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Some travel-related NPCs

Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:25 pm
by LoZompatore
In order to better connect the regions developed so far (Refuge Point, Port Kyna and surroundings and the island of Kelidra) here is a sample list of travelling NPCs with their means of transportation. The NPCs can represent a useful plot device when player characters need to move across the setting. The short background description attached to each NPC can be expanded into side adventures if needed.
In the following I divided the NPC list by their usual mean of transportation and by the place where the character can be more easily found.
Enjoy! :)

Character classes abbreviations: R= Rogue, F= Fighter, W= Wizard, C= Cleric
When not specified, the race is always "human".


SEA ROUTES:

Refuge Point:

- Gal Yervodden "the Slip" (R6) a very roguish captain, mostly drunk, commands the "Trahu", a new and fast vessel. His nickname refers to the little mistake he made when - utterly drunk and during a foggy night - drove his ship full of smuggled goods right into the military quay of the external harbour of Refuge Point. Having recently served his sentence he returned to the sea business with a new ship and crew, bought by using some of his well-hidden treasures.
- Agerin Agerios (F4) is the commander of the "Nocturnal Mist", the largest ship of his family's enterprise. He is a wealthy captain from a respectable and well-known historical family of naval entrepreneurs of Refuge Point. He is a polite, no-nonsense man who often acts as a smuggler unbeknown even to most of his crew. Under his ship there is a hidden flooded bay where a few mermen are lodged. They secretly load/unload waterproofed smuggled goods in the hidden bay, often hiding goods in well known places on the seabed, to be recovered in a later time.
- Lisyas Dermillo "the Poisoned" (C5) is in command of the "Dragon's Warder". It is an old but still reliable ship owned before her by her grandfather and by her mother. She is a very cold trader, mostly due to the fact that she has to work very hard to pay the accumulated debts her family owns to Hedimna (R5), a greedy usurer of Refuge Point. She does not involve herself in smuggling, and she is very strict to the law, as she does not want trouble with authorities (she fears she could lose the ship, and any income hope, is she misbehave while trading). Lysias attitude and her ruthless mercantile tactics earned her the nickname of "Poisoned". Not counting for the fact that actually a bankrupted rival once tried to poison her for true.


Elinna:

- Cerena and Risath Balvites (F5 and C4 respectively), a married couple in eternal internal squabble jointly in command of the "Yelling Stream". The ship is named from a legend about an elusive and mischievous sea stream of the Upper Aberrate who actually makes a loud sound. If found and correctly followed through dangerous and dire waters it lead to the place where the most wanted desire of any sailor can be granted.
- Rollett Therrimori (C7), a tall and taciturn old man who owns and commands the "Yiti's Javelin", named from a legendary triton hero of Joolim whose spear was said to pierce two barracudas with a single throw. He is seldom involved in smuggling, but only if smuggled goods can be stored in a small coffin and are of great value.
- Angibura "the Fly" (R6) is the commander of the "Aleir", a freighter owned by the Rhilzas, a large family of ship-owners. Angibura (his surname is unknown even by his employers) is a merry but cunning fellow, a skilled smuggler, a loyal auxiliary in Kelidran Navy and sometime even a pirate. He is nicknamed "the Fly" for his restless attitude: if not forced by maintenance or bad weather he is known to stop in a harbour not a day more than the necessary to load and unload his goods. His crew is usually very stressed due to the lack of rest but is also very skilled and well-paid.


Port Kyna:

- Morvep the Flattened (gnome, F5) commanders the "Nyskela's Foam", his name is due to the consequences his face suffered after a bitter tavern brawl against a gnoll in Port Kyna. A short-tempered gnome, Morvep hates gnolls and is a bitter competitor of Doard Seadiss, who he believes to be richer than him due to his (alleged) high-level frequentations in Port Kyna's elite.
- Doard Seadiss (gnome, R6) is the captain of the "Wavedipper". A pretty self-centred but brave commander, his courtier manners helped him to become the secret lover of Altiria Sallend-Coppernick (gnome, R2), second wife of Knurl Coppernick, in the hope of getting trade benefits. He recently started thinking that the risks of his love affair being discovered far outweigh the gains he got so far. He is a trade rival of Morvep the Flattened, though he think of it more like a sport activity that an actual enmity (which Morvep does).
- Bazanna Weedhair (gnome, C4) commandeering the "Galedaring". Her hairs were coloured green by a witch of the sea to remind her not trying to steal from her house anymore. She is known for her vast and detailed knowledge of the Gnomish Coast until 50 miles north and south of Port Kyna.



FLYING TRANSPORTATION:

Refuge Point:

Gareen Mosler (F7), one of the more skilful sky ship commanders of Refuge Point's Skytower. He often flies two Skytower's ships: the "Ironsail", the largest freighter of the enterprise or, when in need of a faster vessel, the "Unbounded Dawn" (this sky ship name came from a tale it once flew so far and fast westward that dawn actually lasted much longer than usual). Gareen is a pretty old man, a true specialist in his work, and also extremely rich. He does not bother smuggling goods anymore, as he had already accumulated enough wealth, although he could make an exception for very rare, valuable or important goods.


Elinna:

Viniper and Kisha Connistron (C6 and M5 respectively, two sisters) are the owners of "V&K Flying Convoy" of Elinna are the commanders of the "VeK", an odd flying vessel actually made of a train of connected hot-air balloons. While every balloon has enough room just for 2-3 people or an equivalent amount of goods, the train is made of up to a dozen of such devices, tethered together by long ropes. Viniper and Kisha use magic to fly around and attend to the balloons. They prefer to move goods instead of people, but they do not reject passengers, especially if they pay well. They are very honest people and they do not willingly involve themselves in smuggling or other illegal activities.


Kamos Landing:

Belor of Westmire (gnome, F6), a veteran from the Sunspear Crusade, owner and commander of "The Fallen Cloud" a dirigible-like flying vessel used mostly for transportation of passengers and non-perishable goods across the Lower Aberrate Sea. A slow but comfortable ship, it makes many stops on the islands between Refuge Point, Kelidra and the Fiori Hills. Belor hates most pirates and lizardfolks, to the point to be tempted to attack on sight any lizardfolk vessel he may happen to fly over during his voyages (his crew almost always manage to persuade him of the folly of such a gesture). Belor has secretly armed his flying vessel with a powerful steam-powered harpoon launcher and with very dangerous incendiary cans to be dropped on enemies (they can blow up his zeppelin if mishandled).


LAND CARAVANS:

Refuge Point:

Oschad Darumn (F5), Minia Driffel (elf, C6) and Iteriel the Bald (elf, R5) are the main shareholders of the "Two Springs Caravan" a large biennial medium-range caravan travelling the North Continental Road from Belewir to the Fortress of Khalarad, a voyage some 1500 miles long. The caravan is a large convoy involving up to 100 carriages, as many lesser merchants usually join the group during parts of the path. The caravan travels at an average speed of 5-10 miles a day, taking 7 to 9 months to cross the distance between the two cities, so a whole round trip usually requires two full years of travelling. The usual 2 year-long schedule of the caravan is listed as follows (month 1= the same as January on Earth):

Year 1:
Months 1-2: No travelling; stops in Belewir
Months 3-10: Travelling from Belewir to Refuge Point
Month 11: No travelling; stops in Refuge Point for 1 month
Month 12: Travelling from Refuge Point to the Fortress of Khalarad

Year 2:
Month 1: No travelling; stops in the Fortress of Khalarad for 1 month
Month 2: Travelling from the Fortress of Khalarad to Refuge Point
Month 3: No travelling; stops in Refuge Point for 1 month
Months 4-11: Travelling from Refuge Point to Belewir
Month 12: No travelling: stops in Belewir


Port Kyna:

