Ian Merris

Prof Of Linguistics


Name: Ian Merris Class: Smart Hero Level: 1 Starting Occupation: Academic Age: 30 Gender: Male Height: 6’2” Weight: 190lbs

STR: 8 mod: -1 DEX: 8 mod: -1 CON: 10 mod: - INT: 18 mod: +4 WIS: 12 mod: +1 CHA: 11 mod: -

HP: 6 DEF: 9 Initiative: -1 Speed: 30 Fortitude Save: 0 Reflex Save: -1 Will Save: +2

Reputation: 4 Action Points: 5 Wealth Bonus: 10

Ranged Base Attack: -1 Melee Base Attack: -1

Skills: Computer Use +8 Decipher Script: +10 Knowledge: Arcane +8 Knowledge: Theosophy/Philosophy +8 Knowledge: History +8 Knowledge: Art +8 Research +11

Feats: Renown Simple Weapons Proficiency Studious

Languages (Literate/Spoken Fluency): Ancient Greek Greek Gaelic Cantonese Mandarin Japanese Russian Sanskrit Farsi Hebrew Latin Spanish Aramaic English (starting)

Talent Specification: Linguist

Ians Current Inventory: -Messenger Bag: Medium Size most likely made by Timbuk2 (i like their bags, and their medium laptop messenger is the one that comes to mind for Ian) -Laptop: Alienware M17x: yes i know it is a gaming rig, but i think Ian would want the extra powe to help run his language software and for the extra speed (Charger is also in the bag, attached to portable surge supressor). (also to be noted the computer is running windows 7, with a full office suite [the technician in me cringes, but lets be honest this is the most likely scenario for Ian], also included is a proprietary language research and comparison software that Ian helped design and write with the computer department at berkely. The software has a large database (about 35% of the coded language included within the total database, most likely this local store includes whatever Ian is currently working on in his research or for the Governement) on the local system (hence the larger and more powerful system to access and run it faster) but the full database is accessed by an uplink and stored at Berkely and with the U.S. Government.) -Blackberry: this is pretty self explanitory most likely the blackberry storm (charger also in the bag) -Various pads etc: Ian keeps a black hardbound sketchbook for various language uses mostly trees and what not 8×10. He also keeps one pad of engineering rules graph paper (yellow and green often used by gamers), and two basic spiral bound college ruled notebooks one with lectures and one with notes. -Pens, Pencils etc: Ian would have a couple pens most likely roller ball style, and a couple of mechanical pencils (.7 lead). While he is particular about his pencils he isn’t overtly picky about his pens. He uses pencils on most things. He would have two small cases of lead in teh bag as refills. -an extra pair of his glasses (his insurance grants him a new pair every year, and his perscirption hasn’t changed in a couple) besides the pair he is wearing, both pairs are transition lenses. -He has a 1 litre mountain dew -He has an aluminum REI water bottle designed to hold one litre, also full -He has a simple Berkely sweatshirt -His wallet has his liscense, berkely staff id, U.S. Government security clearence I.D., social security card, his selective services card, his ATM card (Chase Bank), his citi bank Visa (current balance about $90 total available balance $17,000), a couple reciepts from the last week, his Berkely key card (for various secure areas he has access to), Health insurance card, AAA card, and about $72 in cash (80 minus the two coffess he had purchased that morning for himself and his woman). -Currently wearing: A pair of comfortable kahki pants, a concert T-shirt (KMFDM Strum & Drang Tour 2002), and a pair of comfortable leather shoes (not dress shoes and not hiking boots think Sketchers low top style brown shoes). It wasn’t an underclass teaching day so he wasn’t in his shirt and tie.

As for anything else he wants or needs, like he said when Anna asked, he could use a change fo clothes at some point, since he doesn’t think he will be getting back to his place any time soon, and he wants some way to contact jennifer to let her know he is okay, and find out how he is doing.


