Ethan Cuskley

Character from an Age of Exploration/Pirates True20 Game.

Name: Ethan Cuskley
: 16 - 19, depending on the point in the story
Date of Birth: November 1, 1687
 An “Age of Reason” Seafaring  True20 game that begins in 1705.  Low magic.  Yes, think something along the lines of PoTC as far as time period/location/magic level.
Also - there is a modern-version - See the bottom of the page!

Beldore Hollow, Virginia ((Now Shenandoah National Park area))
A little past the shoulders, very curly, light brown.  Sometimes down, sometimes tied back with a ribbon.
Hazel-Amber (like so)
: 5’7”
: Fair, with freckles
: Thin: gangly that is starting to put on some muscle (growing out of the awkward teen stage)

CharaHub Pages: Modern Version & Historical Version

Distinguishing Features:  
Ethan has six fingers – (complete extra digit – mid-ray duplication) on his left hand.  ((He is also left handed.))

He is also never seen (in human form) without his intricate silver Celtic Cross pendant around its cord around his neck (though it is sometimes tucked into his clothing).  [Celtic Cross Example].  For the historical version, Celtic Crosses had all but phased out of use (And was much before their modern revival) – this would have been a strange symbol to most, integrating what appears to be the shape of a Christian cross with “pagan” designwork.





General Appearance/Attitude:
Ethan, thanks to his (half) Irish ancestry is fair-skinned and thin, with curly hair, and freckles covering his his nose, cheeks, and over his shoulders and back.  He is sometimes seen sporting stubble (his closest approximation yet to facial hair) when he is trying to make himself look older and not at a point where he has realized that his sparse stubble only draws more teasing.  His hazel-amber eyes flash with defiance and curiosity, eager to see the world and make his mark. 

 Ethan has only recently set out on his own in the world, and is enjoying the freedom from being out from under his mother’s wing.  He is eager to try new things, meet new people, and see the world.  He can be a little guarded about personal information, having come from years of cloistered living and blatant suspicion from the townsfolk.  He doesn’t want to be ostracized again, thinking that going out to new areas of the world will open up possibilities and potential for meaningful human interaction without backwater prejudices and narrow-mindedness (which his mother said was the reason for him not being accepted).  He shows contempt and ridicule for superstitious accusations against him, but deep down he’s scared that there might be a truth to it.  He self-justifies that if there were really something "demonic" about him, he'd know!  Besides, he's a good Christian! However, he does believe in religious aspects, and wouldn't be above agreeing with another scapegoated target to draw attention away from himself.  He doesn’t want to be treated different, and thus is (overly) eager to prove himself – taking unnecessary risks or participating in other activities to be ‘one of the guys’.  He is thus highly susceptible to peer pressure.  He will also make an attempt to fit into social settings that he finds himself in.

Since the start of the campaign, Ethan has discovered his true nature, and is trying to cope with it.  It is very important to him that he stay a good person, despite his obvious infernal heritage, although it has raised quite a bit of religious and ethical questions in his mind.  He values his friends that he has made above all else; he is quite loyal to the characters in the party - as they've become in a way his new family and the friends he never had. 

True DEMON Features:
The Celtic cross Ethan wears acts as a powerful guise.   Click on the thumbnail of the character reference sheet below for a rundown of his demon-form.


Character Reference Sheet : 


This piece by Reiben Prince is an excellent Ethan piece - The face is just about perfect, and the freckles are exactly what I have in mind as far as how numerous they are.  He even worked in his left hand :)  If his hair were a touch curlier, this would be Ethan snatched from my head. Another spot-on facial ref piece of Ethan - this one with a touch more of a realistic style.  Perfect eyecolor, great job with the freckles and stubble.  Lady Kassurin's Ethan also is quite exemplary - he looks a bit more like a seventeen year old here - the clothing is quite period, and he really nailed all of his features, and the feeling of the piece really captures the character :) Kaiser-chan of Gaia's Ethan is incredibly characteristic! Omi's Ethan is a Perfect build - skinny and all arms and legs - in that awkward teenage phase.  Still cute, and with a hint of stubble.  Again, hair should be a touch curlier - but granted being out at sea without frequent showers it could probably get like that.

Note: Coloration, etc would be just like human-form

I sketched this primarily as a design sketch to highlight his demon-form features. 
ALSO - check out the Reference sheet for the break-down of all his demon-form features.
Neithan did a GREAT job at Ethan's demon-form here - especially take note of his left arm - this is what I mean by "sinewy" - if you add the liver-spots it would be perfect :)  She also did a great job with the rest of the visable features :) A PERFECT demon-form example by the immensely talented shadow-wolf.  This reference also can work for either a historical or modern interpretation.  I absolutely LOVE this Ethan done by Nashya - this is SPOT on for his demon-form <3 (minus his 6th finger) A sketch by Vince Price that I got at A-kon this year is a PERFECT example of Ethan in his demon form. The face is ideal, and all the features are there.  This is also a wonderful example of his demon-arm.  Unassuming Pumpkin NAILED Ethan here, too - especially his personality and doofy grin :)





*ALL ETHAN ART - Click here. 

