Friday, November 8, 2019

6 NPCs from my Lowcountry Childhood

I always say the best inspirations come from real life, so here are some (only mildly exaggerated) folk from my youth that I think make for great NPCs. Down South, we call them Characters.

Note: These NPCs go well with my new Lowcountry Crawl Zine!

The Captain as envisioned by wr3cking8all

The Captain

Though his name is known, the man himself is always called Captain. Though a relatively small man, The Captain is made of thick corded muscle, calluses, and gristle. Having spent much of his life on the high seas and across the known world, The Captain is a man full of stories and there is never a situation where he doesn't have an applicable experience. This is the man whom young boys gather at the feet of to hear of adventure and learn how to curse. He's uncouth and rowdy, a cigarette always on his lips and a loaded pistol on his hip. There is ten gallon pot of black eyed peas on his stove and a fresh haul of blue crabs in his ice box. He's a friendly misanthrope, he hates us all equally so he never actually puts for the effort to be actively hateful. Don't ask him about the ferret.

I was going to stick with the above until I was browsing through some texts and found this bit from when I was describing the real Captain to a friend. I feel this captures him pretty well:

"I had a friend growing up. We looked upon his father as our own personal monster. A safe, disturbing ogre of corrosive profanity and sinister mustaches. He was ours and mighty and we grew great by association with him. He was a terrible fucking person and we called him Captain.

He could spout the most vile string of profanity that I would not doubt he spat blue smoke and caused ears to bleed. He was in a K-9 unit back in the military and spent most of his life after as a crab boat captain and some time as the captain of a sailfishing boat.

He was somewhere between an incredibly angry gnome and a really pissed off goblin.

The Captain hated most everything so intensely that it pierced through the fabric of reality and came out the other end. Which is despite being a foul mouthed, hate-filled fuck, pretty much all of us who spent time with him as children are now extremely liberal and kind hearted. But he entertained us with bawdy stories, taught us to curse, and provided free crab claws and black eyed peas. Now that he has passed, we are pretty certain he's reincarnated as a giant crab waiting for his chance to terrorize the coast once more."

Let me tell you about
The time I was
And ___ was there
And I
before
1
On the boat
Your father
Threw a burning mattress
Fighting three men barehanded
2
In the war
Your mother
Bit off a man’s ear
yelling at some monks
3
A young’n
Your grandpa/ma
Spiked the coffee
inventing a new blasphemy 
4
In the marsh
Major NPC
Shot someone
throwing someone through a window
5
Across the seas
Famous Local
was very high
being thrown through a window
6
At the bar
Random Name
 told so-and-so off
punching a shark

The General (and The Secretary)

We never meet the General, the General is a shadowy figure that we find in scant images and articles but nothing more about. We know the General through his secretary, whom cycles out every couple years. The Secretary has always been a woman, very prim and very precise. She delivers the General's requests and she picks up the General's packages. He lives on a private island, you see, so everything he might want must be brought in. He has a special love of rare volumes. Mr. Gala is the General's primary provider of these rare books. It is not uncommon to see The Secretary dropping off neatly handwritten lists to Gala's Book Shoppe and return in some weeks to retrieve a stack of leather bound first editions. He donates occasionally to charity, but never money. He donates items of worth that are auctioned over, antique arquebuses from before his retirement or artifacts from across the sea. There are things that he wants that Mr. Gala may not be able to provide, and it is up to The Secretary to find the right people for the job.

Secretary 
Hair
Eyes
Age
Feature
1
Brown
Brown
21-25
Spectacles
2
Blond
Green
26-30
Extremely Chipper
3
Black
Blue
31-35
Dour
4
Auburn
Black
36-40
Foreign Accent
5
Red
Hazel 
41-45
Distinctive Scar/Mole
6
White
Grey
46+
Military



