08-30-2015, 11:11 AM
Re: Jab's Builds!
Let us also remember that women of the gentry and aristocracy would pretty much only marry men of equivalent social standing. The British Army sustained 12% casualties amongst the enlisted ranks, but 17% casualties amongst the officer corps.
There are, obviously, far few officers than enlisted men in any military and the British Army was formed almost entirely from men of the aristocracy, gentry, and sons of wealthier-but-untitled fathers.
This very nearly literally decimated the pool of eligible bachelors that women of the Crawley's social standing could marry.
Prior to WWI, the British military was a good deal smaller than it would be during the Great War, but it was still one of the largest organized militaries in human history. This was the height of the pax britanica and the six decades before Series One had seen wars in India, China, Africa, subsaharan Africa, South America, and even Europe itself (the Crimean War is basically a beta-test World War 0.5). This also had an impact on the pool of eligible bachelors... Not as devastating, but measurable.
08-30-2015, 12:58 PM
Re: Jab's Builds!
Well, you also have to understand that WWI was pretty different then previous wars. Battles used to be over with fairly quickly with multi-day battles being pretty rare and even then the two sides would disengage out of artillery range. Waterloo was over in four to six hours for example. The great majority of a soldiers time on campaign was not spent getting fired at. WWI was different particularly on the Western Front. The defensive technology had outpaced offensive. So machine guns, barbed wire, and land mines led to an offensive stalemate because it was easy to dig in and defend ground. In addition long range artillery was perfected allowing neither side the ability to disengage. So in previous wars soldiers got downtime away from harm, in WWI they didn't because the enemies long range artillery could hit them and they were constantly shelled.
WWII with the exception of Stalingrad, parts of the Italian campaign, and the Pacific campaign actually saw a return to the old ways of battle. Battles were over pretty quickly as faster tanks, dive bombers, portable radio communication, and faster moving infantry countered the defensive technology used in WWI. The exceptions were mostly due to terrain.
08-30-2015, 02:49 PM
Re: Jab's Builds!
And WWI was the first mass use of newfangled things like GAS ATTACKS- something absolutely terrifying and unknown to the unfortunate soldiers facing off against them. Between that and the artillery, it's no wonder so few of them came back untouched.
08-30-2015, 04:51 PM
Re: Jab's Builds!
Yes, but prior to the Great War enemy action was relatively uncommon as a source of casualties. Throughout the 19th Century, the most common cause of death in the British military was disease, not bullets.
It doesn't make much difference, in the long run, if you die from typhoid, malaria, a Zulu spear, or a Hindi talwar... You are no longer eligible for marriage.
08-30-2015, 05:13 PM
Re: Jab's Builds!
Yeah, that was true for almost EVERY war in the old days (some historians actually note that old-school wars resulted in comparatively-little death, despite our imaginings of Lord of the Rings-style massacres of stabbiness). Disease was such an omnipresent, all-consuming force, yet the moving forward of medical science has made most of that a memory. And you rarely see mention of disease in movies and books mentioning those old times, largely because "and then X died and Y died and Z died of diptheria" doesn't really come off as all that dramatic.
Never mind how up until VERY RECENT HISTORY, it's been studied that most soldiers in the big wars never even fired their weapons at the enemy (some go as low as 10% actually shot at the enemy, though studies vary and it can be high as 30%). Turns out that despite our continued assumptions that mankind is all about murderdeathkilling each other, it's actually VERY UNNATURAL for a human being to kill another. Soldier training has improved in recent years to close the gap somewhat (it helps that there's no longer a draft, and they have video games in order to "train" people to be OK with shooting at someone). And so slogging through filthy fields for months at a time, while suffering from tiny wounds and being surrounded by hundreds of other dudes in close proximity, you can see how disease would kill more than bullets.
08-30-2015, 05:22 PM
Mr Carson: William, are you aware the seam at your shoulder is coming apart?
William: I felt it go a bit earlier. I'll mend it when we turn in.
Mr Carson: You will mend it now and you will never again appear in public in a similar state of undress!
William: No, Mr Carson.
