Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fine Young Cannibals (20 Morlock NPCs)

When the airships bombed the Southbound railway, things got tough for the Morlock engineers. Then the bridge over the Suryava River was bombed by anarchists and the three competing railroad companies withdrew from Wermspittle. The Morlocks and their families were left behind. Abandoned just like the mangled and twisted rails and the gutted station houses. Their grandparents' dreams of building shining empires of electricity and steel through the dark woods and stark mountains died. Some joined forces with the Deep Engineers of the Sewer Militia, others set off to follow the Unterrails to Aman Utal to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Those that remained have had to adapt to a new way of life...

Twenty Morlock NPCs
  1. Xugra Malkive [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 7 (+1 mucoid leather), HD2, #AT 1, DG 1d6+1 (serated gladius), SV F1, ML 9] Hateful, spiteful, and cruel, Xugra does not work well with others, nor does he share loot, meat or credit with anyone else. He served briefly as a caravan guard during the darkest part of last winter, but that went badly. He lost half a finger and gained several scars fending off some desperate bandits who blundered across his employer's group by accident in the middle of a snowstorm. He hates snow. If he gets enough money put together Xugra plans to go get himself trained as a torturer's apprentice. He collects disreputable medical devices and other questionable mechanisms for potential use on future clients.
  2. Malisse [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5 (barbed chainmail), HD 4, #AT 1, DG 2d4+2 (bastard sword + 17 STR), SV F4, ML 10] Malisse prefers to let her sword do the talking. It is an ancient weapon capable of speaking six languages, not all of which are dead or forgotten. The blade does double damage against bronze armor. It appears to be grown from some peculiarly lurid form of pink-orange salt or crystal. On a natural 20 the blade causes the victims flesh to shrivel into the consistency of jerky, inflicting triple damage.
  3. Grud Magru [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6 (Wermscale Mail), HD 3, #AT 1, DG 1d6 (double-tapper snap-hammer), SV F3, ML 7] Grud had been badly mauled by a pack of Slashers. He nearly bled out before he was rescued by a group of refugees from Bandigar. He owes them a blood-debt.
  4. Neeva [AL N, MV 120'(40'), AC 6 (Urozt Lamellar), HD 2, #AT 1, DG 1d6+2 (Mace +17 STR), SV C2, ML 10] Neeva was kicked out of her adoptive mother's home for eating the cat. She was in training to become a Midwife. Now she isn't sure what to do with herself, though she does seem to have some knack for learning spells, if she could only find a teacher willing to take her on...
  5. Tagga Kilb [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5 (squarescale), HD 5, #AT 2, DG 1d6/1d4 (hand-axe & dagger), SV F5, ML 6] Cowardly and cursed, Tagga mutilated his own ears in order to stop the terrible pain brought on by his hyper-sensitivity. Unfortunately, even though he is now deaf, his sensitivity to vibrations remains painfully acute. He has a 80% chance of going berserk around bells, even when they remain unrung. Just the sight of the things is enough to set him off.
  6. Ruj Kilb [AL C, MV 100' (30'), AC 8 (coarse robes), HD 3, #AT 1, DG 1d4+acid (glass dagger), SV M3, ML 4, Spells: 2,1; Level One: Magic Missile, Shield, Sleep Level Two: ESP, Kazwen's Reflections, Knock] Tagga's little brother and an even worse coward. Neither brother will talk about it willingly, but somehow it is Ruj's fault for his brother's curse, just as it is Tagga's fault that Ruj is now slightly lame due to having had his legs broken and then inexpertly repaired.
  7. Hothry [AL N, MV 120'(40'), AC 4 (banded mail), HD 2, #AT 1, DG 1d6+3 (bad-hammer +18 STR), SV F2, ML 10] Hothry finished his third year as a blacksmith's apprentice before things went from bad to worse. He ate his mentor to survive a particularly bad winter in one of the low land enclaves. All his teeth have been replaced with yellow metal spikes (bite does 1d4+3).
  8. Galdje [AL C, MV 90' (30'), AC 7 (tatters), HD 1, #AT 1, DG 1d4 (scratch knife), SV F1, ML 3] Mad, drooling and given to random outbursts, Galdje serves as a guard to anyone who'll pay him in fingernails.
  9. Ruvva Nal [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 3 (corroded grave mail), HD 4, #AT 1, DG 1d6 (four-spike), SV F4, ML 6] Blind in one eye, Ruvva was raised as a grave-robber until his entire clan was wiped out by a mummified abhuman sorcerer one of his kin awakened in a drunken act of self-destructive hubris. Ruvva tries to avoid dead places these days, as best he can, but being down on his luck, he'll go where he's paid to go. He believes that his great-grandfather was an Engineer, but he has no proof and no way to find out more about that at present. Not without some help.
  10. Jalig [AL N, MV 120', (40'), AC 6 (bruthem leather), HD 2, #AT 1, DG 1d4x2 (short bow & wire-head arrows or twin daggers), SV F2, ML 10] Amoral opportunist and kleptomaniac. Jalig drinks only blood (he is superstitious and thinks it makes him lucky as well as virile). For some reason he wishes not to discuss, Jalig fears the color green and avoids it if at all possible.
  11. Sashmu Yorra [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 7 (knuckle bone-studded leather), HD 4, #AT 1, DG 1d6 (short sword), SV M2, ML 8, spells: 2,1, Level One: Ventriloquism, Hold Portal, Floating Disk, Voorish Sign Level Two: Detect Invisibility, Levitate] A former pit-fighter turned sorcerer, Sashmu has begun a new life for himself and doesn't want to remember what he used to do back in the pits. He is obsessed with capturing a Horla. He has worked out a scheme whereby he thinks that he ought to be able to make a Horla kit into a familiar, or so he intends to find out.
