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Feature Character : Kiernan O’Brien, Seneschal to the O’Bannon

Kiernan is the second son of Gael O’Brien, leader of the clan and the mostly retired ruler of Dreenan. He is tall for an Inishman, with the build of a man who has become comfortable with inactivity. While few would call him fat, he would easily admit to being "stocky." Kiernan wears his brown hair in bushy curls that have been likened to a mop. His light blue eyes are almost undistinguishable under the hair and the pale cast of his face. Most fall to distraction with his easy smile and soft friendly voice long before they notice any of his other features.. He dresses in traditional Inish clothing to appease his father and at the request of the O’Bannon but often finds ways to add a little Castillian flair to his outfits as a remembrance of his studies abroad.

Kiernan attained the position of seneschal to the O’Bannon in the traditional way -- nepotism. His father had held the position since the O’Bannon’s return, but years of working that closely with the mercurial leader proved to be a more stressful duty than Gael O’Brien cared to hold. Kiernan was summoned from his studies overseas and installed as his father’s successor. During the four years that have passed since then, Kiernan has filled his days and nights handling the duties of ruling Inismore. He finds himself handling virtually all the mundane matters of running the country either due to the O’Bannon’s absence or his general apathy about trivial matters like trade agreements, upkeep of roads, and the like. Kiernan has grown to enjoy this arrangement as it gives him the chance to influence the path his homeland will follow.

Background

Kiernan was raised in Liumnech in the southern region of Inismore with his older brother Standish. A childhood riding accident left Kiernan with a limp and a love for the buoyant pleasures of swimming. As youths, Standish and Kiernan were very close. Where Standish excelled physically, Kiernan was forced to compensate with his wits and charm. Any argument Standish could start with a punch, Kiernan could end with a witty retort.

The brothers traveled together to Luthon, Paix, and finally to San Cristobal, where Kiernan fell in love with the Castillian culture. Standish returned to Inismore in 1661 in order to help manage the family’s duties in Dreenan County, since Gael was much too involved handling the affairs of the entire country. Toward the end of 1663, Gael summoned Kiernan to return home as well. He was relieved to find his family in good health and jumped at the chance to serve his family and nation in such an important way. It has always been a tradition for the Inish High King to have an O’Brien serve as advisor, to have the opportunity to be that O’Brien was a dream come true.

Roleplaying Kiernan

Kiernan is a friendly and polite man of twenty-six. He is still very young and idealistic in his beliefs, like the idea that a good leader will place the interests of the nation before his clan. There is no man he respects more deeply than his father or whose company he enjoys more than the O’Bannon. He works very hard to please both men and has earned enough respect from Jack O’Bannon that he frequently find himself alone in the castle with a pile of blank papers his employer has signed with a note telling Kiernan to fill them out as needed.

When addressing groups, Kiernan’s soft voice has trouble carrying over any commotion, so he will pause and stare talkers into silence with a patient look. When asked questions, he will always pause as if reflecting on his exact choice of words. In truth, Kiernan normally knows exactly what he wishes to say but has found it to be a useful tool to control the pace of the conversation. This habit of pausing irritates Mad Jack almost as much as Jack’s dancing during Parliament sessions bothers Kiernan. He is always clear with his comments and careful in his choice of words to avoid misunderstandings.

Above all, Kiernan has worked to make himself look like a man of inaction. He knows that he is not skilled enough to face a real swordsman in anything resembling a fair fight, so he is careful to insure that no one considers him worthy of the bother. In very private places, he practices what meager skills he has just in case he needs them. This even extends to his drinking which he limits in public. However, late at night, it is not uncommon to find Kiernan sharing a bottle with the O’Bannon and listening to the Ard Ri’s stories of the old times.

GM Secrets

The O’Bannon has knocked Kiernan out twice over friendly disagreements. The first time, Kiernan has no memory of the reason and little recollection of the following three days. The second time he remembers thing going black for a moment and then opening his eyes to see Jack standing over him. When he refused the Ard Ri’s hand to get to his feet, Jack smiled at him and said, "I guess you passed." Kiernan is still not sure what the King meant by that.

Kiernan and Gael O’Brien are making arrangements for Kiernan to become the first O’Brien High King since the 10th century. The young seneschal was opposed to the idea at first but his father has managed to convince him that the O’Briens have always had the best interest of Inismore as their first priority. Serving as advisors, they have worked to bring about what is best for Inismore. Doing that will be much easier if the O’Brien does not need to convince an O’Toole or Lynch of the idea first. Kiernan has agreed to the philosophy of the plan but is still unsure about the implementation.

