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Thread: Jab's Builds!

  1. #7761
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    The difference between a cook and a chef, is that only a chef can tell the front of the house to "fuck off!"

    The difference between a chef and a head chef, is that only a head chef can tell the kitchen staff to "fuck off!"

    The difference between a head chef and an executive chef, is that only an executive chef can tell the restaurant's owner to "fuck off!"

    The difference between an executive chef and a celebrity chef, is that only a celebrity chef gets to say "fuck off" on television.

  2. #7762
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    Mister Carson



    "The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that's all there is."

    ---

    While most guys fantasize about sleeping with Mary or Sybil or the hot new young cousin, Rose, my fantasy is having a butler like Mr. Carson. I like the idea of someone being in a tizzy because my bobbleheads are not aligned perfectly.* The scene in the finale when he held the baby was a killer.
    -Ken Levine's Blog


    CARSON (Mr. Charles "Charley" Carson)
    Role:
    The Butler of Butlers, Guardian of the Old Guard, The Straight Man
    Played By: Jim Carter
    PL 4 (46)
    STRENGTH
    2 STAMINA 3 AGILITY 0
    FIGHTING 3 DEXTERITY 0
    INTELLIGENCE 1 AWARENESS 2 PRESENCE 2

    Skills:
    Deception 2 (+4)
    Expertise (Butler) 12 (+13)
    Expertise (Singing & Dancing) 2 (+4)
    Expertise (Nobility) 5 (+6)
    Intimidation 3 (+5)
    Perception 2 (+4)
    Persuasion 2 (+4)

    Advantages:
    Close Attack 2, Fast Grab

    Offense:
    Unarmed +5 (+2 Damage, DC 17)
    Initiative +0

    Defenses:
    Dodge +0 (DC 10), Parry +3 (DC 13), Toughness +3, Fortitude +3, Will +5

    Complications:
    Responsibility (The Old Ways)- Carson is a great believer in the proper order of things, and the proper order is the old one. He rejects all technological innovations (a TELEPHONE? in the HOUSE?), can't stand the thought of maids in the dining room ("There are worse things, Carson" "Not worse than a MAID serving a DUKE"), makes Jimmy use the name "James" while at work, and always insists on proper manners.
    Responsibility (The House)- The upkeep of Downton is Caron's responsibility, and he takes it VERY seriously. Anyone seen sitting while in the family's space, or with their uniform in any way out of shape, is committing a serious offense.
    Obsession (The Family)- Carson basically worships the Crawley family, which Mrs. Hughes occasionally teases him about- he truly believes in the upper classes being worthy of deep respect- The Dowager Countess is at the top of his list (and he the top of hers), followed by his Lordship and the Crawley Girls. He will also consistently back up Cora, despite her occasional breaches in tact and the proper way of things (she is, after all, an American), but he strongly disliked Matthew at first, and NEVER took a liking to BRANSON.
    Relationship (The Lady Mary)- Though he's always cared for His Lordship's three daughters, Carson is the strongest defender of Mary, whom he has prefered since she was a precocious young girl who always confided in him. "You've always been so kind to me. Why is that?" "Even the BUTLER must have his favorites, Your Ladyship." Mrs. Hughes teases that she's his blind spot- he never sees her as the uptight prig she is.
    ---
    Relationship (Mrs. Hughes)- As a hardworking, responsible sort, Mrs. Hughes endears herself quickly to Carson, who soon comes to depend on her. Their late night summations of the day turns to a deep friendship (especially when Mrs. Hughes has a cancer scare), which eventually turns to love.
    Rivalry (Branson)- Carson thought the Chauffer was inappropriately-close to the family (taking The Lady Sybil to POLITICAL RALLIES?), but when he MARRIES into the family? His lack of social tact or the proper manners (once referring to The Lady Mary as simply "Mary" in his presence) is a major sticking point, and he is stand-offish with Branson even after he has proven his loyalty to the family.
    Responsibility (The Footmen)- The Butler is in charge of all male servants, and he's got a lot to contend with here. William is dutiful but often disregards his duty (once having the nerve to appear before the family with a small tear in his uniform), James is too eager to move up and too lascivious, Thomas Barrow is openly-disrespectful and a thief, and Molesley is just ANNOYING. At least there's Alfred- dutiful, hard-working and calm. Carson is Alfred's most powerful defender in the house.
    ---
    Secret (Shameful Past)- Carson was... *gasp* a TRAVELING MUSICIAN!! He desperately hides this shameful past, to the point where he lets himself be blackmailed by his old partner.
    Enemy (Charlie Grigg)- The old "Charley and Charlie" troupe split up over a woman, and Charlie (the victor) soon fell onto hard times, and grew to resent Carson over the years.
    Hatred ("Sex Talk")- Carson, being so old-fashioned, is of course horrified any time something sexual gets brought up- he'll lecture any servant who dares refer to even the attractiveness of another person. He is also one of the servants most-disgusted by Thomas' homosexuality, though is not entirely unsympathetic ("You have been turned by nature into something FOUL, though even *I* can see that you did not ask for it").

