Cormac Payne

Archeologist and antiquities dealer


Cormac Payne
ST 11 10
DX 11 20
IQ 12 40
HT 11 10

Advantages: 40
Language talent 10
Danger sense 10
Patron (Fabian) 15
Tenure 5

Disadvantages: -40
Charitable -15
On the edge -15
Code of honor (pirate) -10
Quirk:likes races 0
Quirk:likes horses 0

Cultural familiarities: 2
Afghan 1
Arab 1

Languages: 34
English (native) 0
Pashto (native) 4
Urdu (native) 4
Arabic (native) 4
Hebrew (accented) 2
Latin (accented) 2
Ancient Greek (acc.) 2
Persian (accented) 2
Russian (accented) 2
Italian (accented) 2
Greek (accented) 2
Turkish (accented) 2
German (accented) 2
French (accented) 2
Spanish (accented) 2

Skills: 34
Archaeology:1 1 IQ/Hard
Animal handling (equines):1 1 IQ/Average
Armory (small arms):1 1 IQ/Average
Brawling:1 1 DX/Easy
Carousing:1 1 HT/Easy
Cartography:1 1 IQ/Average
Climbing:1 1 DX/Average
Connoisseur (antiquities):1 1 IQ/Average
Diplomacy:1 1 IQ/Hard
Driving (automobile):1 1 DX/Average
Fast draw (pistol):1 1 DX/Easy
First aid:1 1 IQ/Easy
Freight handling:1 1 IQ/Average
Gambling:1 1 IQ/Average
Guns(pistol):1 1 DX/Easy
Guns(rifle):1 1 DX/Easy
Hiking:1 1 HT/Average
History:1 1 IQ/Hard
Housekeeping:1 1 IQ/Easy
Leadership:1 1 IQ/Average
Literature:1 1 IQ/Hard
Naturalist:1 1 IQ/Hard
Navigation(land):1 1 IQ/Average
Observation:1 1 Per/Average
Packing:1 1 IQ/Average
Research:1 1 IQ/Average
Riding:1 1 DX/Average
Running:1 1 HT/Average
Savoir-Faire (high society):1 1 IQ/Easy
Smuggling:1 1 IQ/Average
Streetwise:1 1 IQ/Average
Survival:1 1 Per/Average
Swimming:1 1 HT/Easy
Theology:Islam:1 1 IQ/Hard


Cormac was born in Nassau County, NY, in 1899 to a wealthy family of antiquities dealers, owners and operators of Payne Books and Antiquities. Though the family lived on a fairly large estate in Nassau County, the family spent much of its time in New York City, parishioners at St. Peter’s Catholic Church and owners of a small building on 77th St, across from the American Museum of Natural History.

Cormac grew up at the height of the family’s business. The Gilded Age created a great market of extremely rich Americans, and by Cormac’s time some of them had been buying art, books, and antiquities from the family since Cormac’s grandfather was first starting out in 1868. At home, Cormac grew up around millionaires, politicians, and academics.

Cormac also frequently travelled on business with his father Michael, mostly through Europe and the Mediterranean, but also to China. Cormac’s international travel stopped in 1913, when he began attending Xavier High School. During these years, JROTC at Xavier was mandatory, and Cormac sought to drop out during the Great War to go serve. He was ultimately dissuaded by his father and family friend Fr. John Zahm.

In 1915, Cormac left for college at Notre Dame at the suggestion of Fr. Zahm, who worried that Cormac would join the military if he wasn’t immediately occupied doing something else. In Indiana, Cormac saw more virulent anti-Catholic sentiment than he ever thought possible, getting into many difficult scrapes with the locals before graduating in 1920. When the Great War ended, Cormac spent his summers travelling in Europe, partly to see the museums (and the devastation of the war), and partly to make him more self-reliant.

After studying classics and anthropology at Notre Dame, Cormac moved on to U Chicago to study archaeology, more interested in the adventure stories about his father, grandfather, and great-great grandfather than a routine job with the family business. He made his name on summer digs for Seleucid and Mauryan artifacts in Afghanistan.

After finishing his PhD in 1923, Cormac returned to a permanent job at the Kabul Museum with the Afghan government, spending much of his time on digs in rural Afghanistan. Cormac remained with the Afghan government until the end of 1928, when pressure against the government forced him to flee to India and make his way back to New York.

Cormac spent the next year working with his father at the Payne offices, and made many professional contacts. However, with the Depression, Cormac moved to Europe, where he took a job with Italian firm Napolitano & Sons.

Cormac Payne

The Adventures of Cormac Payne! cpalmer