The Uncovered Vale – Niklaus von Eatenbach

September 25, 2018

One of my favorite concepts is in Niklaus – a Seelie Redcap who excels at etiquette and politics.  He is voracious in his own way and the idea of the well dressed and well behaved monster evokes great power.  Niklaus is admittedly at a mechanical disadvantage as Redcaps are penalized in social situations, but good role playing may always help overcome that.  

I found the form fillable two page Sheets, and linked to them below, but I won’t repeat too much on the sheet that is going into the words below in the Character Notes.

Design Notes

Denys was always going to need some help from someone more politically astute than he is.  Niklaus then made an appearance from the dusty notebooks of the late 1990s Changeling games.  A Redcap Courtier is just enough of bucking expectations and easy builds, while still having that hint of interest, that I have never been able to resist.  The first faerie birthright of a Redcap is the ability to eat anything. Yes, anything. The second is their ability to intimidate or browbeat anything. Yes, anything.  Even things you can’t normally intimidate. The flip side is that other fae see them as only bullies and they face increased difficulties on social rolls that are not the intimidation.  

Keeping with the overall conceit, Niklaus is a Seelie Redcap, which was a definite rarity at the time I first conceived of him. His Seelie Legacy is unsuprisingly Courtier where he revels in the battleground of the tea time and the sharpened edges of etiquette.  His Unseelie side, never far from his surface, is the Peacock – he knows he is by far the most interesting and most accomplished Wilder of his generation. These churls should recognize that immediately. Wilders begin with 4 Glamour, 2 WIllpower, and 3 Banality.  

Niklaus has Social Attributes as Primary with Mental as Secondary leaving his Physical Attributes to be tertiary. He is, after all, a Courtier not a Fighter.  I don’t want to play up the Caliban style beauty in a stranger form way, so I start with 4 Charisma, 4 Manipulation, and an average 2 Appearance. His Mental Attributes start with a 3 in both Perception and Wits and an average 2 in Intelligence for now.  His Physical Attributes are straight 2s. Unassuming physically, and atypical for most Redcaps, but a voracious beast at Court.

His Knowledges are certainly his Primary (13) with Skills in Secondary (9) and the fewest Talents (5). Niklaus will start with the maximum 3 in Intimidation as a Talent with two more ranks in Subterfuge to round that category out.  Looking to his Primary Knowledges, the maximum of 3 ranks in Politics and Lore seems like a good start with Law and Linguistics at 2 each and a passing understanding of Investigation, Enigmas, and Greymare. His Etiquette will obviously start at 3 from everything I’ve talked about with 2 ranks in Leadership and Security just in case he needs to pick a lock.  He is a more than capable advisor to Denys and understand in much more detail just what is happening in a courtly setting.

Treasure, Chimera, Holding, and Resources.  Straightforward options to begin with. He needs his stipend, his bag, and the Holding represents his membership in the Oathcircle should he wish to draw upon the Vale’s Glamour. He has a Treasure that is his leather bag, seeming to be in style with everything he wears into which he can keep an assortment of objects that reflect his seemingly polished existence.  Similarly, his Chimera is a tea set that with some mysteries for later play. 

In the Faerie Magic realm, we look first at his Arts – Chicanery is the sole Art for Niklaus to begin with.  Chicanery represents Trickery & Befuddlement such as subtly altering a target’s perceptions or causing them to forget a salient detail for a bit of time.  Perfect for the Courtier Niklaus aspires to be seen as. For Realms, or what these Arts may target in a Cantrip, I start with a broad spectrum of realms with a rank in Actor, Fae, Nature, Prop, and Scene to provide the greatest opportunities to our daring social climber.  In the Second Edition that we are using, the Actor, Fae, Nature, and Prop Realms would define the basic target of a Cantrip and the Scene and Time Realms could be used to change to an area of effect or set a timer on the Cantrips. It worked well.

Finally, we get to Freebie Points, Merits, and Flaws.  Freebie Points let you customize your character beyond what we’ve done already.  Merits are other bonuses or traits that don’t fit elsewhere and cost Freebie points while Flaws are the inverse providing a handful more Freebie points to spend. I know 8 points will be put immediately into getting both Etiquette and Intimidation to the maximum 5 ranks – with the uproad battle all Redcaps face in Social settings he needs this.  That’s 8 points of the 15 Freebies already spent. For Flaws, I am going to add Overconfidence, which certainly seems to fit Niklaus high opinion of himself and a 2 point Enemy from that in Baron Gottfried’s Court. A 3 Point Allergy to Cold Iron actually harming Niklaus plays to his fae nature well also. We still have a total of 13 points left to spend and I will first make Intelligence a 3 for 5 points adding to his better than anyone else feeling.  Rather than merits, I am going to add a handful of Contacts, primarily Sluagh as a lead in to Maggie Pie, and extra ranks of Willpower. Additionally, his Resources will be a stipend of some form – a refound inheritance from a lost family member perhaps. His Treasure is his leather bag from which he can take his Coat Rack, Shoe Trees, and Etiquette manuals and not the least is his Chimerical boon of the Tea Set that is ever warm and ever full… and how he would love to learn it had the Sovereign Art power Protocol imbued in it to enforce the rules of high tea on all at the table.