Gael’s plan is simple. While serving as the advisor to the O’Bannon, he uncovered Arghyle O’Toole’s early plans to assassinate the Ard Ri. Rather than confront the traitorous O’Toole and risk a civil war or report him to the O’Bannon and risk his leaving, Gael O’Brien is going to wait. He summoned Kiernan to serve as seneschal so that his young son can build allies among the Inismore’s leadership. . He has spent the time structuring alliances in the Lynch and MacKenna clans as well. If O’Toole succeeds, he plans to use his allies to overthrow the clan as revenge for killing the Ard Ri and then establish himself or Kiernan as the new Ard Ri. Should O’Toole fail, Gael expects the O’Bannon to be offended enough by the attempt to drop the crown and leave, as he has done throughout history. Then he and Kiernan can use one of the signed blank sheets they have hidden away to claim O’Bannon left a Writ of Succession. As long as the two of them are cautious, they expect that no one will ever suspect anything underhanded has occurred. The only flaw in the plan is Kiernan’s heart. Although he knows that both he and his father would make excellent rulers, taking the title at the risk of losing his close friend the O’Bannon weighs heavily on him. There are days when he has to stifle his desire to warn the O’Bannon about all the plots surrounding him. At other times, , Jack has said things and looked at Kiernan as if he were already aware of what was going to happen. Right now, the young seneschal is torn between loyalty to his father and loyalty to his friend and king. He needs to decide how he can best serve his nation and decide it soon.

Kiernan O’Brien : Hero ( 7th Sea™ ) Brawn: 2, Finesse: 2, Wits: 5, Resolve: 3, Panache: 4
Reputation: 43
Arcana: Loyal
Backgrounds: Rival ( Roland O’Toole ) 1, Traitor 1
Advantages: Avalon ( R/W ), Castille ( R/W ), Montaigne (R/W), Cymric, Vendel, Avalon Accent ( Inish ), Able Drinker, Connections ( O’Bannon ), Linguist, Noble, University
Artist: Writer 3
Courtier: Dancing 2, Etiquette 5, Fashion 2, Oratory 4, Diplomacy 5, Politics 4, Scheming 4, Sincerity 5
Merchant: Calligrapher 3, Scribe 3, Accounting 4, Haggling 2 Scholar: History 3, Mathematics 2, Philosophy 3, Research 2, Law 5, Natural Philosophy 2, Theology 2 Servant: Etiquette 5, Fashion 2, Menial tasks 1, Unobtrusive 4, Accounting 4, Haggling 2, Seneschal 5
Commander: Strategy 3, Tactics 1, Artillery 1, Cartography 3, Diplomacy 5, Incitation 3, Leadership 1, Logistics 4
Fencing: Attack 2, Parry 3
Pugilism: Attack 3, Footwork 2, Jab 2, Uppercut 3
Specialty Knack: Swimming 3

Kiernan O’Brien ( d20™ )
Inish Noble 6 / Finnegan Boxer 2: CR 8; SZ M (humanoid); HD 6d8 plus 2d10; hp 56; Init +0; Spd 30ft; AC 13 (+1 Dex +2 Wis); Atks: fists +6 (1d6); SA Commanding Presence+2, Friends in High Places, Seduction, Taunt, Stick and Move, Hard Fists and Light Feet; SV Fort+5, Ref+5, Will+5; Str 12, Dex 11, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 15; AL CG; Skills: Bluff+4, Diplomacy+10, Gather Information+8, Intimidate+4, Knowledge (history)+6, Knowledge (theology)+4, Knowledge (Inismore)+5, Move Silently+4, Listen+2, Perform+6, Sense Motive+8, Speak Language (Avalon, Castille, Cymric, Highland, Inish, Montaigne, Vendel), Spot+8, Swim+8; Feats: Able Drinker, Improved Unarmed Strike, Leadership, Loyal (hubris), Silver Tongue, University, Weapon Focus (unarmed), Weapon Specialisation (unarmed)

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New Feat: Silver Tongue
You have the gift of the gab, the unnerving ability to sway people listening to you with a smooth and unrelenting parlance. 'Tis a common sight in Inismore where the gifted speaker is said to have kissed the legendary Fål stone in Tara.

Prerequisites: Cha 14+, Bluff and Perform 4 ranks

Benefit: When talking to a number of people up to the character's rank in Perform, roll a Perform check (DC 15). If successful, each member of the audience must make a Will save against a DC of the speaker's Perform roll or be unable to take any other action other than listening to the speaker. If the speaker stops talking for more than a minute, the effect is canceled. Special: This Feat can only be taken at first level unless the GM wishes to grant the power to the Fål Stone.

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