Dungeon Situational – 20 Travelling Partners pt. 2
Right, where were we? Travelling companions eleven through twenty. Here’s one through ten if you missed them.
The softly spoken halfling dresses in soft leathers and expensive looking silks, but without much by way of ornamentation or showy colours. Her hair is a thick bundle of dun dreadlocks tied with a chord, and she goes barefoot most places while travelling. She’s hard to hear in the midst of heavy conversation, but happy enough to listen and participate only when she feels it’s her “turn” to speak, waiting for lulls where she might be heard clearly.
Those who ask questions about her will be treated to a rich and full life story, orphaned young by disease, left at the mercy of the wilderness that she survived only by good fortune, how she came to call the city streets a home, embracing them as a different – more bountiful – wilderness, she’s an interesting and insightful person, but intuitive people who listen may feel uncomfortable, as if hearing an incredibly well rehearsed lie. Matoban has an answer to any question, and her knowledge of both towns and cities is remarkable.
The dirty young man is uncomfortable sitting still, and fidgets endlessly. Clad in mixed rags of varying age, some plain, some patterned, and all fairly minimal apart from a woollen cloak that he either wears with a string belt in harsh weather, or loose around his shoulders in warmth. The only item he appears to carry of any value is a satchel that straps tightly to his waist, and features a heavy looking brass clasp.
Though perhaps only a teenager, Vladislav actually makes an admirable living as a courier. Fast, reliable, surprisingly capable of avoiding or surviving a scrap, he prides himself on having never failed a delivery, or even being late with his charge. His cheerful demeanour only dims when anyone offers to buy anything for him, refusing meals and drinks with something like anger, saying that he’ll “pay his own way”. He also gets annoyed when people ask him why he doesn’t own better clothes, or what he actually does with his money, always getting the answer “easy living”. What that means is uncertain, as he always seems to be working, never liking to stay in one place for long.
Though the Court of All Seasons are a predominantly elven religion, among the people of Palir they also find a strong worship among those who liken the Court with a collection of human gods, Mehregan, Oreadis, and Granny Parathrax. Dinejh works as a Provident in the Palir Theocracy, an ambassador to the other nations, sewing the seeds of faith and unifying the gods of all people, not wanting to convert, but to incorporate the religions of both elves and humans, so that the two peoples might come to understand one another more deeply.
Dinejh wears simple clothes of white, green, and grey, with a sash of fine bronze chainmail hung around his waist to denote his station. Jewellery of fine bronze wire around his ears mark him as a Paliran priest, mimicking the pointed ears of elves. He’s slow to judge the character of others, believing the best in people until they overtly prove otherwise, although he can become very judgemental when drunk, he’s rarely unpleasant. He takes the mantra of only wanting what is best for all people very seriously, even when there is a harsh cost to such actions.
Lucano “Coldblood” Gedero
Lucano wears his criminal background with a certain pride, although he speaks with greater pride of having been reformed by incredible circumstances. Cold to the touch, his tanned skin building a layer of condensation in warmer weather, Lucano has a streak of white hair despite his otherwise baldness, and is covered in jewellery of varying precious metals and stones, all of which must surely total nearly 50 gold. He’s capable of a certain amount of spell casting, and can summon from nowhere a sword of blue ice with a ragged, but no-less deadly edge.
Prone to a little selfishness, although quick to apologise and set right any complaints against his behaviour, Lucano may be a little unpleasant at times but he is a firm friend if permitted time to prove himself. Though he’ll gladly tell tales of his criminal past and the actions he has taken since to atone for it he will not tell anyone where his powers come from, or what he did to acquire them.
Among the deep dwarven mining concerns there is little call for specialists in personal adornment, jewellery and the like is seen to be an impractical and pointless pursuit outside of ceremonial occasions, so Forhal’s natural aptitude for those aesthetic concerns that appeal mostly to humans and halflings took her out of the darkened underground halls and deep cities of the underkings, and into the greater world. While other artisans of her clans went on to practice masonry, statuary, and metal work in more practical forms, she pursued her true calling, out in the daylight.
Blonde hair weighed down by examples of her work, and sporting a thick goatee not uncommon on dwarven women, Forhal still wears the Chainbeard family insignia proud on her left arm, a dwarf face with heavy chain links hanging from the chin. She carries with her the tools of her trade, fine metal working tools, and even a portable kiln. She’ll gladly hire a band of honest and capable folk to protect her as she travels, and she has a very keen eye for those who are dishonest and incapable.
