Americana (DnD Campaign Setting)/NPCs
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Important figures who you should probably know about.
David "Davy" Crockett
Queen Dorothy I Townsend
Gardiner Hubbard and Johanna Muir
The International Geographic Society is a bold thrust by Americana's intelligentsia to throw a fence around her wilderness before the industrial juggernaut can swallow the entirety of it up. While her council is chaired by many of Americana's best and brightest, the two stars at her head shine the most brightly--Gardiner Hubbard and Johanna Muir, brought from opposite ends of the world by a love of the wild.
Gardiner Hubbard was born in New York shortly after it was refounded, and showed a knack for technology and finance. He made a small fortune on tech trading, turned it into a larger fortune, and retired young at 50, letting his investments continue to work for him and financing promising young inventors who caught his eye--including his brilliant nephew, Samuel Marconi. But until he was 60 he never ventured further from New York than the Plymouth Territories, until he was invited to speak at a conference in in Chicago, and took the trip via airship. Hubbard spent the entirety of the trip plastered to the windows, marveling at the beauty of the Atlantics beneath him, and the splendor of the Minnesota forests and Great Plain after that. When he returned to New York he immediately began sending out feelers for the foundation of a new society to bring this kind of beauty into the urban jungles by any means necessary--and it was then that he met Johanna Muir.
Muir was born in Detroit, and spent most of her life within the city, working various industrial jobs and developing one of the many sicknesses common to the city. As she was of well-to-do means, her doctor recommended travel as a curative, and she took to it heartily, taking a walking tour with only one companion across the continent to the West Coast. That she made it there itself may defy belief. Along the way, however, she passed through the great Yosemite region in between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Unknowingly, she had stumbled into a Hippidrum holy site, and they took her into custody--only to find the experience had been downright religious for her. Muir joined the Hippidrum and threw herself so heartily into the society she attained the caste of Groovy, one of a very, very small slice of outsiders ever to do so. She moved to Yosemite and was considering what else to do when word came that Hubbard wished to speak with her. He knew her via her family, and wished to propose an arrangement.
Today Hubbard and Muir are the co-chairs of the International Geographic Society, a freshly minted organization dedicated to the charting of the world and the preservation of her natural beauty. Hubbard provides the anchoring within the Nations, and much of the financing, while Muir acts as a sort of liason to nature and advisor on the natural world. Together the two have managed to get the industrial nations and San Francisco to back a common cause, which is news enough in itself, but how far that backing may go when progress conflicts with romance remains to be seen.
Gardiner Hubbard is not a fighter by any means, but he is quite charismatic and well versed in legal doctrine. Encountered in the battlefield of the courts, he is a fierce opponent, and becoming his enemy will make an enemy of many powerful people--and potentially the Wire Corporation, which would be unheard of. Johanna Muir, by contrast, is a powerful druid, and though her connections are fewer she is Groovy among the Hippidrum and still has some family in Detroit who are willing to tolerate her talk.
King Gregorio II Mortenson
Grand Aide Henry Standish
Izithrax, the Copper Lord
The elven retainer sputtered helplessly as the spectacle before him slowed to a halt. "My lord... you cannot juggle dwarves!"
"Why not?" came the reply. From up on the dias, the great copper cast a petulant eye down at his servant. "I'm very careful, and I practice daily."
"I..." the elf found himself quite at a loss for words, and spent a few seconds shuffling about while he formed a coherent argument. "It. Hurts? Them?"
His liege recoiled in alarm. "Preposterous! I never do! And, besides, I always pay them afterwards."
From beneath the great dragon's talons, a gruff dwarven voice croaked out, "Please, help us. The juggling isn't so bad, but his jokes are terrible."
- - - -
There is some debate among scientists today as to whether a dragon can become senile. As no-one is sure exactly how old dragons can get, no-one can really be sure: but a prime argument for it exists at the head of the nation of Yellowstone.
The copper dragon whose shortened "face-name" comes to Izithrax is one of the ten Dragon Lords--rulers, guardians, and guides of the draconic species. They are all of them very old, very rich, and very powerful. Their existence only became known to humanity shortly before the end of the Great War, when it became clear they were orchestrating the show from behind the scenes--and they vanished into the wildernesses with all their followers, as soon as it became clear the game was up.
Neither tooth nor tail was seen of any of them for fifty-five years, until the newly united Alacatrazi pirates suddenly found their slaving and raiding parties being raided from the sky in the waters between Seattle and Portland. Four years later, the attacks stopped--the pirates claimed to have sent a massive unified band into the area and ousted no less than a great copper dragon from the area. For years it was thought to be nothing but talk--and then Chicagoan travelers in the Valle Amarillo ran into a vast group of orcs, goblins, and even some elves working feverishly at a vast construction project. And they were being directed by dragons.
At their head was the Copper Lord, who spent three minutes introducing himself before reluctantly giving the shortened name of Izithrax. He then made a declaration that was possibly the last thing any of them expected to hear, and would typify his actions for the next fifty years--startling and sudden.
|“||I have been driven from my estates further west, so since I had nothing else to do I decided to give this nation-state thing a try. Would you be kind enough to let your King know? I'm not sure what the procedure is for this sort of thing...||”|
Izithrax is eccentric to say the least--whether age, power, or simple boredom is the cause, none can say. He pursues whatever course takes his fancy, laughing off censure and threat, and he has the money and might to be able to do as he wishes. Like all copper dragons, he appreciates few things more than a good joke and a strong sense of humor--at one point he gifted a kobold and his clan an entire mine of their own for telling him an excellent knock-knock joke. Some would call him mad, and they might well be correct.
