The City Of Frogsmouth
As your barge poles along the marshland and its swarming piranha-school mosquitos suddenly gives way to a canal city of stuccoed brick tenements, and rickety wood stilt-shacks stacked upon ancient mud-sunk foundations. Bustling, busy footpaths and bateau choked canals leading between all manner of trading houses, music filled cabarets, and elegant mansions. Lamps, liveliness, and old money. All scrawled with the city’s omnipresent frog and crocodile motifs.
A bustling, rickety wooden affair of stilt raised clapboard warehouses and narrow boardwalks. Laden barges from upriver and heavy, curving hulled merchant ships from the sea meet and mingle. Crowded with dockworkers, sailors, prostitutes, and fishermen. Spontaneous boat-hook fencing bouts oft break out and many gamblers circulate their way through the crowds keeping track of their favored fighters.
- Tobias Eclair - The paranoid dockmaster, his office is covered in charms, icons, and holy symbology, his ledgers meticulously kept and often hidden, his person guarded by three swaggering bravoes of the Three-Sword School. A stooge of the Lang family, he tips balances and adds fees to rival businesses.
- Foul Henriette - Longshoreman, pugilist, and queen of the docks. Wickedly effective boat-hook fencer, the best of all the dockworkers. Was paid a small fortune by the Black Beast to be smuggled into the city and has been liberally spending it.
- The Fifty Pachyderms - A ladies gang specialized in shoplifting, pickpocketry, and running various dens of sin. Operate pervasively through docks, most locals can point you to a member if you were looking (or more likely tell them people are asking so they can accoust you).
Sprawl of slums, all stilt built shacks and trundling board paths, the anti-mosquito wards don’t reach so well out here, and the slum is constantly under the haze of a burning incense that keeps the swarms away. The Fifty Pachyderms have their roots sunken deep here, hard for the constabulary to hunt that which disappears into the hazy maze.
- Cammie Potchard - Loudly arguing with icebox company workers in the street, demanding to know news of her brother who disappeared while on the job. This close to leveraging her Pachyderm connections to break into the company warehouse.
- Suzette Drim - Leader of the Pachyderms, widower of several bargemen, authoritative, larger than life figure, plotting to use her sister’s love affair to scandalize the Lang family or at least blackmail them. Does not know about their assasination plans.
- Tammy Obadiah Oberon - Prominent Pachyderm lieutenant. Planning a daring scheme to steal Felecia Cormorant’s fortune. Needs someone with upper class manners to get in the widows’ good graces.
Maxim Icebox Company
A sprawling semi-refrigerated warehouse complex held above the muck of the swamp on thick brick foundations. Receive clockwork shipments from their ice houses upriver, quickly distributed throughout Frogsmouth to their customers. Plagued by infestations of ice mephits which is far more serious than their letting on.
- Millicent Maxim Jr. - New owner, struggling with the financial and reputational repercussions of his father's ill fated scheme to only employ 'ruggedly handsome' ice deliverymen. Keeps Renard and Simoné on a sufferance but his patience is rapidly wearing thin as problems beset him from every side. At the point of throwing money at any potential solution to his woes.
- Hubert Maxim - Clammy skinned, piercingly-blue eyed man. Chief iceologist. Uncomfortably sympathetic to the ice mephit infestation. Drives his brother mad.
- Beau Renard - The handsomely chiseled model for the Maxim Ice Deliveryman who decorates the company advertisements. Simone's 'assistant' (they both sleep and live in the studio quarters). Taciturn, silent personality well suited for his work.
- Simoné Tabernack (formerly Lang) - Black sheep of the family, abandoning his station for the life of a painter. Friendship with Millicent strained by his vices (cigarettes, laudanum, and more besides) and lackadaisical attitude towards work. Spends his time in the studio or at parties and nightclubs with Renard at his arm. Owes the Pachyderms big time money.
Ice Mephit Incursion
Tiny, spiky, white-blue devil’s in mercury armour with mercury blades (melting within wounds, poisoning) who have conquered several sub-cellars of the warehouse, building frozen barricades and forges. Accidentally summoned by Maxim Senior… still cloyingly feel his power over them (of which he is unaware). Would like to kill him and either establish a devilish foothold or go home.
- Stopholise - Chief sergeant of the mephits, perfidious and wheedling, plotting how to best conquer the warehouse and/or how to slip some assassins out after Maxim Senior. Has been passing notes through the ventilation system with Hubert Maxim, the mephit is manipulating him into freeing their tiny army.
- David Potchard - One of three workers frozen alive, kept as hostages by the mephits, the company could give half a damn. If thawed he will lead a very angry strike. Handsome.
Fire Pillar Pool
Wide market pool surrounded by cafes and businesses, at its center is a tall carven stone pillar (out of place among the brick and wood buildings) capped with a fat bellied frog statue belching flame. In the mornings it is crowded with canoes, sampans, and bateau so dense that you can walk across the pool.
