Personalities of the Empire

The first three of these started out as the potential patrons for my player group.  Each one represents a different potential goal for a party.  Kazucarn (who the group chose) is a trader and represents a focus on making money through shipping. Shenzen is interested in discovery.  She represents a focus on exploration.  Karl is interested in expanding the empire.  He represents a focus on conquest.

The rest of them are just characters who either showed up in the campaign or who were ideas that I wanted to flesh out.  A few of them have stats, as well, but most are just descriptions.

Below are several personages representative of the citizens of the Ravnivori Empire.

Kazucarn Gurk

A massive minotaur with a potbelly, chestnut fur, and gold and gem encrusted horns

Kazucarn is first and foremost a business man. He seeks to expand his own fortunes and hedonistic horizons by sponsoring void runners. Though he never breaks the law, he will push it to extremes with no thought to morality or ethics. He has gained a reputation for buying or selling anything as long as it is not illegal.

Kazucarn Gurk began life as the illegitimate child of a woman who served as purzya to an Imperial military unit. The woman cared little for the child and did not alter her lifestyle in the least to take him into account. Kazucarn grew up wandering around following the army with his mother and scavenging a life from their castoffs.

He had just become a pre-teen when the war between the Ravnivori and the Shan ended. The unit he was associated with was not disbanded, but became a garrison unit in Shan lands. Kazucarn decided that he was going to forge his own destiny. Over the years, he’d scraped together a decent amount of money from found coins and pay for doing small chores and favors for the soldiers and he used this money to buy a cart and a few unique goods from the local Shan market.

With these supplies, he headed west. Gurk stopped in each village and town he passed, selling some of his goods when he could make a profit or buying cheap goods when he could find them. His real success came after he made the arduous trip over one of the passes that lead into Almatian lands. The Almatians clamored to buy the exotic spices, fabrics and art from Shan lands and he made a massive profit. After splurging on an opulent meal and room, Kazucarn quickly loaded his cart up with Almatian goods and headed back over the mountains.

Two more trips allowed him to buy a wagon, another, an additional wagon. Two more a ship so that he could trade goods between all three of the continents of Retra. By the time Gurk reached 16, the age of maturity, he no longer had to go on the trips himself. He had a large trading network with several dozen employees and interests in several permanent caravans and trading fleets.

Kazucarn semi-retired at this point, having a large, opulent villa built near his headquarters in Almatia and enjoying the good life. He always had a taste for finer things and fully indulged that predilection, enjoying all manner of alcohol, drugs, food, women and entertainment.

By the time void runners were discovered, Gurk was one of the few people on Retra with enough money to buy one. Seeing the massive possibility for profit these new vessels presented, he invested almost all of his liquid capital in them. This allowed him to outright buy two Tradesmen as they were produced and hold shares in two more. He immediately put them to work, setting up trade between the civilizations the Empire found in the void as well as selling their services to the Empire itself.

Currently, Gurk owns more void runners than anyone else in the Empire, three Tradesmen and a Squidship, though he is always looking to expand his holdings.

Sokune Shenzen

A short, birdlike, elderly Shan woman with long black hair, streaked with silver.

Shenzen sees the discovery of void runners as a chance to expand her already considerable knowledge. She hopes that those under her patronage will bring back books, art and information about the wonders of the universe beyond Retra.

Shenzen was born the first daughter of a high level functionary of the Immortal Court of the Glorious Empire of the Eternal Shan. Her mother held sway over a massive swath of land near the capital and the Sokune family often dined with the Imperial family.

Shenzen’s mother hoped that her daughter would follow in her footsteps and did everything in her power to prepare her for her future position. Shenzen was provided the best tutors in all fields from calligraphy to astronomy to to medicine to swordplay to court politics. Unfortunately, she proved completely incompetent and disinterested int he last of these fields. Shenzen simply did not care who was currying favor with who, what flutter of a fan meant that one hated a rival, or what the Emperor’s favorite kind of nut was. Once she discovered the wonders of the world that could be discovered though science and learning, she cared little for the politics that made that world go round.

Thus, though it disappointed her to no end, Shenzen’s mother was forced to pass her power on to her son, a boy who was not so bright as his sister but who had a double dose of the killer instinct and cunning that made for a brilliant courtier.

Shenzen was relegated to a role as a researcher and librarian at the Golden University of Ever Rising Knowledge, the center of study at the Imperial capital. It was a life that she excelled at. She never rose very high in the ranks as the social competition in academia proved just as fierce as at the Emperor’s court, but none could deny her brilliance and her superiors often jockeyed to have her assigned to them so that they could lay claim to at least partial credit for her discoveries.

She hardly noticed when the Ravnivori conquered her land. It was only a minor annoyance as she was forced to remain away from or sneak into the library for several months while the invaders laid siege to her city. Afterward, she simply returned to her quest for knowledge, hardly caring that her new superiors were foreign conquerors as long as they did not interfere with her work. Fortunately, those superiors were wise enough to stay out of her way.

Shenzen’s disinterest in the outside world was only shattered when that outside world expanded. The discoveries and possibilities available on other worlds was a draw that she could not deny. Though she did not have her brother’s power or money, she had amassed an impressive amount of money from her salary and from awards given due to her many discoveries. Since she seldom spent any of this money, she had quite a treasury by the time void runners were discovered.

She wasted little time in buying one and less in gathering a crew, boarding her ship and streaking off into the void. That first trip garnered her numerous specimens and tomes as well as another ship. One of the societies that she discovered was so impressed by her quest for knowledge that their ruler gifted her with a Dragonship to show his admiration.

Shenzen has returned home, now, retiring from the University so that she may examine the wonders of the universe. These wonders are brought to her by her two ships, both the Dragonship and her first Koi. Though she already has a backlog of material to research that will last until well after her death, her thirst for knowledge remains unslaked and she is looking to add a third research vessel to her fleet.

Karl Djordsen

Tall, broad shouldered with long blonde hair and a shaggy beard and bright green eyes.

Karl is a Possessed Ravnivori who is completely dedicated to the Empire. His interest in backing Void Runners is almost purely in bringing the glory of the Empire to new worlds and, incidentally, expanding his own holdings.

Karl is the current patriarch of a seafaring family that has served the Empire for generations. Once the need for naval military forces had essentially expired, the Djordsens, like many other families in the Empire with strong military traditions were left without purpose and looked for meaning.

For Karl, at least, this meaning came with the discovery of Void Runners. Karl’s secret dream, the chance to explore new places was suddenly a possibility. His entire world had been charted by the time Karl was born but the opening of the universe with the advent of the Void Runners opened up a universe of possibilities for the man.

The Djordsens were not a powerful enough family to claim one of the earliest Void Runners, but Karl was inspired by the Void Runners and let nothing stand in his way. He volunteered a great deal of his family fortune to the Thresher project to help get the experimental ship constructed. And, of course, after it was built, it was given into his care. Karl still captains the Terror of the Void, as the first Thresher has been named but he is also looking to expand his fleet with another vessel, either to serve as support or as an individual ship to further explore the universe.

Dunbar Liggett

A massive Dracotaur with deep grey-blue scales and a paler, almost white underbelly. Several horns spring back from his head and spikes bedeck the tip of his tail. His golden eyes are fierce, but intelligent.

The current King of Pain of the Legion of the Abyss, Dunbar Liggett began his career in the military in the closing years of the Ravnivori campaign against Almatia. He was inducted into the Legion just in time for it to be disbanded, though he was quick to join the military fraternity that rose from its ashes.

In the campaign against the Shan that followed, he proved himself just as savage, efficient and brutal as to be expected of Legionnaire. Eventually, his skills became so impressive that he was chosen for the supreme position in the Legion.

He has maintained this title even after the defeat of the Shan and, though many wondered what the Legion of the Abyss would become with the apparent end of war, Dunbar was quick to petition for and be granted the captaincy of a Void Runner ship. His ship, The Hammer of Doom is considered one of the most dangerous vessels in the Empire, not least because Liggett is its captain.

L’un Dihn

A petite Shan woman with large, deep black eyes and long flowing brown hair. She has a round, warm face and full lips.

Eyes: Black Hair: Dark Brown Height: 5’ Weight: 115#
Agility: d8 Smarts: d4 Spirit: d8 Strength: d4 Vigor: d6
Skills: Fighting: d4, Shooting: d4, Guts: d8, Knowledge (Fashion) d8, Persuasion: d8, Riding d4
Pace: 6 Parry: 4 Toughness: 4 Charisma: +4
Edges: Attractive, Noble, Rich
Hindrances: Small, Clueless

L’un Dihn is the daughter of Kazucarn Gurk and the daughter of a noble Shan family. Though the woman’s out of wedlock pregnancy was somewhat shameful, the family could not turn a blind eye to Gurk’s money and power. Strangely, Gurk doted on the girl, if from afar. While he would never win any prizes for being a good father, he showered his daughter with money and gifts, utterly spoiling her and ensuring that she never needed to worry about anything.

Dihn has managed to reach adulthood without learning much about the real world. She has grown somewhat bored by her sheltered life and has decided to stowaway on one of her father’s voidrunning ships to learn more about life outside her cloistered existence.

Sokune Takio

A petite, Shan woman with an elegant face and short midnight black hair and almond shaped dark brown eyes. She moves with unconscious grace and athleticism.

The daughter of Sokune Shenzen, Takio followed a very different path. Instead of becoming a scholar and burying herself in books, she instead dedicated her life to becoming a samurai and master swordswoman. Taking up the ancestral weapon of her father’s clan, she is not yet the world’s greatest swordsmaster, but she is universally acknowledged as one of the best.

Eyes: Dark Brown Hair: Black Height: 5’5″ Weight: 130#
Agility: d10 Smarts: d4 Spirit: d6 Strength: d6 Vigor: d6
Skills: Fighting: d12, Shooting: d6, Guts: d8, Persuasion: d8
Pace: 6 Parry: 8 Toughness: 7(3) Charisma: 0
Edges: Trademark Weapon (Chrysanthemum Wind)
Hindrances: Vow (Samurai Code), Big Mouth
Gear: Chrysanthemum Wind (Katana) Str + d6 + 2, AP2, Plate Corselet +3 Torso, Pot helm +3 Head 50%

Vangral

A tall, slender but muscular Ravnivori elven man. He has flowing, golden blonde hair and dark blue eyes. His face is thin and sharp.

Eyes: Dark Blue Hair: Blonde Height: 5’10″ Weight: 160#
Agility: d10 Smarts: d8 Spirit: d8 Strength: d8 Vigor: d8
Skills: Fighting: d10, Guts: d8, Intimidation: d8, Notice: d8, Shooting: d6, Spellcasting: d8, Stealth: d8
Pace: 6 Parry: 7 Toughness: 9(3) Charisma: 0
Edges: Arcane Background: Magic
Gear: Platemail (3), Longsword: Str+d8, Longbow: 2d6
Special Abilities: Infravision
Magic: Stun, Deflection, Speed

Vangral served as the captain of a ocean going dreadnought in the Ravnivori war against the Shan. He was a steady commander who won the victories he was expected to and avoided trouble he could not handle. He was also the mentor of a young human named Karl Djordsen.

When the Shan war finally ended, Vangral remained in the navy, continuing to serve steadily if without distinction. Until, that is, Djordsen contacted him and offered him a position as the human’s lieutenant on his new void running ship.

Chorizal (Draga)

A powerfully built draga with dark green body scales and pale yellow belly scales. A scowl seems to be permanently etched into his face.

