Sunday, April 6, 2014

NPC Sunday: Shostin Oakbarrel, smith

What,  haven't you ever seen a halfling blacksmith before?  Surely you knew they must exist.  The halflings can't rely on men and dwarves for all their iron work, after all.  Some of them even become good at it.

Shostin Oakbarrel is one of these, a halfling who spends his days around forge and anvil, hammering bits of iron into useful shapes.  He's been at it since he was a young halfling, knee-high to a dwarf, and has developed an almost dwarfish passion for the craft.  Of course, he still loves all the things that the typical halfling loves, too.  He's got appetite enough for any three ordinary halflings.  He loves to sing (loudly!) to the rhythm of hammer and bellows (and he's actually reasonably good at it.)  When the day's work is done, he wipes off the grime, puts up his furry feet, and enjoys a tankard of ale and a pipe.  He tends toward boisterousness, and being in the trade he is, he caters to a lot of adventurers and would-be adventurers and hears a good deal of gossip and rumors.  It doesn't take much coaxing to get him to talk, though he does tend to embellish.

Naturally, his chief occupation is in crafting tools, nails, horse shoes, and (most especially) the finest pots, pans, and cooking utensils, but he also pulls a decent traffic in small arms and armor.  He loves a challenge, so if an adventurer needs some special custom work done,  he's happy to take on the task.  He'll even make halfling-size plate, though why any self-respecting halfling would go around wearing his pots instead of cooking with them is quite beyond his ability to fathom.  

Appearance: Shostin is a halfling of middling years, a bit over average height, well-muscled from his years of work.  The hair on his head is cropped close; that on his feet is thick and luxurious.  He wears leather shoes while he works, because, as he'll tell you at length if you give him half a chance, halfling toe-hair is not fireproof.  Don't even ask about the well-healed but visible burn scars on his cheeks, unless you're prepared to hear a long and hilarious account of the dangers of sporting glorious muttonchops near a hot forge.

Stats: St 16 In 9 Wi 12 Dx 10 Co 14 Ch 10, AC 9, hp 5, AT hammer or hot iron Dam 1d4+2 (+1d4 fire damage if hot) AL L

Campaign role:  Shostin plies his trade in a settlement of humans or other halflings (DM's choice.)  PCs are likely to encounter him when they need weapons and armor, or when they need some special piece of metal equipment custom-made.  He also may seek out the PCs for aid in a long-running annual wager with the swordsmiths in several  neighboring settlements.  Every year, each smith sponsors an entrant in the sword lists of the local tourney, providing him a blade of exceptional workmanship.  Whichever smith's man (and sword) places highest wins bragging rights and whatever stake the smiths have agreed upon that year.  Should one sword break another, the smith who forged the broken sword buys the smith who made the breaking sword drinks for the next year.  Shostin's blade has broken another in three of the last six tourneys, much to the chagrin of the losers - his capacity for drink is a matter of local legend.  A PC fighter of good reputation may be asked to fight in the tourney on Shostin's sponsorship (or on that of one of his competitors.)  An adventuring party might also be hired to seek out forgotten secrets of swordmaking or rare ores for new alloys. 

PCs who are too loose with their tongues around the garrulous halfling might find that rival adventuring parties are unsettlingly knowledgeable about their plans.

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