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Comments: 7
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Rating: 4.5
Condition: Normal
ID: 4620


March 27, 2008, 4:00 pm

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Shevourus the Mad


"Yeeah!" the old man shouted as he made a dramatic flurry with his chalk - the mounted knight now bearing a stylized lance as it bore down on the many-headed dragon before it.

"Yeeah!" the old man shouted as he made a dramatic flurry with his chalk - the mounted knight now bearing a stylized lance as it bore down on the many-headed dragon before it.

A crowd had gathered, for Shevourus’s screeving was as much a performance as it was artwork. The spectacle of the long bearded old man prancing about while creating his chalk masterpieces always attracted onlookers.  The occasional coin tossed towards the old man was deftly caught before it hit the pavement.

None noticed the other old man carefully watching the display with what appeared an almost academic interest.  After a few more whoops accompanied by wild scrawls - white flames now emerged from one of the heads, the man tossed a battered copper and turned away.

Message received.


A man who draws with coloured chalks on the pavement huge, grandiose figures of storms, ships on fire, great beasts, and scenes of legend, and is paid a pittance by admirers and passers-by. Some of the career screevers are true masters of their art, but disrespected by all other artists.


Shevourus appears as a typical street person - ragged clothing, though once of very good quality.  His hands are stained white from the chalk he uses.  He is perpetually stooped, partly by age and partly by his crouching to practice his art, and his eyes are milky with age.  The only other significant feature is his belly-length ragged beard.


As with many spies, Shevourus has a fairly unremarkable past, little of interest and little that foreshadowed his career as a spy.  He is a patriot and has forsaken wealth, fame and family for service to his home country. He is his job.

Other information

Shevourus is not a native to the kingdom, but an operative from one of the kingdom’s enemies.  He receives his orders very infrequently - he is an experienced and skilled spy whose job it is to coordinate the others in his city.  Interestingly enough, he does not know many of his fellow spies - his role is to relay orders to them and not to collect information himself.

Shevourus’s pictures contain hidden messages that he uses to transmit information and orders to his fellow cell members.  Coins carefully marked with ‘wear patterns’ are then paid to him to indicate receipt of the message- he does not know his cell members, though has a pretty good idea of them.

Shrevourus appears alternately a buffoon and a scholar in casual conversation, apparently irretrievably mad.  He can be engaged in conversation that will often end in silliness or even aggressive shouting.

Campaign Use

This fellow should be woven into the background of the campaign well before his use in ernest, as his sudden appearance would telegraph his involvement.  Ideally the PCs should interact with him enough that they build some rapport and perhaps trust. 

It could well pass that the PCs never learn this fellow’s secret, not knowing that some of their recent troubles were orchestrated by him, perhaps even with them watching.

Alternately, the PCs could very well be the spies that receive direction from this mad scribbler.

This is another sub inspired by the wonderful Ye Olde English, the Archaic Word Challenge submission.


Since this person has no special magical or technical powers, he can in fact be used in pretty much any genre. In a modern setting, he could easily be the director for a terrorist cell, sending out his orders with special graffiti.

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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Murometz
December 4, 2007, 16:17
A spy!

Well, thats a great take on a screever, let me tell you!

Plot hook that IMMEDIATELY comes to mind

Perhaps something finally triggers Shevourus to change sides. Perhaps the PCs, to take the spy scenario a bit further, manage to convert/flip him to their cause. It wouldnt be easy, as Shevourus is a lifer, but it could be possible under the right circumstances. Now comes the fun part! Shevourus secretly starts identifying folks, he /thinks/ are fellow spies, as the PCs engage in goose-chases across the city. He now starts chalking erroneous images, confusing his erstwhile contacts, and issuing false orders. Perhaps a spy suspects Shevourus of turning, and now the Screever's life is in danger. Now, the PCs have to protect the man, perhaps while continuing to let him screeve, watching in the wings for potential spy-killers to emerge.

And so on and so on...Entire kingdoms can tumble :)

Nice work, val! This one sparked my imagination today!

It certainly isnt necessary, but it would be kinda cool to take a peek inside Shevourus' sketchbook, to see what he chalks to denote which order.
December 4, 2007, 16:45
I was thinking that, and I think I'll add that later.
December 6, 2007, 11:48
We have dueling Screevers now!
December 7, 2007, 10:20
Tis this fellow that boring?
Voted Ouroboros
December 9, 2007, 19:21
Reminds me of "Spiral Jacobs" from Iron Council... I like ragged characters that are not what they seem, and this one a good example of that. I love the idea of hidden messages in his street art, too. I would probably have made him a raving psychotic and/or a junkie, but he´s just fine as he is. Definitely useable! Good job (as usual)!

Voted Ancient Gamer
December 10, 2007, 0:07
Nice, a good quality AND short submission. I like it!

Both original and rejuvenating, a submission that sparks the imagination. Me? Well, I began thinking about twists of the good ol' Hitchcock variant. A continuation of Muro's though really: Old Shevourus starts "identifying" members of his organization, but is often wrong and the PCs starts assassinating wrong person after wrong person.

I could use such a horrible twist in one of my games... Would love to see how the PCs squirm their way out of that one :)
Voted MoonHunter
December 10, 2007, 1:43
Nicely placed character. This minor character has recieved much love because of his special elements. He is also, potentially, very useful. Two thumbs and a tail up.

Link Backs



Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: manfred

On a location with numerous webs, and at least one big spider, there is a something inside a cocoon. It is humanoid in shape, still moving. If the heroes free it (not before they kill or drive away the spiders), they meet a ... zombie!

The poor zombie wandered the dungeon alone, and tried to kill a big living creature (= a spider). The spider used the usual treatment, even if this victim did not look tasty. The zombie can be easily killed as any other zombie. It got but several doses of spider-poison, so can be something worth if it is extracted. You can mention to a druid or ranger the fact the spider had no poison anymore.

Encounter  ( Cave/ Underground ) | August 21, 2003 | View | UpVote 3xp

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