    Total: Abilities: 26 / Skills: 28--14 / Advantages: 3 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 3 (46)

    -Butlers were the head of old-school Great Houses- there was nobody who had more hands in more pies than they did. Carson-types oversee repairs, all the male employees, and ensure the proper placement of things in the dining room. They know "The Proper Way" of all things, and are at the top of the pyramid for the employees- when Carson walks into a room, all servants must stand up, and when he gets up to leave, they do so again. Being a Butler is basically the end-game for all male servants- the one step above valet (in smaller houses, a butler & valet are essentially the same thing- Molesley is Matthew's valet, and acts as a butler at the table). They were often the Lord of the house's sole adult companion later in life, as valets could often move about (one Great Lady, in her diary, recalls her father growing "very quiet" for the summer after their Butler died, mourning the loss of basically what was his closest friend).

    -Carson is basically the living embodiment of what everyone dreams of getting in a Butler- there is nobody more fastidious, hard-working and "proper" in the household. He never snarks, nor mouths off- he is basically the Da Vinci of Butlers. Carson is also one of the strongest defenders of the "Old Ways"- having grown up in service to the family, he is obsessive about proper manners, behavior and appearance. In the first episode, he nearly loses his shit on William for DARING to appear before the family with an inch-long tear in his uniform, and threatens a "clip 'round the ear" for someone disregarding another important duty. When Branson casually refers to Her Ladyship as simply "Mary" in the presence of others, you see Carson physically SEETHE with rage, later privately expressing to Mrs. Hughes his disgust for that breach of tact ("Did you HEAR him? 'MARY'?!? His Lordship would ALWAYS refer to her as 'The Lady Mary' in my presence!"). There is nobody in the house more dignified, nor as respected, unless the Dowager Countess comes for a visit- the two are close allies in this regard.

    -All of this fastidiousness makes it all the more special when he shows off those little quirks- emotional behavior means nothing coming from the always-emotional characters in the cast (Edith, Daisy, Mrs. Patmore, etc.), but when CARSON loses control? It REALLY packs a punch. Things like his horrible blind-spot for The Lady Mary ("she would NEVER desert him now!" "*smiles* Charles Carson- the Lady Mary does not DESERVE you!") because of how she treated him when she was a young child. His blind panic when she gives birth (forgetting to ask the sex of the baby, much to the amusement of Mrs. Hughes & Mrs. Patmore). Though he comes down HARD on anyone who screws up, he finds himself unwilling to sack Mr. Bates when it appears he's been stealing things (even Bates admits "I am ASTONISHED by your kindness"). The time he calmly spoke to a bawling Mrs. Patmore about her failing eyesight. His defense of sad-sack Alfred, who worked hard to overcome his initial difficulties with the job. The way he scoops up Baby Sybbie the way he probably did to her poor late mother, and spends the whole day with her while the family is away.

    -And of course, the one man who never breaks social rank is the one who makes it mean the most when he FINALLY DOES- holding a crying Lady Mary during her troubles with Matthew. The time he openly confronts her, telling her to get over her grief and move on with life- this is INCREDIBLE for a Butler on Carson's level to do (Mary admonishes him for breaking rank, and he STILL goes forward with it- "You're letting yourself be defeated, Your Ladyship. I'm sorry if it breaks rank in order to say so, but it's true!"), and one of the best parts of Series Five.

    -Jim Carter is AMAZING in this role- he has all of the seriousness of the Dowager Countess and all of the same horrified reactions to breaches in tact, but gets none of the snarky one-liners to follow it, yet works it perfectly. He's the ultimate Straight Man to the entire cast of whackos, and his facial expressions are some of the funniest moments in the show- a fun trick is to look at Carson whenever somebody says something- even if his reaction is not part of the show and he doesn't even SAY anything, it lets you know the skill level of the actor when he gets "involved" in scenes that don't need him to actually interject himself.

    -Carson has one of the highest PLs in the show, though he doesn't do a lot of fighting (well, few characters in the show actually do)- Carson is actually a REALLY big guy, and has that raw "Farmboy Strength" that lets him easily overpower Branson, when he attempted to embarrass a high-level army official in the house (Carson thought he was going to MURDER the man). Branson isn't that big a guy (the actor is apparently 5'10", but I'm not sure I buy it- he's too short compared to some of the other men), but he's fighty, and Carson essentially wraps him up like a small child in a bear-hug and drags him all the way downstairs. And there is no one in the Abbey more skilled at what they do- Carson is the God of Butlers.

