The Lorestaves: The NPCs at the Squandering Snail, Part 1

The Non-Player Characters at the Sign of the Squandering Snail, Part One

Murnac, owner of The Squandering Snail gambling house
54 year old Male Human Rogue 3: CR 3; Size M; HD 3d6+3; hp 16; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11; BAB +2; Atk +3 melee (1d6+1, shortsword), or +3 ranged (1d4+1, dagger); FS 5 ft by 5 ft; Reach 5 ft; AL NE; SA Sneak Attack +2d6; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +2; Str 13, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 9.

Skills: Concentration +3, Diplomacy +1, Disable Device +6, Escape Artist +7, Hide +1, Intimidate +5, Jump +7, Knowledge (local) +2, Listen +8, Move Silently +6, Search +2, Sense Motive +9, Sleight of Hand +7, Spot +3.

Feat: Alertness, Negotiator, Track.

Class Feature: Evasion, Trapfinding.

Possessions: dagger, fine clothing, heavy cloak, purse with 25 gp and 12 sp, short sword, shoulder belt with scabbard.

Background: Murnac is known around the Temples as the Shepherd. Not because of the care with which he treats his clients, rather because of the multitude of ways he can fleece them. The Snail is not the most crooked gambling house in the city of Bowden, but it certainly is not the most reputable. Much like his establishment, Murnac is not the most dangerous man in the Temples, but one should never turn one’s back on him else one finds oneself with a dagger planted in said back.

Murnac is a product of the Temples. He grew up in the streets, working as pickpocket and later as an enforcer. He gained the money for the Snail by loan-sharking. Well, he didn’t actually buy the establishment, which had been a public house, rather the owner of the establishment disappeared after defaulting on a loan owed to Murnac. His loan-sharking is now confined to patrons of the Snail, though he still maintains ties with the underworld of Bowden.

Goal: Murnac’s only goal is to take care of Murnac and make Murnac rich. Nothing else matters.

Motivation: Murnac intends never to know poverty or want again. He does not care who he needs to hurt nor who needs to starve so he can eat.

What He Knows: Murnac knows all about the underworld in the Temples. He knows who is important, who is dangerous and who is a blowhard. Murnac doesn’t know much about the actual politics of the city, though he will bluff his way through any conversation concerning such, and not very well.

What Will He Tell: He will tell nothing of importance unless he is well paid for his information. Even when coins enter into the equation, he is no fool—some information in the Temples is worth a person’s life. If he feels he can profit without risk, he’ll sell knowledge, but he is careful. He knows what can happen to a careless person in the jungle of the Temples.

Tactics: Murnac is a rogue, and that means he’ll go for the sneak attack. He’ll move to flank opponents as well. First off, though, he’s going to call in his “boys,” the doormen and guards at the Snail. He’ll let them deal with trouble. Murnac’s ‘respectable’ now, so that means he shouldn’t have to get his hands dirty.

Dunchad of Helst, the barkeep at the tavern at the Squandered Snail
42 year old Male Human, Commoner 3:  CR 2; Size M; HD 3d4-3; hp 5; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11; BAB +1; Grap +2; Atk +2 melee (1d6+1, club), or +2 ranged (1d6+1, club); FS 5 ft by 5 ft; Reach 5 ft; AL CN; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +0; Str 13, Dex 13, Con 8, Int 11, Wis 9, Cha 9.

Skills: Craft (brewing) +4, Craft (carpentry) +5, Diplomacy +1, Hide +1, Listen -1, Move Silently +1, Profession (barkeep) +6, Ride +6, Sense Motive +1, Speak Language (Common), Spot -1

Feats: Simple Weapon Proficiency (club), Negotiator, Skill Focus (Profession [barkeep]).

Possessions: apron, club, simple clothing.

Background: The village of Helst is only two days ride north from Bowden. Dunchad is the son of a carpenter, and had apprenticed with his father. Throughout his life, he heard stories of Bowden and the wealth one might find there. In truth, Dunchad is a lazy sort, and so thinking he could either remain in his home village and struggle to make a life for himself and possibly a family, or move to Bowden and find wealth and happiness without that same struggle, the choice was obvious.

