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Old February 23rd, 2014, 10:49 PM
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Here is James Laclede with expanded backstory and money in his pocket, ready to address the Secretary of the Navy in Washington, DC, on Earth:

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James Laclede
(one career American Merchant plus 6 skill points)

Stats: 3-3-4-4-4-3

Strength: 3
_ Fisticuffs: 2
_ Throwing: 1
_ Close Combat:
_ Trimsman:

Agility: 3
_ Stealth: 2
_ Riding (American): 2 (Gashant)
_ Marksman:
_ _ Rifle/Shotgun: =1
_ _ Pistol: +2 =2
_ _ Bow: =1
_ Crime:
_ Mechanics:
_ _ Machinist:
_ _ Steam:
_ _ Electricity:

Endurance: 4
_ Wilderness Travel:
_ _ Foraging: =2
_ _ Mapping: =2
_ _ Mountaineering: 3 +1 =4
_ Fieldcraft:
_ Swimming: 2
_ Tracking:

Intellect: 4
_ Observation: 3 +2 =5
_ Engineering:
_ _ Naval Architecture:
_ _ Structural:
_ _ Fortification:
_ _ Explosives:
_ Science:
_ Gunnery:

Charisma: 4
_ Eloquence: 3 +1 =4
_ Theatrics:
_ Bargaining: +3 +1 =4
_ Linguistics: +2 +2 =4
_ _ English (Native)
_ _ Martian (Garyaani) 4
_ _ _ Martian (Koline) =2
_ _ French =2
_ _ Martian (Merovangian) =2
_ _ Martian (reserved for quick learning?) =2

Social Level: 3
_ Riding (European):
_ Piloting:
_ Leadership: +1
_ Medicine:

Default skills from Stats: Fist 2, Throw 1, Stealth 2, Riding 2, WT(Mts) 3, Swim 2, Obsrv 3, Eloquence 3

Career Skills: American Merchant: Bargaining 3, Eloquence 1, Linguistics 2, Leadership 1, Observation 2

General Skill Points (6): Bargaining 1 (1 pt), Linguistics 2 (2 pt), Marksmanship 2 (Pistol) (2 pts), WT(Mts) 1 (1 pt)

Derived Cascade Skills: WT, Linguistics, Marksman

Areas for Desired Improvement In-Game: Koline, local language, Fisticuffs, Rifle, CloseCbt, Fieldcraft


James Laclede is a man of medium height and weight, with somewhat handsome features and a strong personal magnetism that is apparent whenever he enters a room. He has black hair, blue eyes, a fashionable black mustache, and a somewhat heavy beard that requires him to shave twice each day when wishing to appear civilized to Humans; when on caravan among the Martians he often just lets it grow, shaving every week or two as the mood strikes him. His Mediterranean heritage and years in the sun have left his skin a light brown.

He will be dressed appropriately for any situation, from formal wear for British society functions, to rough work clothes when out in the field. He has a number of items of clothing and jewelry from Canal Martians and Hill Martians (the Merovangians that he travelled with) that he will occasionally wear on a whim or to impress someone or make a subtle point. The pendant that he got from the High Martians is never off his person; if the situation is not appropriate for it to be on a cord around his neck, then it will be in his pocket.

Customary Weapons:

He will never willingly be without his Merovangian Fighting Knife, as it has sentimental value although he has no skill with it and it possesses no special properties. When he was travelling with the Merovangian Wagon Masters, he gave one of the war leaders a pair of good American steel Bowie knives (he also sold more to the tribe as a whole). This war leader had his new steel knives made over with hilts and blade inscriptions as was customary for fighting knives of the tribe, and then gave one of them back to James (a princely gift, considering the value of metals among the Martians!). Depending on circumstances, James will carry the knife tucked into a sash (as the Hill Martians do), or sheathed on his equipment belt, or when dressed formally, in a special sheath that he has had made that rides high enough on this belt to hold the knife in the small of his back and prevent the tip from showing below the hem of his jacket.

When in formal or civilized dress, he may carry a heavy revolver, light revolver, or Derringer, depending on what he thinks he can get away with carrying concealed.

When in the field, he will carry a heavy revolver on his belt, and will usually have either a rifle or shotgun ready at hand (favoring a shotgun if in possible High Martian territory).

