Tuesday is here and that means we are looking at NPCs for our adventure this week and as we are in a city by the sea let’s explore the stereotypical people you would expect to meet in a sea-side city.
As to change up the pace a bit I used more of the Fantasy-Faces that I have previously generated as well as looking for a generic sea-faring half-orc image to suit what I had in mind for Rafnir. I think this will do and looking at pngwing.com they are open for non-commercial use which is great news for us.
As the water lapped at the side of the boat the muscle bound half-orc dipped his hand in the water as he turned the rudder towards the shore. The water was cold, uncharacteristically cold for this time of year and the tide, and normally he would be able to see the seafloor considering that the sky was clear however today it was dark and murky – a bad omen.
Unfolding the held sail he whizzed towards one of his nets. As his boat, the Seabreeze, skimmed next to his net he reached down and snared the net with his worn fingers and hooked it to the side of the boat so it wouldn’t come loose as he towed it closer to shore.
As he neared the shore he slackened the sails and slowed the boat so he could bring in his haul. Unlike the other predominately human sailors Rafnir was born with the strength of his orc father, this helped him with his particular style of netting.
Pulling up the thick coarse net he untangled the fish as he came across them which were fewer in numbers than normal which boded poorly for him. About half way through pulling up his net he came across something he didn’t think he would see, a severed hand. Examining the hand briefly he noticed that the skin was pale and covered in a very fine layer of iridescent scales. Looking at the cut that separates hand from limb he noted the irregular tears in flesh which looked like shark tooth, but when he looked at his netting he could see that it looks like what ever separated the hand from owner also appeared to have tried to cut through his net to free the hand. A futile attempt as the net was woven with a strand of admantine through the cord and enchanted by mages to be nearly unbreakable.
Putting the hand aside he pulled in the rest of the haul, not even a quarter the number of fish he was used to, and came in to dock his boat – that’s when he noticed the wailing from the houses at the base of Arciryas.
As he tied the last of the knots to keep his boat moored he hauled his find, the hand included, back to his home – finding his neighbour ashen faced sitting on the step outside of Rafnirs house
“Good morning Astrid, what’s happened?” He said, dumping the net and bucket next to his door as he squatted down next to the woman.
“Raf, something came into my house. They took my mother, well, took something from her. She is dead,” Astrid nodded towards the slightly open door, a beam of light from a window that pointed towards the sea revealed the still form of Ingrid, Astrid’s mother laying peacefully in her bed. “It wasn’t just my mother, others lost their husbands, wives, daughters, sons. I don’t know of a family who didn’t lose someone from their house early this morning.” Hugging Astrid, Rafnir just let his old friend weep. Looking into his house through the hole in the wall (where a window used to be) he saw his harpoon mounted on the wall. His cutlass and leathers from a lifetime ago glinting in the box at the end of his bed.
“Does anyone know who or what did this?” Rafnir asked, his hand looking back the strange hand in the bucket.
“No one seems to know. I did see only Jake talking to some adventurers who came through town just before you returned. I think they went to the keep to talk to Lord Blake” Astrid said, sniffing and drying her eyes on her sleeve.
“I guess I have to go talk to Lord Blake then.” Rafnir said as he released Astrid from his embrace and standing “Guess I better get dressed then, cant see the lord without my good leathers on”. Rafnirs mind was already on the ritual of putting on his armour and weapons. He would likely be giving honour to Umberlee in the days to come so he may as well look the part.
Lord Blake Trevally
The adventurers, if they can be called that, were the first people to have supposedly encountered the seaborne invaders and to not only survive the endeavour but to also kill one of their assailants. He didn’t believe the old hermit would still be living but the crazy wizard was the only one who, he believes, could manifest a way to find and combat the growing threat of these raiders from somewhere off the coast and if the adventurers could bring back anything that the wizard had been working on then that would be a boon for him.
“Sir, Rafnir is here to see you” Shelford, his page.
“Send him in” Blake called back, Raf was an old sailor in the city, amongst other things, and as much as Blake hated to admit it, the half-orc had been instrumental in his rise to lordship and the sailor knew it.
“Blake, good to see you old friend” Rafnir called as he strode into the hall clad in layers of cloth and leather, a long curved sword as hit hip and a harpoon strapped to his back. To Blake it looked like his old friend was gearing up to be a warrior again.
“Raf, what brings you here, I take it that you aren’t dressed like this just for old memories sake. I take it you have heard what has happened in the city early this morning then.” Blake said as he strode towards his friend, clasping his forearm as Raf exchanged the same greeting, the half-orc had lost none of his strength despite his growing years.
“I have just come from bringing in one of my nets and I found this” Raf said, reaching into his trench coat and bringing forth a severed hand “I don’t know what it belongs to, merfolk perhaps, but I did notice that the fingers have a very fine webbing between them” the half-orc explained as he demonstrated the webbing by moving the index finger and middle finger apart slightly.
“Ah, those adventurers were telling the truth. This looks to belong to one of the invaders that attacked last night, a party of adventurers that just left for old Petrel’s hut described seeing several figures come out of the sea and attack their camp last night. They managed to kill one of the assailants before they fled but before they could bring the body into town it disappeared seemingly with the tide.” Blake said, musing as he examined the hand. “Raf, could you do me another fa..”
“Favour and go after the adventurers to make sure they aren’t yanking your chain?” Rafnir completed for Lord Blake “I was going to take the hand to see old Pestrel next any way to get him to tell me what this was from.” Rafnir said as he waved the hand to emphasise his point before stuffing it into his pocket and walking towards the door. “Oh and Blake, one last thing. The waters are dark and cold – I know you don’t believe in bad omens or anything like that but just be careful. There is a strong undercurrent at play here that I believe is bigger than we can see from the surface”
Blake just nodded to his friend as he left. After a moment he beckoned Shelford over “Get word to the patrols. We need them off the roads and back into the city. I won’t lose a battle on my own turf, we will defend the sea. Also, see if we can get word to our fleet – we will want them back to help defend the shore and waters.
Shelford saluted before running out the door.
Blake returned to his desk and chair and looked over the papers scattered over the table before his fingers touched a book he had been avoiding for days now The world which dwells below.
That’s it for tonight, a brief glimpse at two NPCs who live in the city of Arciryas which will help flesh out a bit on how they interact with the players and their characters. Remember that NPCs are what bring our game worlds to life, they are the ones who hand out quests, give rewards and provide insight and motivation for players to do the things they do so spending a bit of time to investigate who they are, who they were and who they aspire to be can be a good quick win for us in increasing the immersion for our games.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow where we investigate what twist we can introduce here, the more I think about this adventure the more sure I am that this will span over a few weeks worth of writeups, so after this week if we want to see more of the adventures around Arciryas let me know and I will explore a bit deeper, pun intended. Otherwise I will look at what other adventures we have in store for our party and see where we go from there.
As always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe