Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Poisoned City

It has been a little while since I posted anything about Hrulvir or anything RPG-related.  Given the fact that I have no subscribers, I doubt that many people noticed this lapse in activity.  I was thinking today about one of the NPCs that lurks in the shadows - Balthazar, specifically.   Balthazar leads a rather brutal crime syndicate - one of many operating within Hrulvir's bleak walls.

The Long Hoods, as they are called, are not known for taking no for an answer.  These are the sort of lugs who splinter doors so that they can splinter legs.  I mentioned, too, that Balthazar is known to be a really cunning swordsman.  Why that is, I'm not sure.  I suspect that it has something to do with prior military service of some sort.  He's a veteran-type - aloof, aquiline, cold-eyed, and, psychopathic.

I also made mention of the fact that Balthazar lost a hand somewhere along the way.   Perhaps he lost it during his military or seafaring days.  Today, I thought that it might be cool if I took advantage of Elric!'s wonderfully ambiguous demon binding rules and awarded Balthazar a demon-infused hand. Now, what does the hand look like?
Is it a mandrill's paw that twitches of its own volition?   It it similar to Han's assortment of hands in Enter the Dragon?  Or, is it some sort of seven-fingered, organic appendage that rots and then heals itself.  Maybe it's just an ordinary-looking hand.  More importantly, what does it require from its owner?  See the next post.

I also thought that it would be an interesting twist if Balthazar actually enjoyed poisoning people.  This notion inspired another idea: what if Hrulvir's chief export was poison?  Perhaps that is a stretch, but what if the city is nonetheless known for brewing exotic poisons?   That might be neat.  There may in fact be a Poisoners' Guild.

If such a guild exists, is it the only organization sanctioned to concoct poisons?  If this is case, for whom and for what purpose are these poisons manufactured?  I have no idea.  I suppose that alchemists knew quite a bit about poisons, so it is not too much of  stretch to imagine that a guild of alchemists dedicated to brewing substances that are inimical to life could possibly function within a city as dysfunctional as Hrulvir. 

Returning to Balthazar, I was left with an image of him lounging in his high-backed, leather and wood chair, casually watching an unfortunate soul convulse at his feet as an exotic poison worms though the victim's bloodstream.  It is some sort of poison that slowly suffocates and induces painful convulsions, simultaneously.  The poison is cultivated from the venomous freshwater eel that lurks in the River Hrul.  Sounds terrifying.  So does Balthazar.  I can't wait to introduce him to my PCs.

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