The Coming of the Zioth

Captain J. Cundee

As a seafarer and merchant I am probably as alien as an elf or dwarfplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Dwarves

Dwarves are short, stocky people, growing to a height of only two or three feet, who concern themselves primarily with hard, sober work, like mining and metalworking. They are said to be immortal, or at least to live for hundreds of years. The dwarves keep their distance from humans; they are suspicious of foreigners. They live in mountains and hills, always underground, where they carve tunnels and caves in which to live and work. Only rulers, miners and artisans are ever mentioned in …
to most landlubbers. I am educated, but not a clergyman. I am obviously modestly wealthy, but not nobility. I have a physical appearance of a farm laborer (tanned, rough hands, etc), but I clearly am not a peasant. I dress in strange dress, walk differently and even talk differently. I carry a sword and may have even trained in its use, but I am not a soldier.

Furthermore I have strange notions of wealth and talk of vessel shares, returns on investment and exchange rates, when anyone sensible would be looking to buy land ­ or at least fine horses for breeding. I even have a fairly detailed understanding of the law. Even more amazingly, I have traveled to a dozen lands and speak a few vernacular languages.

I am average height and weight with brown hair, bleached nearly blond from the sun, and brown eyes. I walk a little funny but have no discernable ailment. I dress in something of a “business” suit. Sort of a practical cut of courtly garb. Blue jacket, black breeches, white shirt and black shoes. Although finely tailored at one point it is showing its age and is obviously well patched by a skilled seamstress. When drunk, I might even let slip the horrible suggestion I did the repairs myself. I almost always have a strange straw hat with a wide brim ­ like a farmer. My hair is tied in a ponytail. I have a belt with a fine rapier and a common, partially rusted, seamen's knife that I will use for any cutting or eating task.

I have odd social mannerisms. I do not have the deference of a commoner, neither do I have the air of entitlement common to nobility. The closest comparison would be the clergy who draw strength from their religious convictions.

Superficially I am religious and follow Andrithanismplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Andrithanism

Based on original ideas from Karl Schinke (Ardith). Symbols for aspects other than the Mother, along with the artwork, were contributed by Myron Wyles (Halaren).

Andrithanism and its variants are the dominant religion in Rang and the surrounding kingdoms. Within the boundaries of
. Though the party will soon note that I am something of a social chameleon. I very readily shift attitudes and outlook to match what I perceive is “expected.” Over time the party will find that I am superstitious, like farmers and seem to revere the environment more than a proper faith. Under my breath I will invoke prayers and oaths to strange “pagan” deities. I particularly pay attention to the moons ­ even more so than most. I can often be heard muttering comments about “it ain't right ­ it just ain¹t right.” Other than that, I do not like to talk about the moons. Though I am clearly very knowledgeable about astronomy. (Perhaps this could wet party interest?)

Biography

Cundee appears in turns 154-156 and 159-161.

I am the master of a moderate size ocean vessel. I hail from a distant, though not entirely exotic land known for trade (either existing or new?).

My family is involved with shipping. My father and grandfather were both ship masters who enjoyed long successful careers. Several brothers are currently masters and my sisters all married other masters. I've worked since the age of 9-10 on various vessels and saved up enough to purchase a 1/8 share in a vessel. Such a large portion was enough to get myself elected master by the other investors (most would invest in the range of 1/64 or 1/32 on many vessels to minimize risk on one vessel).

My first voyage met with some bad weather and was barely profitable. The approaching Zioth is creating havoc with the weather and disrupting traditional trade routes. With some persuasion I was able to remain as master for a second voyage. But the investors are very much expecting a big return. Anything less will likely end my career as ship master. Not to mention all my wealth is tied up in the vessel share. If I fail, I will be destined to spend my days as a mate. An utter disappointment to my family.

My vessel is currently moored down stream from the fair at a major port. I traveled up stream with several crew members on a rented river barge to deliver a cargo to a merchant involved with the fair. After the fair I was to collect more cargo to bring home. Not having a return cargo is a huge problem. In the havoc I've not been able to drum up replacement business.

As a visiting seaman I am not able to freely travel without risk. There is a reciprocal treaty between this land and my own. Within a clearly defined port district I enjoy fairly strong rights - akin to diplomatic immunity. Outside this zone I'm a foreigner with no rights. Not that I'd be jumped as soon as I cross some line. But, I am very nervous about leaving this zone. I would certainly feel a lot safer accompanied by some upstanding locals I trust.

During the rescue in the ruins of the Andan Huerten Trader's Lodge I caught the party's eye as I organized and directed a group of boatmen in the rescue. If asked I'll say I was just doing the right thing. What I won't say is the merchant who contracted me was in the lodge when it collapsed. I was simply trying to save my career…