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Mythic/ Historical
Mercantile

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Comments: 9
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Rating: 4
Condition: Normal
ID: 3353

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November 25, 2006, 11:28 pm

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Archibald Ganse

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A pioneer, visionary, alchemist and industrialist, archibald Ganse was a man well ahead of his time.

Appearance
A rotund man of great girth and not always jolly disposition, many remember Archibald Ganse with mixed feelings of grandfatherly sternness and scholarly detachment. While a tad shorter than the average citizen of the empire, he was a stout as an oak tree and as wide as a bull. He wore a thick mustache to hide a vicious scar on his upper lip and favored hats much of the time as his pate was as smooth as a babe’s bottom. Most paintings of Ganse show his wearing a simple cut frock coat of Nimzian style over a silk doublet of the current Imperial style. He was seldom seem without his walking stick, or his Mitoyen pork-pie hat.

One of the things that most no longer remember about Ganse was that he was afflicted with a strange skin condition that left his face flaky with dry skin and red sores. this is one of the reasons there are very few artistic representations of Ganse today, and it certainly didn’t help that Ganse considered artists to be step below beggars since beggars were more honest by default. Despite his advanced years and excess weight, Ganse was by no means a sluggard or layabout. He was often seen bustling about his city, waving his hamhack fists at beggars and artists, tipping his hat to the ladies of the burg and the like.

History/Background
Archibald Ganse was born to burgoise roots in the growing sprawl of the Mitoyen wards in Hahvrensburg. He spent the first part of his life working in the meat packing and slaughterhouses of the Mitoyen Ward where he gained his dour disposition and his bull like endurance. it was not long after he was on his own that he found himself dealing with bones.

While nothing of a necromancer, Ganse found himself working under contract to the Alchemists to reduce animal bones to powder and treat the remnants with certain acids to render phosphorus from the bones. It was then that he came to a strange idea, to find places where raw phosphorus could be mined from the very earth itself. He applied himself to this research while still working hours in the slaughterhouse dens and rendering bone down for its components.

Phossy Jaw
It was during this time that Ganse became ill, a wasting disease that sapped his vitality and ruined his appetite. It was only by luck that the local Physician’s guild was able to determine that the bone of his jaw had been infected with vapors from the phosphorus rending vats. After a number of treatments and tinctures and a harrowing three months of dogged illness, Ganse overcame his bout of Phossy Jaw. Many others were not so lucky and ended their careers in closed coffins, their facial bones rotting inside their bodies.

The Mines
It was after his recovery that Ganse made his move. He secured the rights to a town charter and mineral rights in a desolate spot of land in the Western Reaches, just south of the Great Escarpment. With a few like minded investors and bone renderers Ganse laid the first stones and timbers of the town that would later bear his name. Witihn a month of the commencement of construction, the first mining teams burrowed into thick veins of phosphorous, sulfer, and other volatiles under the thick and colorless soil of the hinterlands.

Prosperity
The mines produced a steady supply of the alchemist’s valued materials, and though there were the dangers associated with mining, they seemed pale compared to the slow and lingering death of phossy jaw. Ganse grew into a boomtown of some 15,000 souls. The mining community seemed poised to spawn a wave of colonization along the hinterlands. Several surveyors came, checking the soil to see if it could grow grapes for a wine vinyard, a ranching operation, as well as representatives from various faiths to see about setting stones to build their churches and temples as close to the pulsing heart of Ganse as possible.

Of course Archibald was shoulder deep in such enterprises, encouraging vinters and brewers to come so his miners would spend their coin in his town. He worked tirelessly, inspecting the mines and the miners, the wagonloads of raw material being shipped back east, and visiting the various taverns and shops that were growing all the while.

The Bust
Every boom is followed by a bust, and with the town of Ganse, the bust was an explosion. The number Six mine suffered a massive blast that collapsed it as well as the adjacent number five and three mine shafts. While three had been shut down for two years, more than 200 miners perished in the auxillary number five and even that number paled next to the 450 miners whose lives were snuffed out in the Six Shaft.