Mr Carson: To progress in your chosen career, William, you must remember that a good servant at all times retains a sense of pride and dignity that reflects the pride and dignity of the family he serves. And never make me remind you of it again.
WILLIAM (William Mason)
Role: The Everyman
Played By: Thomas Howes
PL 3 (33)
STRENGTH 1 STAMINA 2 AGILITY 1
FIGHTING 2 DEXTERITY 0
INTELLIGENCE 0 AWARENESS 0 PRESENCE 1
Athletlics 4 (+5)
Expertise (Horses/Farming) 4 (+4)
Expertise (Footman) 4 (+4)
Expertise (Soldier) 6 (+6)
Perception 2 (+2)
Stealth 2 (+3)
Ranged Attack 3
Unarmed +2 (+1 Damage, DC 16)
Dodge +3 (DC 13), Parry +2 (DC 12), Toughness +2, Fortitude +2, Will +3
Motivation (Heroism)- William dreams of defending England in war.
Enemy (Thomas)- The First Footman often bullies poor William, egging him on at every opportunity.
Relationship (Daisy)- William is in love with Daisy, who barely seems to have time for him. He proposes before he goes off to war.
Total: Abilities: 14 / Skills: 22--11 / Advantages: 3 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 5 (33)
-Poor William is one of the more unfortunate Downton Abbey characters, being the young "Everyman" character among the servants, and he never makes it out of the second Series. He starts off being picked on by Thomas and being spurned by Daisy, then he loses his mother (who'd always pushed him into service instead of the farm, wanting better for him), and then he's not allowed to go off to the War because the Dowager Countess has seen fit to protect the family's servants by using her influence to get them declared unfit. Williams mopes over this (he REALLY wants to go to war), eventually getting permission (in a nice bit, Robert- himself not allowed to do anything beyond having a symbolic position- is utterly-proud to see his footman in full military regalia) and becomes the "Batman" of Matthew. The two have a few adventures (which we mostly see in small snippets- gotta save that budget), but William is eventually badly-injured protecting Matthew.
-William is doomed to die from vague injuries, in some hospital far from home, until the Dowager Countess uses her influence AGAIN to have him brought to where his father can at least say goodbye (though an imperious sort, Violet strongly believes in a noble's responsibility to their servants, and so is not afraid to threaten people for the benefit of the staff). He convinces Daisy to marry him on his deathbed, allowing her a widow's pension.
-William, as a soldier (albeit a "Batman", which is kind of like a personal bodyguard/valet/gofer on the front) is tougher than most cast members, and once beat the holy hell out of Thomas for making a crack about William's mourning of his mother's passing (seriously though, what was Thomas THINKING?).
"I've been well treated in this house, and I want you to know that I'm very grateful. Mr Carson has been a kind and wonderful teacher."
-Alfred, in his final words to the family
ALFRED (Alfred Nugent)
Role: William Version 2.0, Guileless Mope
Played By: Matt Milne
PL 2 (19), PL 3 (19) Saves
STRENGTH 1 STAMINA 2 AGILITY 0
FIGHTING 0 DEXTERITY 0
INTELLIGENCE 0 AWARENESS 1 PRESENCE 0
Expertise (Footman) 6 (+6)
Expertise (Soldier) 2 (+2)
Expertise (Cooking) 6 (+6)
Ranged Attack 2
Unarmed +0 (+1 Damage, DC 16)
Dodge +1 (DC 11), Parry +0 (DC 10), Toughness +2, Fortitude +2, Will +3
Motivation (Cooking)- Alfred truly longs to work with food, and thinks his life's work lies in cooking.
Relationship (Ivy, Daisy)- Alfred fell head over heels for the pretty young Ivy, and must fend off the advances (and bitterness) of Daisy, who did the same for him.
Relationship (Mr. Carson)- Alfred views Carson as a bit of a father figure.
Hatred (Homosexuals)- Alfred is so horrified by the "evil" of Thomas' homosexuality that he nearly brings the police (and shame) upon the Abbey.