  3. #7763
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    Mrs. Hughes



    Mr Carson: "Well, thatís the point- I do want to be stuck with you."
    Mrs. Hughes: ĎIím not convinced I can be hearing this right."
    Mr Carson: "You are, if you think I am asking you to marry me."
    Mrs Hughes: "*laughs* We're celebrating that I can still get a proposal at my age."
    Mr Carson: "... And that's it?"
    Mrs Hughes: "Of course I'll marry you, you old booby! I thought you'd never ask!"


    MRS. HUGHES (Elsie Hughes)
    Role:
    Head Housekeeper, The Smart One, The Cynic
    Played By: Phyllis Logan
    PL 0 (28), PL 3 (28) Saves
    STRENGTH
    -1 STAMINA 0 AGILITY -1
    FIGHTING 0 DEXTERITY 0
    INTELLIGENCE 2 AWARENESS 4 PRESENCE 3

    Skills:
    Deception 4 (+7)
    Expertise (Housekeeper) 10 (+12)
    Insight 3 (+7)
    Investigation 2 (+6)
    Persuasion 3 (+6)

    Advantages:
    Fearless

    Offense:
    Unarmed +0 (-1 Damage, DC 14)
    Initiative +0

    Defenses:
    Dodge +0 (DC 10), Parry +0 (DC 10), Toughness +0, Fortitude +0, Will +6

    Complications:
    Responsibility (The House)- Mrs. Hughes has a responsibility to oversee all of the female servants, and takes her job very seriously- she will not allow anyone to go slack-ass on her watch.
    Relationship (The Family)- Though she doesn't WORSHIP them like Mr. Carson does, and in fact insults them behind their backs when it's warranted, Mrs. Hughes is often quite touched at their kinder qualities (such as Cora's insistence that Mrs. Hughes will always be cared for by the family).
    Secret (A Lot Of Things)- Mrs. Hughes is privy to a HUGE number of secrets over the course of the series. Anna's rape, Branson's fling with a maid, keeping Alfred from Daisy, etc.*
    Responsibility (The Trustworthy One)- Her less-judgemental persona and intelligent nature make Mrs. Hughes a popular person to confide in. This occasionally annoys her.
    Relationship (Mr. Carson)- The two bicker like an old married couple, but are quite close- having the strongest leadership positions in the house.
    Relationship (Sister)- Mrs. Hughes has a sister who's "not quite right in the head". After the death of their mother, Mrs. Hughes has put her sister up in a home. This has wiped out her funds, and left her with not a penny to her name. She keeps this a secret from everyone, including Carson, until it's imperative that he know she can't go in with him on a house purchase.

    Total: Abilities: 14 / Skills: 22--11 / Advantages: 1 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 2 (28)

    -Housekeepers are basically like Butlers, but for the female staff- they oversee everyone and everything, and report directly to the family. The cleanliness of the house is her responsibility, and her position is so respected she's given the title of "Mrs." Downton's Housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes, is probably the single most-knowledgeable person in the household, and the wisest. While Carson commands more authority, and Mrs. Patmore more fear, Mrs. Hughes knows everything about everyONE, and is unafraid to put anyone in their place. She's the only servant who can tease Mr. Carson about how much he worships the family (especially Mary) and tell off Mrs. Patmore, though she is a close confidante of both.

    -Mrs. Hughes was a tad forgettable in the early Series (aside from helping out Mr. Bates, who was attempting to correct his limp with a horrible orthotic device), but really came into her own after a point- especially once it became clear she knew everyone's business better than THEY did- she immediately marks Mary out as a snob and Edith as a troublemaker, acknowledging Lady Sybil as "The kindest heart under this roof". She defends Anna & Bates strenuously, distrusts Thomas, and considers Jimmy to be trouble as well. She's never cared for O'Brien either, and is eventually the only confidante of Tom Branson, who no longer fits upstairs OR downstairs once he marries Sybil.

    -And man, the lady has BRASS ONES. When she finds out that Mr. Green has raped Anna, she is completley unafraid to confront him and warn him off. And when the nasty Lady's Maid seduces Tom and tries to force herself into the family (by getting pregnant and saying it's his), Tom can only beg for her assistance- Hughes essentially tears down the Maid's entire plan (complete with going through her things and finding damning evidence in books on pregnancy), out-guesses her every step of the way, then threatens her job and any hope she may EVER have of employment (remember, you would never work without a letter of reference). Tom just stands their uselessly while she effortlessly owns the woman.

    -And her relationship with MISTER CARSONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN... never have I shipped a couple so hard. First off, they're the best servants in the house. Mrs. Hughes is the only person to whom Carson can open up, AND she can tease him at-will. His worried reaction to her cancer scare, and his absolute joy when she turns out to be in the clear (him singing She Stole My Heart Away to himself- she spots him, and beams like a happy schoolgirl)... GOD, those two. Finally... FINALLY... he works up the nerve to ask her to marry him. And the sixty-something woman just goes "Of COURSE I'll marry you, you old booby! I thought you'd never ask!" Even in the weaker series of the show, Hughes & Carson are absolutely un-missable characters.

