An older woman, Olgiherga is starting to show gray in her hair and crows feet around her eyes. This in no way indicates a loss of strength, cunning, or vitality. She wears a multi-color minstrels cloak over a tunic made of duck feathers, carries a set of mismatched daggers, and a shoulder bag of poisons, herbs, and a number of small and very common items that have a tendency to be very valuable when she needs them. Few people recognize the old swamp woman as Olgiherga the ogre-killer.
The Ostrobogs are a noisesome and frequently offensive barbarian tribe that inhabit the fringes of civilization. Their manners are non-existent, their social practices are often deviant by all but the most liberal and generous of standards and their faith is frequently seen as heretical. As such, few care when the Ostrobogs are faced with dire threats and perils. One less barbarian is one less barbarian.
It happened that the Ogerhunch sept of Ostrobogs found itself imperiled by a clan of ogres who were inch for inch and pound for pound more coarse, deviant, and vile than they themselves. The ogres proved more than a match for the warriors, and soon the sept was forced to start moving, taking up a nomadic lifestyle again just to stay ahead of the ogres. It was during this time that a young woman of the Ogerhunch, Olgiherga, came into the flower of her youth. As the tribe was forced to constantly move, she took not a husband but the axe, the shield, and the boiled leather tunic of the warriors. Thrice she faced the ogres, and each time she was among the lucky few who escaped the cookpots, cudgels, and hurled stones.
Wounded, she was though. While the tribe moved on, Olgiherga was healed by a hermit and wise man who lurked unseen in the fens. After recovering from her wounds she learned many things from the man, the art of stalking through the muck unnoticed, the art of extracting poison from bitterblossom, and rank mushrooms, and the art of subtle weapons. Olgiherga would have remained with the man, serving as a sort of daughter servant to him, but his life was growing short, and he told her he desired to die alone so that she would remember his life and not his cold body. With tears in her eyes, she left Hermiard, taking his magical cloak and daggers as a parting gift.
Hermiard's Cloak - a unique magical item, Hermiard's cloak is a typical looking long cloak commonly worn by minstrels and bards. A brightly colored patchwork, the cloak looks very much out of place on the stealthy and surefooted Olgiherga. The magic of the cloak becomes obvious once the garment is cast off and the command given. The cloak retains the shape of a body underneath it, as if worn by an invisible man. The cloak then is able to run away under it's own power, a magical decoy that can quickly fold and hide itself for the owner to find later.
Scopperloit and Wouldingness - a pair of daggers of exceptional craftsmanship, Scopperloit is a two edged dagger with a dark leather wrapped bronze pommel and Wouldingness is a long dirk with a single serrated edge. The two weapons are not matched, but are simply strange kin, bonded together by sympathetic magics. The two weapons share a common magic, their blades, different as they are, can both transmit poison into any wound they inflict. This poison must be first bonded to the weapon, usually by wrapping a sample of the poison in the handle, or by soaking the leather of the handle in a dilution of the poison. Once bonded, the magic inherent to Scopperloit protects the bearer of the blades, while the magic of Wouldingness baits both blades.
Olgiherga would spend the next year making a name for herself among the ogres, a name that they would whisper to one another with uncharacteristic fear. Rather than fight like other humans, with armor and shouts, followed by screaming and blood, the woman appeared from nowhere, daggers pricking and stinging. Then, while they would be chasing her, the injured ogre, his blood hot with rage would begin to foam at the mouth. Within a few minutes to an agonizing hour, the ogre would be no more. After a dozen ogres were so slain, with no more than a single ogre reaching her with hand or hammer, the ogres decided that the Ogerhunch were not worth hunting anymore.
Olgiherga continues to live among the fens, a ghost among the reeds. Her daggers still come out to do their fell deeds from time to time. Ogres and some giantkin still think to stalk the Ogerhunch and other barbarians who lurk outside the firelight and stone walls of civilization.
A Life Removed
Having lived as a hermit for many years, and now as fluent in ogrish as in the common tongue, Olgiherga is no longer comfortable even among the relaxed and boorish Ostrobogs. The Ostrobogs and the Ogerhunch primarily consider the fenstalker as a strange and dangerous ally, one to be watched and feared. Equally, the ogres consider Olgiherga to be a sort of silent and frightening creature to frighten their own misshapen young.
The Old Swamp Woman - The PCs have a need to cross the fens, for whatever reason. None of the local barbarians are very familiar with the paths or waterways, but they recommend seeking out Olgiherga. Once the PCs find the old woman, she offers to lead them to their destination, but not before they help her out first. More than likely this will involve fighting ogres, giantkin, or some other foe of similar disposition.
The Paranoid Half-Ogre - A local merchant has hired the PCs to be his bodyguards, an oddity given that the merchant is seven feet tall and muscled like a bull. The truth is that the merchant, a dealer in Buck-Ogre rum has heard much about Olgiherga and is afraid that if he isn't protected, she will find him and kill him before he is able to cross her swamp. The ogre isn't as innocent as he seems, since he has been involved in raiding the Ostrobogs for 'spicing the rum' as the ogres put it.
Fresh Meat - Olgiherga isn't getting any younger, and she knows that it only takes one good hit from an ogre cudgel to turn an ogre-slayer into stew meat. She has started looking for another to take her place as the fenstalker just as the old hermit trained her.
The Tides of Darkness - With her command of the ogre langauge and skulking, Olgiherga has learned that a new chieftain has started uniting the ogres and plans to lead a new great raid out of the Great Woses. While she is more than capable of outfoxing a few ogres at a time, facing an entire warband of the vile beasts is more than she can even contemplate handling. The PCs are contacted to help stem the ogrish tide as it passes through choke points, bottlenecks, and defensible positions.
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? Responses (7)
A nice NPC that with good plot hooks, though I'd still like to know a little more about her personaility. Right now we know she is a bit of a tomboy but little else apart from her focus on destroying ogres.
It is a little uneven, the okay parts combining with the brilliant ones (I loved that cloak), to know some more of her person would help. (And I know this is just enough for a minor NPC starring in a specific scenario.)
The idea itself though, is solid.
The Witch - for once, the woman has meddled with the civilized folk, and they misunderstood the rumors. Now they are hunting her to burn the evil witch she must be, or they have already caught her, and are just preparing to do so. Will somebody come to her aid?
There is a lot of implied background, but you can overcome most of that.
I agree with manfred it is uneven in its application. It was oddly hard to read. Interesting idea and character.
It was a tad bit disconjoined for me. The paragraphs seem blotchy at times as the history is broken up by equipment placement. Rather odd to do so. That being said I think it is a better than basic NPC that has flavor and character due to a few items she carries, personally. The cloak and daggers (no pun intended) seemed more interesting to me than the NPC, the background of her people (while short) seemed to have a great behind it and seemed thought out, but I would love to read more on them than her. Should you create another sub that goes into more detail for her peoples I think this would give me more background to fall back on and have a desire to understand her more. All in all, a decent idea.
What many have said, with emphasis, plus a Cliche Busters Award.
I'd probably use manfred's plot hook, though. The false accusation could be almost anything, and she wouldn't have a chance of defending herself. After all, if even the Ostrobogs are too civilized for her, she has to be really, really antisocial.
A useful and interesting npc to toss in next time PC's are near a swamp, although I do have to agree with Valadarr, knowing more about her personality would be a good thing. (Especially for GMs wanting to use the "fresh meat" plot hook)