|“||The Roof came down with the greatest Crash I have heard, and the Walls of the House collapsed soon afterward, collapsing into the ground with a speed I would have thought impossible, had I not seen it myself. I fancied that there were great Hands pulling the Walls inward and downward into the Earth, and thought that I had heard something like unto a great Shriek from some Voice I dare not name.||”|
|— Joel Shepherd, A Memoir of A Peaceful Life|
As with many facets of World of Darkness: Asylum, James Teesdale's nature is uncertain. It is possible that James Teesdale was merely a misanthrope who enjoyed only the company of other unsocial, irreligious individuals. It is also possible that he was truly a witch of some kind, be it a Satanist, a Hermetic experimenter, or a full-on Awakened worshipper of the Abyss. Most of the following information assumes he was in some way occult.
Regardless of which, however, it is known that he built his home in a place thought to be cursed and that said home burned to the ground in 1714, killing James, his two elder sons, and his ten guests. He was survived by his youngest son, Edwin; his wife, Elizabeth Shepherd, granddaughter of the settler Daniel Shepherd; and his daughter, name unknown.
Running with the option that he was, in fact, a witch of some description, Teesdale built his home on the mounds in the hopes of using the energy of what lay beneath to power his rituals. He, in using his rituals, unintentionally bound his soul to the site, creating an inescapable prison for newly-formed ghosts while simultaneously driving away the ghosts that had already been there. In a rage, he set fire to the house, though much of his family successfully escaped. Now the first ghost bound to Bishopsgate, James Teesdale vowed to inflict his suffering on all who would follow.
The case of his descendent, Bryan Teesdale, adds an additional tangle to his story: He left behind his heart and an incantation for his revival. In his obsession with his family history, Bryan Teesdale performed the ritual. James walked out in his place, centuries after his death. Now, due to his inability to play at sanity in such a vastly different world, he is rather ironically housed in the Bishopsgate Asylum, built on the ruins of his manor.
It is unknown how James Teesdale the ghost interacts with James Teesdale the mimic of Bryan Teesdale. It is possible that the two are separate entities — that the resurrected James is wholly different in identity from his ghost. It is also possible that the two are not meant to exist in the same game— that if a game is being run with the Board of Directors, it is assumed that Bryan Teesdale's nature is entirely mundane.
The following character sheet assumes that James Teesdale is the first ghost trapped at Bishopsgate and head of the Board of Directors.
Attributes: Power 7, Finesse 5, Resistance 7
Morality: 1 (Megalomania)
Speed: 22 (species factor 10)
Other Notes: James is an extremely powerful ghost with exceptional attributes and abilities. He is not the sort of entity that a Storyteller should casually throw up against his players. In addition to a comprehensive arsenal of Numina, James knows the hospital inside and out and has been here longer than it has.
The following character sheet assumes that James Teesdale is the being who was resurrected by his descendent, Bryan Teesdale.
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 3, Resolve 5
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 1, Stamina 3
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 2, Composure 4
Mental Skills: Academics (Enlightenment Demonology) 3, Animal Ken 1, Crafts 1, Investigation 1, Medicine 1, Occult (Satanism, Demons) 4
Physical Skills: Brawl 1, Larceny 3, Stealth 2, Survival 2, Weaponry (Sacrificial Knife) 3
Social Skills: Expression 1, Intimidation 4, Persuasion 2, Subterfuge 2
Merits: Languages (Latin, Greek), Iron Stamina 3, Iron Stomach, Quick Healer
Morality: 2 (Megalomania, Paranoia)
Health: 8 (Teesdale takes one point of bashing damage for each minute he is in direct sunlight.)
Teesdale's Powers: James Teesdale doesn't have to have any defined powers; the spells he knows are complex ritual incantations, few of which actually do anything. Without the materials in his lab, he's powerless. Storytellers who own World of Darkness: Second Sight might want to consider allowing Teesdale some of the magical Merits allowed in that book. Alternatively, Storytellers running Mage: The Awakening could easily make Teesdale an Awakened mage, with powers that pose an adequate challenge to the players' characters.