Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guides Through the Wilderness

Six guides to see your safely through the wilderness (or not!), listed in order of their “skill level” as a guide.

1. Percivius is a haughty, arrogant escaped slave who would like to believe himself a leader of men. He primarily worked as a clerk for his master. When his master expired one night from a heart attack, the manor slaves rose up, killed the guards and torched the manor, leaving Percivius out of a job (so to speak) and in just as much trouble as the others. He struck out into the greenwood and nearly died on more than one occasion, but finally made it over the mountains to a city-state where he was unknown. He now works as a wilderness guide, lecturing his charges and scoffing at every survival mistake they make along the way (and doing his best to explain away his own errors). Percivius is short and, thanks to his new life, well muscled and fit. He is balding (hiding it under a Phrygian cap), but still has a few platinum blond ringlets. He has beady eyes that suggest a life of reading by lamp light.

2. Ghadra is a sergeant in the local guard who works on the side as a guide through the wilderness. She makes patrols with her company of crossbowmen every two weeks, and tailor’s her journey to suit her employers. Ghadra is no woodsman, but she knows enough to get along. She primarily relies on strength of numbers and a knowledge of the terrain (the trails, the pitfalls, etc) to get from point A to B safely. If she perceives weakness on the part of her employers, she isn’t above a little brigandry and knows the best places to hide the bodies.

3. Northstarr is a barbarian who clings painfully to the image of the half-naked savage popularized in copper-dreadfuls throughout the Motherlands. A city boy, he set out to remake himself as a barbarian hero, dressing in a red kilt and mail shirt and carrying a bastard sword (the love of his life!). On his head he wears an ornate dragon helm that imposes a -1 penalty to hit on him in combat, but is suits him so he doesn’t really care. Northstarr is a competent woodsman, possessed of mighty thews and, though he adopts a Thulian accent and plays the strong, silent type, has an active and imaginative mind.

4. Fiona appears to be the ultimate guide – tall, fit, competent and self-confident, beautiful. Pity she’s actually a succubus who leads a party into the wilderness and then abandons them there, stealing away the most powerful warrior they have and leaving that warrior's withered remains on the trail back to town as a taunt. She never appears in the same town twice – at least not without a couple hundred years in between appearances.

5. Mavewyn in an ex-soldier, a pioneer who fought in three major campaigns before retiring and setting up shop on the newly conquered frontier as a guide. Rugged and quiet, he has a good relationship with the barbarian and humanoid tribes in the area – they may not like the incursion into their homeland, but they know he’s a man of honor and they fear his bow and blade. He balks at taking adventurers into the wilderness who aren’t at least 4th level, for after all, if Gygax had intended 1st to 3rd level characters to explore the wild, wilderness rules would have appears in the Basic Set.

6. St. Eudoxius appears to people as a young man in a woolen tunic and blue cloak and carrying a crooked staff. The patron saint of homesteaders, he often appears to those who are lost or in dire straits in the middle of the night, holding a lantern (illuminates 120-foot diameter area as though it were daylight) in one hand and a brace of conies (or whatever game is most appropriate) in the other. After a quick repast (his water skin never seems to empty), he will head off into the night, beckoning people to follow him. Saint Eudoxius knows the location of all strongholds and freeholds in an area and his presence assures one a night of safety (though if he knows a lord or yeoman to be wicked, he will advise the adventurers to quickly be on their way the next morning). He accepts donations of gold that always appear in the nearest Lawful temple or shrine the next morning.


Image from HERE


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