In Iron Rent
Silver Ladder Mystic Banker
Otto Welser is a gentleman of the old school. He comes from old money, and he retains the classic manners and conservative (in the literal, not political sense) views of his origins. He tries to remain proper and calm in all situations.
Otto lives in a world that is rapidly changing, and he tries to move with that change as best he can. His introduction to Mage Society has been a substantial challenge for Otto. Women hold rank and power here, something he is unaccustomed to. Differences of Class and Party lines are held irrelevant next to differences of Order and Cabal. He is doing his best to adapt.
Otto regards the faux secrecy of the Mage society with some contempt. He knows the “mundane” identities of several of the other members of the Gemeinderat simply because he knew them before his awakening. The rest he suspects he could turn up with only a little digging. Especially once the government is reinstated and he can get to the records office again.
A man of average height (5’9") and build (160 lbs), with black hair and a mustache. He’s in his late thirties, and his hair is just starting to show the first speckles of grey. He habitually wears a three piece suit, and keeps an extremely neat and tidy appearance.
|Shadow Name||Der Bankhalter||Virtue||Prudence||Path||Mastigos|
|Real Name||Otto Welser||Vice||Pride||Order||Silver Ladder|
|Academics:||3||(Law, Lex Magica)||Stealth:||1||Socialize:||1|
|Silver Ladder Status:||1||Mind:||3||Willpower:||6|
Gain Skill: Mind 2, Add successes in dots to any one skill, max of Mind dots. Wits + Academics + Mind (Alternate from book rote skill). Free Council book, page 111.
Incognito Presence: Mind 2, Caster is ignored until/unless he takes “blatant attention-grabbing action.” Resisted by mental shields. Wits + Subterfuge + Mind. Mage, page 208.
Aura Preception: Mind 1, Caster can see auras, providing information about emotion state of those seen. Wits + Empathy + Mind. Mage, page 205.
Spacial Awareness Space 1, Space-based Mage Sight. Intelligence + Occult + Space. Mage, page 233.
Equipment of Note:
- Iron Coin, inscribed with Pentacle, hung on leather necklace (Dedicated Magical Tool)
- Luger Pistol
Otto’s Nimbus is Order. With low level spells this manifests in the spontaneous straightening of his clothing, cleaning of nearby objections, and geometric arrangement of nearby particulate (dirt, dust, flour, etc). Strong spells can cause small objects to stack themselves, deck of cards to spontaneously sort themselves, and other, related, phenomena.
Seen with Mage Sight, Otto’s nimbus resembles a cloud of geometric shapes and lights, moving in complex but clear patterns.
Biography of Otto Welser, as dictated to Golden Star, Berlin, December 12th, 1944
I was born Otto Fredrick Welser June 16th, 1909. My father, Wilhelm Welser, was a partner in a small Berlin bank, my mother Anne Reitz Welser the daughter of one of his clients. I had an older brother Wilhelm Jr., an older sister Greta, and a younger sister Elsa. Elsa was lost to infantile paralysis. Wilhelm was killed at Stalingrad. Greta married a Swiss man and, last I spoke with her, they were living happily in Zurich.
My childhood was idyllic. My family was wealthy, and while my father was quite strict, we wanted for nothing. I recall the Great War through the haze of childhood: when the war started I didn’t understand what it meant. By the time I did understand, I’d never known anything else. I suppose we were subject to rationing as much as anyone else, but I was too young to appreciate the lack.
While my father was old, wise, and wealthy enough, to avoid fighting, my brother was anxious for war as only a young man can be. My father refused to sign the papers allowing him to join before his majority, and when Willy did finally enlist, the war was all but over. He told me that the armistice was announced while he was on a troop train to the front. We lost my mother in the Influenza epidemic after the war, but otherwise my family escaped the Great War blessedly intact.
After the war my father joined the Reichsbank as a governor and became quite heavily involved in the Weimar republic. I recall quite clearly the panic of 1923. I was still in primary school, with very little idea of the real value of money, but even a child can see the problem when candy that used to cost a single Mark costs 1 million. I recall going to my father in quite the panic, but he advised caution. He had bought gold and invested in Swiss francs, we were secure.
My brother never forgave my father for denying his “chance at glory,” and the two gradually became estranged. In college my brother fell in with a bad element, student radicals, socialists. Eventually he became involved with the Nazi party and later joined the SS. My father never forgave him, and while they reconciled publicly, I don’t think my father’s heartbreak ever really healed.
Willy served as an officer in the SS from the invasion of Poland. He was decorated in combat several times. We were told he was killed at Stalingrad, though his body was never returned to us.
While my brother was descending into extremism I did everything I could to be the model child. I got high marks in school and attended Frederick William University, graduating cum laude in 1931. I studied law and business, and after I graduated I took an apprentice position with a small law firm in the city.
Those were interesting times for our nation, but I paid little attention to politics. I was focused on my work and studying for the legal exams. I confess I was also somewhat distracted by meeting a young lady, Ingrid Dansk. She was a few years behind me in school, studying literature, but, in the way of young people everywhere we met and fell very much in love. In ‘33 I asked her to marry me, and we were married the next year.
