Agdan the Friendly Butcher
Agdan is a dwarven merchant, and travels a fairly lengthy route across the major domain, preferring the roads of the dominant nation/empire, gladly paying whatever tolls are asked of him. He is a man of many talents, and most are glad to see hm coming, as he is a seller of preserved meats. Smoked, cured, aged sausages, salt packed, pickled, and almost any other way meat can be preserved, Agdan brings it by the cask and barrel.
When not selling meat, he has skill as a butcher, of even the most exotic game. He is also somewhat versed as a barber surgeon, and can shave a man, remove fouled teeth, apply bleeding as needed, and other rudimentary non-magical medical aid. Finally, he has no aversion to handling corpses or examining the bodies of the dead to infer their cause of mortality.
In regular session Agdan will have 1-3 four wheeled wagons drawn by teams of oxen. Each will be loaded with large amounts of preserved and cured meats. He has a locked chest that holds his masterwork knives, a mobile butcher's block, and sundry equipment required to dress and clean animal carcasses. The most valuable thing he carries is a large amount of salt, which he uses to pack freshly butchered meat to carry down the road to the next destination.
In sweltering summer months, he has an ice cream churn, which with his ample salt, lets the dwarf create ice cream from the back of his wagon, quite the treat for the common folk, even enticing the wealthy to come and sample his wares.
Each wagon has a driver, a crossbowman, and a freerider in accompaniment. When he is especially well laden, he will add a few extra freeriders or will elicit companionship from fellow travelers on the road.
Agdan is of average size and build for a dwarf leaving middle age and creeping into the first stages of advanced age. His hair is more gray than its original black, and something of a scandal to other conservative dwarves, he keeps clean shaven, and wears nothing of dwarvenkin on his person. No hammer, no mail, no boiled leather armor, no axes, nothing. He wears the garb of a well to do merchant, doublets and garbadines, leggings and woolen breeches.
Everything about his manner and bearing is that of a respectable merchant, a man wise in years and wealth, modest of tongue, and courteous. He expects the same from his hired men, and he completely abstains from alcohol or any other sort of recreational beverage.
Agdan and his business are perfectly legit operations, and moving as he does selling cured meats, salts, and the services he offers, he feeds people. In the winter months, he is a vastly welcome sight, laden with meat and salt. As his wares diminish, the wagons are sold, the cargo condensed down, and the oxen are either sold or butchered, to be packed in salt, brine, or smoked. Often upon reaching a particularly dire locale, Agdan has had his entire compliment of beasts of burden butchered and sold, often for very little, to feed the starving. He returns to whence he came with a mule of some sort as a mount, and his profits exchanged to the most portable form, meaning that he very often has large sums of wealth, in metal coinage more valuable than gold, or gemstones.
As a patron, Agdan can hire PCs to escort him through troublesome areas, or to handle matters of his business that don't require him personally, such as purchasing then returning salt to him, requisition of oxen and new wagons, hunting certain beasts as have been requested of him. (The Baron of New Thestrally has promised to pay most generously for cured hydra hatchings)
There are also less scrupulous matters of business, such as harassment from others, butchers guilds in larger cities, mercantile rivals, and other ugliness. PCs can be brought on to protect Agdan, his wares, and his ventures, or they could be hired to carry out some lawful good vendetta such as confronting a rival and turning him over to whatever authority holds sway.
The Zezig Necropolis and the Black Hill of Tombs
Agdan's home is none other than a blighted ruin known as the Zezig Necropolis, a fastness burrowed under the Black Hill of Tombs.
The area around the Black Hill has been abandoned for years. The area was formerly prosperous, but there was a shift in ley lines, causing many of the magi to depart. There was a marked darkening of humours, and then several bouts of plague, a rising of the dead, and general failure of crops. This caused Black Hill to be abandoned by the nobility, and even then the peasantry fled.
Zezig had been a dwarven hold, dug under Black Hill. The dwarves there weren't the stonecutting sort, they were brewers, woodcutters, and trappers, and found greater comfort underground. The people of Black Hill and Zezig were well accustomed to each other, and had a healthy trade between them.
Then the doom came. The dwarves of Zezig accidentally dug something long buried up and released it. They found an Acheron Configuration, a damned puzzle box. Opening it, thinking it a toy, they released what had lain trapped within for tens of thousands of years. The thing that emerged was a lesser divinity, the keeper of cleavers, the sharpener of knives, and the thing that hungered. This was the cause of Black Hill's fall. The malevolent spirit was Kamon Yurud, a name known and despised by dwarves and their kind.
Kamon Yurud quickly established a cult, enacted dark rites, and caused the downfall of both Black Hill and Zezig. The folk of the town realized the cause of their ruin came from the dwarves and their hold, triggering a long and very quiet war between the two sides. The dwarves were fewer in number and not martially inclined and lost, and the cult of Kamon Yurud almost guttered under hostile axes and torches.
Agdan survived this expurgation of blood and fire, and fled. He carried the Archeron Configuration, various writ of the godling, and carried it and himself to safety. When the flames died out, the last survivors of Zezig returned under cover of night and released the final malady, causing the dead to rise. This triggered the downfall of Black Hill, the burning of most of its buildings, and complete abandonment by those who survived.
The cult re-installed itself in Zezig, but concealed its presence.
Agdan was a child then, and now he is a man come near to his full years. In the intervening time, he has built and grown his meat peddling industry, and grown a clan of dwarves, haflings, and other kith under the ruin of Black Hill. They are an incestuous and hungry lot. They are also who do the work of grinding sausage, and other preparations of meat that Agdan carries from town to town.
The clan of Agdan has become rather wealthy, and most of that wealth has been devoted to magical and thaumaturgical ventures. Agdan has collected books of magic, magic and wondrous items, and spells. These have all fed into Kamon Yurud's growing power and influence.
The most important aspect of Kamon Yurud's worship is the annual Black Feast, where the holymen and followers of the godling lay out a dark and terrible feast. The more hallowed and sanctified the offered beasts, the greater pleased Kamon Yurud is. The cult has gorged itself on unicorn, virtuous maidens, celestial charger, and untold numbers of wayward travelers, would be brigands, and more. They have long since developed a taste for the flesh of sentient beings.
Agdan is polite, educated, and well spoken, and brings the clan their fill in fresh blood.
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? Responses (2)-2
Your friendly, neighborhood, cannibalistic dwarf. Love it!
Already an interesting npc, before the dark cult of meat-eaters reveal. Creepy!