Malista Thennin-Coppernick (gnome, F7) is the leader of the "Autonomous Coastal Gnomish Convoy", a would-be almost-self-propelled caravan of some 30-40 odd carriages covering the Gnomish Trail until about 200 miles north and 100 miles south of Port Kyna. The caravan collects the inventions of most gnomes involved in the self-propelled-vehicle technology along its path, although more traditional carriages and traders often join the group (not counting for the gnomish mounted regiment detachments who alternate on the escorting of the convoy over the trail). Traders-inventors use the caravan to test their creations on the field and get technical assistance from their colleagues. After more than 350 years of tireless and steady technical development from the more skilled among Fire and Air gnomes, the caravan is able to travel from 5 to even 8 miles a day before some machine breaks or needs refuelling. The slow pace of the convoy is compensated by the capillary trading which occurs throughout its path, so that major stops in large settlements are often quite short (a week on average). Malista runs the caravan only during the warmer months (months 4 to 9 included), as bad weather (especially cold and heavy rain) could make terrains very difficult to cross or seriously impair the carriages ability to move. Malista inherited the caravan leadership from her late uncle Senesen Thennin, who led it for almost 40 years, died without direct heirs and saw in his niece a talented trader. Two old time aficionados who had joined every caravan voyage of the last 45 years with their inventions are the mage Fillista Ilaron-Weasel (gnome, M12) and Shuja the Wanderer (gnome, R8 he comes from a city state of the north). Oddly enough, an old and "civilized" gnoll called Liviss (gnoll, F7) acts as Malista trusted counsellor and competent handyman thanks to his comprehensive knowledge of the Gnomish Coast wilderness.



UNUSUAL WAYS OF TRAVELLING:

Joolim/Refuge Point/Elinna/Port Kyna:

The "Joolim Underwater STagecoaches" (JUST) is the largest liner enterprise in the undersea city of Joolim; JUST is owned by Pau the Crafty (triton, R10) an old female triton, and it is made of some 30 "underwater stagecoaches" - actually giant empty bubbles of "blown pearl" able to carry up to 10 human-size people, pulled by trained dolphins. A human-size door enables people to enter/exit the bubble or to flood/empty it with water (depending if passengers are air or water-breathing creatures). Bubbles periodically emerge when dolphins need clean air, also enabling for fresh air refilling inside the bubble. Bubble-coaches network has stops in Port Kyna, Refuge Point, Elinna, Rorm and other major locations in the Lesser Aberrate Sea. The pearl-like shell of the bubble has some resistance to direct hits, but it cannot stand massive or prolonged attacks (think of it as some form of reinforced glass). Bubble-coach crew typically is made of a coachman and an attendant - usually tritons - both lightly armed and armoured, so they tend to avoid troubles by exploiting the large speed of their dolphins. Most lines have Joolim as the midpoint stop, but a few direct routes exist connecting important coastal city (such as the Refuge Point-Elinna- Port Kyna route). As a general rule, each route is serviced by at least a couple of bubble-coaches, going in opposite directions and alternating air-breathing to water-breathing passengers after every full trip. The Refuge Point-Elinna-Port Kyna route is served by four bubble-coaches, namely the "Kirukyn's Dart" (coachman Kyrkun, triton F6), the "Ivory Undine" ("coachfemale" Nyfra, triton F5), the "Pearly Glow" (coachman Palareel, triton C6) and the "Abranea" ("coachfemale" Abranea, triton R6). Extra coaches can be added in a few days if needed.

Refuge Point (Island of Felvor):

The "Extraplanar Voyage and Instant Travelling Academy" (EVITA) is a magical school of Refuge Point expressly devoted to the study of teleportations and planar travelling in the tricky planar environment of the Edge. Due to the risk of opening unwanted connections to potentially hostile environments the school is located in a small offshore island some 40 miles south west of Refuge Point. A strong military garrison is also placed on the island to help repelling extraplanar monsters and invaders. Centuries of careful studies and aimed experiments managed to create a few almost-reliable teleporting connections to not-too-far locations. No guarantees on extraplanar voyages were found so far, although experiments are performed on a regular basis. The school is able to grant "secure" instant travels to New Gronzi, Belewir and LLLLL. Instant travelling from the school to any locations in the kingdom of Kelidra is not allowed by local authorities.
Instant travel to "secure" locations is expensive but it has a 75% chance of success for every person teleported. 20% of teleporting attempts either do not work or drop the traveller some 3-18 miles from the scheduled destination, usually in a safe place. 5% of teleporting attempts are believed to move the unfortunate traveller anywhere in the Mundane Plane: just a few of such persons are ever hard of again.
EVITA's headmaster is Diffron the Shifted (M13; his nickname is due to the unpleasant consequences on his body of a failed planar experiment in his youth), the most competent teachers being the sorceress Thorsia the Elusive (M10) and Wheular the Farseer (dwarf, M9). The school has some 30 low-level students and apprentices. The military garrison has some 60 soldiers, including a few knights and the crews of two small military sailing ships, the "Inspector" and the "Kutan", who patrol the surrounding waters.
On the opposite side of the island a village called Felvor of about 400 people provides the academy and the military garrison with basic needs.


