(February 1779)

Val	Char	Cost	Roll	Notes
18	STR	8	13-	Lift 303.1 kg; 3 1/2d6 HTH Damage [2]
20	DEX	30	13-	OCV:  7/DCV:  7
20	CON	20	13-
16/32	BODY	12	15-
20	INT	10	13-	PER Roll 13-
18	EGO	16	13-	ECV:  6
30	PRE	20	15-	PRE Attack:  6d6
20	COM	5	13-

6	PD	2		Total:  6 PD (0 rPD)
4	ED	0		Total:  4 ED (0 rED)
4	SPD	10		Phases:  3, 6, 9, 12
10	REC	4
40	END	0
40	STUN	5		Total Characteristics Cost:  146

Movement:	Running:	7"/14"
		Leaping:	3"/6"
		Swimming:	4"/8"

Cost	Powers & Skills
9	I Will Not Die While Angelique's Murderer Still Lives:  +16 BODY; Only To Stave Off The Point Of 
	Death (-2), No Figured Characteristics (-1/2)
	Martial Arts:  Expert With A Pistol
	Maneuver	OCV	DCV	Notes
5	Distance Shot	+0	-2	Strike  , +1 Segment
5	Moving Shot	-1	+0	Strike  , FMove
4	Quick Shot	+1	+0	Strike, +2 DC
2	Weapon Element:  Flintlocks, Wheellocks

	Martial Arts:  Master with a Blade
	Maneuver	OCV	DCV	Notes
4	Disarm		-1	+1	Disarm; 28 STR to Disarm roll
5	Lunge		+1	-2	7 1/2d6 Strike
4	Parry		+2	+2	Block, Abort
4	Riposte		+2	+2 	+2 DC, Strike, Must follow parry
4	Slash		+0	+2	5 1/2d6 Strike
5	Thrust		+1	+3	3 1/2d6 Strike
4	Void		--	+5	Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort
1	Weapon Element:  Blades

1	The Sinclair Constitution:  Healing 1/2d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2); Extra Time (1 Week, -4 1/2), 
	Self Only (-1/2)

9	Contact - Earl St. John, Second Lord of the Admiralty, Head of His Majesty’s Intelligence Service 
	(Contact has access to major institutions, Contact has significant Contacts of his own, Contact 
	has:  very useful Skills or resources, Very Good relationship with Contact) 12-
8	Contact - Sir David Rothburne, Baronet, Chief Quartermaster for His Majesty’s Intelligence Service 
	(Contact has access to major institutions, Contact has:  extremely useful Skills or resources, 
	Very Good relationship with Contact) 11-
7	Fringe Benefit:  Right to Marry (can perform the marriage ceremony at sea only), Senior Post 
	Captain in the Royal Navy
15	Money:  Filthy Rich
	Notes:  With a fortune worth over 900,000 pounds sterling Sinclair is one of the richest 
	men in England.
4	Reputation (A large group) 11-, +2/+2d6
	Notes:  Almost everyone has heard of the Hero of the Battle of the Ladies.
3	Absolute Range Sense
3	Absolute Time Sense
3	Ambidexterity (-2 Off Hand penalty)
6	Combat Luck: 6 PD/6 ED; Half effect vs small arms, no effect vs melee weapons (-1)

5	+1 With HTH Combat
10	+2 With Pistols
3	+1 With Bladed Weapons
9	+3 With Swords

