Serenity Articles : Ezekial T. Jonah, Frontier Newspaperman

(Originally posted on on August 23, 2006)

I think a really strong NPC can create all sorts of new situations for an established group of characters. Imagine if the following fellow had booked passage on Serenity for awhile…

First Impressions

Ezekial cuts a striking figure with his long black coat and top hat. He holds himself like an important person and dresses more for appearance than convenience. His voice is strong and really carries in a crowd. When you talk to him or even listen to him, you can sense the energy he has. He makes you wonder why he isn’t a politician.

World View

Ezekial T. Jonah believes that the ‘Verse needs strong voices willing to say the things that ought to be said. Somewhat of a history buff, he became fascinated by tales of newspapers and heroic reporters back on the Earth-That-Was. And that is how he has modeled his life, seeking truth wherever it lies, speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves, dedicating himself to the greater good.

None of this has made him beloved by the Alliance or anyone with a stake in ‘the ways things are’. He craves to be accepted and respected by the very social upper crust that his investigations endanger. But he’d rather tell the truth once than accept a life membership at the Ting Lao Club on Londinum.

Ezekial is also a skeptic. He fervently believes in verifying things and getting multiple sources. Better yet, he’d rather see things for himself. So he has little patience for conspiracy theorists unless they have strong proof.

His belief in the power of the written word is unusual in an age of flimsies and tri-plex video. ‘Tri-plex can be faked,’ he’ll say, ‘But true words penetrate.’ So he will have a small camera with him to capture evidence but his missives to the ‘Verse are either spoken or written.

Gamemaster Advice

Ezekial should be a fun NPC to play. He’ll always have an opinion about something, invariably tying it back to a scandal people haven’t heard of, or some secret he’s trying to uncover. If neither of those fit, he’ll gladly impart ‘advice’ to just about anyone who will listen, coaching the crack engineer on how to care for ball joints, or explaining the defects in the gun-bunny’s favorite rifle.

Adventure Ideas

Good old Ezekial has a great way of stirring up trouble. He’ll gladly pay passage on a ship-for-hire under false pretenses if it gets him to a story. He’s also not one put off by danger, so he could easily drag PCs into quite dangerous situations. And even being associated with him will bring a new cast of friends and enemies to the PCs for being associated with him.

Some of the truths Ezekial would typically try to uncover are: worker slavery, covered up murders, corrupt Alliance officials, neglected settlements, hushed-up plagues, unpublished Alliance ‘programs’.

Game Statistics


Agl: d6, Str: d4, Vital: d6, Alert: d10, Intel: d8, Will: d12

Life: 18, Init/React: d6+d10, BurstStr: d4+d4

Memorize: d10+d8, Resist: d6+d6


  • Covert d6 (Stealth d10)
  • Guns d4
  • Influence d6 (Conversation d8, Persuasion d12, d8 Streetwise)
  • Knowledge d6 (learned)
  • Linguist d6 (smattering of many languages)
  • Melee Weapon Combat d4
  • Perception d6 (Intuition d8 Investigation d10)
  • Performance d6 (Stringed Instruments d10)


  • Allure (charismatic speaker/writer) (M): +2StepSkill for persuasion with words, spoken or written. Plot Points count double spent on such checks.
  • Sharp Sense: Hearing (m): +2StepAlert when trying to eavesdrop.
  • Trustworthy Face (m): +2StepWill getting folks to trust him. Better to get the truth.


  • All Preened Up (m): This concern with appearance is focused on social status. Fusses on appearing ‘proper’ even in the worst places.
  • Allergy (grasses) (m): Minor reaction (sneezes, rash), -2StepPhysicalAttribute in its presence or until take medication.
  • Hyper-Focused (m): Hard to distract when he’s focused on a story.


  • Customized Datapad: A ubiquitous possession in the Core as a work tool and communications hub, Ezekial uses his primarily for data storage and for drafting up his Missives to the ‘Verse. He prefers to use anonymous cortex terminals for research, downloading results or data to the datapad. He’s removed the networking card from it and has to transfer information using a short, old-fashioned cable. He keeps the datapad with him at all times. It has been stolen inthe past by people who didn’t want the truth to come out.
  • Clothes of Status/Cherry Trunk: Ezekial travels with a large cherry-wood trunk in which he keeps several changes of clothes, all proper for social occasions, though tending toward black. He has almost no working clothes or gear that others would think obvious for a traveller on the Rim.
  • Pencil and Pad: A sort of throwback to his Earth-that-Was idols, he can be seen taking notes on the paper pad with the pencil. He keeps the pad with him at all times. It has been stolen in the past by people who didn’t want the truth to come out.

NOTE: Some traits reference Nathan Rockwood’s ‘New Traits’ list available at Cortex System RPG, the best fan-run Serenity RPG site on the net!

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