Appendix: The Flag of Neutrality:

Centuries of naval skirmishes between Refuge Point and Kelidra in the Lower Aberrate Sea led to the unspoken (and then official) agreement among most countries of the lower Aberrate Sea about the use of a dedicated flag showing the neutrality of its bearers. Any vessel wishing not to be attacked by belligerents during war-time conditions may display this flag and avoid persecution. By weaving this flag the vessel implicitly admits not supporting Kelidra or Refuge Point and it agrees to the following restrictions:
- Avoid any hostile action;
- Let on-board inspections from the belligerents, which could lead to the confiscation of goods believed to be used to reinforce the enemy.

The Flag of Neutrality is a plain, brick-red flag, easily recognizable against the azure colour of the sky. Abusing and cheating in showing the flag is a most deprecated action and it usually deprives the breaking vessel with any protection, making it comparable to a pirate ship that can be attacked at will.


More portfolios/suggestions are welcome! :D

Re: Some travel-related NPCs

Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm
by Chimpman
Zomp... you've been extremely busy ;). I really like this write-up - especially the Two Springs Caravan for some reason.

One thing I'm on the fence about is the Autonomous Coastal Gnomish Convoy... at least about it being of gnomish origin. Having a gnomish proprietor is fine as is most of the backstory, but I would try and tie this in with the Steel Ogres somehow. I'm thinking that their technology (scavenged after the war) could form the basis for many of the self-propelled caravans. I might also consider changing Liviss from a gnoll to an ogre (at least in regard to handyman duties), but I do like the idea of Malista having an old gnoll counselor as well.

Re: Some travel-related NPCs

Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:28 am
by LoZompatore
Having a gnomish proprietor is fine as is most of the backstory, but I would try and tie this in with the Steel Ogres somehow. I'm thinking that their technology (scavenged after the war) could form the basis for many of the self-propelled caravans.
Nice idea! We could say that most (if not all) the self propelled vehicles are actually former Steel Ogres war machines which were destroyed/abandoned by the humanoids after their fiasco against the Fiori Hilles' gnomes and their powerful incorporeal allies. Gnomes patiently tried to retro-engineer and rebuild them. Their best results on the vehicles are shown in the Caravan on a yearly basis or so.
I imagine it would be a very difficult task, as it is not very easy to adapt a 21st century-like vehicle to steam technology propulsion, especially if you want to keep in place all the machinery you don't understand, "just to save it for further studies". A nice adventure idea would be trying to stop such a machine which went awry due to excessive gnomish tinkering with it (maybe the gnomish inventors awakened also some idle weaponry they were not aware before...)

I might also consider changing Liviss from a gnoll to an ogre (at least in regard to handyman duties), but I do like the idea of Malista having an old gnoll counselor as well.
Sounds good to me: we could also have two assistants for her: Liviss the gnoll and Lurash the ogre. Maybe Lurash is actually acting as a spy for the Steel Ogres who are trying to assess if some vehicles' weaponry can still be scavenged or put in working conditions by the gnomes (a dedicated ogrish task force would be sent in place after a short time). Or, maybe, Lurash is just an outcast of the Steel Ogres, who was exiled due to his desire to know and learn from other races instead of trying to conquer/enslave them. ;)

Re: Some travel-related NPCs

Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:47 pm
by Chimpman
Love it. I'm thinking pretty much along the same lines.
LoZompatore wrote:Maybe Lurash is actually acting as a spy for the Steel Ogres wo are trying to assess if some vehicles' weaponry can still be scavenged or put in working conditions by the gnomes (a dedicated ogrish task force would be sent in place after a short time).
Which provides us with a great adventure opportunity! I can see an ogre attack coming at some point when the caravan is at it's furthest point from civilization. Their intent is to retake their (now operational) machinery and enslave the gnomes who got it working again.
LoZompatore wrote:Or, maybe, Lurash is just an outcast of the Steel Ogres, who was exiled due to his desire to know and learn from other races instead of trying to conquer/enslave them. ;)
Which could give us pretty much the same adventure opportunity as above, only in this case Lurash is not the traitor/spy, but is himself being spied upon.