While he at first found work as a carpenter, he was not particularly good. He soon learned that to make a living in Bowden he would also have to struggle. He looked for other ways to attain wealth. He started to gamble. Bad move. While he was a mediocre carpenter, he was a horrible gambler. Less than a year after moving to Bowden, Dunchad found himself without a job and soon he would be without a home. In order to pay off some of his debts to Murnac, the owner of The Squandered Snail, Dunchad did some carpentry work at the gambling house. Murnac figured the work was okay, and having a carpenter on hand might not be a bad idea. Given the choice of sleeping out of doors or working at the gambling house he frequented, Dunchad chose the latter.

That was more than twenty years ago. Dunchad continues to work at the Snail. He has since learned to be a brewer, though his skills as a brewer have not yet reached the mediocrity of his carpentry. Still, he does his job, skims only a little of the profits, and shags only Chardine, the oldest and least desirable of the barmaids. He doesn’t anger Murnac and tries to keep peace with the rest of the staff.

He sorely wishes he had stayed an apprentice in Helst.

Goal: At this point in his life, Dunchad is becoming desperate for a family. He has always desired wealth, now he only desires the means to keep a roof over his head and food on his table. He has no more grand designs. He has no more fanciful plans.

Motivation: Dunchad came to the city of Bowden believing he was smart and talented. Bowden soon changed his mind. Dunchad now believes he has been cursed. He fears old age, knowing that once he is no longer able to work, he will no longer have a home. He has seen the beggars and forsaken on the streets, and he fears the same will happen to him.

It’s not enough fear, though, to make him propose to Chardine, perhaps the one woman in his life who might actually consider becoming his wife.

What He Knows: Dunchad listens, so he knows most of the same rumours everyone else in the Temples knows. He tries hard not to listen to the planning and conniving that happens in the Snail. He figures that, for the most part, ignorance may not be bliss, but it’s not going to get your throat cut . . . usually.

What Will He Tell: Since he has nothing secretive to tell, he won’t be telling it. He usually doesn’t pass on rumours either, unless they are particularly amusing rumours regarding figures of authority in the government.

Tactics: Dunchad stays out of fights. He isn’t paid to police the establishment, merely serve drinks. If forced, he always keeps a few clubs close at hand. His favorite sits below the counter near the beer kegs. This one has an iron-shod head and has a +1 modifier to damage. He will try to flee a fight, but when forced, fights defensively.

Bressal, a gamesman at the gaming den at the Squandered Snail
26 year old Male Human Expert 2: CR 1; Size M (6 ft., 4 in. tall); HD 2d6-6; hp 4; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12; BAB +1; Atk -2 melee (1d4-2, dagger), or +3 ranged (1d4-2, dagger); FS 5 ft by 5 ft; Reach 5 ft; AL NE; SV Fort -3, Ref +2, Will +4; Str 5, Dex 15, Con 5, Int 9, Wis 13, Cha 11.

Skills: Bluff +2, Diplomacy +4, Escape Artist +5, Gather Information +4, Intimidate +2, Knowledge (local) +1, Profession (gambler) +5, Sense Motive +5, Sleight of Hand +8, Use Rope +4.

Feats: Deft Hands, Negotiator.

Possessions: dagger, simple clothing.

Background: Bressel grew up the second son of a shipwright in the dockyards of Bowden. He proved to have little skill or talent for his father’s profession, though he did make an admirable attempt at learning. Bressel’s father was not appreciative of his efforts. He never appreciated how hard Bressel tried, he only cared that Bressel couldn’t succeed.

Bressel became bitter and angry. His relations with his family, all his family, soured. As a young man, the Temples swallowed him. A quick lad, and one with one ear always open, Bressel made his way, surviving but never prospering. He wasn’t tough enough to run with the gangs, and he wasn’t smart enough to think up his own plots and schemes, so he needed coattails on which to hang.

Learning how to gamble, and how to run a gambling table—cards, dice, anything—Bressel ingratiated himself to Murnac. Murnac found a place for him—not a place where Bressel can make a little side profit, rather a place where Murnac or one of his “boys” always can watch him.

