What shall we do with the drunken sailors?

What shall we do with the drunken sailors?

Yesterday my group began a three month long Iron Kingdoms (IK) campaign. We’re starting off on a small ship called El Pollo Diablo (The Devil Chicken), with piracy and mayhem to follow. We are not yet a fully-functioning party, having only joined together under duress: some of us were captives on a slave ship, saved by some other members of the group, and after much slaughter we found ourselves in charge of the ship. We have arrived in the town of Five Fingers, but we don’t have any money to refit the ship we have stolen, or even really any rightful claim to that ship. Nor do we really know each other. Surely a life of piracy awaits… Here then is the crew roster.

Carlass Doomecho, Trollkin Fell-caller/Warlock

Fell calling for a coffee

Fell calling for a coffee

Carlass and her troll axer Hrif the Younger are the last survivors of their kriel, which was a small maritime kriel based in the Scharde Islands. The slowly expanding blight of Cryx overwhelmed their tribe, which slowly fell to darkness and decay, and eventually Carlass and Hrif the Younger made the wise but sad decision to leave the isle and make a new life away from the influence of death and dragons. Carlass, however, pines for a return to kriel life, and is filled with a deep rage at the loss of her home range and kriel. She aims to return and destroy the forces of Cryx one day. There she will reclaim her ancestral homelands and purify them in service to Dhunia.

Hrif the Younger, expressing happiness

Hrif the Younger, expressing happiness

Carlass is a trollkin fell-caller, meaning that she has a powerful voice that can shatter stone and terrify ordinary mortals. Fell callers are revered amongst trollkin society, being seen as gifted by Dhunia, but Carlass has been further gifted with warlock powers. She can control the minds of pureblood trolls, those savage beasts of the wilderness that, though well loved by trollkin, are figures of myth and terror to all other races. The purebloods fell to the blight slowest, but fall they did, and Hrif would have followed his older brother into the darkness had he not been on a mission with Carlass at the time that the tribe finally sank into decay; returning home they discovered their entire tribe gone, either sunk into the sickness of Cryx’s blight, or dead fighting their corrupted kin. Rather than fight, Carlass and Hrif left, vowing to return and sow vengeance; though she was only an apprentice warlock when she left, the loss of their tribe deepened Carlass and Hrif’s bond so that they are now inseparable in war and peace.

Carlass is just under 2m tall, lean and savage looking, pale of skin and much weaker than most trollkin. Her powers arise from her deep booming voice, and her deep bond with Hrif, a 3m tall behemoth of bronze-coloured skin, warts and axes, a civilized beast of few words and resolute action. Where Carlass wills it, Hrif does it. And what Hrif does, remains done. Both of them are new to the world of humans, though, and have little understanding of or respect for their smallbodied kin. This makes them uncomfortable members of their party, and untrustworthy allies…

Sharajin, Mennite monk

Sharajin is a mysterious ascetic of the Mennite faith, far from home and perhaps lost to her people. She is apparently on a mission, though she will not divulge its divine purpose. She seems to have a husband and children back in Mennoth, though it’s hard to believe from her cold and imperious ways that she would ever soften for any love except that of her unforgiving god. She is a woman of few words and vast purpose, a talented artist in the dance of death, and a priest with no peer when it comes to the complex weavings of Mennite rhetoric. For all her cool ways and hard stares, though, Sharajin is quickly liked and trusted by her fellows, and respected by all.

Sharajin is a lean, dangerous looking woman of slightly above average height and supernatural composure. Her hair is short cropped but stylish, her clothing loose-fitting and designed for combat, her style ascetic but not dirty. She fights with her bare fists, sometimes wreathed with fire, and calls the fire and wrath of her distant and uncaring god to destroy her enemies. When she has to speak, she is sparing with words and clear of purpose; when she has to fight, she is sparing of movement, swift of fist, and devastating in impact. Though noone with any sense trusts the Mennites, everyone soon trusts this coiled demon of religious fury.

Alyvia, noble mechanic

Kaylee of the steampipes

Kaylee of the steampipes

Alyvia is a human arcane mechanic, of noble birth in the now-extinguished nation of Llael, forced to wandering the fringes of the human world trying to find a new place in a world torn apart by war and industry. She is equally at home on the battlefield or in the foundry, building things or breaking them. She fights with pistols, but can handle warjacks and other heavy equipment when the need arises. It was Alyvia who found the slaveship that held the others captive, and through her actions they were able to grasp the chance at freedom. Their newfound camaraderie does not extend so far as to allow her to tell them what happened to her noble family in now-forgotten Llael, or what she aims to do to restore her inheritance. Surely though a woman of her capabilities will bring down the Khadoran empire if that is what it takes to regain her rightful place in society. And maybe she will drag the rest of the crew with her on just such a suicidal mission …

Carmichael, warcaster of mystery

Carmichael is the group’s warcaster, and little more can be said of him than that. Thin, bespectacled and pale, he is hardly the classic image of the battlefield warjacker, but competence is measured in more than fancy frock coats, and Carmichael is a good man to have behind you in a pinch – or at least, he is when his Buccaneer warjack is up and steaming. Carmichael is armed with pistols and able to fend for himself when the need takes him; faced with bigger men, he shows no fear or trepidation, and deals with them as a man backed up by several tons of steel warbeast should be expected to. Carmichael’s history is a mystery to the group – they found him washed up on a desert island as they fled the scene of their mutiny, and took him with them more out of pity than calculation. Now that he has “recovered” a Buccaneer, they keep him despite his mysterious past, because it’s better to have a warjack at your back than on your trail …

The freebooter's last vision

The freebooter’s last vision

Captain Breaker, Ogrun bastard

Captain Breaker is the ship’s captain by common consent. A 3m tall Ogrun warrior, Breaker carries a ship’s cannon under one arm as if it were a lady’s purse pistol, and fights with the courage of a man abandoned by civilization … which perhaps he has been. Ogrun are respected and feared in the Iron Kingdoms, so no one dares to hazard a guess as to how he ended up enslaved in a cheap Khadoran galley. Once he was free the carnage he rained down on their captors ensured that no one would ever find out, either. But his ebullient manner, overwhelming physique, and unquestionable bravery qualified him to take captaincy, and so duly it was voted on. When decisions need to be made it is often said that the Ogrun is the first to make them, and the most confident in executing the task; such a personality is the essential bond in a crew as diverse and as cantankerous as this one. So far the group have all united behind Breaker, and they fight for no higher ideal than the preservation of the group. Who better to lead them then, than a slightly mad seaborn Ogrun? And who, in any case, would dare to dissent…?

The Captain thinking, after speaking...

The Captain thinking, after speaking…

That, then, is the crew of El Pollo Diablo. Who knows what benighted shores they sail to, or what evil tides will rush against them over the next few months. But I have a strong feeling their adventures will be exciting and brutal, with little humanity and much humour, so let’s keep a weather eye on the horizon, and see where fickle wind and fate take them …

art note: all line drawings are by Eddie, who plays Captain Breaker. The other two are from Deviant Art; the Buccaneer is from the Privateer Press website.