Ian Merris 30 years old University professor of language Born 1980

Father: Christian Merris, deceased 2003 heart attack Mother: Mira Merris, deceased 2008 drunk driving accident Brother: Victor Merris, 32, currently employed by Intel Corporation, very little contact

Ian was born the second child of a small middle-class family in Seattle Washington. His mother, as she had done with his older brother, played tapes of other spoken languages for Ian. Where his brother may have grown up with other languages he never took to them, he was always a more scientific thinker. Ian however was fluent in Spanish, and English by 6 years old. He showed a particular gift for discerning languages both spoken and written. As of today he is fluent, both spoken and written in 14 different languages

He studied language arts a various institutions throughout his childhood. His electives in high school were Latin, and due to the high Asian population of his school, mandarin. When he left for college, at age 16, he continued his study of various world languages along with his studies of the origins and developmental languages of the world. The theory behind language became his college pursuit, while his knowledge and fluency in actually used, and unused languages grew. This pursuit of language and development of spoken word forced him to become an adept researcher, and his skills in that area proved to be invaluable and land him on a grant team for his doctoral advisor.

He mourned the death of his father, and his mother, though his studies preoccupied him. Perhaps they were an escape, even Ian isn’t certain. His brother has never been close, especially since the graduated high school on the same day, his brother taking the more traditional route. The most contact that they exchange in a given year is birthday cards and Christmas cards, though Ian makes sure to send his young niece a present on her birthday, and Christmas each year since she was born (she is currently 8 years old).

His mastery of written and spoken languages brought him into contact with the NSA for various reasons. Some of it was work on various ciphers. Most encoding ciphers are mathematical in origin, though right before the fall of the Soviet Union the CIA had found that the KGB was using various literal ciphers. His work with the NSA continues on and off, as he holds a national security clearance. Still the agency can only use a linguist for so many things.

Currently Ian is employed by the University of California at Berkeley, where he teaches Latin, Ancient Greek, and Hebrew courses. The university also employs him as a researcher, and graduate mentor to students that have a deep interest in language. His own work on the comparisons of language and differences between completely oral societies versus a written society are ongoing. Dr. Merris is known fairly well within academic circles, after all it isn’t many people that have his ability to research combined with his mental acuity for language of all sorts. Representative of the above brief history in character creation: -Spent the skill points and various abilities uses on picking up written and spoke fluency in 13 languages + the one granted at character creation for a total fluency in 14 different languages both written and spoken -Intelligence score of 18 -Starting Occupation: Academic -Due to his knowledge of languages and his potential stature in the academic community because of it spent a feat on renown increasing my start reputation from 1 to a total of 4 -Starting wealth bonus of 10 puts him I solidly in the “middle class” bracket….i see him living within a few blocks of campus or on campus, and walking everywhere he goes, which in his case I see mostly to his office his classes or the campus research facilities (mostly the academic libraries, but also various labs around campus as well) -Largest bonuses in terms of skills are decipher script at +10, and Research at +11

Ian Merris -Current Occupations

Beyond the classes that Doctor Merris teaches at Berkeley, he is currently working on his research in societal and language development. Merris is looking into the societal development of cultures that have no written form of language and comparing these to societies that have a written form. The research is a look at the way in which the society views itself, how history is passed, and how education is accomplished. Not just early childhood education, this can also include how new ideas are transmitted and taken hold.

Example: In California, on average, a 16-year-old high school junior will have a class dedicated to U.S. History. He will have a textbook and a teacher to instruct him/her. The ability of the teacher is irrelevant, but a student interested in history will learn in two ways, both from an oral and written perspective (textbook/class lectures). In New Zealand there are still Maori tribes that have not embraced any form of written language. For the same idea (in this case Maori history) the children who learn it learn from teachers who tell stories, myths, folk tales, and pass on any and all knowledge they can remember. The teachers are not generally limited to one person, and if the “student” does not show interest they may not have to hear more. Merris’ studies look at these two students’ development, both inside their society and standing apart from it.

Beyond these two things, currently Merris is not doing any work for the NSA, though his security clearance is still valid.