- The God-Hunters - Heavily armed, wearing foreign and esoteric clothing, protective wards, maille, hard faces. They have come to hunt Big Moses, the albino crocodile god of the swamp, an unspeakably heretical goal. Looking to purchase guides and boats. Covertelly bankrolled by the Lang family.
- Toothless Catherine - Sells baskets of crayfish from her boat, slurps up crustacean innards whilst talking. Gossipy, loose tongued. Knows a secret route into the mausoleum catacombs where she collects blind crayfish. Recently she's been taking several 'wealthy gentlemen' on trips there (members of the Fibula Lodge buying stolen bones from the mausoleum).
- Loud Lucien - Classic soapbox mad-preacher, rants to an amused crowd about evil conspiracies and whatnot. Secretly an informant of the Pachyderms.
The Glew-Pot Cabaret
A lively dance hall on the pool's edge, slanted, sinking into the swamp, looks to be less made out of bricks so much as hunks of solidified mud. Center of nightlife for the city's more libertine subcultures. Frequented by Millicent Maxim Senior, who likes to watch the pretty boys dance.
- Sweet René - The innkeeper, an enthusiastic, heavyset, and astoundingly homosexual man. His personal charm is the sole thing keeping the place afloat (perhaps literally if rumored romantic liaisons with certain spirits are to be believed).
- Black Beast (real) - A sworling spirit of soot-ash, brimstone, and steel talons, nocturnal. Comes from a very different land, of chimney stacks and cobblestones. An old lover of René, lodging here while it hunts the rich fuck who is sullying it’s reputation. René does not wish it to kill so blaisly.
Finest venue in the city, pillastered, cornice overloaded, gleaming white plaster and spiraling gold decorated seven story manse in an antique style. Reeks of sophistication.
- Harold Luc Pierre - Manager and owner, feuding with René whose “hideous debaucherous eyesore” sits directly across from the hotel. Secretly paying a work gang to slowly undermine the Glewpot.
- Felicia Cormorant - Wealthy widow of suspicious circumstance, holed up on the fifth floor suite with a fortune in cash, antiques, and fine clothes. Paranoid but compulsively gregarious and often invites guests over.
- Hector Armitage - A wretched scamp of an aristocratic bachelor and none other than the Black Beast who has been terrorizing the town, he’s not really a monster, its all costuming and smoke bombs, a rich boy’s sadistic hobby. Feels hunted, but brushes it off. Is yet to properly hurt anyone but is thiiiis close to becoming a serial killer for fun.
Languid, stuffy, full of fanning bureaucrats and the terrifically corrupt aldermen, not a man jack of them isn't in someone's pocket.
- Luc D’Vone, Commissioner of the Constabulary - Corpulent, bedecked in jewelry, official truncheon of office. Annoyingly smug. Working with Felicia Mont to steal peoples blood and log it in an effort to trackdown the Pachyderms ringleaders.
- Amadeus Wit - The people’s lawyer, beloved by the public. Wins most of his cases. Currently high up on the Kovac Twin’s covert disposal list.
Local lodge of the Morose Society (a necromantic society of rich fucks), dramatically decorated with all sorts of old skulls, jars full of preserved things. Opulent. Smoking rooms, studies, and laboratories. Mostly a social club for dabbling dilletants.
- Isambard Lang - The lodge's Grandmaster, an indulger in opium dreams and blackmail, runs the family liquor company during the day but leverages his real power via the society's other wealthy members. Has been letting Armitages inane plan run its course, dismissing it. Supportive of his sister’s assasination schemes.
- Millicent Maxim Senior - Slightly doddering with terrible judgment, prone to ill fated schemes and big ideas. Left the public eye after one too many scandals and failed ventures. Has somehow managed to entangle himself as a lynchpin to half the conspiracies in the city. Largely oblivious to all this.
- Joahanson Armitage - Father of Hector (the false beast), ignores his son’s activities but would be outraged if he found out what he was really doing, building a necromantic war machine with Maxim Senior using bones stolen from the mausoleum. It's ungainly and hasn’t worked yet but there's a glimmer of chaotic potential in there.
- Grand Witch Felicia Mont - Elected head of the mosquito-warding wizard order, she has been using her mosquito minions alongside the commissioner to secretly (and illegally) create a catalog of citizen’s blood.
The Grand Mausoleum
Massive, domed, stuccoed brick, baroque ornamentations, within thousands of cupboard niches hold human remains. Below are the flooded catacomb vaults, where blind crayfish and an ancient shrine to Big Moses live.
- Sacristan Kovac - A strange little man who knows each niche's inhabitant by name and talks to the bones (some say they talk back). Deeply worried by a recent spate of thefts, fruitlessly harangues the Commissioner about it. Commiserates with Maxim Senior.