1	Bureaucratics 8-
9	Climbing 16-1	Forgery (Papers) 8-
3	High Society 15-
1	Inventor 8-
1	Lockpicking 8-
1	Mechanics 8-
4	Navigation (Marine) 14-
1	Navigation (Land) 8-
1	Paramedics 8-
3	PS: Basic Seamanship 13-
5	PS: Naval Officer 15-
3	PS: Writer 13-
7	Riding 15-
3	SS:  Astronomy 13-
1	SS:  Biology 8-
2	SS:  Chemistry 11-
1	SS:  Geology 8-
3	Stealth 13-
3	Survival (Temperate/Subtropical, Marine Surface, Tropical Coasts/Pelagic Environments) 8-
11	Tactics 17-
6	Strategy 14-
3	Trading 15-
8	TF:  Carts & Carriages, Equines, Large Military Ships, Large Rowed Boats, Large Wind-Powered Boats, 
	Rafts, Small Military Ships, Small Rowed Boats, Small Wind-Powered Boats
9	WF:  Blades, Early Emplaced Weapons, Flintlocks, Off Hand, Ship's Guns, Staffs, Thrown Knives, Axes, 
	and Darts, Unarmed Combat, Wheellocks
10	Two-Weapon Fighting (HTH) ~ Florentine Style 
3	Linguist
3	1)  Language:  French (Completely Fluent, w/Accent; Literacy)
	Notes:  only literate at the Basic Conversation level
1	2)  Language:  Latin (Basic Conversation; Literacy)
2	3)  Language:  Mandarin (Fluent Conversation; Literacy)
	Notes:  Only Literate at the Basic Conversation level
2	4)  Language:  Scots Gaelic (Completely Fluent, w/Accent)
4	5)  Language:  Spanish (Idiomatic, native accent; Literacy)
3	Scholar
2	1)  KS: Dance 13-
2	2)  KS: European History 13-
2	3)  KS: Flag Signals 13-
1	4)  KS: Law 11-
5	5)  KS: Map-making 15-
2	6)  KS: Naval Architecture 13-
2	7)  KS: Naval Gunnery 13-
2	8)  KS: Play the Guitar 13-
1	9)  KS: Read Music 11-
4	10)  KS: Sing 14-
2	11)  KS: Weather Prediction 13-
3	Traveler
5	1)  AK: East Indies 15-
1	2)  AK: Eastern Med. 8-
1	3)  AK: English Channel 8-
1	4)  AK: Far East 8-
1	5)  AK: Irish Sea 8-
4	6)  AK: North America 14-
1	7)  AK: South America 8-
1	8)  AK: West Indies 11-
1	9)  AK: Western Med. 11-

Total Powers & Skill Cost:  305
Total Cost:  451

100+	Disadvantages
10	Dependent NPC:  Doctor Fred Bassingford, best friend 14-, Slightly Less Powerful than the PC, 
	Useful Noncombat Position or Skills
5	Distinctive Features:  John Sinclair's Name Is Recognized Across Most Of The Civilized World. 
	Easily Concealed, Noticed and Recognizable, Detectable By Commonly-Used Senses
10	Physical Limitation:  Reckessly fearless at times (Infrequently, Greatly Impairing)
15	Psychological Limitation:  Code of Honour (Common, Strong)
15	Psychological Limitation:  Hunting Gerard Leveque (Uncommon, Total)
15	Psychological Limitation:  Must Avenge Any Wrong To Friend Or Family (Uncommon, Total)
5	Social Limitation:  Subject to Orders Occasionally (8-), Minor
276	Experience Points

Total Disadvantage Points:  451

Background/History: John Sinclair was born on 12 September 1735, the first born of Andrew Sinclair, a wealthy magistrate, and his wife Mary (Burke) Sinclair at the family estate of White Oaks outside the town of Thornbury in county Gloustershire just a dozen miles north of Bristol. Scion of one of the richest families in England young Sinclair grew up with the best of everything yet somehow never grew overly pretentious over it. Even as a very young child he interacted well with others from a wide variety of the social spectrum, be they Gentry, Merchant or Working class.

Educated mainly by a series of tutors Sinclair showed a flair for both theoretical and practical matters very early on and advanced rapidly in his studies. But despite his uncle being a Cambridge professor the academic life held no great allure for Sinclair, it was the sea that had claimed his soul and the sea that would have him. After much cajoling his parents reluctantly gave their permission and with a nudge from his grandfather, Sir Thomas, he entered the King’s Navy on 14 September 1748 as a midshipman aboard HMS Tyche, 50 under the command of a friend of his Uncle Henry, Captain Donald Vincent.

It was quite an experience to go from a life of luxury to one of hardship and the demands of a Man o’ War’s discipline but Sinclair thrived on it and swiftly gained a reputation of being a real go-getter aboard the big fourth rate and within a very short time his natural talent for leadership had moved him to the forefront of the ship’s gunroom. However in time everything must come to an end and after just under thirty-four months Tyche paid off on 8 June 1751, in those days appointments were hard to come by and thus unable to secure another posting young Mr. Midshipman Sinclair returned home to White Oaks in time to attend the funeral services for his younger brother Robert who had died of pneumonia just a day earlier at the age of eight.

