The tall, cadaverous mute named Wipp lives in a large, roughly constructed, yet sturdy, mansion-sized dwelling in the forest several miles outside of the town of Ulanta. Composed of rough stones stacked together with coarsely planed logs, the buildings look as though fit for a family of 10’ tall ogres. Wipp himself is at least 8’ tall, whip thin, with pale features, white hair, and gaunt, greyish cheeks. He moved into the area 80 years prior and built the entire structure by hand. He tends a small garden and keeps pigs and chickens and does not seem to want for much. None know what race he may be, but all agree that he is not human as he has not aged in that entire time.
He comes to town every couple of weeks for supplies and to purchase whatever curios catch his eye. He is a strange sight, wandering the streets with a slack-jawed look and keenly aware eyes of flint grey. He is courteous but reclusive and accepts no visitors to his home. He communicates solely through writing on slips of paper with chunks of graphite, supplies of which he keeps in his pockets at all times.
Wipp practices a curious craft: he grows and fashions crystal works of art. Inside the large buildings that comprise his home are workshops wherein he painstakingly grows crystals into various shapes of wide ranging styles and sizes. Some are small trinkets, like pendants or settings for rings. Others are somewhat larger, perfect for placing upon the mantel or window sill. Items such as delicate roses with finely drawn petals or realistically crafted figures such as warriors or bards. Still others are life size sculptures of the gods, various magical beasts, or heroes from folk tales. Though none are present to see, he often wears a child-like smile of innocent glee while working away in his shop. An idiot’s grin, some would say. He will not take commissioned work, following only his own quiet muse.
Growing the crystals is done with a strange paste made of mixing various minerals and plants, the recipes for which he keeps only in his head. Every piece requires extreme concentration and dozens to hundreds of hours of time. Molds are made, pastes mixed, and well-worn tools of enchanted platinum and diamond applied with a steady and delicate touch. Great patience is required as the crystals grow and are chiseled into their finished forms. Colors for each piece tend toward rose or amethyst, though blue, emerald, milky white, and amber are also used on occasion.
He once crafted a functional set armor and weapons. A long tunic of leather decorated in amber scales and a round shield of a single sheet of amber comprised the armor, while a sword and dagger of milky white made up the weapons. The armor had the strength of mithril while the weapons cut better than the sharpest steel.
Each item is a masterpiece of art. They also hold enchantments extremely well. Knowing this, wizards often use them for adorning staves, wands, rings, and pendants. Seers and mystics use them for focusing meditations.
He sells these items for modest coin or trade in town. He seems not to care that the local merchants make a fair bit of gold when selling his wares in distant cities. Nor does he show any interest in communicating with others beyond that required for trade. He seems to care only for plying his craft.
Additional Ideas (3)
Many a curious mage and alchemist has pounded fruitlessly upon the door to Wipp’s abode. He ignores all such attempts at first. Most go away after a time. If they catch him while he is out tending his garden or if they are especially persistent, he will respond in exasperation by shaking his head and pointing toward the town. As a last resort, he will sick his hounds upon the interloper. The hounds first work to intimidate and will only attack if pressed.
Few test the mettle of Wipp’s hounds, for they are the size of bulls and made of animated crystal. One is of dark amethyst, the other formed of rose quartz. Both are well armored, with abnormally hard crystalline hides, and well armed, with teeth and claws like unbreakable glass daggers. They are always on guard and cannot be fooled.
These hounds are a type of golem created from the larger of Wipp’s sculptures. With the proper powers and incantations, these finely detailed sculptures can be brought to animated life. A passing wizard managed to broker a deal through the town merchants, giving him a statue of his own in exchange for animating the hounds, one of the very few trades of this sort that Wipp has ever done.
Crystal golems are of low intelligence and will follow only the simplest of commands. They are, however, completely loyal and immune to any enchantments which affect the living. Once animated, their finely sculpted forms come to fully to life. They are perfectly mobile and display no jerkiness in their motions.
Though none know of Wipp’s origins, there has been no end of speculation among the townsfolk.
Some believe him to be a man cursed by the gods to understand only his craft and nothing else. Such folk believe that that is why the gods took his speech; one does not need to speak in order to work. Many a fanciful tale has been spun to fit this idea. Perhaps, they say, he was a craftsman who became too proud of his own skill and tempted the wrath of the gods by comparing himself to them. What better punishment than to make him incapable of anything else? One variation on this theory is that he was once a minor god who showed disrespect to the greater gods and was banished to the mortal world for his hubris.
Others find it more likely that he is but a strange alchemist whose forays into the understanding of his crystal art led to a mutation of his physical form. Perhaps, these say, he was always so devoted to his craft that the compounds he constantly works with destroyed his ability to speak and then twisted his mind so that he can no longer connect with other men.
There are those who believe he is a bastard child of some giant race mixed with human blood. The theory goes that a bizarre combination of human curiosity and giant affinity for stone gave him a unique perspective on mineral life but no way to understand either his giant or human sides. Others say that rather than being a mix of giant and human, he is actually a demigod, and they spout off half-a-dozen gods whose essence could mix with humanity to produce such a creature.
Speculation remains limited to Ulanta, as few in the outside world have any notion of Wipp. The local merchants are well aware of what a goldmine they have in him. When they carry his wares to trade with the wider world, they make up tales of exotic merchants from far away and bemoan the high cost of purchasing these phenomenal works of art.
- Earrings in the form of doves which have been magicked to make the wearer more appealing to others.
- A small rose which clears the air of foul odors while filling the room with the subtle scent of spring flowers.
- Scrying stones of numerous shapes and sizes.
- A lyre that is fully functional. It provides no more magical effect than the fact that strings of crystal make beautiful sounds when strummed.
- A ring which adds to the power of any mage when worn.
- A pendant which protects the wearer from ethereal attacks.
- A chalice which neutralizes poisons.
- A staff cap which will illuminate items of magic within a small radius. It is a fantastic thing to walk into a dark room with such a staff and watch a few items here and there begin to glow as if a lamp shone upon them whilst everything else remains in darkness.
- Full sized statues detailing all the gods, heroes, and monsters of the Shallantean Epic.
- A set of small statues exactly matching that of a royal family living hundreds of miles away that Wipp could not possibly have met.
- A miniature village, complete with buildings, people, and animals.