Concept: The Numbers Man
AKA: Joseph’s only nickname is the one above.
Desc: He’s like a living Drew Friedman drawing. Great big black frame glasses perched atop a remarkable bulbous nose. He had some work done on his teeth, so he’s got a decent smile. He’s lost most of his hair but for a bit of fringe. He dresses comfortably for a man who would prefer it’s a few degrees warmer than it is and tends to shuffle rather than stroll. On colder days, he walks with a cane.
History: Joseph was a smart young man growing up. His mother thought he might be a doctor, a lawyer, or even a respected rabbi. But sometimes, when you grow up in a rough neighborhood, you turn your intellect to more pragmatic pursuits. Especially if your best bud is Frankie Pentangelli.
So maybe you grow up hard. and maybe you make a few hard choices along the way. You take a little advice from your best friend and you set yourself up in business. You start out as a shylock, and you’re a decent earner because you understand that there are more ways to motivate someone to pay the vig than to break legs or throw acid in a child’s face.
Joseph had a true gift for mathematics, maybe not the high-end calculus requiring serious proofs. But still, a gift for running the numbers and percentages and be able to do it in his head. An ability to look at a spreadsheet and “feel” irregularities. And as he grew older, an ability to apply his knowledge of people in an almost mathematical way. To the point that when Joseph turns to Francis and says, “There’s a 27% chance that Tony Cannavale is skimming more than 6 percent off the top of his earnings. We can absorb about 6% percent without too much trouble. But if he’s getting greedy, then he’s getting stupid.” Francis hears that, and Tony has a whole slew of new troubles in his life.
So, while he runs the entire financial side of the Don’s business, he is also effectively the Don’s Consiglieri. He’s still the only one that Francis knows he can talk straight with. It’s a good thing that Joseph knows the sorts of things that he knows otherwise he’d be in some monster’s pocket. In addition, to his other skills, Joseph is a practitioner of Gematria and Kabbalah. Between him and the specialists they hire from the Vermillion House, Francis and Joseph, and their inner circle, stay well protected.
Attitude: “I’ve done some bad things. I’ve killed guys and I’ve hurt people. Nothing really balances that. But I’ve got my loyalty. I know who I stand with. I’ve built a life for myself and my wife and my children. and if I’m called on to do bad things in the service of all of that. I’ll do it.”
Skills: Physically, Shlomo is an old man, and creaky like an old man is. He’s nothing in a fight except he’s familiar with a firearm and in a fight for his life, he’s not above using an automatic weapon. His hands shake a bit, though. Socially, he’s fairly soft spoken and he’s never been exactly a social machine. He’s got a pretty good bullshit detector. Mentally, Well...Let’s put it this way. He’s a genius. Intelligence of at least 4. He’s got 4 dots of Academics with specialties in Mathematics, Psychology, and Hebrew. He’s got pretty decent dots in occult as well with specs in Gematria, Kabbalism, Sacred Geometry, and Geomancy. He’ll have one of the Hedge Magician templates from Second Sight (Probably the Ceremonial magician template.) On top of all that, He’s got Trained Observer as one of his merits. It’s HARD to slide things by him.
Gear: Joseph doesn’t have too much on his person that he bothers with regularly. He favors a leather wallet that he was given by his father at his bar mitzvah. He like wild cherry life savers. He has about a dozen little pocket knives, (He keeps misplacing them, so now he buys them in batches.) He has them professionally sharpened because you never know when you might have to cut a guy’s throat. His bodyguard keeps his phone which, is pretty gee-whizzy and top of the line.
Home: Joseph researched the land, bought and paid for it, and then designed his own house. It’s particularly well aspected in a Geomantic sense and is optimized for feng shui potential. Most supernaturals can’t come anywhere near the place. (If you like, you can make his home into a largish geomantic nexus from the Ordo Dracul book.) He also has an upscale summer home in Boca Raton and a yacht that his bodyguard Walter can pilot.
Circle: He and Madeleine still get along for the most part. Loves all 4 of his kids, (although Chaim tests him somewhat fiercely) He’s got people that he works with that he’s friendly with and a few people he knows at Temple. He tends to keep his circle small out of necessity.
“He’s a good man I think, and I think he’s likely to keep his mouth shut...But why take a chance?”
Francis has a large and robust organization and it deals with numerous dynamic situations. This means occasionally, decisions have to be made. Hard decisions. Decisions that may affect people that your characters know and love.
“If I were you I would hold off on having the sit-down with the Chinese until 4:30 on Thursday. The numbers are better then...”
Occasionally, the numbers do odd and unexpected things. So it might be that players will find Joseph an unusual and unexpected ally in some things where their interests connect.
* Obviously we've got to talk about Don Pentangelli. Each owes the other their life at least a couple of times over. As much as two mob guys can ever trust one another, these guys trust each other.
* The Vermillion House While formally a member of the House, Joseph doesn't tend to go in for those sorts of reindeer games. So, he only goes for the formal events, tends to go home early and isn't much for the decadence. He's more interested in getting things done on the golf course.
* Holmes, Gillis, Baker, Savage, North, and Dean On speed dial.
* John Joseph Staglione Knows him from the old neighborhood. Rock solid.
* Detective Marty Bennetti is useful for certain things. Joseph does sort of understand Marty, they've talked a bit. Joseph understands there's a line that can't be crossed with him.
* As far as Paul Castellamarese goes, Joseph sees him coming a mile off. He's talked with Francis about this...But Francis doesn't really see him as much of a threat.