The Storm

Bill longs for a life of adventure and a chance to leave his family’s farm. When brigands set their eyes on the property, he gets more than he wished for.

The Storm, by Kelly Pawlik, is set loosely around a table top roleplaying game supplement called Tangible Taverns: Gumption, and is available now on DriveThruFiction.

Read an excerpt:

The rope cut into Bill’s wrists.  One of the figures, briefly illuminated by the dim light of the small cook fire, had a hatchet tucked into the belt fastened loosely around his hips, and the hilt of a knife reflected the light from the fire. Bill was downwind of the fire and the smoke created a haze in the air that assaulted his lungs and made his eyes sting.

He blinked repeatedly and tried to cough, but the gag in his mouth made it difficult.  He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping once he opened them, he’d be back on the farm. Bill recalled the fight he and his father had earlier that day. It felt like much longer ago. Bill had been desperate for a chance to leave the farm then. Now he’d give anything to be back there.

Download the full story here.

Kobold Press’ Rogue’s Gallery

Kobold Press is releasing a series of NPC blog posts, written by Kelly. Each post details the NPC and includes stats for levels 1, 4, 7 and 9.

Check them out now.

5e NPC – Burkhart Zykleres

Dire Rugrat Publishing has released 5e NPCs: Nobles & Ne’er Do Wells.  With 20 pages of unique stat blocks, write-ups, and colour art, there’s plenty of NPC goodness. While all of the characters in the book are a noble and/or ne’er do well of some sort, there is plenty of variety; challenges range from 1/4 to 9.

One such NPC is Burkhart  Zykleres, an abusive aristocrat who takes credit for other people’s good ideas and flees a situation he can’t win.

More on House Zykleres can be found in Houses and Heraldry, available on DriveThruRPG.

Burkhart Zykleres

Abusive Aristocrat

You know that was my idea.”

Burkhart is the youngest son of Count Fredrick Zykleres, a lord known for his unpleasant attitude. Along with his father’s sour disposition, Burkhart shares the family’s striking blond hair and blue eyes. Charming as some found young Burkhart, his boyish good looks have long faded. Burkhart has no desire to take over the house as it would require far more time and work than he is prepared to spend. Instead, he is happy to reside in the family home, enjoying the benefits of lordship without any of the responsibility.

Burkhart is a weaselly man who eagerly avoids the consequences of his actions by blaming them on someone else. If faced with a situation he cannot talk his way out of, Burkhart runs away by whatever means necessary. He is not above disguising himself as a servant, or even killing them to take their place, if it means living another day.

Should his older brother Ambrosius have one of his occasionally insightful ideas, Burkhart deftly takes credit for it. He has become such a master at this tactic, Ambrosius often believes the idea was his brother’s. Burkhart employs the same strategy with suggestions from some of his father’s advisors, which has become increasingly frustrating for them. He has a canny knack for twisting only the successful ideas to seem like his own, and any poor ideas always appear to belong to someone else.

Burkhart discovered a young age how easy it was to coerce people to do work on his behalf, and he has long enjoyed the power he holds over servants and staff. Burkhart shows only some respect to his father, brother and their head of staff, which is more than he shows to anyone else.

His mother, Amelia Zykleres, formerly of house Stylark was a gentle woman, and a trusting one. She adored her children, and always took them at their word. Young Burkart quickly realized he could use this to his advantage, and he blamed any of his misdeeds and mishaps on staff that displeased him. His charming plump face, large blue eyes and halo of blond hair were convincing. Pieces of shattered vases were disposed of, and their disappearance was blamed on a sticky-fingered page. A filthy room was the result of a lazy maid. A kennel master who lacked discipline with the dogs was responsible for the mess in the garden. Over and over again staff were forced to take responsibility for young Burkhart’s poor behaviour. No one dared to speak up for fear they would be next. 

Amelia Zykleres died when Burkhart was a boy, and he spent much of his youth with a parade of assorted governesses. If one displeased him, he bullied them into resigning or otherwise staged a scenario that resulted in their employment being terminated. While some noble parents may have realized something was amiss, Count Fredrick Zykleres gave little thought to his children.

The only member of the house who realized what the growing boy was up to was Ximena Diguera, the housekeeper and head of staff. Ximena had long been involved with Fredrick, and had even more power over the house than a housekeeper usually would. Disinterested in anything would upset their way of life, the two developed a mutual understanding to stay out of each other’s business.

Olanna, Burkart’s new step-mother, is not much older than he is, and his only interest in her is trying to bed her. Ximena, for her part, is encouraging his attempts.

 

Burkhart's stat block

 

What’s in the Bag? (Footman)

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts details the contents of such magical bags.

A Footman’s Bag of Holding

This finely made bag opens to a reveal a seemingly endless void. The exterior is crafted of a sturdy fabric and a silken rope fastens the bag shut.

  • Long roll of red carpet
  • A fine cloak trimmed with fur
  • Gold cloak clasp inlaid with pearls
  • Noblemen’s outfit
  • Courtier’s outfit
  • A well-made top hat
  • Vial of perfume
  • Shoe polish and a cloth
  • Flask of brandy
  • A small bag with dried fruit and nuts
  • Grooming kit
  • A book titled Tales from the Dark Woods, which includes frightening stories of lost children and strange woodland creatures
  • 50 cp
  • 100 sp
  • 212 gp