-Current Friendships

Merris has few friends. His genius has won him many admirers but having graduated from high school at 14 makes it hard to relate to a peer group until you are an adult. Now that he is ensconced at an academic learning institution he has made friends with other faculty and researchers, but he only really counts Dr. Emil Verin (mechanical engineering), Dr. Elizabeth Schroeder (English), and Dr. Garrett Marks (Linguistic Arts) as true friends. There work sometimes brings them together, and they often lunch together and try and get together for dinner and just relaxing times. They are all very educated, and share many interests, though all four only agree on one thing – The SF Giants are currently mismanaged. They have been known to get together to play poker, have meals, and take weekend trips hiking and to Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino (Wine Country).

Merris has an on again off again relationship with Jennifer Marx, an admission specialist; there have been recent hints that they may take another stab at becoming serious. They have tried to make a go of it at least twice before. The first time Ian took a sabbatical away shortly after they began to see each other exclusively, the second Marx accepted a post in the state offices for UC (it was a one year appointment). She is back and they have found themselves drawn back together and are considering finding more time to spend together. They have “officially” had their first date as of three days ago, and it went well. Though they have always been comfortable with each other, things intruded into their lives. Time will tell if life intrudes again, or things actually become serious.

-Appearance: [please keep in mind I used the random generator for ht/wt that is in the d20 rulebook] Height 6’2” Weight 190lbs

Ian has grayish eyes that sit behind a pair of glasses that have no frame (the legs that hold the glasses over the ears and the two lenses together are drill-mounted directly into the lens). He has fairly short hair that is on the darker side, and looks perpetually messed (like he just got out of bed), though he does keep it clean and all the “edges” trimmed up. He shaves once every few days, mostly out of laziness, since his facial hair does not grow very quickly. Ian tends to wear slacks, a button down (with the sleeves unbuttoned and rolled up to the elbow), and a tie when teaching large classes of first/second year language students. His upper division smaller classes tend to get him in jeans and t-shirts for the most part. (Many of his t-shirts are purchased from thinkgeek.com, or from mid-late 1990’s musical acts of the techno/industrial nature). If he is away from his residence he will almost always be seen carrying a shoulder canvas briefcase containing his current work, his laptop, and his blackberry, along with the general assortment of pens/pencils/notebooks/loose paper. Most likely it will have the current NY Times crossword in there somewhere even if he has finished it. Generally he will have a cup of coffee with him as well (usually purchased from the campus café). “Hey Emil, how you doing?”

“Good Ian, you…. what’s up you are still coming to dinner with the rest of us tonight right?”

“Sorry, Skiner got sick and asked me to fill in for him for his evening class tonight. I told him I would do it, but he has to take one of the lower division lectures off my hands next week.”

“That’s too bad, well there is always next time.”

“Exactly, tell everyone I am sorry…. besides you owe me a beer.”

“I always owe you a beer, I think there is something wrong with your math.”

“Probably true, but then again, I am not the engineering professor. Talk to you later man, I have to figure out where that class is currently.”

Dr. Merris hung up the phone and looked down at his notes. He had been looking forward to the bi-monthly dinner with his friends, but Skiner did ask him, and he liked the guy. Besides it would be nice to get him to take his Friday morning lecture, and if he insisted that his classes not be canceled even though he wasn’t there, he couldn’t exactly be picky. Merris didn’t really have to do it, but the linguistic department was pretty adamant about not canceling classes unless absolutely necessary, which meant it was always good to be owed a favor anyway.

Maybe if he planned things right he could turn the Friday payback into a three-day weekend away with Jennifer. They had been talking about going away for a couple days. The last few dates had gone well, and things were looking promising again.

Hmmmmmmm……about an hour before class. Ian turned to his computer and started calling up travel sites. Where to though? Pacific Grove was always nice, and then there was Monterey…No, Carmel…that would be perfect. Grab a nice little place on the beach for a few days and nights; Come to think of it he always liked the way Jen looked in a swimsuit.

Ian spent 45 minutes putting together a trip and making some reservations. Then he fired off an e-mail and headed to the class. Two hours later he walked back into his office, and found an answering e-mail:

“Pick me up at 4:00pm Thursday afternoon, and take your vitamins…”

Definitely worth trading that class….

Ian Merris

Transient Milieu Transient