5713 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

German Grandpin (Masquerouge 7 vies de l'Epervier)

Germain Grandpin


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
  • This includes multiple S P O I L E R S – but on the other hand I think that the material was only ever published in French and Romanian.
  • It also assumes that you’ve already read the first profile for Ariane de Troïl.

Context

Les Sept Vies de l‘Epervier (“The Seven Lives of the Sparrowhawk”) is a classic French graphic novels series. It is firmly based on popular swashbuckler serials, films and novels such as those written by or inspired by Alexandre Dumas or Paul Féval – plus a helping of Zorro.

Over the decades it became a sprawling historical graphic novel set during the early 1600s with lots of adventure, swordfights, melodrama, court intrigue, etc. It also occasionally doubles as an History manual.

It is particularly noted for the portrayal of its heroine, Ariane de Troïl, which was slightly ahead of its time.

This specific profile covers the Les Sept Vies de l‘Epervier, Masquerouge and Cœur Brûlé graphic novels – the latter up to the beginning of Book #6.


Background

  • Real Name: Germain Grandpin (sometimes erroneously spelled Granpin)
  • Other Aliases: “Ashes of an Heart” (Montagnais nickname), “Tall White” (Mohawk nickname)
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: Servant of Ariane de Troïl, former member of the French Guards
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile through France, then New France, during the XVIIth century
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 248 lbs
  • Eyes: Grey Hair: Black (eventually grey then white)


Powers & Abilities

Germain is a very experienced former soldier, and mainly served in an elite unit. He’s tall, heavy and strong. His swordsmanship is exceptional – Grandpin is one of the very best fencers in the setting. He can easily defeat multiple experienced sellswords by himself, and even famous experts will likely be steamrolled.

When disarmed, he has no technique and will be trounced by a skilled empty-hand fighter. But against other untrained opponents, he can go quite far – if only through sheer size and resolve.

Though as the story advances he becomes older, considerably fatter and damaged by excessive consumption of alcohol, this doesn’t seem to actually slow him down. He also retains a remarkable amount of physical endurance.

Lastly, Grandpin is incredibly bullheaded.


History

Germain Grandpin, a French Huguenot, saw his family killed by Catholics during the French Wars of Religion . To survive he enlisted at age 12 as a drummer boy. However, at age 15, he was arrested for faking having a nobility title, which would likely lead to a life of hard labour as a convict.

By chance a minor knight from Auvergne, Captain Gabriel de Troïl, was also at the Bastille . His arrest was mostly a matter of appearances, and when the officer requested somebody to chat with the jailers had Grandpin transferred to his luxurious cell. De Troïl liked the kid’s attitude and made him his protégé.

German Grandpin (Masquerouge 7 vies de l'Epervier) oreille bandée

In particular he trained the youth in fencing. Germain was talented, and Gabriel was probably the greatest French swordsman of his generation. Grandpin thus became an incredible fencing master.

This skill and his bombastic courage earned him a slot in the French Guards. The Gardes Françaises were an elite unit tasked with protecting the King and serving as his shock infantry and musketeers in wartime. He became a corporal in the XXth regiment of the Gardes.

This had some downsides, though. In 1609 he had his left ear shot off by the future Louis XIII, who was practicing his marksmanship at the royal château in St. Germain.

Royal deluxe

In 1610, Grandpin saved King Henry IV  from a hatchetman sent by the Catholic League. Though he just happened to be there flirting with the royal nurse, Germain reacted in time, burning his hands to grab a red-hot pot and blind the assassin with its content. Impressed, King Henry made him a captain and his personal bodyguard.

Germain was thus a witness to much of the royal peregrinations, and the King’s usual companion when he hit the parisian pubs and brothels incognito. During such outings, he saved the King’s life at last twice despite being stinking drunk.

After the second incident, Henry IV made Germain a Commander and the CO  of his private guard.

On the 14th of May, 1610, the King was murdered by the fanatical Ravaillac. Germain was riding on the other side of the coach and couldn’t intervene in time. Overcome by emotion, Grandpin lamented in Louis XIII’s presence that he was to blame, and the distraught boy-king ordered him locked forever at the Bastille.

Actual and virtual prisons

Even with his contacts, Grandpin could not be freed. Meanwhile, Gabriel de Troïl also requested the King’s grace for his friend in his guise as the Sparrowhawk, but this did not work either. De Troïl was also imprisoned.

In 1617, the King ordered all prisoners freed to celebrate the killing of Concino Concini . Grandpin tracked down a jealous guard who had conspired to make his stay in prison even worse, and three famous musketeers  loaned him a sword to facilitate the duel.

After a clash with the city watch, Grandpin then fled Paris. He left for Auvergne, hoping to be reunited with Captain de Troïl – whom he had not seen for more than 10 years.

