Meet The New Heroes: Reb Palache

There is no doubt among them, and no fear, and no thought that they might not be victorious. For do they not sail with Reb Palache, the man who consults with angels every night? Do they not bear good steel made in best Damascene fashion, and have they not always triumphed before? And this is just one ship, one lonely ship against which they will strike with a sword of wrath and fire.

Reb Palache, the Rabbi Pirate, features in “The Thirty-Ninth Labor of Reb Palache” by Richard Dansky, published in The New Hero Volume 1.

The titular hero of Richard Dansky’s “The Thirty-Ninth Labor of Reb Palache” is a Rabbi, and a pirate. To quote the story, “He is a trader and a teacher, a sailor and a spy, a diplomat and a pirate of bloody intent, an exile and a man who has prospered in a new land.” And he’s a man about to face a rival ship, bristling with cannon.

Richard pitched two stories to me for this project. The other one seemed great but I forget what it was, because this one was about a pirate rabbi, and that’s where I said “sold.” And then the piece came in, written in a stunning epic voice, rolling with the rhythm of the sea. The juxtaposition between holy man and buccaneer, which you might expect to be presented in a joking manner, instead acquires a mystical grandeur.

“It was Ed Kritzler’s excellent history Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean that first introduced me to Reb Palache,” notes Richard. “Here was someone who had combined the most unlikely professions imaginable, and who had literally changed the course of history. What author wouldn’t love to get their hands on a character like that?” Of course, the historical Reb Palache probably didn’t have a personal angel to discuss Talmud and tactics with, but one never knows.

Named by Gamasutra as one of its Top 20 Videogame Writers, Richard Dansky is the Central Clancy Writer for Red Storm/Ubisoft. His credits include critically acclaimed games such as Splinter Cell: Conviction. He’s also published five novels, most recently Firefly Rain, and has contributed extensively to multiple tabletop RPGs. For a brief time, he was the world’s leading expert on Denebian Slime Devils, but he doesn’t like to talk about those days. Richard lives in North Carolina with his wife and their inevitable cats. For more information on Richard, visit his website.

All New Hero artwork by Gene Ha.

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