Colorful Characters 16: Novre Homberk, Tailor Savant

16th Century TailorLittle Novre Homberk never really seemed to be paying attention to anything. It concerned his parents, Helen and Krastus, that he would rarely look anyone in the eye, and did not start to talk until he was four years old. The child spent much of his time staring into the distance, twisting his fingers together and untwisting them, or playing games no one around him really understood. The other children sensed something was different about Novre. At first they avoided him out of fear, but as time passed, they took to teasing him for his apparent disconnect from the material plane.

After Helen died, Krastus was left to raise his son alone. He started to drink heavily. Occasionally he would even beat his son whilst in a drunken rage, but he was not so much a monster that he didn’t regret it once he’d sobered up. His business as a small town’s clothier and tailor began to suffer. Orders were ignored, and the quality of his work began to drive people away. All Krastus could do was drink more and more heavily, decreasing the quality of his work further. Losing his livelihood seemed to be a foregone conclusion, until one day he stumbled in through his shop door to discover that he had accidentally locked 9 year old Novre in the night before; and that all of his tailoring work had been completed.

And not only was everything finished. Everything was done with a remarkable quality which Krastus could never have matched in his life. His customers were ecstatic, and congratulated him on sobering up. Seeing an opportunity to make a great deal of money, Krastus took the money he had been spending on booze and bought materials of higher quality than he had purchased in many months. He gave the materials to Novre, and watched in astonishment as the child created some of the most beautiful clothes the tailor had ever seen. Elaborately embroidered dresses, robes, shirts, pants, gloves, the child seemed possessed of some type of divine talent, and Krastus was not about to let it go to waste. He immediately began selling the boy’s work as his own, and his business grew at an exponential rate. Within a year nobles were traveling for days simply to buy the magnificent clothing which Novre was quietly creating in the back room.

A local wizard of small repute named Erlem, himself a member of the nobility, eventually came to investigate Krastus’ shop, and was very pleased by the elaborate and fashionable items sold there. He purchased a number of clothes for himself, and returned to his home. Erlem was proud of his new clothes, and wore them whenever he found an opportunity, but when he did he sensed something strange. The clothes felt somehow…off, to him. He began to study the clothing in earnest, and was surprised to discover that not only were the clothes very fine, they were magical. The pants he had purchased granted the wearer the ability to resist spells, and the gloves made his somatic gesturing somehow more precise. Erlem was pleased, but confused. He had paid a hefty price for the clothes, but the magical abilities of the clothes made them worth fifteen or twenty times more than what he had paid.

Erlem was not very skilled with divination, but spent the next few days observing Krastus and Novre via an expensive crystal ball. That told him everything he needed to know: Krastus didn’t understand the depth of his son’s talent. Somehow the boy was creating powerful magical clothing, and the father was selling it for a pittance because he thought its value was purely aesthetic. Erlem returned to Krastus shop the next morning, and placed an order so large that the fraudulent old tailor fainted. It cost him much of his fortune to do so, but in the months following the delivery of the goods, Erlem made his fortune back many times over by quietly selling the clothes to adventurers and other wizards.

That arrangement has existed now for a year or so. Erlem the wizard exploits Krastus the tailor by purchasing clothing well below market value, and reselling it at a fair price. Krastus, in turn, exploits his son by selling his son’s magnificent work as his own. And Novre, now a boy of 18, doesn’t care. He happily creates beautiful garment after beautiful garment, content in the act of creation.

Thoughts on Use

The players might encounter either Erlem, attempting to sell them magical items made of cloth. This encounter might end with the purchase of the clothing, or if the players have some reason to be suspicious, they might inquire as to how a low-level wizard of no great skill produced such fine garments. Erlem is terrible at keeping secrets, so it’s only a matter of time before he spills the beans to someone. Alternatively, the players might encounter Krastus as a purveyor of fine clothing.

Magical Garments

Novre can craft any magical item which is made from cloth within 1/8th the normal amount of time it would require, using materials which cost 1% of the normal cost for the item.

Novre Homberk (CR 2)
XP: 600
Male Human Expert 4
CN humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception -3


Defenses


AC 16, Flat Footed 14, Touch 16 [10 + Dex(2) + Jerkin of Deflection(4)]
SR 19
hp 28 (4d8 + 8)
Fort +6 Ref +6 Will +11 (+2 to disbelieve Illusions)


Offense


Speed 30ft
Melee Unarmed +5 (1d3 + 2; 20/x2)


Stats


Str 15 (+2) Dex 14 (+2) Con 10 (+0) Int 6 (-2) Wis 4 (-3) Cha 18 (+4)
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 17
Feats Naturally Gifted, Skill Focus (Craft: Cloth), Skill Focus (Craft: Clothing)
Skills Craft(Cloth)(+10), Craft(Clothing)(+10), Spellcraft(+7), Use Magic Device(+7)
Languages Common
Gear Jerkin of Deflection +4, Sewing Kit


New Feat: Naturally Gifted


You are able to call upon extraordinary abilities without first gaining the usual prerequisites.
Prerequisites: Level 1, Character must be an NPC
Benefit: Damned near anything. A natural gift can take whatever form the GM wishes. For Novre, it is an uncanny ability to create magical items of cloth. But for other characters it might be the ability to unerringly see the future, or to solve complex magical formulas.
Drawback: While not strictly required, it is customary for characters who receive such marvelous gifts to suffer a corresponding drawbacks. Characters who can see the future may be blind, or they may be cursed to never be believed, or they may simply be unable to express themselves in a clear fashion. Novre has savantism as his drawback. While he excels in creating wondrous and magical clothing, he is disconnected from the real world, and will never be able to function as an adult.
Normal: You’ve gotta kill a bunch of shit and take their stuff and level up and it’s this whole thing.

Order of the Stick by Rich Berlew

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3 thoughts on “Colorful Characters 16: Novre Homberk, Tailor Savant”

  1. I’m reading up on your characters for my upcoming game. These three will make an excellent addition to the dozens of cityfolks I’m creating, thank you for that.

    One thing bugs me, however. Two, now that I think about it. First, the hitpoints are way too high in my opinion. I understand that you went by the rules and added HP for every class levels he has, but come on, is this realistic? An autistic boy of 18 whose most probable reaction to getting hurt would be to shut down and whimper? How on earth would he be as sturdy as an adventurer from spending his life in a shop, making clothes? How would you describe, in case an evil character wants to hurt him, that he survived a 10HP hit?

    I’d rather make my citizens fragile. The butcher? The blacksmith? The miller? Sure, those are physical works that strengthen the back and grant the individual plenty endurance. I would give them more HP than 2d6+2, however.

    Here is the deal. My players are going to take on characters in the city guard. 1st level chaps with adventurer classes refluffed just enough to fit the play. Now, they are meant to be sturdier than most benign city-dwellers. Think the ancient city of Rome. Having a dagger by your side meant some kind of protection, but you were still just a potter, a carpenter, maybe a tailor or a gardener. You wouldn’t have the experience of a man making a living fighting in the army or securing peace and law within city limits.

    Think about it. A huge metropolis of a million souls, goblins, half-giants, humans and your occasional centaur merchants. Some are supposedly hardy and dangerous, but not the tailor’s special son.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts. An article about rolling up citizen characters, maybe? Think about it.

  2. Blast to damnation, I forgot to mention the second problem.

    Worth of 600 XP? Why? I wouldn’t give my players reward for slaying an innocent, be a common folk or a poor, autistic person. I’d probably give them 600 centrimetres of rope at the gallows.

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