    -Mrs. Hughes is a brilliant character, and probably the most insightful, brave person in the household- she has pretty much everyone figured out, and is as close to running the place as anyone (even compared to Carson). And so her Insight, Persuasion and Deception Skills are at their peak ("*shocked* You're quite a PLOTTER when you want to be!" "It's a skill ALL WOMEN must learn, Mister Carson!"). When Edna the Lady's Maid tries to link herself to the family by blood, it's Mrs. Hughes who single-handedly tears her apart point-by-point, and sends her on her merry way- when Edna tries to blackmail the whole family, Hughes basically loses her temper and says "If you want a job for the rest of your NATURAL-BORN LIFE" she'll drop it and move on.
    Last edited by Jabroniville; 08-30-2015 at 08:19 AM.

  4. #7764
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    Quote Originally Posted by Batgirl III View Post
    In 2015, the concept of "household staff" kinda seems odd to us. We're mostly all products of middle-class suburban households where Dad mowed the lawn every other Sunday, Mom ran the vacuum on Saturday or before company came over, and the kids loaded the dishwasher after dinner every night. Just having a cleaning lady come by once a week seems an extravagance... Only generation ago, it was common practice.
    I can tell you that by virtue of having a wife with a disability but also works a ton, Daddy Thorpacolypse here mows the lawn every week, runs the vacuum like every other day because of a @#$U*(# shedding dog that he didn't want and cat that he didn't want either that seems to shed when he wants just to remind us that he is in control of everything and runs the dishwasher because he has two heirs that still don't know to load it. And we do have a cleaning service that comes every other week and I can tell that I would rather give up internet, Dish and heat than give them up. And if they wanted to move in, I'd have those heirs sharing a room in no time flat!

    I don't watch Downton Abbey regularly but sometimes I watch a bit with the Mrs. who is a big fan and I find it engaging. I have too many other things to binge watch before I could catch up on it, and honestly, most of my free time comes with a choice to build things for here or watch TV and it's pretty obvious what I choose most of the time.
    The Thorpacolypse
    Member of the Guild of Calamitous Intent since 2005
    Co-Chair of the Council of 13
    "Hate you can trust"

  5. #7765
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    Thomas Barrow



    [Thomas is reading the blinded Lt. Courtenay's post aloud to him]
    Thomas Barrow: "Things cannot be as they were and, whatever you might think, Jack has your best interests at heart."
    Lieutenant Edward Courtenay: Stop.
    Thomas Barrow: Who's Jack?
    Lieutenant Edward Courtenay: My younger brother. He means to replace me.
    [laughs quietly]
    Lieutenant Edward Courtenay: It's what he's always wanted.
    Thomas Barrow: [awkwardly] Yeah, well...
    Lieutenant Edward Courtenay: I'm sorry. I mustn't bore you.
    Thomas Barrow: [almost shyly] Don't let 'em walk all over you. You've got to fight your corner.
    Lieutenant Edward Courtenay: What with?
    Thomas Barrow: Your brain. You're not a victim, don't let them make you into one.
    Lieutenant Edward Courtenay: [with a sad smile] You know, when you talk like that, I almost believe you.
    Thomas Barrow: You should believe me. All my life they've... pushed me around... just 'cause I'm different.
    Lieutenant Edward Courtenay: How? Why are you different?
    Thomas Barrow: [glancing at him] Never mind. Look... look, I don't know if you're going to see again or not. But I do know you have to fight back.
    [Edward places an affectionate hand on Thomas' knee, and Thomas covers his hand with his own]


    BARROW (Thomas Barrow)
    Role:
    First Footman to Under-Butler, The Scheming Dark One, The Hidden Gay
    Played By: Rob James-Collier
    PL 1 (29), PL 2 (29) Saves
    STRENGTH
    1 STAMINA 1 AGILITY 1
    FIGHTING 0 DEXTERITY 0
    INTELLIGENCE 2 AWARENESS 1 PRESENCE 2

    Skills:
    Deception 6 (+8)
    Expertise (Footman/Underbutler) 5 (+7)
    Perception 1 (+2)

    Advantages:
    Daze (Deception)

    Offense:
    Unarmed +0 (+1 Damage, DC 16)
    Initiative +0

    Defenses:
    Dodge +0 (DC 10), Parry +0 (DC 10), Toughness +1, Fortitude +2, Will +1

