Saturday, September 5, 2015

Noteworthy NPCs - Jalliford the Soundsmith

    Alright, so in this type of post, I'll detail a weird NPC, their home and/or business, and give ideas on how to use them in your game. With that, the first installment is:

Jalliford the Soundsmith

    Level 3, blacksmithing and numenera as level 5, blacksmithing as level 7 when using the Soundforge.

    Jalliford is a talented and intelligent young man, only 19 years old. He is lean and athletic, and has a mop of brown hair. His profession has left him partially deaf, so he has a habit of talking inappropriately loud.
    The youngest son of a modestly successful merchant, Jalliford was forced into an apprenticeship with a blacksmith. However, he hated his master so much that as soon as he was old enough he ran away to make his own fortune.
    He drifted around, doing odd jobs interspersed with starving and begging. Ultimately he found himself a cozy job as errand boy and factotum to a retired jack named Levez Leblack. Leblack was something a tinkerer, and taught Jalliford the basics of numenera, before mysteriously dying just two years later.
    Not to be discouraged, Jalliford took the house as his own and applied himself to all of Leblack's books and lab notes until he realized that he needed money. Loathe to return to the blacksmithing profession, he decided to find a way to incorporate his skill with his new hobbies.

The Soundforge

    Jalliford's solution was unorthodox, to say the least. The Soundforge stands in the middle of Jalliford's workshop, formerly the foyer. The Soundforge resembles a small, octagonal coffin set on a pedestal. Its top half lifts up with a hinge, revealing an interior coated with small black disks. The floor is coated in a nest of thick conduits that connect to half a dozen laser modules on the floor.
    To operate the device, Jalliford stands behind a control panel a safe distance away and wears a special listening helmet and haptic interface gloves. When an object is placed within the Soundforge and the correct buttons are pressed, the laser modules create a live, crude holographic image of the object in the air above the forge. Using a combination of the buttons on the control panel and the gloves, Jalliford can "sculpt" the object within. The helmet gives him a toned-down audio feed of the interior, allowing him to listen for feedback or cracking, signs that he is straining the forge and needs to slow down.
    The Soundforge is a level 7 device that grants two assets on blacksmithing (or smashing, melting, or destroying something, if used destructively). Jalliford covets his secrets, but if persuaded he can teach a character the basics of its operation in a few days. Alternatively, if Jalliford is killed or otherwise absent, a character can spend a week and make a level 7 Numenera check to figure it out themselves.
    The unique nature of the device allows it to smith exotic materials, such as azure steel, strongglass, synthsteel, etc. In addition to any material properties, weapons and cutting tools made in the Soundforge are exceptionally sharp, and deal 1 extra damage and/or provide an asset to cutting things. Jalliford knows his weapons are high-quality and exclusive, so he sells them for three times the price listed in the corebook.

Chateau Leblack and the Surrounding Environs

    Levez Leblack's home, now Jalliford's, is a squarish, two-story building on top of a hill, built in wildly clashing architectural styles, as if a pile of uneven cubes and cylinders were stacked together.   The interior is spartan, with crude, cheap furniture, and piles of tools, scrap, and numenera, as well as a small library full of useful books. Jalliford sold most of Leblack's fine furniture to fund his hobbies.
   The structure's odd appearance is a result of its construction. Leblack built his home using a cypher that stole parts of other structures throughout several time periods, but of similar materials, and grafted them together in the span of an instant. The danger of that cypher is why he built his home sufficiently far away from the village in the valley below.
    The distance from the village serves another purpose, now. When the Soundforge is active, it creates an awful cacophony that can be heard for miles around. The villagers, being mostly poor farmers, cannot afford Jalliford's services, so most of his customers are passing adventurers, army officers, mercenaries, master craftsmen, etc.
    The fact that Jalliford's services do not aid the community, the dreadful noise, and the Leblack's sudden and "convenient" death have made the villagers resentful and suspicious of the young man.

Using Jalliford in Your Game

    Jalliford makes for an interesting merchant/hireling, and aside from his skill as a blacksmith he is also capable with numenera. He could be a useful ally. Alternatively, Chateau Leblack has plenty of useful numenera, not to mention the Soundforge, if players decide to take it by force. 

Adventure Hooks
  1. A PC looted a piece of ultra-hard metal from a destroyed automaton, with the intention of having it made into a sword. When a local blacksmith was unable to dent it, he referred them to Jalliford.
  2. An Angulan Knight has spurred the nearby villagers into an angry mob, claiming that Jalliford made weapons for a band of mutant outlaws. Whether this is true, or if this is just an excuse to lynch a troublesome neighbor, is up to the GM. Joining the mob will surely allow ample opportunity for looting, but on the other hand, Jalliford would pay handsomely to hire three to six armed thugs to drive off the mob.
  3. One of Leblack's old adventuring buddies shows up for a social call to find Jalliford in his house. The adventurer doesn't buy the kid's story of Leblack's sudden demise, but was reluctant to outright murder a possibly innocent man. Jalliford doesn't trust him, so the adventurer would gladly hire someone else to investigate for him.
  4. Jalliford has made a crate full of high-quality weapons, on commission from a nearby warlord. The warlord paid extra to have the weapons delivered to his isolated wilderness stronghold, but Jalliford is no fool. He'd rather pay a party of thugs to deliver them instead.

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