However, even if he is mad, Izithrax is no fool. He has sense enough about him to hold numerous dragons in the same place at once--an impressive feat on its own given their solitary nature, to say nothing of the fact that these dragons vary widely in their coloration and intent. He has forged a nation out of tribal elves, clannish goblins, disorganized orcs, and exiled kobolds, and proceeded to make it one of the richest on the continent. He has singlehandedly maneuvered himself and his Native nation into the highest echelons of international diplomacy, earning the somewhat grudging respect of even the most xenophobic human politicians (Dallas' King Gregorio II has referred to him as "the toughest negotiator I've ever had the displeasure of arguing with").
Stats for Izithrax are not to be provided.
Mage-General Jennifer Bao
|“||"I'm a Three River Roarer! I'm a ring-tailed squealer! I'm a reg'lar screamer from the ol' Meezibee! WHOOP!||”|
|—Mike Fink, beginning his famous boast to the Keelmen of Chicago|
There are all kinds of terrors on the rivers of Americana. Giant northerns. Angry Natives. Angry Natives on giant northerns. Snarling branches, whirlpools, sucking mud, dark things that live in the riverbottom waiting for someone to slip just once. But the worst of the things you can run into on the rivers is human.
Mike Fink was born in a no-horse town on the Oho River, and grew up fighting Natives and sailing ships on the river. By the time he was a teenager he could outshoot any man in two hundred miles and force a loaded keelboat upriver by himself. Disgusted by Detroi encroachment on the wilds and their vicious, careless exploitation, he sailed west, rafting on the three great rivers that form the arteries of the continent--Mizibi, Mobile, St. Louis. He had a reputation as a practical jokester, but it wasn't until he reached Chicago that he ran into people who weren't smart enough to find them funny.
Mike Fink gained fame and notoriety for single-handedly beating thirty-five keelmen in a bare-handed fight on the docks of Chicago, and effectively assuming control of their share of the river trade. Things snowballed from there--despite a lack of formal schooling Fink had a keen sense for getting things done and showed an astonishing lack of inhibitions in the doing. This was fifteen years ago. Today the Mike Fink Steamboat Company controls nearly half the trade on the Three Rivers with a merciless, iron fist.
Mike Fink himself stands 6'3" and weighs 180 pounds of solid muscle, even though he hasn't pushed a keelboat in the last five years. He dresses finely now and wears all the trappings of society, but no-one will ever mistake the man Davy Crockett described as "half horse, half alligator" as a civilized man. Fink hates progress. He admires the Natives to some extent, but more than that he hates how progress brings chains to the wild world he loves, whether formal ones like laws or informal ones like "common decency" and "fair play". Fink could be lightly described as a bully and more accurately as a human monster; he has almost no moral inhibitions about getting ahead and will do anything he has to to advance his cause, whatever that is. Sometimes he'll even do those things for fun--he's been known to have his wife hold a tin cup on her head and between her legs, and shoot it out to show off his marksmanship. He's never hit her yet, to be fair.
Hundreds of men have tried to kill Mike Fink. He's still standing. He's unstoppable in hand-to-hand combat, shrugs off pain like a duck shrugs off water, is a crack shot with any gun you put in his hands, and is all too much of an expert in skewing the odds in his favor. This might be forgivable if he didn't find it all so damn funny. Anyone looking to make waves on the rivers is likely to run afoul of Mike Fink, and woe betide them when they do.
Mike Fink is an American legend, and is to be statted accordingly. While not so powerful as, say, Izithrax up there, he is virtually undefeatable in a hand-to-hand fight and the legends of his marksmanship are only marginally less impressive (such as conducting surgery with a black powder rifle). His role is envisioned as a mid-to-high level enemy to most parties; Fink doesn't take slights well or easily, and has not really grown into his new, more expansive role.
For as long as there has been the Order, Mark Twain has been leading them. He is clearly immortal, appearing to be an old man with thick graying hair and a full mustache, walking unbowed with age and capable of surprising feats of athleticism. His greatest weapon, however, has never been his position or his body--it is his tongue.
Twain is by a county mile the most pre-eminent writer, satirist, and critic in all of Americana, capable of reducing grown men to shattered piles of ego with an essay. At least once he has lashed out directly and destroyed the career of an opponent on a national scale--namely New York Mayor Giacomo Rico, who Twain revealed to be fabulously corrupt in 44 A.G. and wound up getting him not only removed from his position, but imprisoned on Fire Island for the remaining years of his life. In person, Twain has been reported capable of some degree of magic, guised and possibly boosted by his sharpened tongue--a warlord in the Great War who wanted to take over the Citadel for his own use was subject to a furious ten-minute diatribe against his personal character so strong, it left him on death’s door for a week.
Twain’s first appearance was in the final year of the Great War, when he called together the warlords who would become the Seven Generals and produced strong evidence of the plotting of the Dragon Lords. Asked in later years why he decided to do this, compared to his normal elevation from Americ politics and wars (such as the Twenty Years’ War), he simply shrugged, saying it was the “right thing to do”.
Twain has written reams of work on every topic imaginable, but despite considerable proceeds from these lives in personal frugality--nearly all of his personal income is poured back into the Order, which he considers his greatest achievement (though those who know the truth about his “errand boy”, Tom Sawyer, might debate this point).
Mark Twain is by no means a physical fighter--though acrobatic and athletic well beyond his looks and years, he has no formal training and has never been seen in hand-to-hand combat. He has showm some moderate magic ability, but his full capability is unknown--what is known is that his words can literally kill. Twain inspires his Order to their great work of preserving and disseminating knowledge throughout the continent regardless of race, creed, or nationality, if with a healthy dose of good morality involved, and they will defend him to the death. Whether or not he can die is yet to be determined.
(ED NOTE: Twain is a master of that 4E bard power that lets them go “FUCK YOU” and then their enemies explode into piles of blood and inadequacy)