  12. Yodt [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6 (riveted leather), HD 3, #AT 3, DG 1d4/1d4/1d4+2 (claw/claw/bite), SV F3, ML Special: Immune to all morale effects] Sullen, surly and filthy, Yodt growls and grumbles, rarely uttering a coherent word. His hair is long, dirty and matted. His skin has a greenish cast to it. His eyes are dark with an oily, unnatural sheen and his body is unnaturally emaciated, the limbs disproportionately elongated in a disturbing, almost arachnid manner. Each of his fingers ends in a gleaming hooked steel claw rudely bonded to the bone during some weird ritual he went through in his childhood. He works as a guard or a fighter, killer or bandit, so long as he is paid in jewels or exotic fabrics. They say Yodt maintains a place out in the Burned Over District, some attic he's converted into a nest or lair where he goes on Bajji binges whenever he's flush with cash.
  13. Kraux [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 3 (transparent plate), HD 5, #AT 2, DG 3d4/1d6/1d6 (4-barrel attic-gonne, short sword, hand-axe), SV F5, ML 11] Ambitious and cautious, Kraux sees himself becoming a Baron one of these days. He literally keeps a list of enemies and friends in his belt pouch. His mother rode with a notorious band of forest brigands, his grandfather hijacked an airship and was never seen again. No one speaks about his father. No one knows why. Kraux intends to make his mark in Wermspittle, one way or another.
  14. Lujia [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 6 (patched leather), HD 2, #AT 1, DG 1d6/1d4 (hammer or dagger), SV T2, ML 9] Lujia is a Forager working under indenturement to Cazwell, a Powder-monger who has staked a claim over a three block section along Pym Street. She recently discovered a Weak Point in an abandoned Property, but only barely escaped from a particularly nasty Wet Spot. She does not want to tell her master about her discovery, but she also doesn't have the means to properly go explore what might be on the other side of the Weak Point, not on her own. Perhaps she can find some backers or possibly a partner or two...
  15. Bosk Dalt [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 6 (embroidered heavy wool longcoat), HD 3, #AT 2, DG 1d4+3/1d6+3 (scalpel and bone saw), SV C3, ML 8] Disgraced and disbarred, Bosk has been drummed-out of the Medical College for undisclosed transgressions. He is banned from practicing medicine legally, but dabbles in a bit of quackery every now and then. His plan is to accumulate a collection of samples suitable to gain the interest of the Curator of Curiosities or another such luminary, and use his guile and whatever inducements he can bring to bear to get readmitted as a Surgeon-in-training.
  16. Tangree [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 7 (rags), HD 3, #AT 1, DG 1d4 (bodkin), SV M3, ML 4] Hungry, cold and emotionless, Tangree is dreamscarred from an encounter with a Gloomswallow. She was once considered almost pretty, in a disturbing sort of way. These days she takes no effort in maintaining her appearance, letting her hair get tangled and filthy. Her breath reeks horribly, possibly from a rotted tooth. She has trouble remembering any of her spells except Oneiric Bubble while awake and is prone to fits of somnabulism.
  17. Brodin [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 4 (looplink mail), HD 4, #AT 1, DG 1d8 (battle axe), SV F4, ML 10] Masked, gloved, and cloaked, Brodin rarely speaks. He serves anyone who'll meet his price of one pound of flesh per day. It needn't be their own flesh; he's not a purist or fanatic or anything like that.
  18. Jadz Belik [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6 (boiled chitin), HD 3, #AT 1, DG 1d6 (scimitar), SV F3, ML 8 (3 around invisible things)] Jadz lost his left arm to an Unseen Beast that he encountered below the Second Cistern, where someone had tethered the thing up like a guard beast. Jadz has returned to the place six or seven times now. He wants to kill the creature, but so far nothing he's tried has worked. He's contemplating what sort of poisons might work best.
  19. Luo Koftra [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 8 (loincloth), HD 4, #AT 1, DG 1d4/1d6 (fist/seed-pod sword), SV M4, ML 10, Immune to Fear Effects, Spells: 2,2 Level One: Charnel BreathCharm Person, Obscure Magic, Hold Portal, Darkness, Sleep Level Two: Arcane Lock, Knock, Locate Object, Web] Luo is unhinged, even for a morlock. He whispers obscenities under his breath almost constantly and has taken an intense interest in personal scarification which he sees as a way to imprint sorcerous knowledge directly into his flesh. It is unclear whether Luo is actually possessed, pretending to be, or if he's just deranged...possibly a combination of all three.
  20. Haldim [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5 (sharpscale), HD 3, #AT 1, DG 1d6+2 (hammer + 16 STR), SV F3, ML 9] Formerly of the Cellar Inspectors, Haldim was dismissed for taking kick-backs. Normally this wouldn't have been much of a problem, however, one of the locations he passed-over in return for a bribe was infested by a huge Type IV Gobbling Grout that broke loose and caused extensive property damage during the Spring Revels. He spent his ill-gotten funds on a decent bit of armor and a fancy volley-gun. He still has the armor, but the volley-gun was lost in his all-too-narrow escape from a Yelg Froth. Haldim hasn't been able to stomach anything fermented ever since. If he had the money, or thought he could convince some suitably gullible adventurers into it, he'd like to recover his volley-gun.