Total: Abilities: 8 / Skills: 14--7 / Advantages: 2 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 2 (19)
-I liked Alfred in the show- though he was a bit of a replacement for William (basically taking the "nice normal guy" slot in the show), he was a great character to bounce off of the others- he was the son of O'Brien's sister, meaning he was the only human being in the universe she liked. His position threatened Thomas', so Thomas became a bitter rival- as did the later arrival, Jimmy. Daisy crushed on him while HE crushed on IVY (who herself was closer to Jimmy), creating a great mess of emotions in the kitchen area. The family even had a bit of fun with him (the Countess couldn't get over how absurdly tall the 6'4" Alfred was; Mary thought he was nice, but looked too much like a sad puppy all the time).
-But I mostly liked his relationship with Carson. Alfred kind of sucked at being a footman at first (he came from the restaurant game after being a soldier in the War, but was downsized), drawing the ire of the perfectionist Carson, who reacted with his usual venom when somebody screwed up in the dining room. But did Alfred mope or whine about it? Get bitter and try to get revenge? No- he calmly ASKED CARSON FOR HELP, thus endearing him to his boss with work ethic and actual consideration (Thomas: "I'm a bit jealous, Mr. Carson." Carson: "I don't see WHY? He asked for help- YOU never did."). And thus, despite being in the crosshairs of a few characters downstairs, and being the most cluelessly-simple character in the cast (and thus a PRIME victim), Alfred had the most-powerful defender possible, as Carson then consistently backed his favorite footman up, even to the point of HAPPILY assisting him in his attempts to move on from Downton and become a real chef.
-There's even a great scene at the end of Alfred's tenure, where the family (who themselves were cheering him on- a marked difference from Gwen's attempts to escape servitude ten years prior) said their goodbyes, and he stood before them THANKING THEM for how "well-treated" he was in the house, and thanked Mr. Carson for being "a wonderful teacher" at the same time. His Lordship tried to shake it off good-naturedly (I mean, WORDS OF GRATITUDE? For an ENGLISHMAN?), and Carson silently told Alfred to wrap it up, but Carson still voiced his appreciation for such a gesture downstairs to Mrs. Hughes- THAT'S the kind of thing he likes to see.
-Alfred, as a Soldier, likely has some capability there, but his first love was cooking. He's the best footman around, as he actually WORKED at it, never getting by on politics (Thomas) or looks (James), but his interpersonal skills are a bit lacking- he's nearly always misinterpreting something or getting the wrong idea, especially when women are involved. Hell, the ONE TIME Ivy was nice to him, he immediately sent her a letter PROPOSING.
JAMES (Jimmy Kent)
Role: Lazy Pretty Boy
Played By: Ed Speleers
PL 1 (16), PL 2 (16) Saves
STRENGTH 0 STAMINA 0 AGILITY 1
FIGHTING 0 DEXTERITY 0
INTELLIGENCE 0 AWARENESS 1 PRESENCE 2
Deception 3 (+5)
Expertise (Footman) 4 (+4)
Insight 3 (+4)
Unarmed +0 (+0 Damage, DC 15)
Dodge +1 (DC 11), Parry +0 (DC 10), Toughness +0, Fortitude +2, Will +2
Relationship (Ivy)- James has a thing for the pretty kitchen maid.
Relationship (Thomas)- Despite initially being disgusted by Thomas' advances, he surprisingly came to appreciate Thomas' friendship. The two became unlikely friends, so much so that Jimmy cried upon being forced to leave the Abbey, saying "I never thought I could be friends with a man like you!"
Relationship (Lady Anstruther)- Jimmy had a very inappropriate relationship with his old boss, and she still flirts with him to this day. When she connived her way into the Abbey under false pretenses, he found himself unable to give up a chance to get back into her bed. Unfortunately, that's the time a fire happened upstairs, and Robert came in to warn her...
Prejudice (Short)- Jimmy is a shrimp, and this often holds him back as a footman, who were more well-paid the taller they were.
Total: Abilities: 8 / Skills: 10--5 / Advantages: 0 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 3 (16)
-Jimmy debuted with a bit of fanfare among the female characters, as Jimmy "looks like a footman from a musical revue!", according to Violet. A short, pretty man, Jimmy (immediately renamed "James" by the old-school Carson) was conniving and ambitious, which rubbed both Carson and Alfred the wrong way. When Edith (who's used to being overlooked for a prettier person) suggested they all not ignore "poor Alfred," Carson immediately compliments her, pointing out that "hard work counts more than looks." As he walks away, Violet jabs out loud "If only that were true."