* Art Contest run with Sam Skip Sam - The first contest I ran that included Ethan as an eligible character :3


Background in Brief:
    Ethan Cuskley was born to one Rosemary Cuskley, an Irish immigrant with the telltale Irish birthrights of curly red hair, green eyes, fair skin and freckles.  Rosemary never spoke much to Ethan about where she came from, but she was from a small sect of surviving Celtic Christians (Catholics).  She came to the new world, newlywed, for the proclaimed religious freedom along with her husband… who didn’t survive the trip (Long after the trip – enough to help build the cottage? Regardless, Ethan doesn't know).  She moved to a very small town/Thorpe and settled into a cottage on the edge of town – having quickly realized that the new world didn’t automatically convey a lack of prejudice against her beliefs.  She was held in suspicion from day one from the rest of the community when she didn’t attend normal (protestant) church in the English settlement. Combined with her very natural-centric Celtic Christian beliefs, there were whispers about her being a witch and further ostracization.  If it wasn’t for the fact that she established herself as a midwife and general cure-all for the village (who didn’t have a “real” doctor) then things could have very easily gotten very bad had they need of a scapegoat.
            It was this status as a necessary evil that kept them from lynching her when she became mysteriously pregnant several years later.  She refused to name any of the men in the village as the father, or speak at all to who the father was and bore the child alone. 
            Ethan was, therefore, born into a town who from day one held him with suspicion and fear.  The fact that he was born with the added bad omen of six fingers on his left hand did nothing to help his situation.  He was called a warlock, and many other less than kind words by the other people of the village.  Parents wouldn’t let him play with their children, pulling them aside when he was around.
            Ethan, ever since he was an infant, was never without a pendant around his neck – an intricate, silver Celtic cross.  His mother drilled into his mind since before he could string a coherent sentence together that he was to NEVER take it off, not while bathing, not while sleeping, never: or Bad things would happen, playing up that the consequences would be sweeping and dire.  She never elaborated, instead capitalizing on the fear of the unknown that such an ominous warning conveyed.  And to this day, Ethan has never removed it – while he has been curious, and probably more than once made up his mind to do it only to chicken out at the end – that ingrained fear has kept him from ever following through, to the point of protecting it or hiding it when need be.   
            His upbringing into his mother’s religion, while Catholic by name and many underlying values and with the presence of the trinity and saints, differed in many significant ways.  Women were not held in ill regard or lower status by this religion, and along with that witchcraft was not held as a sin (originally a device by the church to deal with free-thinking or independent women).  Instead, the religion was one that taught literacy, and personal dealings between the individual and the saints as opposed to needing an interpreter in a church.  Furthermore, there was a connection with Nature, the Old Wisdom and stories, of the prime elements of fire, water, earth and air.  Finally, this church did not believe in original sin – and thus while the rest of the community saw the sins of the mother passed onto the child, she could not believe that he was born with a such a “chip” on his shoulder ((Despite his father…)). 
            Regardless, despite her love for her son, she did just as much to shield him from the rest of the village as the village kept their children from him.  She scolded him if he tried to play with other children, saying that because he was different that the narrow-minded villagers would not understand, and other vague chidings. 
           She never spoke of his father, despite how many times he asked.  She refused to talk of where he came from, what he looked like, or even his name.  This, above all else, drove Ethan crazy – the unanswered question that didn’t come with some sort of looming dooming consequence that became the pivotal point of his need to know as opposed to the significance behind his pendent. 
            Ethan grew up assisting his mother with her work, learning the trade of folk medicines and herbs.  Not having any friends in the village, he learned to keep himself entertained – he learned to read at his mother’s encouragement, she drove in the principles of ethics and morals and the Celtic Christian religion to him, having him read the bible, he helped out with repairs around the house – basic carpentry and woodworking, and he’d sometimes go walking through the woods alone.  But, ultimately, he was lonely for companionship.
            One morning, the morning of his seventeenth birthday to be specific, when Ethan woke up… his mother was gone.  Not dead, not having left a note to her whereabouts… just… gone.  Ethan didn't want to think about the possibilities.  She had usually been awake before him, and there were obvious signs that she had been.... more than that there were half-burned candles, signs of her working on strong protective spells, and several that he didn't recognize, books littered over the floor...  But no sign of her.  At first, Ethan assumed that this was some strange sort of birthday preparation, but when she didn't show after hours... he knew something was wrong.  For weeks he waited, sometimes taking her place in the town when there was a need to aide a woman in childbirth or mix together herbs to break a fever… but it felt transient.  But his waiting didn’t bring her return, and Ethan began to feel restless.  At the back of his mind, he knew something bad had happened to her, and he was worried, but denial took more the place of the worry and he began to think of what he was going to do.  He didn’t feel like he belonged in the village, particularly with his mother’s disappearance – the only person he really had any sort of ties to.  And the more he performed her duties alone, the more he realized that he couldn’t do that for the rest of his life.  She had told him that the outside world was different – that the people here were backwater and small-minded, and with each passing day Ethan’s desire to leave grew.  When news that a “real” doctor was moving to the town circulated, the town’s sympathy for the strange boy likewise began to wear thin.  Finally, after having waited for about three months, he had the idea and gathered the courage to begin asking around the town about where his mother came from, and more importantly, who his own father might be, seeking a direction.  Eager to send him on his way, they told him of a man who passed through the town at roughly the appropriate time that might indicate his parentage – a sailor by the name of Dyson Graves.
            Ethan asked around for as much information about the man as he could gather before leaving.  He was a sailor, and had spent somewhere between three days and a week in the village, most of his time had been spent in the tavern.  He drank, quite a lot, and seemed to be a troubled young man (who appeared in his mid twenties at the time, although weathered by the sea and his travels).  He had brown hair, was rough and coarse looking, and one individual described a tattoo of an anchor.  No one surprisingly volunteered information about six fingers, but when Ethan asked specifically, a few seemed to recall that he did possess them.  ((And certainly no one else in town bore that striking feature - but as to whether they answered positively because they thought it would get Ethan out of town, or because they truly had a rusty memory after seventeen years...))  Dyson had expressed a longing for the sea, and reluctance to be away from it - a few said that he had mentioned traveling to visit his sister, although stories varied on precisely which colony that was - that he was a rum runner and supposedly that was how he had gotten to become addicted to the spirits.  And that the last time that he had been seen, he was escorting Rosemary, Ethan's mother, towards the outskirts of town in the vague direction of her home. 
            Taking the only clue he had, Ethan gathered up the things of value to him that could be carried, sold the cottage, and set off with only a name and occupation to go by.
            He has been making his way southward towards the Islands and the shipping routes, and learning that there is much more to the world than his mother’s cottage.  Now without a parent figure in his life, he is eager to see and do new things that he knows that he would not have been allowed to do – but nothing too extreme – like a College Freshman out of the country on spring break.  He wants to find his father, but isn’t opposed to having a good time along the way, and maybe making his mark in the world.