6 comments:

  1. So many dark ideas. That snippet of history at the start makes them feel more real, and adds to the tragedy. You've woven them well into Wermspittle I think too, and the sadness and sense of collapse thrums off the screen, so much so that the wider Hereticwerks weirdness, like the crystal blade and the Weak Spot, look like glimmers of hope, the potential of the unknown world. There are some interesting motivations in there too, things that could even drive a campaign.

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    1. Thanks Porky--this was a fun post to write. Long overdue, as well. There's a lot more to Wermspittle than what we've shared so far. The loss of the railways locked Wermspittle into obscurity, even as they had threatened to yank it back into the day-to-day hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. There was a lot of promise, an infectious sense of optimism in the very air in those days, for some people. But the wars intervened, the unrest followed, and troubled times led to things going from bad to worse, much worse.

      However, in the midst of the bleakest winter, there remains hope. Things could change. It doesn't have to be what it is, it could be something else, something better. But for that to take place, people would have to change, long years of entrenched behavior will have to be challenged, and those who benefit most from the way things are have a way of dealing with such threats to their corrupt hegemony.

      This is a place where your characters can make a real difference, or die trying...

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  2. This is delightful. We need more of these write-ups, which are so rich in cross connections!

    We added a link to these exemplars to the FATE SF entry on Morlocks over here: http://fatesf.blogspot.com/2013/10/morlocks.html

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    1. This format allows us to deliver setting details without getting bogged down in dense exposition, while offering something useful beyond just our own game or our own stories. Glad to hear that you found them useful. We'll have a few more of these sorts of write-ups covering some of the other ethnic groups in Wermspittle as well as more details on the Morlocks themselves. We need to revise the Half-Morlock and Half-Eloi posts fairly soon, in order to take advantage of some of the newly revealed details.

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  3. A vaired and interesting group. Nicely done!

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    1. Thanks Trey. Looking forward to putting a few of these folks to work in the months ahead, some of them might show up in one of the scenarios we'll be running at Con of the North in February.

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