Thursday, October 4, 2018

NPCs of Nightwick

NPCs in and around the Village of Nightwick:

Sir Albrecht
Albrecht is the current "Lord of Nightwick," a semi-recently created title that was held by Lord Eckhard before his demise.  He has recently taken over the village from Badder on behalf of Bishop Notker the Unshaven (see below).  He has staffed the local manor with his family and personal retinue, who guard it diligently.  He seems to run a tight ship, and is never seen in the village without a number of guards.  He recently made a deal with the Howling Kommandos that subsidizes their pay for watching the village.

A recent arrival in the village, Aythe speaks common with a strange, halting accent and claims to be Halfdan the Black's long lost daughter (see below).  The party has reason to suspect that she is actually his "bear-wife" made human by machinery they recovered from the ruins of the abbey.  She spends much of her time in the Fog-bound Forest and local cemetery.

Bruno is the proprietor of the Medusa's head.  In the early years of the campaign he seemed morose over the fact that his wife left him with "a traveling circus," but he seems resigned to this fact now.  Local rumor says his wife was a changeling of foul aspect.  His tavern was semi-recently the sight of an assault on one of the brothers Trull by a witch who was later slain.

The local blacksmith is a man of simple mind and great talent.  Duncan is said to be the son of a local witch (now deceased, and not the witch which attacked one of the Trulls).  Villagers believe a spell lays upon him and that any who try to cheat him based on his simple mindedness may find themselves cursed or even pursued by demons.  His craftsmanship lacks ornamentation but is without peer in the Dark Country in terms of practical use.  Unfortunately, the time it takes him to make weapons and armor is often great due to the troubles in Blackleg and along the Long Road.

Fingers is the second in command of the Howling Kommands, and received this honor when he strangled his former comrade Toothless Tom Smiler to death when he tried to betray the party in the ruins of Vollage.  All observers note that he is extremely loyal and deferential to Stavros, the current commander, and has become something of a siege tactician.  He also knows his men's strengths and weaknesses inside and out; however, he is sometimes impotent in controlling them due to their low discipline and morale.

Father Roderick
Roderick is currently the official priest of Nightwick.  Life in this backward land, and his frustration with the obvious graft and greed of Bishop Notker, has made him a cynic and a pessimist.  Roderick is, to the bishop's mind, overly tolerant of heresy and paganism, but since he has not espoused heresy himself he has not been removed.  He is served by two monks who have taken a vow of silence.

Halfdan the Black
This wizard has lived outside the village in a tower at the edge of the Fog-bound Forest since anyone living in the village can remember. He seems to be a necromancer of considerable power, as no local authority has yet moved against him.  He seems more interested in experimentation than political dominance, and his erratic personality may make it impossible for him to maintain evil schemes for too long.  He has often employed adventurers to bring him "samples" from Nightwick Abbey.  He used to have a black bear that lived in the tower with him and attended to his needs - referred to by the party as his "bear-wife" - but she disappeared around the time Aythe showed up.

Mervyyn was once an adventurer, but he gave that life up to help protect the local village from the depredations of the creatures of Nightwick Abbey and to devote himself to the Old God Father Winter (see below).  Since his given up the adventuring life, he often waits outside the dungeon to great those who seek to plumb its unknown depths.

Low Deacon Osprant of Prattle
Osprant was sent by Bishop Notker the Unshaven to observe Roderick and determine if he was saying anything heretical.  After taking copious notes, he determined Roderick's sermons were orthodox, if somewhat noncommittal.  He has sent messengers back to Lychgate but doesn't plan to make a report in person until the weather is colder and the roads and swamps harden for easier travel.  He is, by all accounts, a turd.

Randulf is a woodsmen and friend of the Woodsmen's Lodge, though seemingly not a member of it.  He acts as a guide for them during their longer trips into the Fog-bound Forest.  The respect they have for him is rivaled only by their respect for Kozel in his role as priest of "Saint Santa Claus."  He has seemingly avoided the party every time they have tried to contact him.

Rupert van Toad
Rupert is the local representative of the van Toad trading house who long had to hawk his wares outside the village walls.  Thanks to both the greed of the bishop and the agency of the players, Rupert was able to move his shop inside after Lord Eckhard was lawfully slain and replaced with the "reeve" known only as Blackbird (now also deceased).  In the spring and summer months he is known for his quickness and joviality while in the fall and winter becomes slow and listless.