German Grandpin (Masquerouge 7 vies de l'Epervier) combat des gardes

Upon reaching de Troïl lands, he stumbled upon two local noblemen attempting to rape Ariane de Troïl. They had caught her helping the new vigilante bearing the Sparrowhawk red mask (Guillemot de Troïl). Grandpin easily dispersed them but, aroused after years of prison, he raped de Troïl himself, assuming that she was some expendable rural commoner.

Upon reaching the de Troïl household, he realised his mistake. After he helped defend the keep against rival nobles, Ariane decided not to denounce him right away. She essentially made him her servant lest she have him executed for his deed.

Her main motivation for sparing Grandpin was that she wanted him to train Guillemot, who lacked the superior martial skills to be the Sparrowhawk.

However, Guillemot de Troïl, Yvon de Troïl and their last remaining servant died on the following day. Ariane took what belongings remained, set a torch to the familial keep and left with Grandpin in tow.

Servant

Grandpin remained de Troïl’s servant for years – humiliated, but feeling that he should pay for what he did. The baroness moved to Paris, where the King eventually gave her an hôtel particulier . Though Ariane still hated Germain’s guts, they slowly became friends and he secretly fell in love with her.

Grandpin also served as a bodyguard. When the baroness de Troïl was targeted by assassins for being pregnant with a royal bastard, he saved her life at least thrice. When the Baroness’ enemies escalated by hiring famous swordsman the Count François de Montmorency-Bouteville  as a hitman, Grandpin still prevailed.

Ariane eventually forgave Germain, though he chose to remain her servant.

Circa 1623, after years of depression, the baroness secretly became the new Sparrowhawk. However she chose not to bear the name, and called herself Damasque instead. As part of her training she had Grandpin tutor her as her maître d’armes (martial instructor), bringing her roughly to his level as a fencer.

After a few months Grandpin realised that de Troïl was Damasque, though he did not mention it.

Vengeaaance !

In 1625, Damasque realised that honour demanded that she fight the one swordsman against whom she couldn’t prevail – the Condor. On the night before she had too much to drink and made Grandpin her lover, also formally revealing her double identity.

As she expected, she was then seemingly killed by the Condor – actually her father, Gabriel de Troïl. Intercepting a letter by de Troïl to his daughter, Grandpin realised what had happened.

The Condor had returned to the New World, and Grandpin gave chase. In his bullheaded, enraged thirst for vengeance, he attempted to cross the Atlantic alone in a glorified rowboat.

He survived by sheer luck, first being rescued by an English corsair who kept him as a potential hostage, then sabotaging the English ship and being rescued by a French vessel which the corsairs had been chasing.

German Grandpin (Masquerouge 7 vies de l'Epervier) combat dans un cellier

Once in New France, Grandpin heard about the Condor in Québec, and chased him to Trois-Rivières. A Jesuit, Jean de Brebœuf , and a local guide nicknamed “Silly Goose” (whom, as Grandpin only realised days later, was actually bilingual in French) accompanied him.

Despite being caught in a three-way feud between the Montagnais (as the French called some Innu peoples  back then), the Iroquois  and the Algonquins , Grandpin eventually found de Troïl. However, an encounter with corrupt French trappers forced him to let his former comrade leave unmolested – though he told him that the Damasque he had slain in a duel was his beloved daughter.

Against all odds, the chase continued in the Saint-Lawrence area. Grandpin met several Indian tribes, some Jesuits, and Leonard the Glib-Tongued (whom he correctly assumed was the Devil). He also allied for a while with the famous woodrunner Etienne Brûlé  – woodrunners being Frenchmen raised by local tribes in order to learn their languages and customs.

Venngeaaaannnce !

Though Grandpin assumed for a while that the Condor had been killed whilst crossing rapids, he eventually discovered that he had taken over an Onondaga  warband – who called him the Thunderbird. Montagnais warriors agreed to accompany Grandpin and Brûlé to raid the Onondaga in Outaouais.

The raiders failed and were slaughtered. Brûlé was tortured and Grandpin only got the woodrunner and himself out alive through sheer luck.

The two Frenchmen only survived by the skin of their teeth, and were saved by a Francophone Mohawk  tribe – one not allied with their Onondaga relatives commanded by the Thunderbird. Grandpin became very popular among these Mohawks (particularly the children), and won a friend – Handsome, the youngest son of the chief Old Beaver.

During his adventures, Grandpin received infernal dreams inspired by Leonard the Glib-Tongued. In these dreams, Ariane de Troïl was still alive, albeit deeply shocked, and pregnant with Grandpin’s child. These dreams being so realistic, the unsettled Grandpin came to believe that they were true.

