IN> Jesus' Carpentry

William Keith wjk26 at drexel.edu
Wed Aug 27 23:02:53 CDT 2008


It's sometimes pointed out that Jesus was a carpenter for longer than 
He was a preacher.  During that time, He did a lot of carpentry; and 
when someone whose birth was announced by Gabriel and flights of angels 
makes something, you can bet there are going to be a number of 
interested parties picking up samples to see what He made of it.

Turns out, it was carpentry.  No miraculous relic powers, no 
corporeal-artifact presence, no unusual Disturbance or effects on 
nearby Tethers, of either flavor.  Heaven and Hell -- which is to say, 
teams from pretty much every Archangel and Demon Prince extant at the 
time, multiple competing teams under several Demon Princes, and a few 
ethereal gods -- relicized pieces they had bought or stolen, took them 
to the celestial realms for a really *detailed* look at them, and found 
nothing.  Apparently He, in doing carpentry, was doing His human best 
to make stuff out of wood that would do the job it was designed to do.

This line of inquiry thus languished, until someone saw the point.  A 
few of the surviving pieces that could be positively identified were 
taken back to Earth and tried out in the role of their obvious 
functions.  They did the job.  Perfectly, in fact.

Jesus was a carpenter for a good 15 years or so, so while wood wasn't 
the most abundant material around first century Judea there are plenty 
of different types of artifacts possible.  The following lists some of 
the most common items that a woodworker might have made; the gamemaster 
is free to add more dramatic MacGuffin powers or invent other items.  
His carpenters' *tools* might have some noteworthy powers as well.

Tableware

      Probably the most common item He made was tableware: bowls, cups, 
and spoons.  Since they were cheap, and it was possible to group 
several items conceptually to relicize them as a set, they're fairly 
numerous among the surviving artifacts.  Tableware of Jesus holds 
(slightly) more capacity than you'd think at first glance, but resists 
spillage.  It never stains or adds unwanted flavor or aroma to foods, 
and is easy to hold, use, and clean.  It insulates hot or cold food and 
drink surprisingly well.  Employed for alchemy or to serve cooking, a 
set is such excellent equipment that it somehow grants +1 to effective 
skill.  Later experimenters also learned that a meal served by a Lilim 
of Gluttony using such utensils loses all power to set a Geas-hook, and 
poison that contacts the wood causes it to give off an intense sickly 
odor.

Handles

      Also quite common, these are prized by Laurence.  While they 
appear to be suited for attaching the blades of simple tools such as 
knives, sickles, and axes, the balance and heft of these handles are 
good enough to add +1 to the relevant weapon skill (and, in GURPS, 
Fast-Draw skill) when used.  This bonus does stack with Blade Blessing, 
or any talismanic bonus later enchanted into the item.  It's so easy to 
firmly attach the blade to the handle that the weapon resists breakage 
when used violently (mainly of use with the GURPS breakage rules for 
small weapons: bonus varies by size).

Boxes

      The next most common implement is a box or chest.  They hold 
things.  In fact, a Jesus Box is so sturdy it doubles normal hit points 
due to the good construction.  It seals well enough that items inside 
get a bonus to rolls to resist decay, whether normal aging or 
supernatural infliction of time or rot.  (If such a roll isn't normally 
granted for the power, penalize rolls to inflict such aging by the size 
of the box, in feet, usually 1 to 3.)  It never sticks -- unless 
someone is trying to steal something from inside it, in which case a 
Strength roll is always required to open the thing.  Heaven help a 
demon who gets a Divine Intervention on this roll.

Ossuary

      Technically a box -- an ossuary stores the bones of a deceased 
person -- this artifact is unique.  A fairly large and tastefully 
carved item commissioned by demons of Death, ostensibly for a wealthy 
family, it was rapidly tested to destruction as they found that it had 
no relic nature and discarded it incuriously on Earth, presuming it a 
waste.  The fragments were recovered by angels of Purity and 
reassembled by angels serving the Archangel of Death.  Any body shut 
within for at least a day cannot be raised as a zombie, possessed, 
turned into a Vessel, or otherwise be affected in any way by 
supernatural abilities.  Any undead or Remnant stuffed into the box 
before it is sealed shut is instantly reduced to bleached bones and 
disanimated -- a speculative consequence of the underlying theory 
suggests, though, that a vampire or mummy stuffed into the box, and 
left sealed for a full day, would have its soul released from a normal 
dead body.  To date none have been willing to take the risk.

Combs and Jewelry

      These small cosmetic items, neither cheap nor among Jesus' most 
common works, were picked up mostly by Trade, Greed, Creation, and a 
few Lilim working alone.  They only work for human women or beings 
presently in a female body.  The combs are sandalwood and never break, 
working out tough snarls with surprising ease.  Used in preparation of 
one's appearance, they grant +1 to Charisma until the user would next 
gain natural Essence.  Those that have been relicized retain their 
scent, and increase the bonus to +2 if used and then worn stylishly, 
something which takes some fashion sense and a Savoir-Faire roll to 
pull off.  Jesus Beads, usually necklaces and bracelets of ebony, 
sandalwood and olivewood, give a similar +1 to Charisma, which does not 
stack with a comb.  Those who attempt to take advantage of these 
abilities to enhance Infernal powers that require or grant reaction 
rolls find to their dismay that the bonuses reverse to penalties; the 
user's appearance is jarring compared to their actions.  Interestingly, 
this penalty does not seem to apply to Ethereal or Sorcerous powers, 
and several specimens have traded their way to the Marches.

Furniture

      Tables, chairs, and the like were rather expensive at the time and 
were not bought until people had found out that Jesus' carpentry really 
did have powers.  These sturdy items had lasted long and remained in 
use, and could be found by determined investigators.  The Furniture of 
Jesus has double normal hit points.  Resting on a chair, stool, or 
bench He made is very comfortable and relaxing, restoring Fatigue to a 
tired person at twice the normal rate.  The one identified table was 
fought over and destroyed in the battle; there is no knowledge of what 
properties it might have if reassembled.  One of its legs is now the 
Table Leg With Nails In (Of Jesus).  The owner Malakite (Creation IST 
the Sword) refuses to divulge what if any powers it has, or if 
Laurence's examination successfully granted it his Blade Blessing.  
Retrieval of the Table surface, now rumored to be part of several 
wooden shields for Habbalah in Baal's ranks, remains a longstanding 
mission.

Yoke and Plough

      This set of farm equipment (many ploughs at the time were wooden) 
was examined by a combined team of Jordites and Novalines.  Animals 
yoked to the plough (which reasonably fits most cows, oxen, yaks, etc.) 
are comfortable during the task and less fatigued after a day of work, 
tilling more efficiently throughout the day and able to furrow acreage 
some 30% faster.  Nutrients are distributed as well as the soil can 
manage with animal-furrowing, so that crops grown on the fields are 
hardy and bountiful.  A typical crop is nearly 50% above normal local 
yield.  The plough is no longer in use on Earth, and is enshrined in an 
area bordering the Glade and the Savannah, as a meditation object.  
Jordites still circulate the yoke in areas that employ animal labor, 
where it also has the property that a male and female of the same 
species which labor under the yoke for a day tend to be fertile 
together and have healthy offspring.  Humans willing to strap in and 
pull a plough for eight hours can benefit from the effect.

William



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