    Complications:
    Prejudice (Homosexual)- Thomas is gay, and pretty much everyone knows it. In the early twentieth century, this means he could be arrested if he is caught making a pass at someone. He will never be able to get married or even enjoy an open relationship with somebody.
    Obsession (Pretty Boys)- Though usually able to cover his bases in his schemes, Thomas has a MAJOR blind spot- Pretty Boys. His lust for Jimmy causes him to ignore the obvious signs that O'Brien is playing him for a fool and nearly costs him his job (and his freedom). He is caught up in a scheme of Kamal Pamuk's because he fell for obviously-fake attempts at flirting (Pamuk blackmailed him into allowing him into Lady Mary's room). He even overly-trusts the Duke who comes by in the first episode.
    Responsibility (Coward)- Despite his high-and-mighty attitude, Thomas gets himself deliberately injured during the Great War because he can't handle the stress of the front.
    Motivation (Ambition)- Thomas wants to move up in the world- he jealously craves a position as a valet (despising Mr. Bates for getting the job instead) and tries to leave the House on a few different occasions, seeing soemthing better on the horizon.
    ---
    Responsibility (Evil)- Thomas has a chip on his shoulder, and a tremendous amount of bitterness in his heart. He does a lot of things simply to cause trouble and be disruptive. He likes to know everybody's business.
    Relationship (O'Brien)- Thomas & O'Brien constantly scheme together, backing each other up and plotting the downfall of others. It isn't until Thomas moves against her nephew Alfred that things take a turn for the worse, and they become enemies.
    Relationship (Sybil & Miss Sybbie)- Thomas liked Sybil the best out of everyone in the house, and sees himself as a guardian to her infant daughter.
    Enemy (Mr. Bates)- Thomas wanted the job as His Lordship's valet, and it went to Bates instead. Thomas takes great pains to damage Mr. Bates' reputation or standing.
    Enemy (William, Alfred)- Thomas jealously bullies the subordinate footmen.

    Total: Abilities: 16 / Skills: 22--11 / Advantages: 1 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 1 (29)

    -Thomas & O'Brien make up the contingent of "Permanent Villains" on Downton Abbey, oftentimes simply causing trouble for the sake of making trouble. He bullies fellow footman William right from the beginning ("You're late when I SAY you're late"), and is an obvious schemer right away. He contains a great deal of bitterness, and we soon realize part of the reason why: Thomas is a homosexual (in 1912, no less), and is forced to hide himself from others. Unlike most shows, which make this a highly-sympathetic story, Thomas tends to let his bitterness get the better of him, turning into an awful person. He's actually one of the few gay VILLAINS I can think of from recent fiction.

    -Julian Fellowes gives a bit of insight into Thomas' character with a sequence where he invites Daisy to the fair simply to ruin William's chances with her- as Thomas is GAY, this is a meaningless gesture save for being an "expression of power". As a largely-powerless person (he can't even express who he is in public), Thomas gains power wherever he can. During the course of the series, he steals wine from the cellar (framing Bates for the crime), frames Bates AGAIN for theft of a snuff box, bullies William mercilessly (until he unwisely criticizes William for taking his mother's death so hard- William kicks his ass for it), does the same to Alfred, and more.*

    -But we do occasionally gain some sympathy for the evil, vindictive prick. He's so desperate for love and affection that he blindly chases Jimmy, and follows him around like a sad puppy even after his job is saved. The disgust some of the working-class people feel over his homosexuality gives him some sympathy (and hilariously, His Lordship has the typically-upper class response, pointing out that everybody KNEW about Thomas anyways, and "if I'd shouted out every time a boy tried to kiss me at Eton, I'd have gone hoarse in a month!"). In Series Five, he even attempts to cure himself using some horrifying old-school methods (injections and electroshock). Fellowes and some other supplmental materials actually point out the issues with homosexuality in this time period- it was certainly well-known, and some public figures were indeed assumed to be gay- the issue was, you were never allowed to be CAUGHT. At least one peer was caught, and fled to America- but it was common knowledge for years that he was, in fact, gay. And it was definitely known for men in service to be gay- it was one of the few jobs where you could be a lifelong bachelor and people would just accept it. AND it meant a lot of men (many of whom were gay) coming through the house every year- kind of an ideal situation if you were living in that secret world.

    -Of course, Thomas is a bit too easily-forgiven at times. He was caught stealing in Series One, and saved only because he signed up for the medical officers' corps as soon as the War started- he ends up being let back into the house in gratitude for his service, but engages in fire-worthy offenses COUNTLESS times (kissing Jimmy while he's asleep; putting a known thief into the Countess' employ; blackmailing said thief; etc.). They really only keep him around because the show has so much less conflict without him, and there's a bunch of circumstances that allow him to be forgiven his trespasses- He talks badly about the new Nanny, and it JUST SO HAPPENS she's legitimately mistreating Miss Sybbie, which gets her fired, turning Thomas into a hero. When he uses this goodwill to place a "spy" in the house, and is uncovered, he could be fired... but he spots the fire in Series Five, saving Lady Edith and earning himself a place AGAIN.*

    -Thomas (later called "Barrow", as he's promoted to Under-Butler... which is basically another Butler, but with less responsibility) is a good liar, but not much of a fighter. And he has surprisingly-little Insight for someone who takes such stock in scheming- not only does he fall to pieces every time a pretty man comes along, but O'Brien easily manipulates him, and he's scammed by a con-man who sells him a ton of product to start a Food Store... only it's all full of sawdust- ruined and out of money, Thomas has to come crawling back to Downton to survive.