CURRENTLY IN GAME (without you having to read the whole synopsis) - Ethan has discovered his true nature and is trying to deal with it and keep ties with the characters - he actually has friends, goals, etc.



For quite some time, Ethan was not aware that he was anything other than a mundane boy, beyond some knowledge of simple (superstitious) charms learned from his mother.  However, he did possess a few innate talents that he wasn't aware he was utilizing.  One is the ability to temporarily boost his physical attributes to a minor degree (which, if even noticeable, is usually passed off as adrenaline - given those are the only times it would really come about anyway)  He is also resilient towards fire/heat, and can see well in the dark.  Finally, Ethan has a surprising magnetism - in the pheromone sense.  While Ethan's been sheltered and isn't exactly the most adept in interpersonal relationships, despite his enthusiasm and gregariousness, he seems to do remarkably well in "getting the girl" - Ethan thinks that he's all that and a bag of chips, but in actuality, it's more of a pheromone effect ((And often, the next morning, might leave a lovely lady wondering why she made a hasty decision)).  Not that this has happened very much yet, however, Ethan IS a teenaged boy.

As the game developed, and Ethan has found out about his demonic heritage, he has discovered (or is discovering) other abilities:
.   ability to cause minor harm or pain directly with a touch from his left hand.
- complete immunity to heat and fire
- The ability to influence peoples' actions and emotions ((Suggestion abilities and minor emotion control))





Modern-Version Ethan
Like my other close characters, I enjoy having a modern renditions of them for variability in the potential settings to play them in as well as it being entertaining to think of how a character translates from a historical setting; how much of the essence of the character is maintained, etc.
Ethan is no exception, in fact, I think he translated surprisingly well to a modern version. 

CLICK HERE for information about Ethan in the Modern Setting :)


Campaign art piece by elengwat

The most "official" version of the character appeared in a round-robin-GM'd True20 game set in the early 18th Century.   This is a log  includes descriptions of the other characters Ethan knows.  THIS is now the cannon account of Ethan's many adventures.  It covers the many adventures as well as the development of the characters over the time, and further glimpses into Ethan's changing outlook and knowledge about himself.  This campaign has now been on hiatus for several years, however. 


Separate Campaign ("The Dissent"):
The Swashbuckling game has run a good course, but hasn't continued in over a year now, and many players have moved or are moving.  I've created Ethan in a friend's homebrew fantasy setting, of which there is a wiki being set up for.  This game did not have a very long run-time, however. 
Ethan's Bio page on the wiki is here.


Original Campaign:
ORIGINAL CAMPAIGN LOG - Ethan's first appearance was in a tabletop RPG that a friend was GMng.  However, said friend abruptly moved and the campaign ended after four sessions. :(  Here is the log of those sessions.  These sessions are now no longer cannon to Ethan's story.  


Ethan Cuskley is © Arania 2006- present