Goal: Bressal is all about Bressal. He doesn’t have big dreams, just wants to make himself a boss of somewhere nice like the Snail.

Motivation: Bressal figures Murnac’s got a nice deal, nice place. Bressal is watching Murnac, trying to figure out his secret. He knows Murnac is that much smarter than the normal ‘mule’ on the street, so he’s got to have a secret.

What He Knows: Bressal knows plenty about what’s going on behind the scenes and in the shadows of the Temples. He’s always listening, and he remembers most of what he hears.

What Will He Tell: He’s not about to just share out information. Like everything else in the Temples, information is a commodity. It has a price. There’ll be a negotiation before there’s any exchange.

Tactics: Bressal prefers the safety of fleeing a fight, especially if there’s any chance at all that he might lose. If he’s got numbers on his side, he’ll try for the backstab. He’ll do anything to keep himself alive.

Faelan, a gamesman at the gambling den at the Squandered Snail
31 year old Male Human Expert 3: CR 2; Size M; HD 3d6+3; hp 19; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12; BAB +2; Atk +2 melee (1d6, club), +2 melee (1d4, dagger), or +4 ranged (1d4, dagger); FS 5 ft by 5 ft; Reach 5 ft; AL CN; SV Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +5; Str 11, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 13.

Skills: Bluff +3, Diplomacy +8, Escape Artist +4, Gather Information +6, Intimidate +7, Listen +6, Profession (gambler) +6, Sense Motive +8, Sleight of Hand +7, Spot +5, Tumble +4.

Feats: Lightning Reflexes, Negotiator, Persuasive.

Possessions: club, dagger

Background: Faelan’s family was once one of the lesser burghers, a family of merchants and artisans. Faelan’s father, inept at everything save drunkenness and whoring, lost what little fortune the family had before loansharks took his heart. Faelan actually saw that happen. The loansharks took little Faelan as part of the payment.

Rather than a horrible fate, Faelan found he actually enjoyed the work to which he was put. He found himself working as a runner at an underground gambling den in the dockyards. It was rough, but few of even the most dangerous denizens in the dockyards would attack a kid for no reason. Faelan was smart, and picked up the tricks quickly. He survived his indenture and actually left the custody of the loansharks with skills.

Faelan has worked at many of the gambling dens in the dockyards and the Temples. He ended up at the Snail mostly due to an infatuation with Flourette, which is working itself out. He will likely move on soon. His skills are in demand.

Goal: Faelan is not a person who sets out goals. His conscious goal is to conquer Flourette romantically. His unconscious goal is to test his mettle against fate. Since surviving his indenture, Faelan has the belief that he is playing a game against fate or destiny.

Motivation: Faelan likes to win. Although he’s not known for his adherence to the law, he is a man with his own sense of honour, and keeping that intact takes precedence over winning. In his game against fate, he is uncertain of the rules, but that’s okay—he’ll learn them as he goes along.

What He Knows: Faelan has been working on the periphery of society for many years. He’s learned to keep his ears open even when his eyes are elsewhere. He’s perfected leading a gaming table while listening to each and every conversation at the table, reacting to none of them. As such, if there’s information that has passed through the Snail, Faelan likely knows it.

What Will He Tell: He’ll tell you how much he wants for his information. It might be coin, it might be a favour, it might simply be a cup of well-watered wine—one never really knows with Faelan. He’ll give information, but he’ll also expect to profit from it.

Tactics: Faelan has learned to talk his way out of fights. He really hates to resort to violence as it makes him feel somewhat stupid. He believes he should be able to talk his way out of anything. If he is forced to resort to violence, he’s not particularly interested in killing someone, unless they are trying to kill him. Rather, Faelan will do his best to drop his opponent as fast as possible. Faelan isn’t bloodthirsty, so as long as he doesn’t fear for his life, he won’t kill another individual.

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The Lorestaves: The NPCs at the Squandering Snail, Part 1 Copyright 2009 Fraser Ronald

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