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Rating: 4.7
Condition: Normal
ID: 1134


October 28, 2005, 2:44 am

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Phineas Rowcome


When one has missed the chance for adventure, one finds it very difficult to get along with one’s heroic peers. Phineas Rowcome, the renowned Halfling scholar, nurses a deep jealousy for those whose lives are filled with excitement…

Special Equipment:

There might be a trinket someone has given him in the past, but nothing effective or that has charges left. Who knows though, that trinket could be the “Thing Needed to Save the World from Evil”.


At four feet and three inches tall, Phineas is by no means an imposing figure. A lack of physical exercise means he is endowed with a prodigous paunch, and the curly light brown hair on his head is always immaculately combed. Shallow brown eyes are almost obscured by his thick gold-rimmed spectacles, which rest upon his bulbous, spotted nose and rounded jowls.

Phineas is rarely seen in formal wear, preferring to wear his intricate woolen bathrobe as he sits reading in his favourite armchair or shuffles slowly around his library searching for the books he is certain he saw a minute ago.

Phineas possesses a difficult personality. A genial face hides a peevish impatience and a very short temper; yet Phineas has never harmed a soul in his life. Being frail and impotent himself, Phineas gets his excitement from reading about the exploits of others - a literary voyeur of sorts. Many decades of living through others’ experiences have given Phineas a very biased outlook on adventure, and a deep jealousy for those who pursue it.


Born into a family of extremely wealthy aristocrats, Phineas Fitzpatrick Rowcome was taught from the very beginning that he could do anything and have everything he wanted, provided he wanted it badly enough. His father, Tobias Rowcome, held a very influential position on the Council of Freemen of the Royal Academy of Science, meaning that Phineas was assured the very best education the land could offer.

As a lad, Phineas was obsessed with the gathering of information, possessing an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about every subject. He would often spend days at a time in his father’s extensive library, demanding that his meals be brought to him, until his obliging parents finally agreed to have the servants construct an antechamber within the library where Phineas was allowed to sleep when not boarding at the Academy.

This love of reading gradually fueled another obsession: a passion for adventure. His father, being an avid collector of literature, had volumes upon volumes of the diaries of hundreds of different adventurers and treasure-seekers, and the adolescent Phineas found himself being drawn more and more towards these fascinating tales. It was a simple step of logic from here to Phineas’s grand announcement, one damp November morning, that he was going to become an adventurer.

Then, two and a half months later, the plague struck. The countless afflicted families cursed the vicious winter, and blamed it for the sudden explosion of chills and fevers which almost instantly matured into murderous fits of coughing and ravaged the lungs of hundreds of Men, Elves, Dwarves and Halflings alike. A full three months passed, and still neither the winter nor the plague were showing any signs of relenting, until finally, the unthinkable happened in Tobias Rowcome’s household: Phineas, their little darling Phineas, dropped the book he had been reading with a shiver and was wheezing his life away within hours.

Only the timely intervention of a passing group of adventurers saved Phineas from a agonizing death, and, though confined to his chambers for nearly a month, his life was spared - but spared at a terrible cost. Phineas found himself rendered almost entirely incapable of physical exertion. He could not run, jump, or even climb stairs without a merciless fit of coughing that left him weak for days. And thus were all his wild hopes of adventuring dashed against the cruel pillars of Fate.

For the rest of his life, Phineas could only watch, confined to the library he once loved so much, as the world changed around him and left him far behind. When his mother passed away of old age, Phineas suffered another lapse into sickness after attempting to rush to her bedside - and when he regained conscousness she had departed. Of his father’s passing, Phineas only learned days after the fact, when officials came to break the news to the servants that their master had perished in the vicious riot of that year.

Now, middle-aged and rendered almost immobile from a life of minimal exercise, Phineas hides his sorrows and envy under a mask of generosity and cheerfulness. Having given generous research loans to the Academy for the pursuit of scientific expeditions, he has also contributed many treatises and compilations on the various subjects contained in his books. Phineas eagerly sends servants out into the world to augment his massive collection of books, never minding that his family fortunes are slowly running out.

Roleplaying Notes:

Phineas harbours a very deep jealousy for all adventurers and treasure-seekers, and the PCs should be no exception. He treats them like dirt, and may even refuse to reward them for their help. Perhaps they have been hired to search out a mystical tome that Phineas desperately wants, or maybe they need help from his extensive collection for research of some sort - but Phineas will always be grudging and unhelpful.

Another twist might be to have the PCs encounter Phineas further back in history, as he is succumbing to the plague. He might be curable with a special herb or enchantment, and his confinement afterwards along with the destruction of his hopes would lend a very personal feel to the adventure.

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Comments ( 6 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Monument
July 26, 2005, 17:38
This definitely is something I hope to steal. A sage with a reason to be curmudgeonly. Most of my sages are simply bookworms with very little personality beyond the typical "adjust the spectacles, mousey guy" bit.

You know why I can use this? It substantially differs from the norm, and I don't have to make it up for someone I consider to be a bit player in our game. This is truly useful. 5/5

OH! Make him a double agent. He gets to adventure without leaving his home! The bad guys hire him to spread faulty information to the PCs, things that would actually assist the bad guys but seem like they help the good guys, after they learn the PCs have availed themselves of his services. Of course, it would have to be very innocuous disinformation, otherwise he'd be discovered as the weak link rather quickly. And if he is discovered, he can just as easily betray the bad guys in an innocuous way, saying "I found that information in this book, a recent acquizition from the big bad evil guys, who I didn't know were big bad evil guys, honest! It's not my fault!" The bad guys pay him by making him the focus of a courageous book, they write of "Phineas' exploits", like "Thanks to the cunning Phineas, the group found what they are looking for... etc etc" That way, he's not reading about what others had done, he's reading about what HE did, and he loves it.
Voted Dragon Lord
July 27, 2005, 9:58
I'd like to put my two-pennies-worth in but I can't really add anything to Monuments comments, although I'm not too sure about the double agent suggestion (perhaps a bit overkill, but maybe that's just me).

Good character - original and believable - 5/5
July 27, 2005, 15:13
Nothing wrong with the character. The double agent thing shows how such a bookworm could be manipulated - let him simply find a fake book. And if he is a trusted source of information for adventurers, it won't take long until someone swallows the bait, and acts upon it.. it could be anything from a doomsday prophecy(tm) up to the location of some important dingus. And the heroes run where the bad guys want them.
Voted Cheka Man
July 31, 2005, 7:17
5/5-a well made halfling carecter!
Voted Scrasamax
September 1, 2012, 10:57
I like the invalid angle, but the terrible cough of doom seems a tad heavy. If he is wealthy and there are adventurers and the like, why hasn't he simply procured magical healing for himself? That being said, he can be an excellent employer for PCs hunting down trinkets and books for him, or the spell components to fix his wounded lungs.

I also had the idea of the halfling being carried around by a Hodor-Golem
Voted valadaar
September 20, 2013, 14:28
An interesting character - a good bit player that can be woven into a larger story.

As Scras mentioned, the rehabilitating cough curtailing his adventures is somewhat overdone, but it makes him what he is.

As for the halfling side, it is not well incorporated into the character except as a tagline and does not seem to have shaped him very much.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Strolen

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