Old Beaver’s wife, the witch Old Otter, also had magical visions of Ariane de Troïl that confirmed Grandpin’s.

By 1626, Germain Grandpin — still clad in the Iroquois manner — was back in France, thanks to a sympathetic British ship captain, to investigate these dreams.


Description

Grandpin often wears his old uniform of the Gardes Françaises, in royal blue with golden yellow motifs. As years go his belly grows and his hair whitens.


Personality

In the 1970s stories, Grandpin was mostly comic relief. In later stories he grew into something more akin to a Captain Haddock  figure – bigger-than-life, vituperative, bombastic, alcoholic, loyal, occasionally naïve and generally open about his strong emotions.

He greatly enjoy inns and brothels, especially after having been imprisoned for more than 6 years at the Bastille.

Another trait is his unreasonable, bull-headed, blinkered determination. He *will* attempt to do anything he swore he would, not matter how manifestly impossible, to the death.

This resolve saved his life several times in Canada. Tribals sensibly assumed that he was insane, and thus touched by the spirits – making him a valuable guest in the tradition of most tribes in the area.

Germain is more or less Huguenot, though of course he doesn’t advertise it. He’s fond of swearing “fawn’s belly !” – a phrase that’s probably derived from a then-popular swearing phrase (“ventre saint-gris !“) meant to technically avoid blasphemy.

He has various other colourful swear phrases (“Billy goat’s spunk !”, “God’s holy crap !”, etc.) albeit they do not reach the level of a schtick outside of two Captain Haddock hommage scenes.

Learn, long and prosper

While Germain isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, he can usually compensate using his considerable experience – and his sheer determination. That he isn’t too smart isn’t obvious in familiar situations (especially since he’s well-spoken), but becomes clear when he has to adapt to something new.

His usual approach in such situations is to brute force his way through rather than observe and analyse.

Like many of his contemporaries, Grandpin dismisses folks of colour as bestial savages. However, some basic understanding, interest and respect for the various native nations in New France eventually percolated through his thick skull.

Having to actually think about what he was doing, and to try to understand all these strange people and their customs and milieu, made Grandpin considerably smarter, wiser and more open-minded than before. He eventually sided with the Iroquois, realising that the French and the English (and, to a smaller extend, the Dutch) would just destroy the hapless tribals over the following decades.


Quotes

(Approaching a soldier harassing a kid) “Allow me to introduce myself – Germain Grandpin, currently corporal with the twentieth regiment of the Gardes Françaises, tasked with protecting the royal offspring. As it happens, my duties sometimes leave me with some idle time. Depending upon my mood, I might spend such drinking some bordeaux…” (draws his sword) “…or rescuing young maidens pestered by floppy wankers ! C’mon, young half-dick, en garde ! Find your courage now that you face a man !”

“Well-spoken indeed Sire, for wine is necessary to man ! God does not forbid it, otherwise He would have given us bitter grapes ! And, fawn’s belly, Christ did not turn wine into water, but the other way round !”

“I can’t stand war. I gave away the finest days of my youth to it, and received nothing in exchange. War is but a bitch. Surely, there are other ways to reach some agreement between people of good will.”

“I’ll get you, you dirty old bastard ! Mangy dog ! Blood pig ! Scoundrel ! Yellow-bellied bitch ! Nincompoop ! Wretched soul ! Energumen ! Thin-gilded Guignol ! Milquetoast ! Lowlife ! Otiose halfwit ! Old radish !” (etc. etc. etc.)


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Germain Grandpin

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Upholding Good
Int: 04 Wil: 02 Min: 05 Occupation: Servant, former soldier
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 012 HP: 025

Skills:
Animal handling (Horses): 05, Artist (Cooking): 03, Weaponry (Fencing): 08, Weaponry (Melee, Firearms): 05

Advantages
Familiarity (Military equipment and protocols, Chess, Swearing, Iroquois Confederacy customs), Schtick (Goonbane, Flashing blades), Misc.: many Iroquois Confederation tribes consider him insane, and thus to be treated with respect

Connections:
Ariane de Troïl (High), Jean de Brebœuf (Low), Handsome (High)

Drawbacks:
Dark Secret, SIA toward Honour, Attack Vulnerability (-1CS OV/RV vs. Persuasion attempts to have him buy/trade something), Misc.: Grandpin doesn’t know how to swim, Misc.: Grandpin has very little education (for instance, he knows next to nothing about arithmetics)

Equipment:

  • French-style rapier [BODY 04, EV 04]
  • Parrying dagger [BODY 05, EV 03 (04 w/STR), Misc.: can Block lighter blades like a full-sized shield]. It’s not an actual main-gauche, but it can be thrown in a pinch. Germain usually fights with but his rapier, though.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Helper(s): Darci

Writeup completed on the 6th of March, 2015.

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.