Abby Bookstore by Jacob Claussen

Mr. Gala The Antiquarian 

Mr. Gala is a stand up member of the community and purveyor of books. His little store sits in a shaded market overlooking the river, its shelves packed so thick and high that there is barely any wood to see for all the paper. Walking into Gala's Book Shoppe, one is hit with the scent of leather, dust and paper, the additional scent of salt, cream and vanilla wafting from the ice creamery across the lane. The humid air is suddenly replaced by a dry stillness, for Mr. Gala works hard to keep his books from the constant threat of mildew. He speaks with a long slow draw and keeps an old hound dog that looks very much like him. His brothers also keep dogs, different breeds, that also look very much like them. His store has a feel of organized chaos, a sort of cluttered logic. Closer to its entrance and exit are newer books, all of the best sellers and popular novels. The further back one proceeds, the older and more niche the books become until one comes to a series of glass encased shelves. This is Mr. Gala's private stock, the books whose prices look more like a man's yearly wage. You need a key to open the cabinet, gloves to handle the books, and a fortune to purchase them. Because he is a dealer rather than a collector, these rare volumes are regularly exchanged and he is always seeking the next find.

Roll
Rare Book
1
The Diamond of the Sea by S.E. Knotts
2
Thaumaturgical Aphorisms by Prilaxiom U. C. Vallance
3
Grand Goliad's Illustrated Folio 
4
The Goats Who Stare For Men by R.B. Litte, Signed First Edition 
5
Star Speckled Rabbit And Other Tales by "Alice" 
6
Once Betrayed, Twice Loved by Avaline, Unabridged Uncensored 

The Real Bert's Market

Bert the Grocer

Bert is the Lowcountry's ultimate merchant. He's the equivalent of those video game merchants that somehow show up right before the final boss in a dungeon, having gotten there so long before the party that they've literally set up a stall and have, in their words, "been waiting for you." The man himself is a weather beaten, deeply tanned fellow sporting a bushy frayed beard down to his navel. His eyes surrounded by crow's feet and his mouth is a broad expanse of laugh lines, Bert makes one and all feel at home regardless of the circumstances. This is further exemplified by his motto, "We may doze, but we never close." Be it day or night, summer or winter, beautiful blue day or the height of a catastrophic hurricane, Bert will be there with wares. While his merchandise isn't necessarily magical, he has an apparently magical breadth of mundane goods. In addition to having essentially any gear you might need, Bert is known for delicious provisions including his homemade chili and more beer than you could drink in a life time. His propensity towards red bandannas and his hooked hand leads some to think he was formally a pirate who has settled into a life of peace and ease, but even if these rumors are true, few are interested in troubling this friendly grocer.

Roll
Special Stock
1
High Quality Cigars- Save vs. Con, success immune to sleep effects for 12 hours
2
Specialty Lures- To attract just about any creature
3
Pluff Mud Cake- super dense chocolate cake, counts as 6 rations, Save to eat only 1 
4
"Brownies"- Made with "love", Save vs. Wis, Hallucinations on Failure, 5% Bad Trip
5
Board Wax- Increases grip on surfboards, when applied to shields missed attacks stick
6
Hot Sandwich- Stays warm against all odds, bursts into flame if not eaten in 24 hours

Tutti-Frutti

This is a man that I need not turn to fantasy to make into an interesting and inspired character.

A strange moniker for beloved individual, Tutti-Fruitti or Mr. Fruit is one of a kind. Born with physical and mental impairments, this has not stopped Mr. Fruit from doing all in his power to leave a positive mark on the world. From sweeping streets to directing traffic with his official whistle, to helping children find their way and fighting hate with pure unrefined love, Tutti-Fruitti brings kindness and joy everywhere he goes. He is especially remembered for fighting segregation through literally going anywhere he pleased and acting like he belonged there. Regardless of what the law might have said, Tutti knew that the only right way to treat folks was to treat them with equal kindness and respect. There isn't a man alive that doesn't know the streets and the people better than Tutti and he doesn't ask for a lick of payment for his assistance. The occasional new pair of shoes, some coffee and conversation, and the warm smile of his fellows are all he every wants.

Roll
What’s Tutti Doing?
1
Sweeping the street and whistling a happy tune
2
Drinking coffee and chatting with the mayor
3
Stopping traffic for children crossing the road
4
Leading a parade
5
On his way to Church 
6
Fishing from the pier 

2 comments:

  1. We that we were all a bit more like Mr Tutti-Fruiti.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was an amazing force of good in the world, we are a little less without him.

      Delete