Personal History:

James Laclede was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1859. His family claimed descent from the famous Pierre Laclede, founder of the City, but had no legal claim to the name as Pierre's children were all born out of wedlock and christened by their mother's name, which was Chouteau. His father, Jean Laclede, had a brokerage, trading, and shipping business, moving cargoes from the east side of the Mississippi River to the west, then buying or shipping the goods to diverse destinations all over Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and even into Nebraska. James's paternal uncle, Auguste Chouteau Laclede, had his own business involved primarily in buying goods that had been shipped to St. Louis, then re-selling them further down the railroad to Rolla, Lebanon, Marshfield, Springfield, or Joplin.

James began an apprenticeship with his Uncle Auguste at the age of sixteen. He learned quite a bit about the business of buying and selling goods, the value of information in determining what to bid, and the use of bluffing when necessary to get the best price. However, he soon grew bored with living in St. Louis and only occasionally travelling out the railroads. He contemplated asking to join his father's business, which might let him see more of the settlement of the American West, but before he took any action his Uncle Auguste died unexpectedly of a fever, and it turned out that his will left everything he owned, including the business and a small amount of investments, to James.

James seized the opportunity to escape from the City, but wanted an opportunity to put his hard-learned skills to use. After investigating his options, he liquidated his Uncle's investments, sold the house and all of the business assets, and bought himself a ticket to the truly wide open frontiers of Mars. He arrived on Mars in 1879, before there was any true American settlement anywhere, but found fellow American merchants throughout the British territory on Mars and venturing into many places beyond. Recognizing that he needed to learn his way around, he took rooms in the British de-facto capital at Syrtis Major, banked and invested most of his nest egg, and apprenticed himself out again, this time to the famous British trader and explorer Col. Richard Baslim-Smythe. Working with Baslim, James learned how Martian caravans were run, from the caste-like arrangement of the Canal Martian gang-bosses, laborers, and drivers of wagons and pack animals, to the Hill Martians barbarians who were often paid protection money to act as guards while passing through their territory. He learned to speak the Martian diplomatic and trade languages, ride a Gashant, to live off the land and map where he'd travelled, even picked up a hobby in mountaineering.

This hobby was to lead him into one of his closest encounters with death, as he and a party of fellow climbers were accosted one day by a small group of High Martians. Fortunately, James and his friends were too well-armed to be easy pickings, and one of the High Martians had enough of the Koline trade language to let James negotiate a small exchange of gifts that defused the situation and let James and his friends escape with their lives. One souvenir that James retains from the encounter is a small pendant carved from native stone, with a few engravings that might be heiroglyphs, except that the High Martians are not known to use such writing.

It wasn't long after that incident that James said farewell to Col. Baslim-Smythe and set out on his own to meet and travel with a group of Merovangian Hill Martian Wagon Masters for a season, learning their ways and also taking note of goods they might buy and the best ways to negotiate with them. Finally he was ready, and liquidated his nest egg to buy a stake in saleable goods, and a share in a caravan to travel with to sell his wares. That first caravan trip on his own was quite successful, and led to many more, satisfying James's wanderlust by setting out from Syrtis Major in different directions so that he learned his way around all of the British territory and the Martian territories surrounding it.

Then, in late 1888, James was contacted by an acquaintance in the United States Navy on Mars. Would James be interested in returning to Earth at Navy expense, to address the Secretary of the Navy and other high government officials regarding establishing a shipping trade through the Martian City of Thymiamata, with the goal of obtaining for the Navy greater supplies of liftwood, and preferably at a better price? James had just had one of his poorest caravans ever, reducing his assets to a mere $2500. He agreed at once, and set about spending every minute until the voyage to Earth in finding travellers familiar with Thymiamata and the situation there, so that he could make an educated report to the Secretary. He also found several volumes of the experiences of traders and explorers in that area, some in English and some in Gaaryani, to study during the trip. Then he was off, to return to the world of his birth for the first time in ten years.

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EDIT: Aw, I still forgot his already-owned equipment and habitually carried weaponry (one item is a fighting knife that was a gift from the Merovangian Hill Martians that he travelled with for awhile).

Getting sleepy, will probably edit that in tomorrow, or later tonight if I wake up again and can't sleep.
Imperial Core Update: In other news, Emperor Strephon Aella Alkhalikoi is... still alive.

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Last edited by SpaceBadger; February 24th, 2014 at 12:17 PM.. Reason: added preferred weapons
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