Still without prospects for employment in September, Midshipman Sinclair attended classes at Cambridge Trinity College until he was able to obtain new appointment on 21 March 1752 aboard HM Brig Dagger, a 14-gun Brig of War employed as a courier between Whitehall and Antigua. After a year and a half as the brig’s senior midshipman Sinclair passed his lieutenant’s examination with flying colours on 17 November 1753, unfortunately this put him in a severe quandary: continue to serve but as a midshipman deferring his commission until a lieutenant’s post was available or except his commission immediately but go on half-pay. Although he was quite willing to continue as senior midshipman he realized that his captain would find it far easier to find a replacement for him then and there rather than some nebulous point in the future when Dagger might well be at sea. Thus Sinclair was commissioned a lieutenant only to be placed on half-pay where he would remain until the Seven Years War began in the middle of the next year.

In time John Sinclair was posted as the junior lieutenant aboard HMS Angelyne of 24-guns and 492 tons on 2 August 1754. The little sixth rate had a very young company but it included a core of men whom had previously served aboard the little brig Dagger before she’d gone into the dockyard for a long overdue refit. Sinclair thus found many old friends aboard and made many new ones as well, sadly all to soon there would be very few left. Angelyne was assigned to Admiral John Byng’s fleet at the Battle of Minorca on 17 May 1756. The small frigate along with the rest of Admiral West’s Van Squadron was badly battered by the French under Admiral de Galissioniere. The little twenty-four’s frail timbers were shattered by the French cannonade while the main fleet under Admiral Byng hung back refusing to tack on more sail and engage In John Sinclair’s eyes it was an act of supreme cowardice, worse it was followed by the order to abandon the Minorca garrison to the French. As the only commissioned officer left alive Sinclair sailed Angelyne back to Plymouth with the hands working until they dropped of exhaustion each day and the pumps barely keeping the little ship afloat. In a final irony an Admiralty board condemned the ship as a hulk shortly after she arrived.

In March 1757 Lieutenant Sinclair gave evidence at Admiral Byng’s Court Martial. Although he knew that the trial was politically motivated he cared little for the reasons, all that mattered to him was that the man who had left Angelyne’s people to be butchered like cattle would pay for his cowardice. Following Byng’s execution Sinclair was posted to HMS Southampton, 32 under Captain Gilchrist as second lieutenant. Thus began John Sinclair’s career aboard the first of the modern English frigates, it was a career fraught with much peril and no small number of wounds as well.

In one particularly difficult battle against five French privateers on 25 July 1757 Sinclair was badly wounded by a pike thrust that pierced his left leg, fortunately the wound was a clean one and he recovered rapidly. Not many months after, on his birthday, the Southampton captured the 26-gun Emeraude after a hard-fought action, Captain Gilchrist named the still recovering Sinclair as prize master, he sailed the prize to Plymouth without incident and returned to Southampton in October.

Five months later came the action that cost Southampton her captain. In a fierce duel she battled the French frigate Danae of 40 guns on 28 March 1758; although vastly out-gunned Captain Gilchrist managed to capture the Frenchman however the severe wounds that he suffered in the fight had clearly disabled him permanently. The Admiralty retired him from active service after which Parliament awarded him a pension of some three hundred pounds.

It was not long before a replacement commander arrived aboard in the person of Captain Philip Mainwaring a highly competent Cornishman in his early thirties. Shortly after Mainwaring had taken command Southampton was assigned to Commodore Richard Howe’s squadron in the Bay of Seine. On 6 August 1758 the squadron captured the French town of Cherbourg and burnt the harbour front before withdrawing. This action set the pattern for Howe’s operations as his squadron continued to raid up and down the French Coast for another two years.

In a noteworthy action whilst he was in charge of the boats during a raid near Caen in June of 1759 Lieutenant Sinclair saved a lovely young girl of sixteen from three rapists and returned her to her father. The two promised one another that they would meet again when the war was over. A few months later once more in command of another shore detachment on one of the raids, this one on a foundry of artillery near Rouen, Sinclair cut through a cordon of French troops to rescue the after-guard of the British landing force on 9 September 1759. Commended by Howe for his courage and daring Sinclair was promoted to Junior Post Captain, a rank that is quickly confirmed by the Admiralty in London.