 

Character Notes

The Redcap known as Niklaus von Eatenbach is a rarity, and in many ways an outcast amongst even the fae.  A Seelie Redcap more at home in Court than in the alleys or battlefields, he is a fae between worlds and one with few places he truly fits in. Nick’s careful and cultivated dandy appearance is reflected in his fae mien and he strikes a dashing figure in the COurt even more so when others fae realize that he is a Redcap.

When Niklaus was only Nick, he was a fairly simple boy.  He liked to play in the dirt. He pulled little girls pigtails.  He was a little bit of a bully but was bullied a little bit too. He didn’t seem to be all that different from any other boy.  His parents were proud of him for sure – what parent doesn’t love their only child? Well, perhaps pride is an overstatement.

His parents tolerated him and his mediocrity.  They didn’t know quite what to make of him and quite what to do with him.  He just stumbled through the years and was a solidly unimpressive young man.  And then around 13 years old, something changed for Nick. He went with his father to work that day – his father dressed in a suit that didn’t really fit him but was easily purchased off the rack.  His tie just a notch too tight and just a bit too gauche to truly fit, but Nick didn’t notice it… yet. Across a table from his father in a meeting was a shark. Not a real shark, but a metaphorical shark that seemed to emanate waves of fear to everyone in the room.  His suit was tailored and styled, but not too flashy. His demeanor held a carefully chained menace ….. Nick became Niklaus when he saw a monster across the table and hunting through the suited rooms as much as the creatures hunted in the forest.

It wasn’t long before he was found after his Chrysalis and the fae who found him remarked at how unusual it was – clearly a redcap but his mien covered in a stylish suit of timeless quality and a blood red bowler atop his head.  He saw himself as a monster of similar makeup … and so his perception would become reality. He threw himself into learning what he could about etiquette and these finer things. He saw a way that he would set himself apart – he saw the shock and fear in the fae’s eyes at him just as much as his mortal teachers didn’t understand the 15 year old in a bow tie. His “Uncle” provided a stipend in the form of a trust that he now could access as someone wanted to make sure he was able to keep the Baron on his toes.   

Baron Gottfried, you see, could scarcely contain his absolute loathing for Niklaus – a Redcap that could keep up with all of the protocol it took in a COurt. The Baron’s own anger would bubble to the surface but never did Niklaus lose his cool in front of the nobles … their fear would only grow as he comported himself better than many Sidhe. He saw the old Troll in the corner, quietly watching the entire scene and the Satyr about his age who would challenge her “betters” frequently.    

Maggie Pie was a special case, though. Niklaus didn’t realize just what an honor it was when he was invited to a Sluagh High Tea.  He slipped in and listened to the rumors, adding his own. He shared the information he could, and away from the tea time made several deals with Sluagh to learn more.  He came away with a boon and a price – the Dreaming itself left a tea set nicely wrapped and packaged in a chimerically enameled case for him. He had found his place … and so the Sluagh decided that this Redcap may be better suited to teach Maggie Pie a bit more of the etiquette that was expected of her.  A Redcap could impress with manners, and for no reason could they let this Childling not.

Moving into his senior year of High School, Niklaus saw the tension and stress that was building.  Baron Gottfried’s own failings gave Niklaus the greatest opportunity he could know – a new Freehold.  Before he could even volunteer, Baron Gottfried had dispatched Niklaus to be part of the retinue of the Seneschal of the Uncovered Vale – the same old and tired Troll he had seen skulking about Court! This Squire Denys tried but lacked the insight into the politics and etiquette of Court and the Sidhe A steady arm for sure but here, Niklaus could offer his insight and his knowledge.  Here Niklaus would prove that even a Troll could manage the weight of a Freehold … of they have a certain Redcap beside them.

 

Niklaus von Eatenbach – Redcap Courtier Character Sheet

Changeling: The Dreaming & The Uncovered Vale Overview Here.

 

Character Sheet from Mr. Gone’s Character Sheets.

 

World of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Dark Ages, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Changeling: The Dreaming, Hunter: The Reckoning, Demon: The Fallen, Mummy: The Resurrection, Orpheus, Exalted, Chronicles of Darkness, White Wolf, and their respective logos, icons and symbols are trademarks or registered trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment. ©2018 White Wolf Entertainment AB, Västgötagatan 5, SE-118 27 Stockholm, Sweden.  Seize the GM is a fan work and is not affiliated with White Wolf Entertainment. This work is made as criticism and review of the published work – no claim of ownership is intended or implied.  Please visit https://www.white-wolf.com/ or http://theonyxpath.com/category/worlds/classicworldofdarkness/ for more information.

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