  6. #7766
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    If the subject of gay oppression in England is of interest (and it's just generally a cool movie), I heartily recommend seeing the Imitation game, a biography of Alan Turing. It's hearbreaking to see the brilliant man broken by needing to suppress.. and in the end being state sanctioned chemically castrasted for his homosexuality.

  7. #7767
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    Barrow is an interesting case, because everybody in the house by now is fully aware of what he is (evil, I mean, not gay), but it seems some people in the family want him around because he is more diabolical than them, and if the family needs to protect itself, they can just have Barrow unleashed (though he goes too far, winds up getting burned by his own plan, and pushes the matter further by trying to embarrass someone higher up...).

    Maybe it's simply a matter of "he knows too much, we don't dare let anybody else hire him."

  8. #7768
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    The Lady's Maids



    Mrs. Hughes: I've sent Anna to bed with a cold, so I need you to manage the young ladies.
    Sarah O'Brien: What, all three of them? I'm not an octopus. Why can't Gwen do it?
    Mrs. Hughes: Because she is not a lady's maid.
    Sarah O'Brien: *I* am not a slave!


    O'BRIEN (Sarah O'Brien)
    Role:
    Lady's Maid to The Countess of Grantham, The Unrivalled Queen of Bitch Mountain
    Played By: Siobhan Finneran
    PL 0 (15), PL 2 (15) Saves
    STRENGTH
    -1 STAMINA 0 AGILITY 0
    FIGHTING 0 DEXTERITY 0
    INTELLIGENCE 0 AWARENESS 3 PRESENCE -1

    Skills:
    Deception 8 (+7)
    Expertise (Lady's Maid) 8 (+8)
    Insight 3 (+6)
    Investigation 3 (+6)

    Advantages:
    Daze (Deception)

    Offense:
    Unarmed +0 (-1 Damage, DC 14)
    Initiative +0

    Defenses:
    Dodge +0 (DC 10), Parry +0 (DC 10), Toughness +0, Fortitude +0, Will +3

    Complications:
    Responsibility (Her Ladyship)- O'Brien is Cora's Lady's Maid, and is thus only answerable to her mistress and nobody else. This means that as long as CORA likes her, she'll have a place. She finds Cora to be tiresome and at times straight-up HATE-worthy, but Cora believes that "O'Brien is so FOND of me!"
    Responsibility (Bitter)- Taking care of her social superiors for decades (at least twenty years with Cora) has left O'Brien bitter and hateful. She complains openly to any servant who'll listen (even talking back to Mrs. Hughes!), and picks on those beneath her in the pecking order.
    Relationship (Thomas)- Thomas & O'Brien constantly scheme together, backing each other up and plotting the downfall of others. It isn't until Thomas moves against her nephew Alfred that things take a turn for the worse, and they become enemies. O'Brien nearly has him sacked for revealing his homosexuality, but Thomas gains the upper hand because he knows her one major secret...
    Secret/Guilt ("Her Ladyship's Soap")- One day, when O'Brien thought Cora was going to sack her, she strategically-placed a bar of soap on the floor by the bathtub. She thought better of it, but too late- the pregnant Cora slipped and suffered a miscarriage. And it turned out that Cora was NEVER going to fire her at all- it was a Three's Company Misunderstanding! This guilt drove O'Brien mad, and caused her to be extremely sycophantic as penance for a long time afterwards.
    Relationship (Alfred- Nephew)- Childless O'Brien is extremely motherly towards Alfred, getting him a job as footman. When the jealous Thomas picks on him (because that's something Thomas does naturally), O'Brien turns on her old partner-in-crime.

    Total: Abilities: 2 / Skills: 22--11 / Advantages: 1 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 1 (15)

    -O'Brien is a very, very unpleasant person. Seriously, if you took every bitch who has ever lived, and all fictional bitches at the same time, concentrated their bitchiness into a perfect Bitch Potion, carried the potion to the peak of Bitch Mountain, dropped it into the Bitchcano, and formulated the most Bitchy Bitch who ever Bitched... THAT BITCH would stand in awe at the sheer bitchiness of Sarah O'Brien.

    -Lady's Maids were servants in very great demand- the clothing a Lady was supposed to wear were so complex, and so numerous (women were expected to dress differently for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have multiple outfits for OTHER special occasions as well- often changing clothes four or five times daily) that a Maid was ABSOLUTELY necessary. They also doubled as hairdressers and seamstresses- taking special courses to ensure they kept up with all the trends (something their bosses were only TOO happy to pay for- it was great bragging rights to be the most stylish, after all). A Lady's Maid was rare in that they could ONLY be hired and dismissed by their boss, and not the Butler or Housekeeper- this kept them "above" certain other servants, which caused some political struggles and strong feuds in the Great Houses. As a woman traveling without a Lady's Maid often couldn't even take her tiara out, these women were highly-desired, though incredibly hard-working.