High elf, female
The rivers and lakes of the elf controlled lands are the life’s work of Aelida, in her more boastful moods (read inebriated) she will proudly proclaim that her work of the last century has seen the lonesome folk of her nation sail the seas and finally reach out to others. She is not a heavy drinker, but years of travelling with human and dwarf sailors on boats of her design have taught her certain bad habits that make her coarse and worldly compared to other elves, though still aloof and refined compared to the company she now keeps.
Typical of her race, she is tall, angular, but with calloused hands from decades of hard work crafting boats for rivers and ships for sea. In her pack are a collection of wood-bound scrolls of cloth, into which her designs are sewn rather than drawn or painted, a practice which she maintains causes her to embrace the fluidity of water while creating, and makes her plans more resilient in the face of water damage when some clumsy human hand inevitably loses a scroll overboard.
Those travelling by boat will likely find one or other member of the Bakebread family in the marshy wetlands, but only young and impetuous Doshee is likely to engage in conversation for longer than trying to sell fresh fish. The young girl will bombard the more interesting looking travellers with questions about their journey, new stories, future plans, and the wonders of far off lands. The habit makes her a superb saleswoman, but she’s secretly fishing for an invitation to join some group on their travels.
She, like the rest of the Bakebreads, is an accomplished fisher, and for however long she joins her new friends they shall eat well on freshly caught trout and salmon, which she cooks to perfection. She takes compliments with a sadness, as if fishing and cooking fish is a destiny she longs to escape, but any fright or thrill of adventure is enough to send her back to the safety of home, badly feigning homesickness. Doshee wears a small coracle as a large hat, and carries her paddle like a weapon, a minuscule craft big enough for her to sit cross-legged with a few large fish with comfort.
Jian Uthin, The Keg-Carrier
With a barrel strapped forever to his back, and a friend in every town and city, the name Jian Uthin should be better known, but if anyone were to ask about “The Keg-Carrier” they’ll be swarmed with joyful responses. The little old man with his wrinkled olive skin says little to nothing, speaking more with his wares than his words. He wanders the countryside in pursuit of herbs, spices, fruits and flavours to bring home to his master-still, a brewers workshop the size of a temple in which dozens of barrels brew small samples of unique and wondrous alcoholic concoctions.
The barrel on his back seems to always slosh with some light red fluid, untraceable yet unmistakable flavours that no two people can quite agree on. He shares willingly, but will never share the recipe. The few words he ever utters are usually offers of a sip, requests for company, and – so they say – on his fifth night with any new band of travelling companions, if he likes them enough, he’ll tell the story of the demon he got so drunk that he managed to kill the beast with a slipper.
Kulth, The Tall Shadow
The shortsword at his side looks like a dagger in the hands of a half-giant. Covered in tattoos more akin to that of human tribes than goliath, no striking lines and patterns, instead he is covered in symbols, animals, weapons, and across his shoulders a garden of skulls that blossom from rose stalks. Shockingly capable of vanishing into a doorway or alley, he even seems to disappear when stood between two brightly lit windows, something in his size or stone-grey complexion make him seem part of the masonry perhaps?
Kulth is scary to be around, his every sentence seems like a thinly veiled threat, but he’ll often prove astoundingly loyal to anyone who shows him kindness or generosity, even if he remains reserved and slow to trust. He vanishes shortly after arriving in any town, but will make plans to reconvene as soon as possible, meet regularly with members of any group with whom he travels, and will be keen to make a plan to leave town in a hurry. It seems he’s pursuing his own business, which may unsettle his new friends.
Wood elf, female
It is entirely true to say that Shy is a dog person, because she is far more at home among her pack of enormous hounds than she is in the company of people. Dark grey, ragged hair half obscures her face, leaving the tips of her ears and the tip of her nose slightly protruding, with the rest of her face barely visible. When talking to other humanoids, even other elves, she shifts uncomfortably from foot to foot, and will not look people in the eye, not that it’s easy to tell. With her dogs, she is authoritative, confident, calm and in control, periodically giving in to the urge to play with the younger puppies.
With nearly a dozen dogs at her side in frequent rotation from the local packs, she’s a peerless tracker and animal trainer. Her skills are not limited to dogs either, travel with her long enough and she can prove the equal of any creature with fur or feathers. Those with scales prove to be a sticking point, although she is not incapable of turning aside snakes and smaller reptiles. Once the challenge has passed and her companions express their admiration, she almost immediately retreats and shrugs off the praise.
That proved longer than expected. Let’s aim for something shorter for next week:
Three curses, they may form the backbone of an adventure, they may be minor nuisances, they may be something that a player can cause themselves.
A tavern, complete with denizens, rumours, secrets, and a menu.
Weapons with stories. They might be magical, they might have names, they might not, but all of them have legends behind them.