Captain Sinclair was posted to command HMS Penelope, 24 a small 6th rate frigate, a sister ship to the little Angelyne, on 24 September 1759. The ship was assigned to the Leeward Islands Station where both she and her new captain proved themselves in action against both the French and Spanish. Sinclair had made good use of his previous service learning the essentials of command from Captains Hughes, Gilchrist and Mainwaring; with a few advanced lessons coming from Black Dick Howe.

Early in March of the following year he was joined aboard Penelope by his old and dear friend Alfred Bassingford, whom had just completed seven years of study at three different Universities to become a physician. Bassingford had not been aboard for a full month before Penelope went into a major action, capturing the French corvette Brigitte, 24 on 11 April 1760 in what would later become known as the Battle of the Ladies off the coast of Virginia.

Following her repairs at the New York dockyard, during which Sinclair found his presence much in demand as it seemed that everyone wanted to meet the ‘Hero of the Battle of the Ladies’, Penelope was transferred to that station on 29 May 1760; over the next twenty-five months Captain Sinclair fought his way across North America bringing the enemy to battle on literally dozens of occasions. In the course of his two-year whirlwind Sinclair and his Penelope engaged and destroyed or captured 11 ships and 23 coastal craft.

But all was not fire and death during those two years for while in Canada in 1761 Captain John Sinclair met the girl he had saved years earlier, following a whirlwind courtship he and his lovely Angelique were married on 11 April 1761 in New York. They spent just fourteen months in the little cottage he had bought for her on John Street before Penelope returned to Portsmouth for a well-earned overhaul on 9 August 1762 her company having paid off. Captain Sinclair was given three months leave while the frigate was in the dockyard, but with the signing of the Peace of Paris the ship is ordered laid up and Captain Sinclair placed on half pay.

On 21 March 1763 Sinclair returned home from a meeting in Bristol to find Angelique shot by her half brother Gerard’s hand when she had refused to betray her husband, she had been six-months pregnant with their first child. Although Doctor Bassingford was summoned at once he arrived too late and she died in John’s arms even as Gerard made his escape. Gerard was tried and convicted of murder in absentia, Sinclair swore vengeance on him putting a bounty of five thousand pounds on the Frenchman’s head, but within a few weeks he had sunk deeply into depression. Slowly the ceaseless efforts of Bassingford, his cox’n MacGregor and friend George Therrien managed to bring him out of the worst part of it.

Sinclair was posted to command the 28-gun frigate Argo on 6 February 1764, Argo was assigned to a variety of standard duties over a seven year long commission that took them from the Irish Sea to the South Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Far East. Always brave, Sinclair had become almost recklessly fearless during this period to the grave concern of Alfred Bassingford, however by the time they returned from the Far East Sinclair’s aggressiveness seemed back to normal.

Soon after, Argo was paid off on 20 March 1771, within less than a week Captain Sinclair had been posted to command a new ship. This time she was the frigate Arethusa, 32 assigned to the East Indies Station in Bombay. Most of their missions were simply showing the flag or expeditions to improve the Royal Navy’s charts of the area, punctuated by the infrequent battle with Arabian corsairs. Until the spring of 1774 when a more serious threat made its appearance. Arethusa, in company with the old Tyche, which was by this time under Captain Philip Mainwaring, went on the hunt for four French pirates that had been preying upon the ships of the Honourable East India Company. On 17 June 1774 the Frenchmen were brought to bay and defeated, three destroyed and one captured, but Captain Mainwaring had lost an arm in the action and was invalided out of the service. Outraged at such a cavalier judgement, Sinclair protested vehemently against this treatment of his former captain. In retaliation Earl Sandwich ordered him removed from command of Arethusa and placed on half pay again and there he would languish for many months.

As the Revolution in America gained momentum the Royal Navy was expanded back up to full strength in 1775. Captain Sinclair was offered command of HMS Lion, a new sixty-four, but feeling that he was a frigate captain first and foremost he turned the posting down requesting another frigate instead. Sandwich used this as an excuse to refuse Sinclair a posting. The request cost him eight more months on half pay until the Admiralty relented after his first captain, Donald Vincent recently elevated to Peerage as Earl St. John, became Second Lord and posted him to command the 32-gun Goshawk on 1 December 1775.

HMS Goshawk set sail for Spanish America on 30 January 1776 she arrived four and a half weeks later and began investigating reports that the Dons were supplying the Rebels with arms. Uncovering several weapon pipelines Captain Sinclair shut them down one by one. No evidence was found to conclusively show that His Most Catholic Majesty's Government was involved in the sale of arms, however suspicions had been raised.

On 17 July 1776 the news of the American’s Declaration of Independence reached Goshawk, the conflict had taken on a whole new character as both sides knew that there would be no turning back. Sent to northern waters Goshawk was ordered to Newport shortly thereafter. Under the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Bryan Sommervell KB as part of his Inshore Squadron, Goshawk fought in a series of actions over the next two years. While patrolling the approaches to Massachusetts Bay on 11 December 1776 she engaged an American frigate in the midst of a swirling snowstorm, the fight was inconclusive and the badly battered American retired to Boston while Sinclair brought his ship to Newport for repairs. Later Goshawk captured two blockade-runners loaded with French muskets and ammunition on 5 April 1777. Then acting on a tip from British agents, on 31 October 1777 Goshawk ambushed a smuggler loaded with powder and shot on Muscongus Bay off Northern Massachusetts, the Captain of the smuggler destroying his vessel to avoid capture.

Ordered to transport Rear-Admiral Sir Malcolm Parker KB back to England Sinclair engaged two French 28-gun frigates that attacked out of a fogbank on 18 July 1778. The battle was a close run thing but Captain Sinclair managed to defeat the pair of them. Goshawk however was a wreck and Captain Sinclair was badly wounded, his life was saved by the skill of his old friend Doctor Alfred Bassingford Goshawk’s surgeon, however it will be some months before he is fit for duty again.

Personality/Motivation: On the surface Sinclair is the perfect professional naval officer. He demands much from his subordinates but is unstinting in his praise when they get things right. He is fair, never asking for more than they have to give, tolerant of genuine mistakes and disciplining with a just hand when need be. His crew trust him implicitly; regarding him with near awe and for the most part those that have sailed with him in the past would lay down their lives for him without hesitation. Sinclair is well aware of this, although he does not show it, and strives to prove himself worthy of his crew's trust.

Underneath this layer of calm confidence however, is a man still suffering from the murder of his wife nearly sixteen years earlier. Even after all this time he is still desperately in love with his Angelique and longs to be with her again even if he must die to do so. But although he subconsciously longs for death, until he is able to find and bring Angelique's murderer to justice he absolutely refuses to die. It is this consuming passion to see his beloved Angelique's murder avenged that creates within him a fierce determination to remain among the living that has allowed him to survive the terrible wounds that he has suffered over the years. Once Gerard has been made to pay for his crimes however it is likely that John Sinclair will happily lay down his life in some heroic manner and join his wife in the undiscovered land that lay beyond the curtain of death.

Quote: “Run out your guns, Mr. Kent. These damned Dagoes have had their way for long enough. Let’s show the bastards what English frigates can do!”

Powers/Tactics: Sinclair is an expert pistol shot and a Master of the blade, having been schooled in several styles of fencing by English, Spanish, French and Italian Fencing Masters over the years. A first-rate strategist and superb tactician he is to be equally feared at sea or ashore. Though not a master he is a competent equestrian and, unlike many sea officers, is quite at home on horseback. He is a good navigator and expert seaman, and can 'hand, reef and steer' with the best of his Able Seamen. An excellent linguist he can speak six languages with varying degrees of fluency.

Campaign Use: John Sinclair is the main hero of the Uncommon Valour duology. This write-up shows him as he appears at the start of the story in February of 1779.

Appearance: John Sinclair is a tall, broad-shouldered man with deep green eyes and dark brown hair marked with but a few strands of silver at the temples. He stands six feet, one inch tall and distributes just under fifteen stone (210 pounds) on his well-muscled frame. His body bears more than two dozen scars as reminders of his various brushes with death, his face is unmarked however and he wears a neatly trimmed, pencil-thin moustache that gives him a rakish look that many find quite handsome. 

When not in uniform he favours suits of dark green or powder blue in excellent quality broadcloth. However he is no slave to fashion and will gladly appear in shirtsleeves or a heavy winter boat cloak as the occasion demands.

Captain John Sinclair created by John Stevens, character sheet created by the author.

Uncommon Valour can be found on

Return to Book-Derived HERO System Character Adaptations.