the outside of the city, and then headed downstream until I saw the signal from the lantern. As I beached the flat bottom on the shore, Chadwick and three other men stepped out and we started loading the raft. We were almost done when we found ourselves basked in a bright light! A voice bellowed. We were surrounded.
We gave up immediately. The five of us stood still as a dozen armed men positioned themselves around us. Walking out from behind one of them was a Lord dressed in fine clothing. He looked familiar, but with the glow of the lanterns, it was hard to make out his exact looks. He said that he had been robbed for the last time by The Broken Locks. With that, the guards attacked us. Chadwick died immediately, Smelly Freid, Black Rolf, and Bruno went down almost as fast.
I felt the first blade pierce my shoulder. I fell to the ground thinking this was the end, when everyone stopped. The Lord had stopped the soldier from killing me. He looked me over closer. “I know you” he said. It hit me at that moment. It was Reinhold Vickers – Franka’s husband. He let out a loud laugh. “I told her you were trash. Men, do not kill this one. Let’s leave him with a new smile…a walking warning to all others who try to rob me.”
With that, they cut two huge gaping wounds on each side of my face. I was then beaten and left to die.
When I woke, I was still lying in the same place. The pain from my wounds was staggering. Although they had taken their cargo back, my raft was left alone. I jumped aboard and made my way back into the sewers.
I beached the craft, and staggered through the tunnels. I needed to see my parents. As I approached the side sewer that branched off towards the familiar street where my parents lived, I heard a dog barking. As I approached, I noticed it was Heinrich – Paval’s Dog. He was barking at something in the water. As I got closer I could finally make out a body. I reached in the water and pulled out my step-father. He had been dead for no longer than 24 hours; stabbed numerous times.
I wept as I ran through the underground maze. I finally popped up through the manhole not far from my house. My mother would be heartbroken. Between me and my step-father this would crush her.
However, when I arrived, there was no one there. The house looked as if it had been ransacked. There was no trace of my mother. I walked through the ruins of the house looking at the broken dishes and discarded clothing. I was weak. The loss of blood was taking a toll. I started scavenging for some food, and other personal effects. The last I item I grabbed was my mother’s sewing kit. Full of knitting needles and yarn, I made sure to fit it in my pack.
When I brought my father’s body to the authorities they showed nothing in the way of interest. They told me they would “look into it”. What a joke. I told them about the disappearance of my mother, but that also seemed to fall on deaf ears. It almost seemed like they knew something. They were TOO nonchalant.
There was only two other members of The Broken Locks that survived. I only know their names – I never met them since one was a “procurer” of clients (Wolfgang) and the other was our local fence (Schulmueler or Schully for short). My job never involved directly working with either one. It took a long time – six months – before either of them felt safe enough to reach out to me. For the last year I’ve used up what money I’ve saved while laying low and healing up from my wounds. I’m broke. All I have are the clothes on my back, my pocket knife, my mother’s sewing kit, and a few brass coins. Oh yeah, and I still have Heinrich – that furry ball of hate. I wonder if he would recognize Paval’s killer? Regardless, I need to eat – I need to get some work fast.
Description – 5’10”
Weight – 170 lbs.
Eyes – Blue
Hair – Brown with gray streaks
Age: 28 (although I look much older)
Two large scars that move out from each side of my face – not far from the edges of my mouth