    -Thomas' opposite number among the female servants- a vicious, bitter woman who spends most of her time grousing about something, and often makes trouble. The show sometimes dances around which of the two is more awful- O'Brien's horrible acts include tripping the crippled Bates in front of guests, causing Cora's miscarriage (she thought better of it in the end, but she still put the soap on the bathroom floor, and failed to stop Cora in time), egging Thomas on to flirt with Jimmy (nearly getting him fired), and more. And yet, sometimes they make THOMAS out to be the most-evil, with O'BRIEN lecturing him- when she realizes that Bates could be hanged due to the death of his estranged wife, O'Brien feels guilty for her part in it (having sent a letter to Mrs. Bates, telling her where her husband was), and even chides Thomas for being happy about the opening as His Lordship's valet ("I don't often feel selfless, but when I'm with YOU I do"). She also lends a sympathetic ear when new valet Lang is brought low by Shell Shock from the war- recognizing the symptoms because she lost a brother to them.

    -This sometimes schizophrenic writing of her character kind of hurt her, but not as much as say, the characters on Glee (who suffered from Random Characterization/Forgotten Moral Syndrome so often it ruined the show). In the end, she departed at the end of Series Three- you simply saw her hand (a double) place a card at the beginning of Series Four, and she ran off "like a thief in the night", taking a job with Lady MacLare (Rose's awful, awful mother), out of worry that now Thomas AND Bates knew about "Her Ladyship's Soap." But really, where else can you go when you turn your character into such an awful person?

    -Fellowes, with O'Brien, wanted to point out that you could live with someone for years and never know their "true character"- Cora remains clueless about O'Brien's evil until the very end, despite even her HUSBAND telling her to let the awful woman go. She assumes that O'Brien adores her, and that she's a total saint. Though there's that odd bit very early on where she talks badly about Matthew, and earns a STRONG rebuke from Cora, who threatens to fire her if she hears something like that again! It kind of flies in the face of their more-agreeable relationship later; which makes me think it's a case of Early Installment Weirdness.

    -Though a harsh, unfriendly, nasty woman, the uncharismatic O'Brien is a great liar and investigator, and is definitely more insightful than the gullible Thomas.



    BAXTER (Phyllis Baxter)
    Role:
    Lady's Maid to The Countess of Grantham
    Played By: Raquel Cassidy
    PL 0 (9), PL 1 (9) Saves
    STRENGTH
    -1 STAMINA 0 AGILITY 0
    FIGHTING 0 DEXTERITY 0
    INTELLIGENCE 0 AWARENESS 0 PRESENCE 1

    Skills:
    Deception 3 (+4)
    Expertise (Lady's Maid) 6 (+6)
    Investigation 2 (+2)
    Persuasion 3 (+4)

    Advantages:
    None

    Offense:
    Unarmed +0 (-1 Damage, DC 14)
    Initiative +0

    Defenses:
    Dodge +0 (DC 10), Parry +0 (DC 10), Toughness +0, Fortitude +0, Will +2

    Complications:
    Responsibility (Her Ladyship)- Baxter is the new Lady's Maid to Cora.
    Secret (Former Thief)- Baxter has served time in prison for stealing from her previous employer- this is a mystery to her current bosses, and could easily lead to her firing if they ever found out.
    Relationship (Thomas)- Baxter is a family friend of Thomas', and he knows her secret. He plans on using her to spy on the rest of the house, on threat of exposure.

    Total: Abilities: 0 / Skills: 14--7 / Advantages: 0 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 2 (9)

    -Baxter is a recent addition to the cast, being brought in on Thomas' suggestion. She's harboring a great secret, which Thomas is privy to, and he's using this secret to get his way- he knows he's burned his bridges with the people in the household, and so has to use BAXTER as a means of gaining information about his co-workers (why does he need it? Because he's a dick). When he doesn't get as much as he wants, he threatens to expose her... so she tells Cora about her past ANYWAYS (she was seduced by a co-worker, and convinced to steal from her boss; she was caught and imprisoned for it). Since she's a good enough Lady's Maid, and has paid the price for her past actions, she is forgiven after some consideration. Thomas, however, ends up in a bit of trouble over keeping these secrets, and knowingly putting a thief into Cora's employ. It's only the urging of everyone's favorite Sad Sack, Mr. Molesley, that brings Baxter out of her shell, and convinces her to stand up for herself. Fans see romance blooming... though it'll be a bit weird if EVERY ONE of the servants pairs off with another.