Re: Some travel-related NPCs

Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:24 pm
by Boddynock
Marlow Bramhead (Half-elf, F8/M2) The so called 'scarlet scorpion' is, by his own personal biography, the bastard son of a skywood elf and a Qal'Tallion noble woman of an adventuring disposition. It should be emphasize none of this has been proven by genealogy, but to Dimitri the story holds enough water to be a rather dashing smuggler/travel captain. The Scarlet Scorpio is his paddle wheel ship and he travels (when available for transport work) between Port Kyna, Turtle Bay, and Topaz Bay to Refuge Point. While he does maintain an elven grace his mannerism and even name lend itself to favoring the human side. Like any good swashbuckler he also maintains a scarlet eye patch (that shifts between eyes) and a dashing red vest and hat. His crew aboard the Scarlet Scorpio are as follows.

Gimble Stotch (Gnome B6) Head security officer. Serves as Marlow's second in command. Gimble hails from Kamos Landing and has an ill look towards the house, especially to the corrupt House Weasel. Is affable fellow during the trip and entertains the crew by playing the pan flute.

Yorik Scar-Tail (Kobold F4) Hailing from the kobold city states, Yorik is the ships cook and suffers from viewing himself a culinary artiste who must suffer cooking the same 'slop' every night for the crew. When not cooking the kobold also assists in maintaining the ships swivel bombard cannon.

Ibera Bruma (Dwarf M6) Dwarven wizard and ships engineer he keeps the whole wreck running. Tries very hard to break the stereotype of being gruff with limited success (limited for dwarves that is.)

The Scarlet Scorpio is a gnomish paddle wheel. The mark 2 design to the somewht flawed steam powered gnomish side wheeler (S.P.G.S.W.) Not that a gnome knows how to say the acronym. The paddle boat sports a electro-magic turbine engine which in turn moves the paddle wheel forward. More often then not the ship requires to deploy sails due to A) The paddle wheel fuel source, trapped Will'O'Wisps have died in their power containers or B) Said Will'o'Wisps escaped their cells and had to be put down.

Re: Some travel-related NPCs

Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:12 pm
by Ashtagon
Boddynock wrote:...(Basically I wanted an airship with the standard dysfunctional crew for adventurers to interact with on their voyage. Also a ship that doesn't mind getting its hands a little into the thick of things for coin.)
Umm, I'm pretty sure "no easy air travel" is a core concept for this setting. Gnomes don't have to be all about the airship. Wet navy (and even submarine) are plenty fiddly to keep running too.

Re: Some travel-related NPCs

Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:18 pm
by Boddynock
Fair enough, I re-edited the Scarlet Scorpio to a gnomish 'paddle wheel' rather then an air ship.

Re: Some travel-related NPCs

Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:32 pm
by LoZompatore
Very nice work, Boddynock! I like this background a lot.

I think Marlow has a lot of potential, especially in linking the region we developed so far with more faraway places. Could we delve a little more into his past? Assuming his lineage is true, his parents are especially intriguing, as a Skywood elves should not be expected to merge with "natives" before they are fully assimilated. Marlow's mother could also be a very interesting charcater: what if she was one of the last descendants of an ancient Taltinian family? Was her husband truly in love with her or was he just trying to gather information from her about some ancient Taltinian relic/piece of info? Why Marlow came down to become a swashbuckler pirate-like figure?

Just a few questions for an intriguing character ;)

Re: Some travel-related NPCs

Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:08 pm
by Boddynock
Thanks and if the Skywood elves really doesn't sit well then feel free to change to some other older elven race. To be honest I haven't the slightest clue about his past and while I welcome any idea to it I personally would let the individual DM decide what to make of it. Whether or not he truly is a scion of an ancient kingdom (actually I need to read more on Qal'Tallion as I recall they are an ancient human empire?) Or if he's just kind of a con artist with a nice ship. So ideas and suggestions are welcome : )