Eyes: Yellow Hair: None Height: 12’ Weight: 800#
Agility: d6 Smarts: d6 Spirit: d6 Strength: d8 Vigor: d6
Skills: Fighting: d10, Intimidation: d6, Notice: d8, Shooting: d6, Stealth: d6, Swimming: d4
Pace: 6 Parry: 8 Toughness: 7(2) Charisma: 0
Edges:

Hindrances: All Thumbs, Code of Honor, Cold Aversion (Major), Mean
Gear: Halberd: Str + d8, Flail: Str+d6, Medium Shield
Special Abilities: Armor + 2, Bite Str + d4, Dragon Deference, Four Arms

Exiles #27 – The Four Gun Kid

For some unknown reason, I’ve been into Cowboys & Dinosaurs, lately.  Not cowboys and dinosaurs as in each one separately but Cowboys & Dinosaurs as in, six shooter packing pardners riding prehistoric beasts.

I’ve added a Cowboys & Dinosaurs prestige class to the next d20 product I plan to publish and I happened to come across the base for this guy while in the mood.  He seemed like an obvious choice.

I’ve also always like the idea of 4 armed people as superhumans.  It doesn’t take a very deep look at my homebrew to see that quite a few of the optional races have four arms.  Actually…I need to add an Edge with that option to account for all the individuals descended from races that have four arms, as well…

So, of all the Savage Land Mutates, this guy was going to be the obvious choice.  I also noticed that they were once called the Beast Brood and that has a better flow to me than “the Savage Land Mutates” so I decided that, in the dimension he’s from, that’s what they were always called.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s Barbarus, the Four Gun Kid –

Four-Gun Kid

Barbarus

Fighting: EX

Agility: GD

Strength: AM

Endurance: RM

Reason: TY

Intuition: EX

Psyche: GD

Health: 110

Karma: 36

Resources: PR (4)

Popularity: 10

Powers:

Multi-Arms: Barbarus possesses four arms, giving him a +2CS in Grappling combat. He can make multiple attacks at Incredible rank instead of his Fighting rank. He can use these attacks to make ranged attacks using his pistols, as well.

Pistols: The Four-Gun Kid carries four Colt.45 caliber revolvers. The Colts hit for 8 points of Shooting damage, hold six shots each, and are made from Excellent strength material.

Talents: Four-Gun Kid is an expert with handguns. He is one of the fastest guns in the Savage Land and can easily draw all four pistols and fire in the same turn. Four Gun Kid is also an expert rider and has the Law talent. He also has the Blunt Weapons skill.

Contacts: Four-Gun kid was a former agent of Magneto and a member of the Savage Land Mutates. He has worked with Hawkeye, Moondragon and Thor.

Background: Barbarus was a member of a Swamp People tribe in the Savage Land who was originally, artificially mutated through technological means by Magneto so as to give them superhuman powers.

Magneto gave the so-called Beast Brood their superhuman powers during a period he spent living in the Savage Land. The Mutates battled the X-Men and Ka-Zar on Magneto’s behalf, but after Magneto’s own defeat in the Savage Land by the X-Man Marvel Girl, the Mutates returned to their original non-superhuman state for unknown reasons.

Subsequently, the Beast Brood regained their superhuman powers and unusual forms for reasons that remain unclear. This time the powers of the Brood had allegedly increased. The Brood captured 3 scientists and tried to force them to mutate other Savage Land natives into superhuman beings. The Avengers and the Asgardian goddess Sif came searching for the scientists and defeated the Brood. The Avengers rescued the scientists and delivered the Brood to legal authorities in Chile, the nearest nation to the Savage Land.

Somehow, the Beast Brood returned to the Savage Land from Chile. Brainchild, originally given the name because he had superhuman intelligence and childlike emotions, achieved greater emotional maturity and became the Brood’s leader. Brainchild and the Brood joined forces with the high priestess Zaladane to take control of the Savage Land. Under Brainchild’s leadership, the Beast Brood battled the Angel, Ka-Zar and Spider-Man in the Savage Land. Working for the monstrous Sauron, Brainchild and his Brood subsequently fought Ka-Zar, the Angle and his fellow X-Men. Ka-zar and the X-Men defeated the Brood, who were returned by Ka-Zar, using one of Brainchild’s devices, to their original states.

