If Galvinus was to be described in one word that word would be old. His skin is dry and thin as worn parchment and the top of his head is a smooth pate covered in a multitude of liverspots. What hair he does have is wiry and unruly, forming into sideburns that are threatening to completely cover his drooping ears. His chin is bony and prominent as are his fish pale dead spider hands. His eyes are puffy and rhuemy, but have a clarity and intensity that some find as unsettling as his dry and caustic voice.
Galvinus Skreep was not always a wiry and miserly old man. In his youth he was a bit of an adventurer and made a play at a taste of fame. He came away from the experience with a nearly mortal wound in the side, a strong respect for gnolls, and the odd ability to speak the Terran language of the earth elementals. After retiring from the realm of the sword and spell, he found a suitable job working with a gem buyer in the capital and relocated to the bustling mining town of Ganse.
There, he made a good deal of money moving the semi-precious stones that were unearthed in the phosporous mines under the town, as well as doiing some speculation on grain prices back in the heart of the empire. Things went very well for a time, with hiw wife giving birth to a single daughter. It was discovered afterwards that she could bear no more children, and Galvinus eventually started to resent his daughter Meryl for not being a son and his wife for giving him a single daughter.
Hard times came when the price of grain plummeted following a grain surplus in the eastern territories and Galvinus was almost ruined by it. His contact in the capital was ruined by it and rather than face angry collectors, the merchant commited suicide by consuming an elixer of black oleander and methyglyn. Galvinus was able to survive by branching out into other materials, lending and borrowing money, and making small investments on caravans leaving the town.
Later that year his wife began to suffer from consumption and before a priest could attend her, she died. bitter and heart-broken, Galvinus attempted to set things right only to have his daughter Meryl abandon him and the shop to follow her own ambition to become a traveling performer with a theatre troop. While in the capital, Meryl Skreep is a rising star, none remember her graying and spindly father.
It was about 2 decades ago that the first xorns and xaren were encountered not too far from Ganse. It was not long before they ventured into the mining areas hungry for the ores the miners ewre unearthing as well as the iron and steel tools that they were using. The boom town went bust as miners abandoned the mines because of the creatures, though a hardy few remained to pry what they could from the earth. It was around this time that Galvinus started being seen with an absolutely massive mastiff dog.
While many of the mines remained dangerous and indeed some houses and shops were smashed into by curious xarens and xorns, the area in the general vicinity of Skreep’s shop remained relatively safe from such encounters. It was not long before more of the area’s inhabitants relocated to be closer to Skreep’s shop. A few thought to try to bully old Galvinus around, but they discovered that the old man’s Mastiff was more than a match for their bravado.
In his travels, Galvinus was able to procure a single magic item from the one lair he and his valiant band raided. It was a plain black leather collar that was enchanted with the Polymorph spell. Originally the evil cult leader had used the collar to change the appearance of his more loyal henchmen, and on rare occasion, the appearance of one of his concubine-wives. The collar sat unused in a dark storage box until Galvinus had the odd fortune of stumbling across a xaren snuffling through his cellar. He called to it in the language of the earth lords and much to his surprise, it spoke back to him.
It was not long before Galvinus had secured the friendship of the xaren, a dominant male of the species. He directed the Xaren to better feeding areas as well as parts of the mines where fewer miners were. The Xorn and Xaren were spared further injury from the locals and miners and were now feeling more safe themselves. Some problems still arose when juvenile and young adults of the species would go off exploring and end up in town, or in an occupied mine.
Donning the collar, the Xaren takes on the form and appearance of a common mastiff, but is a very large specimen and retains his dense armored hide and taste for metals. Galvinus makes an appearance of being the dog’s master in public, but in truth the two are more akin to allies than any sort of master/servant relationship.
Skreep’s shop is about a decade away from being condemned. Much of the building has fallen into disrepair, with the floor sagging and the walls out of plumb. It leaks and it is drafty. He only does business there as it keeps traveling merchants from thinking him to be better of by virtue of a good looking shop. This tied with a strong sense of miserliness has ensured the steady decay of the building. There is a main counter, dusty and all but empty shelves, and a multitude of spiderwebs in the dry wooden rafters. Most locals agree that the place is a tinderbox waiting to go up…or crash down into the cellar.
The Pawn Shop - Galvinus is a shrewd buyer and haggler, never giving more than a single silver than he has to. This has earned him a reputation as a skin-flint, but also as someone who can be gone to to have goods appraised, as well as odd items exchanged for gold or gems. If something looks interesting, say an unidentified magic item, he will gladly offer the PCs a bit more than they expected for a plain item, or around 25%-40% of a regular market price if they know what they have.
Dances with Xaren - Some suspect the Galvinus knows more about the Xaren than he lets on, especially after he is confronted by a pack of Xaren, and rather than being slaughtered by the marauding animals, he shouted, made gestures, and then the creatures left. The PCs are sent to investigate and possibly recruit Galvinus as a xaren/xorn kennelmaster for a powerful mage or lord.
Get that Grip - The PCs decide to rob Galvinus and his shop. They quickly find the shop empty, and his valuables elsewhere. Dissappointment turns to danger as the PCs are confronted by Galvinus’ dog and a few extra Xaren. Things get messy as the elementally aspected creatures fail to take a liking to the new intruders.
National Geographic - The Xorn and Xaren have always been in this region, as the village Galvinus lives in was built above their traditional mating grounds. The intrusion of the miners into the birthing chambers incited the bouts of violence between the elemental creatures and the locals. PCs who have magical means of communication such as Comprehend Languages or telepathy powers, or the ability to speak the Terran earth elemental language can learn this easily. The Xaren at first are dour and taciturn, but once they discover they can talk to the PCs, mayhem ensues as the beasts refuse to be quiet.
The Xorn is an uncommon monster from the early days of dungeons and dragons. It has a three-lobed symetry, three legs, three arms, three eyes, and a squat barrel like body. Xorn feed on various precious and semi-precious stones and their Xaren relations feed exclusively on metal. Both are unable to digest organic materials, and while bestial in nature, both have what would be considered slightly below average human intelligence.