However, the worst fatality was Archibald Ganse, who was inspecting the Number six that afternoon and was among those swallowed by fire and stone. Without his tireless guidance and intrusiveness, the town council quickly made itself wealthy, drove away the workers, and left Ganse in complete anarchy. The mines were closed as the cause of the massive explosion could not be determined and first at a trickle and then a flood, the populace abandoned the frontier city for more cosmopolitan surroundings.

Ganse Today
Though his body was never recovered, Ganse has a tomb and a memorial in the center of Ganse proper thost can easily overlook this since the statue is of a horse prancing in the fountain. This is again attributed to Archibald’s less than ideal physique and skin problems as much as his dislike of artists and such.

Special Equipment

  • Mosphen Manor - The manorial home of Archibald, this sprawling structure grew in a haphazard fashion and has no real organization to its floorplan. Much like a growing mine, it simply grew out into a series of wings that were lined with parlors, personal rooms, and pavilions. The Manor is now abandoned as most consider it to be haunted by Ganse’s ghost. In truth, there is a mineshaft under the manor that slowly leaks unhealthy vapors into the building that cause many visitors to suffer nausea, headaches and mild hallucinations.
  • Archibald’s Scepter - Seen as the status symbol of the ruler of Ganse proper, this is little more than a glorified stick that Archibald carried after his bout of phossy jaw.
  • Plot Hooks

  • Small Town Lies - Small towns have a way of keeping secrets and Ganse is the same. There was a terrible secret under Mosphen Manor, and it is that Archibald was actually an evil vampire and staged the mine collapse to cover his escape from a vigilant band of hunters, most of whom perished in the mine collapse. The shaft under the manor leads to an abandoned crypt where Archibald slept through the day or when he wasnt moving about in the mines. The PCs follow a rumor of a vampire to discover that not only did Ganse have one, but that most of the people at the time knew it and just kept quiet.
  • Hidden Treasure - In Scooby-Doo fashion a band of toughs have invaded Ganse to search through Mosphen Manor to find Archibald’s funeral fortune. The PCs are invited in to stop the toughs from ruining the town, or they themselves are the toughs looking for the gold under the abandoned manor.
  • The Truth is Down There - A renewed interest has come into opening the phosphorus mines under Ganse again, but before the operation can resume, the interested party (mage, sage, king, etc) demands the truth be discovered behind the mine explosion. The PCs are hired to spelunk the mine, and find the cause of the explosion. Zombies lurk below, along with clouds of poison gas, and all of this can be considered ‘normal’. Things can get interesting with a gate to a subterranean realm, an object of power being found, or a demon of the earth being dug up. The safest way to find the truth is to summon the ghost or Archibald and ask him what happened. Insert creative tale here as required.



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    Comments ( 9 )
    Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

    Voted Wulfhere
    November 26, 2006, 0:36
    0xp
    At last we learn the secret of why a town was named "Ganse"...

    The well-presented details add to the piece’s verisimilitude, giving an interesting picture of the town’s founder. I particularly liked the odd disease "Phossy Jaw".
    Scrasamax
    November 26, 2006, 2:00
    0xp
    Just had to toss in a quick note, Phossy Jaw is a real disease that is caused by exposure to certain kinds of phosphorous. It's main deal is that it causes bone tissue, most often the jaw bone, to die and become necrotic.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phossy_jaw
    Voted manfred
    November 26, 2006, 2:52
    0xp
    Pioneers and founders are a worthy thing of legends - even if their achievement seems not to last forever. Years after their death, they still impact the daily existence of the city, and the whole area. Nice amount on detail to play with.
    Voted MoonHunter
    November 26, 2006, 9:17
    0xp
    An interesting character showing how a single man's dreams can effect the course of history for an entire region. In two hundred years he will little more than a footnote in a scholarly text or the pap that they feed kids in school.
    Voted Cheka Man
    November 26, 2006, 11:59
    0xp
    I like him.
    Voted valadaar
    November 27, 2006, 11:33
    0xp
    Interesting fellow! :)

    Good job!
    Voted Ria Hawk
    November 30, 2006, 21:56
    Only voted
    Barbarian Horde
    December 2, 2006, 12:28
    0xp
    I like it!

    It skews my own ideas for Ganse's origins, but I like it!
    Voted Dozus
    February 27, 2013, 21:46
    0xp
    I'm sorry I missed this before. A great story for the little mining town of Ganse.

    Quest

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