  9. #7769
    MCRN Admiral
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    6,571

    Re: Jab's Builds!

    Heh- one bit in the Downton Abbey script-book is interesting. Julian Fellowes is talking about casting the man to play the handsome Turk that has to be SO GOOD-LOOKING that he's able to charm Mary into abandoning her principles.

    The problem with good looks, when they are important to a narrative, is that men and women seldom agree about what constitutes a good-looking member of their own sex. In this instance we felt it was more important that women should find Pamuk attractive and I remember settling that beforehand with our casting agent, who recommended Theo James, and hapilly she was right.
    This is SO DEAD-ON- I'm frequently befuddled as to what women find attractive in men (I commented before that I disagreed with my sisters over the attractiveness of an actor in a Canadian Sitcom that turned out to be Ryan Gosling), as well as what WOMEN think are the prettiest members of their own sex. I know several women who go on about how beautiful Julia Roberts is, and I don't know ANY men who think she's hotter than any other Hollywood actress. Meanwhile, it's now a very common thing for the "hot guy" in any movie to be played by a guy with a very pronounced nose- Gosling, his dark-haired clone Bradley Cooper, and others (one of the Supernatural guys has the same nose).

    Other fun bits about the creation of the show:

    * Shooting scenes involving horses is always a pain, because you'll inevitably screw up what bridles are supposed to be used, or something historical like that. Apparently most movies shoot "Hunting Scenes" in summer, which is always wrong- directors just like the look of all the leaves. In England, it'd be a more desolate area.

    * Michelle Dockery learned to ride side-saddle in an astonishingly-short period of time. Between her and the stunt double, it was easy to shoot.

    * I like Fellowes' giant rant about how "Butlers never wore gloves" and how period pieces ALWAYS seem to make this mistake. Only Footmen wore them, and only when serving at the table. That's why Molseley gets so upset at the concept of wearing gloves to hide his skin condition- "I couldn't wait a table in gloves- I'd look like a FOOTMAN."

    * That scene where Branson looks at Sybil's new "Season Dress" and smiles? There was a bit where Mrs. Hughes confronts him and warns him about his feelings, but they cut it because the shot from the outside of Branson looking in from the darkness looked WAY too creepy, which wasn't the intent.

    * They cut out Kemal's explanation for what he meant by "You could still be a virgin for your husband"- he was talking about lying and hiding a vial of blood behind a pillow, but of course EVERY SINGLE FAN thought he meant buttsex. They got TONS of complaints (particularly from angry Turks), and no wonder. Fellowes argued with the censors, but lost, and they ended up with a scene that was hilariously MORE "vulgar" than the original!

    * People often assume that it's completely absurd that the Crawley daughters would go unmarried so long, so Fellowes has to actually explain that the women of the Great War generation were VERY likely to go without a husband- the line "I feel like every boy I ever danced with is dead!" comes from one of his own female relatives. Many things like this crop up- people know that olden times were very different, but often OVER-correct themselves into assuming every woman was married immediately and was pumping out babies, and that every man completely ruled the household (there are in fact reports of husbands who were TERRIFIED of their wives, even from this time period).

    * Naturally, the most-insane and unrealistic storylines are the ones based off of actual events. The "Pamuk Affair" is based off of something Fellowes was told by a friend- a man died of a heart attack in bed with an unmarried woman in the "Unmarried women" corridor of the home, and so all the dowagers & debutantes got together and carried his corpse back into his own bed, so nobody would know. As a good writer, Fellowes filed the story (which I guess COULD be B.S.) away and planned to use it in something.

    * Fellowes' fairly heartbroken description of how men don't stand up when a woman walks into the room anymore is funny to me, because I've never even HEARD of such a thing, much less practiced it! I was even only vaguely-cognizant of removing one's hat when speaking to a woman. Twice they've had to re-shoot scenes because Dan "Matthew" Stevens didn't stand up when Maggie Smith walked into a room ("for my generation, if Maggie Smith had walked into the room I would have to stand up, never mind if it were the Countess of Grantham in 1913."), nor touch his hat when speaking to Mary. He actually figured that most men practiced that behavior today until working on Downton, but realized that "the automatic manners of my youth have gone now."
    Last edited by Jabroniville; 08-30-2015 at 02:44 PM.

  10. #7770
    OPA Belta
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    1,262

    Re: Jab's Builds!

    WWI killed and maimed a lot of young men but also a lot of them that weren't came back disinterested in society in general. Not surprising considering survivors would have a lot of PTSD and probably a pretty hefty dose of survivors guilt and no real psychological field to be able to handle it. Boardwalk Empire really did a good job with it in the characters of Jimmy and Harrow.

    Female physical spousal abuse is underreported for a variety of reasons. Studies have shown that female abusers tend to make up for their lack of physical strength by using weapons or abusing someone weaker than them, like children, to get at the male spouse.

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