Meet The Trash Ninja
Ok, he’s not a Ninja, he’s technically a Martial Artist… but “ninja” sounds cooler. He’s the replacement for TKotBO, his name is FuBar Bombad, he’s fresh off the boat from Barbados, and he is a troll.
Yeah, I reckon we’ve broke the seal on the freak-show party. Might as well just go with it. 🙂
Keep in mind, he’s not the same kind of troll as the one that the party defeated so long ago. He’s the smaller, more civilized kind, that walks more upright and knows how to speak human languages. (At Accented level, anyway.) They’re still considered pretty monstrous, though, and so can be barred from entry into town on a whim. His plan is to rough it, similar to how Alric does it. If the guards won’t let him into town, he’ll just go around to the sewer slums that are inevitably beneath the town of Tembladera, where all the other monsters and exiled savages end up. He’ll be rolling against Survival (Dungeon), rather than Survival (Mountains), of course. Long term, he figures he’ll work on his disguise abilities, and improve his appearance a step or two, from “monster” to “beggar or dirty peasant”, to get past the gate guards.
As the player and I discussed the character, I realized that in my head, these trolls were looking an awful lot like some sort of Jim Henson creation. Something with a bit of a snout, a pair of over-sized, wet eyes, and big, floppy, expressive ears. Something like Kira and Jen from The Dark Crystal, but with more wrinkles and scabs. I might be modifying the standard troll racial template to include Easy To Read, since you can see where the ears are pointing, balanced out with some Acute Hearing, since the ears are so big.
The troll language, Trollbrew, is a kind of dialect of Goblinistani. They share enough words that speakers of one can yell loudly at speakers of the other. The written form of Trollbrew is exactly the same as written Dwarvish, since the trolls just borrowed it outright. Trolls aren’t known for their interest in the written word, though, so most of them are semi-literate at best.
Trolls have excellent night vision, which fits with my mental image of the big eyes. They’re also sensitive to bright light. To counter this, FuBar wears a pair of tinted goggles. They’re Signature Gear, so they’re a constant. To keep his encumbrance down, he’s wearing cloth armor, but no sleeves.
Speaking of his Signature Gear… it’s a collection of items that are summed up as “Ninja-Hobo Kit”. It’s mostly the goggles, a sai, some homemade shuriken… and some salt, wrapped up in a twist of paper. It’s his assertion that it’s a key piece of his dungeon scavenging technique: “You can eat anything — anything — if you’ve got a bit of salt for it.”
In many ways, this character is the exact opposite of TKotBO. Notably, he does not wear boots, preferring a pair of soft slippers, for the Stealth bonus. He’s got the highest move, I think, of any PC to appear thus far. Despite his relative lack of strength, he’s unencumbered, and even has enough capacity to pick up more than a torch without gaining a level of encumbrance.
Regarding encumbrance… FuBar’s got several traits that help him travel light. He’s a scavenger and an improviser. Rather than carry the equipment that he might need, he trusts to his ability to make do with what’s at hand and what he can rig up. His ranged weapon of choice is a thrown brickbat. He eats what the dungeon provides.
Even his regular equipment is scavenged trash. His kusari is a length of rusty chain with a worn horseshoe on either end, beaten into a rough knot of metal with the help of a rock. His cloth armor is “camouflaged” for the dungeon with stains and rags.
He’s got to travel light. Being a monster, he’s not going to be allowed to own real property. Sleeping in the sewers is a good way to get rolled. So, like TKotBO, he has a vow limiting the amount of stuff he can accumulate. Unlike TKotBO, he won’t be donating his excess to the Church. Rather, he’ll be drinking it. It’s not every night that he can get into the bar, after all, so he’s going to enjoy it while it lasts.
So, FuBar’s not motivated by money, so much as the improvement of himself and his art. Uniquely among all the occasions I’ve seen one of those open-ended life-goals on a character sheet, this time, the player and I hashed out exactly what is meant by “perfecting his art”. FuBar himself might not be able to articulate it, inside the game world, but we’ll know the precise point when he achieves his lifelong goal.
Ever time the party has swapped an old character for a new, or picked up a new character, it’s changed their tactics and how they approach the dungeon. I’ve got a feeling that this trade-out is going to do it again.