Saturday, 21 July 2012

City State Encounter: Snowy and Charlie

Snowy and Charlie have roved the environs of my Judges' Guild map 1 for many years. Unlike Greyhawk, I run humanoid alignment as mutable in the Wilderness. The main reason for this is that I long ago linked the CSIO timeline up with the Gamma World one and so the monsters, demi-humans, and humanoids of the world are the descendants of those mutants who fought it out for survival in the aftermath of The Apocalypse's failed attempt to destroy the world, some 15363 years before.

As such, there is no supernatural origin to the races; orcs and so forth are not created by the powers of evil and so their alignment tendencies are just tendencies, albeit very strong ones. This allows for the odd freak gnoll or kobold who are neutral. Such strangeness in alignment is often associated with strangeness of character or other distinctive traits (perhaps mutations).

So it is with Snowy the albino gnoll and his sidekick Charlie the kobold master thief.

They appear on my wilderness encounter tables for the area around the Twilight/Rorystone Road where they make something of a living as anti-bandits but mostly they live as adventurers, exploring the old tunnels and forgotten strongholds of 150 centuries of warring wizards, high-priests and would-be demigods which riddle the area around the old planetary defence base now known as The City State of the Invincible Overlord.

Both NPCS despise bullying; Snowy because he comes from a race of bullies and Charlie because he comes from a race of bullies who are often bullied themselves. As such they enjoy disrupting any of the bandit gangs that occasionally set up in the long valley between Thunderhold and the City and may intercede against such a group if, for example, a weak PC party are struggling with such an encounter.

Otherwise, they are most likely to turn up near an adventuring locale looking for loot of their own.

They're not aggressive as such but life has taught them what to expect from humans and demi-humans who have never met a non-evil kobold or gnoll. They will be very cautious indeed in an encounter and are liable to flee (if not camped) or attack (if camped) at the slightest provocation.

Should a party manage to open parleying with them they will act as intelligent neutral high-level NPCs would, not even showing the especial racial dislikes that their races normally would. If they joined a party (which has never happened) they will expect double shares unless they feel that they are dealing with equals but even then they will require first choice of non-monetary treasure found when things are divided up.

Gnoll, S: 18/77, I: 13, W: 10, Cn: 17, D: 9; Ch: 14 (6 to gnolls), hp: 61 (d8 HD)

AC: 0 (chain/5 +3, cloak of protection +2), Fighter 9, Bastard sword ("Beast") +3 always used two-handed.

Attacks: 3/2 at CL of 14 (Ftr 9 with +5 to-hit for strength and magic) and damage of 2-8/1-12 +6.

Long composite bow, non magical but made for his strength.

Carries a couple of hand axes for throwing; these are non-magical too.

Sword, as above, cloak as above, plus:

Ring of Movement - allows first strike in any round even when the wearer has only a single attack or even slowed. Roll initiative as normal and either use the value shown or one higher than the opponent's score if that is better.

Sandals of the Gladiator. Appear to be normal high-strapped sandals but when worn prevent all overbearing attacks from opponents less than titans while allowing the wearer to turn and pivot so as to never be forced to present their back to an attack so long as they are aware of the attacker's proximity. Likewise, these negate surprise from any attack by someone who's presence is known even if their intent is not.

Holographic Chessboard. Aside from Charlie, this is the last thing Snowy will abandon in an emergency. Snowy plays Charlie regularly and he has a few long-standing wizard opponents who he holds his own with due to the amount of practise he gets. The board is a type of advanced super-strong plastic with computing circuitry embedded into it. The power-source is unknown to the pair.

Coffee Grinder. Like the chessboard, this came from an ancient bunker the pair found many years ago. the coffee in it is limited in quantity (a window allows the level to be seen) but is ever-fresh. They have been rationing it out for many years now and there's not much left. Anyone with a new supply will have a strong bargaining chip with the pair.

Various potions as the DM sees fit, but at least one of extra-healing.

Kobold, S: 14, I:16, W: 8, Cn: 13, D: 19, Ch: 8, hp: 41 (d4 HD)

AC: 0 (Bracers AC4, +4 Dex), Thief 13, Shortsword +2 & Dagger +2

Attacks: 1 double attack per round for 1-6/1-8 & 1-4/1-3 +2 at CL 9 (Thief +2 for magic).

PP: 135%; OL: 107%; F/R: 100%; MS: 116%; HS: 102%; HN: 50%; CW: 84.3%*; RL: 65%

Charlie has a sling and 2d8-2 +1-sling bullets when encountered.

Charlie carries a set of three throwing knives (1-3/1-2 at CL 7).

*Rings of spider climb and feather fall.

His dagger is a duralloy hunting knife made for some member of a hunting society of the late 23nd century and is even tougher than it is sharp - save at +4 and is unaffected by cold down to absolute zero. This is Charlie's prized possession and he will do almost anything to recover it if lost.

Bracers as above.

Charlie likes potions and tends to collect them even to the point of not using them when he probably should (although he's smart enough to not take this to extremes). When travelling (which is often) he'll normally select a couple of healing potions and he keeps a potion of speed for emergency use in case they are ambushed and outnumbered by serious opposition.

He can also be a bit of a sucker for a scroll.

The pair are obviously modelled on Fafhred and the Grey Mouser and their natural characters are similar, but tempered with a lifetime of prejudice based on their appearance. This has tended to blunt their natural good humour when dealing with strangers and even led to various crimes being hung around their necks when they had nothing to do with them.

The two have caches hidden in various places within 60 miles of the City totalling in the region of 170,000gp in hordes of 2d20x1000gp and will pay ransoms for each other's lives (if prisoners are well-treated, they may even not hunt you down and kill you years later when you least expect it!).

+2 Bottle Cap
Charlie wears little in the way of actual armour but Snowy's chainmail is festooned by inactive artefacts of their exploring - long-dead ray-guns of various sorts, lightsabre/vibro-blade hilts, and hundreds of bottle caps, mostly from old Pepsi bottles with the cursive script, which he particularly likes. ("Pepsi" is high-elven for "sweet" in my CSIO campaign and much of the high-elven speech and writing is in fact English filtered through  25 generations of long-lived elves).

Stealth is not something Snowy does and in fact his armour reduces his chance of surprising opponents by 1.

Snowy and Charlie can be encountered randomly (and in fact that's the only way I've ever introduced them to a party) but they could form the core of a scenario - perhaps one has been captured and the other wants help finding/rescuing him, but more likely are scenarios where the pair are blamed for something and a posse is put together to track them down. Evil or neutral characters may be hired by orcs as the pair often raid their territory; the gnolls hate Snowy with an irrational passion because he is different and from time to time make an effort to end his career although they wouldn't mourn Charlie either.

Good characters will find many who want a gnoll and a kobold eliminated for reasons which may or may not be valid. As basically normal adventurers, Snowy and Charlie do regularly engage in things which are illegal and which legitimately anger people, so it's not the case that any accusation is invalid, however. The pair are neutral more or less by necessity. Genetic fate has dealt them gifts far beyond their kin, but the price has been a lifetime of hostility from all sides which leaves them little room for anything more sophisticated than "look after #1".

These stats are all pre-Unearthed Arcana. If you're using that then Snowy should be double specialized in his sword and Charlie should get some minor thieving bonuses for not wearing armour. You may want to fiddle with some other aspects in any case, of course.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! These two bear a striking resemblance to another famous sword & sorcery duo! Good stuff!