But it appears that the effect of the mutation-inducing technology that gave the Beast Brood their powers causes them eventually to regain their superhuman abilities and unusual forms should they lose them.

During an encounter between three of the Avengers and Kang the Conqueror, the Wild West Hero known as the Two Gun Kid and the entire town he was in at the time was transported through time and space to the modern period and the Savage Land. The Avengers were powerless to return the town to its original location and time and Kang had no desire to.

Many of the citizens did accept the Avengers offer to relocate them to more civilized locations but most of them refused to give up their homes, even if those homes were no longer in the place and time they were used to. The Two Gun Kid remained with those who refused to leave, taking on the role of their defender.

He managed to fend off attacks by dinosaurs and primitive tribes, and even began to set up friendly relations with some of the latter. But, when the Beast Brood attacked, he was completely outmatched. Only the timely intervention of the unlikely team of Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Storm and Shanna the She-Devil prevented the town from being destroyed by the Beast Brood.

But, while they were rampaging, Barbarus was smitten by the local schoolmarm, a petite, demure woman who nevertheless had a fiery spirit and endless courage when her charges were threatened.

Barbarus began to sneak back to the village periodically to spy on her. One night when he was doing so, the town was attacked by a number of natives riding pterodactyls. One of them snatched up the schoolmarm and Barbarus leapt to her rescue.

Whether because he had saved her or because she saw something good under his brutish, violent exterior, the schoolmarm returned Barbarus’ romantic interests once things quieted down. Matt Hawk, the Two Gun Kid also saw potential in him.

Matt was well aware that, even with his gunslinging skills, he was no match for many of the dangers of the Savage Land. Facing down outlaws and bandits was one thing, facing down a tyrannosaurus rex was another.

Barbarus was a native of the Savage Land, though and one enhanced with superhuman strength and abilities. As the Brood member began making himself more publically known around the town, the Two Gun Kid began to subtly bring him under his wing, teaching him both his gun slinging skills and his own particular code of honor.

As much to impress the schoolmarm, who had very 19th century sensibilities about courtship, as anything else, Barbarus took to Hawk’s lessons. It was not long before Hawk had the town’s gunsmith make this four armed protégé his own customer set of guns.

The Beast Brood was not aware of the time Barbarus was spending in the town or the fact that his loyalties were shifting. Brainchild decided it would make a good base of operations and would be easy to take with no outlander heroes around. He launched another attack on the town.

Barbarus was torn between his teammates and the woman he’d come to love and the man he’d come to respect. He half-heartedly joined the Brood in their attack but, when Lupus was going to ambush the Two Gun Kid, he turned on his former team, saving the man.

Between the Two Gun Kid, Barbarus and some of the braver townsfolk, they were able to turn away the invaders. Barbarus remained with the town and, eventually, married the schoolmarm, taking on the moniker of the Four Gun Kid.

The Exiles came to his dimension to stop an attempt by the High Evolutionary to use the Savage Land as Ground Zero for a genetic bomb that would reset all life to the point where dinosaurs went extinct. During the course of their mission, the Exiles came across the Two and Four Gun Kids’ town and those heroes joined them in their quest.

Again, Barbarus found himself facing his former compatriots as they served the High Evolutionary. The combined heroes managed to foil the High Evolutionary’s scheme though the Two Gun Kid was mortally wounded in the encounter.

Knowing that the town could not survive long in the Savage Land and that it had been luck and the determination of its protector that kept it safe this long, Her Royal Whyness gave sanctuary to its citizens. Though time travel is beyond her resources, a parallel dimension where society and technology had not advanced beyond the wild west was found and transferred them there.

Barbarus’ wife had become fascinated by the advanced technology on Otherworld and asked to stay. Given the code of honor that Hawks had invested in him and feeling he owed it to his mentor’s memory, the Four Gun Kid joined the Exiles in their ongoing mission.