I remember the exact moment when I realized the terrible threat of the Nazis. It was May 10th, 1933. I went to the university to pick Ingrid up; she had been studying for her exams. The Nazis had organized a book burning, this was one of their first big burnings, maybe even the first. They were “cleansing” the library of those authors they did not agree with, and burned something like 20,000 volumes. That was the first time I truly feared the Nazi party, sadly it would not be the last.
I passed my exams and took a legal position at my father’s former bank. My father’s connections opened a lot of doors for me, and I was able to establish a comfortable living quite quickly. Those were dangerous, terrible times. The Nazis were purging a great many people they did not like. I was personally denounced for being a Freemason (as was my father), but we saw which way the wind was blowing and left our lodge. We would eventually be “pardoned” in ‘38 for our dangerous associations.
As terrible as those times were, they were happy ones for me. I had a young wife, a good job I enjoyed, and was close with my father. The Nazis were a terror, but it was a terror we largely avoided. I’d like to say I did something to resist them, but the extent of my “resistance” was helping a few Jewish families transfer assets to Switzerland, a common part of my job.
As the war ramped up small banks like the one I worked at were under enormous pressure to fall in line with the Nazi war machine. In ‘39 I left that bank and joined the Reichsbank, helping to run that self same war machine. I hated helping them, but a position with the Reichsbank kept me out of the draft, and at home with my new daughter Elsa, and my lovely wife.
As the war ground on I was unable to avoid the draft indefinitely, and earlier this year I was drafted into the Volkssturm. I was made an officer, and bravely lead my platoon of old men and children into the meat-grinder that is the Eastern Front.
I saw a few skirmishes and one real battle. We were defending a town, to this day I don’t know the name of the place, from the Russian advance. We’d dug in and were told to hold out indefinitely. We held against the first two Russian assaults, and then they decided they would settle the issue with artillery.
I saw the first shell fall and obliterate the machine gun position in front of me. I felt a sharp pain in my arm, a dull pain in my head, and had a moment to wonder why everything had suddenly gotten so quiet. Then I felt nothing for some time.
I awoke in a hayloft to screams. I lept to my feet and immediately regretted that decision. As I worked to get my swimming vision under control I retrieved my pistol, which had been left loaded by my bedside, and stumbled to the edge of the loft. I could see into the farmyard beyond where a mob of Russian soldiers were indecently assaulting a woman I assume was my rescuer. I raised my pistol to fire at the bastards, an act of suicide I had not fully thought through, but before I could fire I heard the ripping tear of an automatic weapon.
One of the Russians glanced casually over his shoulder, then returned his attention to the woman in front of him. I hesitated, and I thought. I moved carefully to the edge of the building and got a better view. The farm was crawling with Russian soldiers, easily two dozen that I could see. The body of an old man and two children, presumably the other residents of the farm so recently gunned down, lay in the middle of the yard, next to a grim-faced officer with a submachine gun.
I hated those men with every fiber of my being, but I also knew an untenable situation when I saw it. The best I could do was kill one of two of those men and die in the doing. Frankly the more likely situation was that I would annoy one and be gunned down for my trouble. So I fled.
I thought of my daughter, and my wife. I thought of my father. I thought of myself. I will always carry the guilt of my flight with me, but in that moment I made a decision: I would not throw my life away for a war that could no longer be won, I would live, and I would go on.
I fled west, planning to return to Berlin, collect my family, and flee to Switzerland. I have professional connections there, and my sister’s husband is in government. I was confident they could get me across the border, and once there I could find work, start over. It was an… optimistic plan, but it seemed much better than being murdered by psychopathic Russians.
As I fled the world began to warp around me. The Russian soldiers I dodged took on the aspect of demons. The landscape, already blasted by war, became twisted and corrupt. The twilight sky was flame-red, and I swear the horizon burned. I thought I was concussed, and when my own personal demons appeared to torment me I felt that suspicion was confirmed.
Though I knew it not I walked through the halls of Pandimonium, the abode of demons. I will not tarry long on what I saw there, those here who have seen it know, and those who have not do not. The cross country journey to Berlin that should have taken days, if not weeks, spanned a single night. To me, that night seemed to stretch forever, but eventually I found myself in Berlin, at my family home.
It was destroyed, wrecked by an allied bomb gone astray. My wife, my father, my child, all dead in the rubble. It was then that the demons truly laid into me, blaming me for abandoning them, calling me a coward for my flight from the war, for my failure to oppose the Nazi rise to power. I was driven to my knees before the rubble pile my home had become. But I refused to stay down. I stood and moved towards the rubble. I intended to search for the bodies of my family, but as I began to climb the rubble I found I could not cease. The rubble slowly turned to Iron and Brass, and after a seemly eternal climb I found myself in the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet. I wrote my name upon it, and returned to the fallen world.
There I found the vision of my family home I was shown in Pandemonium was a true one. My family home was destroyed, my family slain. I dug them out of the rubble, buried their bodies in the back yard, by the stump of the old Oak long since cut down for fuel.
Many men would call me a coward for fleeing the front, but I have come to believe that the real courage is not in fighting an unwinnable war, but in rebuilding a country devastated by it. I decided I would remain in Berlin and rebuild, help restore this city to its former glory.
Last night I ran into an old friend from my days as a Mason. He saw the change in me, in my soul, and brought me here.