Major NPCs Elsewhere in the Dark Country:

Anne of Waldheim
Anne has been widowed twice.  She moved to Blackleg when her husband, Arn of Waldheim, took the city during an extremely intense "Yimslite" rebellion.  Her husband was murdered under mysterious circumstances - many speak of the involvement of both the sinister Brotherhood and Bishop Notker himself.  She became Notker's ward for a sort time before being married off to the most recent Lord of Blackleg, Baltzer the Bold.  Baltzer recently perished either due to the actions of his wife or the vengeful shade of Arn, no one knows for sure.  In either case, she is once again the ward of Notker but also the only authority in Blackleg.  Abraham Nermal, deformed rogue and vassal of the Bishop, hopes to win her hand in marriage.

Arnawald the Black Eagle
Arnawald is a man of brutal reputation.  His desire to make himself the sole lord of the entire Dark Country is obvious and has placed him in a kind of cold war with Bishop Notker.  He has invaded the Bishop's territory twice, but ostensibly to "aid" Notker against either the White Lady's pig-men or Yimslite rebels (see below).  During the second incident, he was able to capture the town of Blackleg, which he gave to his son Arn, and the villages south of Nightwick Abbey.  He planned further campaigns but was stopped when the release of Father Winter caused a blizzard in July, killing many of his men. It is said he still holds a grudge against Father Winter. Neither he nor Notker seem willing to declare open war yet for mysterious reasons.  He is known for his missing eye, which he leaves uncovered to unnerve those he is negotiating with.

Badder the Badger
Badder is a mercenary who has entered into what is essentially a permanent contract with Bishop Notker and the city of Lychgate.  Lychgate has its own forces, but Badder and his "boys" act as the Bishop's personal group of troubleshooters and hitmen.  After the death of Marta the Bitch, who Arnawald had installed in Knightpath, Badder came to Nightwick to campaign in the south and try to oust more of the lords that Arnawald had installed during his last campaign in the south.  Whether or not he was effective is unknown, and he was recalled to Lychgate after losing many men and materiel. It is believed Sir Albrecht's postion as Lord of Nightwick shows that Badder is now on the Bishop's bad side.

Father Winter
Father Winter is an Old God who resides in the Fog-bound Forest and the Nameless Mountains, though he shares this territory with at least two other gods.  He was entombed by the Sword Brothers during their campaigns against the pagans but freed by the party in order to stop a plague.  The somewhat syncretic nature of religion in the Dark Country has led to him being associated with a "saint" named Saint Santa Claus.

Knecht Ruprecht
Ruprecht is a servant of Father Winter who deals punishment to those on the god's "Naughty List."  He is the ultimate arbitrator of what is and is not Naughty - an axis of alignment not well understood by the Church of Law.  He was transformed into a hideous monster by agents of Arnawald when they found a way into his shrine and wrote Father Winter's name on the Naughty List.  The leadership of the Howling Kommandos saved him from this fate, and for their service he gifted them many magic items.

Bishop Notker the Unshaven
Notker the Unshaven is Prince-Bishop of Lychgate and as such technically rules Nightwick, Blackleg, and the villages in the Southern Dark Country.  He is a petty, greedy man whose naked avarice is a constant source of woe for his subjects.  In the years since 1388, his territory has been greatly diminished by attacks from the White Lady, Arnawald, and Yimslite rebels.  He know can only effectively control Lychgate and Nightwick, but even the road between them is unsafe due to the destruction of Vollage and the absorption of the Witchfort into the Witchwood.

The White Lady
The White Lady is the Old God (or perhaps demoness) of the Witchwood - a realm of iron trees and perpetual autumn.  Her servants are pig-men, groans, and haughty elves as well as all manner of woodland creatures.  Once a great threat to the civilized parts of the Dark Country, she has seemingly abandoned her assaults in recent years after a small detachment of the Howling Kommandos entered the Fog-bound Forest.  Only Flint of the East Wood (now deceased) returned, and he did not know the whole story.

Yim Yimsley
Yim Yimsley is a mysterious figure.  He has apparently led many rebellions against Bishop Notker and Arnawald and seems to combine the Solarist heresy and paganism into a new kind of Dark Country religion.  In his early years he mostly spent his time embarrassing the Bishop and his servants, but later his aims became more coherent and violent. After interrogating cultists inside Nightwick Abbey, the leadership of the Howling Kommandos believes he is involved in a satanic cult associated with the Bleeding Baroness.

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