-Jimmy was of course a target for Thomas Barrow, himself an admirer of beautiful men. Thomas flirted and touched, but Jimmy was afraid to say anything thanks to Thomas' standing in the house, and O'Brien's careful warnings (she of course, was trying to manipulate Barrow into being fired). Eventually Thomas kissed Jimmy WHILE HE WAS ASLEEP, creating a giant scene that outed Thomas in front of the whole house (at least, the ones who didn't already know he was gay). Jimmy threatened to beat him up, demanded he get a "bad reference" from Carson to keep quiet about it (Carson and the Granthams did NOT want that kind of news getting out- perception is EVERYTHING in High Society)... and yet eventually came to be FRIENDS with Thomas, after he dove in to protect Jimmy from some violent thugs. They ended up having an odd bromance out of it (both WERE ambitious douchebags, after all).
-His inappropriate relationship with his old boss Lady Anstruther ended up getting him fired, however- he couldn't turn down her flirtations when she was in the house, and Robert caught them canoodling in bed together. Carson was quietly told that James didn't belong there any longer, but to "give him a good reference. We DON'T want it talked about." Carson, getting His Lordship's meaning right away, agreed, and we saw the last of poor Jimmy. As his pretty boring subplot with Ivy had wrapped up (the two had flirted and kissed, but he tried to feel her up, so she got pissed), perhaps it was for the best. It WAS rather common for footmen to move about in those days, in any case. He was replaced by a former Hall Boy, a cousin of Thomas'.
Last edited by Jabroniville; 09-01-2015 at 12:26 AM.
08-30-2015, 10:01 PM
(to Sybil) "You're brought up to think it's all within your grasp; that you want something enough, it will come to you. But we're not like that. We don't think our dreams are bound to come true, because... because they never do."
Role: Housemaid Dreaming of Something More
Played By: Rose Leslie
PL 0 (3), PL 1 (3) Saves
STRENGTH -1 STAMINA 0 AGILITY 0
FIGHTING 0 DEXTERITY 0
INTELLIGENCE 0 AWARENESS 0 PRESENCE 0
Expertise (Housemaid) 4 (+4)
Expertise (Typing) 4 (+4)
Unarmed +0 (-1 Damage, DC 14)
Dodge +0 (DC 10), Parry +0 (DC 10), Toughness +0, Fortitude +0, Will +1
Motivation (Ambition)- Gwen is the daughter of a farmhand, and wants to be something more than just a housemaid. She's been taking typing classes in secret to allow her to become a secretary.
Responsibility (Lack of Confidence)- A working class girl, Gwen assumes from the outset that she's doomed to mediocrity, and that her dreams won't come true.
Total: Abilities: -2 / Skills: 8--4 / Advantages: 0 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 1 (3)
-Having only started watching with the third Series, I didn't even know Gwen until I started from the beginning- Gwen is an important part of the first Series, acting as the "servant who wants more" (like she's a Disney Princess or something). We see the class struggle through her eyes more than anyone else (the other servants have more or less accepted their lot)- she dreams of becoming a professional woman instead, but finds her confidence lacking. It's only after Lady Sybil takes an interest in her that her dreams become possible- there are some neat bits where Gwen cries that dreams only come true for the NOBLES like Sybil, not for her type of folk, and Sybil declares that GWEN's dream is now HERS, and SHE'LL make it come true.
-The other servants are a bit aghast and offended that Gwen is trying to escape service- Carson can't imagine it, and there's a big to-do when someone discovers a TYPEWRITER in her bedroom. When the family hears of it, they too are a bit offended ("why would someone want to LEAVE US?", like being a maid in their house is a grand privilege)- naturally young Sybil rebels and fights for her. Eventually, Gwen leaves Downton to bang John Snow underneath a waterfa--- I mean she quits to become a secretary, in a funny scene where she refuses to divulge she's a housemaid, until the man interviewing her points out that his MOTHER was a housemaid, and he knows it's hard work, and therefore a mark in her favor. Then they have her interview in the library (Robert: "You mean to tell me I cannot use my own library, because my maid is in there applying for another job?" Sybil: "That's about the size of it, yes." Robert: *Rolls eyes and moves on*), and in the final episode, she gets the job to her glee. We don't see her again, but find out years later (TEN, in-continuity) that she's getting married.
Last edited by Jabroniville; 08-30-2015 at 10:05 PM.
08-30-2015, 11:28 PM
[Matthew is listening to a song on the new gramophone. Mary joins him]
Lady Mary Crawley: I don't know this one.
Matthew Crawley: Actually I rather like it. I think it was in a show that flopped. "Zip Goes a Million" or something.
[Matthew holds out his arms. He and Mary start to dance]
Lady Mary Crawley: Can you manage without your stick?
Matthew Crawley: You *are* my stick.
Lady Mary Crawley: *We* were a show that flopped.
Matthew Crawley: God, Mary, I'm so, so sorry. You know how sorry I am.
Lady Mary Crawley: Don't be. It wasn't anyone's fault. If it was, it was mine.
Matthew Crawley: You know Cousin Violet came to me. Told me to marry you.
Lady Mary Crawley: When was this?
Matthew Crawley: A while ago. When we knew I would walk again.
Lady Mary Crawley: Classic Granny. What did you say?
Matthew Crawley: That I couldn't accept Lavinia's sacrifice of her life, her children, her future, and then give her the brush-off when I was well again. Well, I couldn't, could I?
Lady Mary Crawley: Of course not.
Matthew Crawley: How ever much I might want to.
Lady Mary Crawley: Absolutely not.
[Matthew and Mary kiss tenderly as they continue to dance slowly]
Role: The P.O.V. Character, A Pauper in the King's Court
Played By: Dan Stevens
PL 2 (44), PL 4 (44) Saves
STRENGTH 1 STAMINA 2 AGILITY 2
FIGHTING 2 DEXTERITY 0
INTELLIGENCE 3 AWARENESS 3 PRESENCE 2
Athletics 4 (+5)
Deception 2 (+4)
Expertise (Lawyer) 3 (+6)
Expertise (Nobility) 1 (+4)
Insight 1 (+4)
Perception 1 (+4)
Stealth 2 (+4)
Ranged Attack 4
Unarmed +2 (+1 Damage, DC 16)
Dodge +2 (DC 12), Parry +2 (DC 12), Toughness +2, Fortitude +3, Will +5
Relationship (Lady Mary)- Matthew pisses off Mary the second they meet, but joking about how the family will "push one of the daughters" at him now that he's the heir. Things rarely get better- though they frequently flirt or make nice, she is callous with his feelings, bitter over his status as the heir to the fortune (and Robert's ideal son), and often shows interest in others. Though he loves her deeply, his is often hurt by her vindictive nature- this does not improve until they are married.
Responsibility (Common Man)- A mere upper middle-class lawyer, Matthew is out of his comfort zone with the high society the Crawleys inhabit. His manners are unrefined (though he remains polite), and he often finds the things they do trivial and silly (like having GROWN ADULTS around to dress them).
Responsibility (Modernization)- Matthew sees Downton as being doomed unless some vague "modernizations" take place- as it can no longer run just off of the farms surrounding it, Downton is to change to remain viable.
Relationship (Robert)- Matthew & Robert are fast friends, despite Robert's insistence that Matthew retain seemingly-wasteful things like valets. Despite a few arguments over waste at Downton, they are as close as father and son.
Total: Abilities: 30 / Skills: 14--7 / Advantages: 4 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 3 (44)
-Matthew is arguably the main character of the first three Series of the show- the entire initial conceit was that all the male heirs were dead, leaving only the humble son of a Doctor to become the next Earl. Right away, he struggles with the concept- he's too middle class, and rejects the idea of having a valet (until Robert reminds him that a noble's JOB is to give work to the community). His status as the heir pisses off Mary, who of course will inherit NOTHING thanks to how English Peerage works (fascinatingly, this is STILL TRUE to this very day!). Despite the fact that Mary & Matthew marrying would be ideal for EVERYBODY (it keeps the house within the family, continues the Earldom, and more), the whole "Soap Opera" thing comes into effect. He & Mary alternately spend time flirting, pissing each other off, making nice, making out, and then breaking up.
-At the end of Series One, Mary hesitates over his proposal once her mother becomes pregnant again- realizing that if Cora has a SON, then Matthew will inherit nothing. Despite Violet's insistence that Mary go through with the engagement ANYWAYS (since Matthew would view this as Mary's loyalty and love to him)- she can always turn him down LATER, after all- Mary stalls, and is thus dumped by a hurt Matthew. He turns up in Series Two with the doomed Miss Lavinia Swire, a wealthy heiress who is rather cute (despite the show treating her like some ugly booby prize)- he still loves Mary, but the two are seemingly-destined to be apart. Of course, Lavinia dies, leaving Matthew free, and the two are FINALLY married in Series Three. At which point they have the male heir everyone had wanted from the beginning, while Robert is ultra-happy that Matthew's there to see Downton through these troubled times, recognizing that Downton will stay alive, while Duneagle Castle (his cousin's even BETTER house) goes bankrupt. And then Matthew dies in a car accident.
-This pissed off EVERYONE when it first happened. See, Dan Stevens, like Jessica Brown-Findlay, didn't go through with a new contract for Series Four (in England, contracts are typically done in Three-Series allotments, not 6-7 like in America). Both wanted to strike while the iron was hot, and make movie careers for themselves- Jessica let everyone know ahead of time, and so a plot was formulated. Dan struck everyone by surprise, and they had to kill him at the very end. It raises an interesting question: Matthew's death unquestionably weakened the series (leading Mary through a pointless two-Series run with identical suitors who even now I can't tell apart)- did Dan Stevens have a service to the show that made him successful, and its fans, to stick around, rather than try to make it on his own? How many BIG ACTING JOBS was he expecting to get, and would they make up for the backlash of him quitting his meal ticket?
-Look at the legendary career failures of David Caruso & Shelley Long (at least Caruso kinda recovered... to become an industry-wide joke in CSI) in America for what happens when someone bails on their series. Farrah Fawcett's co-stars were rightfully pissed when she quit Charlie's Angels, same as Suzanne Somers' on Three's Company- both actresses could have killed their shows right out of the gate by quitting so early on. Stuff like this could actually KILL THE SHOW, so in a sense, I wish actors would have a little bit more loyalty to their original program. I mean, a British show is only a tiny bit of work compared to an American one (Hugh Laurie was ASTONISHED at the American work ethic he saw on House, with its 20-24 episode seasons, and realized that THIS is why America was so successful)- why couldn't he also do movies? At least he's going to be The Beast in the next Disney Live Action Update For More $$$.
-That said, I was never that taken with Matthew. I got the concept, and recognized how important he was- we saw Downton through HIM, and all of its foibles were explained to him in a way that made US, the VIEWERS, recognize why things were the way they were. BUT... he was just a bit dull. Overly-obsessive about odd morals (he was going to marry a woman he didn't love out of misguided loyalty; refusing to accept the inheritance from her wealthy father because of his rejection of her; etc.), creating conflict just so that the show HAD some conflict, and more.
-Matthew, like a lot of the younger men, has some Soldiering experience, and is also a good enough lawyer to last even if he WASN'T the heir to the Downton estate. He's nice enough to get by, but often puts his foot in his mouth, and lacks the duplicitous nature of the Crawley Girls.
Last edited by Jabroniville; 08-30-2015 at 11:36 PM.
08-31-2015, 04:10 AM
Re: Jab's Builds!
And of course, no mention of Downton would ever be complete without an installment of Shit the Dowager Countess Says: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17CWRk1uYdQ
The best part of Maggie Smith is that two characters can fill up every bit of space in a very long sequence... and Maggie can just walk in and deliver two lines, stealing the entire scene.
08-31-2015, 10:53 AM
Re: Jab's Builds!
I suspect part of the reason an actor who leaves a hit show that essentially made their career happen find it tough to have a successful career after the jump is simply a sense of distrust. Any casting director has to wonder how much of a commitment they'll have to the new project.