- Assistant Sacristan Badeaux - Disgruntled, reedy amateur necromancer with weaselly ambitions and no talent. Is thieving bones and selling them to the Fibula Lodge who he obsessively admires. Uses the catacombs to store his thefts and meet the lodgers.
- Big Moses - Magnificently big albino crocodile, decorated with scars and golden torcs, languid, alien, thinks on a centuries long time scales, can take a hybrid man-animal form, killible, but if you were to screw up he would go upon a godly rampage. Gentle to his lovers.
- Henriette Drim - Sister to the leader of the pachyderms, fiery, lurid, and belligerently kind. Lover of big moses, got permission to use the mausoleum's catacombs as a meeting place from Sacristan Kovac (who thinks she’s just playing around with another ordinary youth).
The Lang Family Residence
Pillared, four storied townhouse all whitewash stucco and curly bits. The Lang family is old money and old prestige descended from the last woman who laid and loved Big Moses, the albino crocodile god of the swamp, and enriched since by their booming distillery and other conniving business stratagems. Their heritage shows in their crocodilian features. Scaly hides and long jaws.
- The Lady Lang - Queen debutante of the town, a beautiful crocodilian headed woman who hosts only the most lavish parties. Wears the hereditary Lang Ruby (gifted by the god himself). Arrogant, has decided to assassinate Big Moses in order to prevent another family ascending in prestige as the god’s new paramour. Yes, she’s that arrogant.
- Inandorf - Severed head of the familial sorcerer who advises in general, and on matters of dental hygiene in particular. Roundly ignored nowadays. Mostly spends his time muttering about how they're going to get themselves killed trying to off the god. Can control a swarm of teeth round his cushioned reading pedestal.
- The Mademoiselle Lilly Lang - Younger sister of the current Lady, troublesome, loves to slum it through the unseemly parts of town (crocodilian features hidden by veiled sunhat). Has fallen in love with Tammy Obadiah Oberon, one of the Pachyderms lieutenants.
- Josephine & André Kovac - Twins, identical to the point of confusion, both finely dressed at the Lang's expense, who manage the family's more underhand dealings. Visit their old man at the mausoleum to bring him certain corpses for secreting away. Efficent murderers.
- "The Black Beast stalks the night!" Say the lurid penny dreadfuls. "Youths viciously murdered and kidnapped! The constabulary are useless!"
- The Lang Family's secret whiskey recipe has been stolen, and for once the bulbous rump of the law has lifted itself into action.
- The Maxim Icebox Company has has had several workers go missing, and they're having a hard time covering this up!
- Foreigners have come to kill the crocodile god for sport, such an insult to the Lang family!
- The Queen of the Docks is truly long lost royalty, giving magnificent treasures out left and right.
- Swarms of mosquitoes have been seen, assailing people, can’t those wizards do their jobs?
- The Chosen of Big Moses may not have been the one that was rightfully chosen, and the God Hunters seem to know more than they let on.
- The Black Beast's modus operandi is completely different, suspiciously sloppy for a force of legend. A copycat, perhaps?
- Maxim IceCo's storage basements have been overrun by supernatural pests, and yet they refuse to ask for help or even acknowledge this.
- The Lang family has their fingers in every business and office in town. But the Fibula Lodge has said nothing. What scheme occupies them so?
- The Pachyderms have been speaking of a card up their sleeve, and of usurpation. They're just waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
- Maxim Millicent Sr. seems to be related to every strange happening in this town. Surely, that can't just be a coincidence...?
- Beneath the Great Masoleum, in long-flooded tunnels full of strange fish, lay long-forgotten gifts from Big Moses himself.
- The Mosquito Wizard is intentionally weakening the blockers near The Foggiest, to force the people to move into Lang-controlled Slums.
- 1d6+1 Drunken Dockworkers, surly and belligerent, are just spoiling for a fight. Out-of-towners seem a pretty good target.
- 1d4 Pachyderms, camouflagued in the current fashions and oozing charm; looking for an easy pickpocket target.
- 1d4+1 God-Hunters, casually strolling about town in battle gear, harrassing the locals. Few dare stand up to them.
- 1d4 Fibula Lodge Initiates, spoiled-rich teens with a disdain for the lower classes. Like to practice their ill magicks on the streets past midnight...
- AND 6. Bump into major NPC on street. Roll d6 for situation: 1 - In Trouble, 2 - Upset, 3 - In hurry, 4 - Busy, 5 - aptly talkative, 6. Aptly Friendly!
- 1d6 God-Hunters, looking around for tracks and signs of movement. Jumpy, nervous, not too happy to have been seen.
- 1d6+2 Fibla Lodge Initiates, performing Bog Rituals and seeking new bones. Not too concerned with who those bones are currently attached to.
- 1d4 Giant Leeches, trailing and ambushing those foolish enough to step into the deeper bogwaters.
- 1d4 Great Crocs. 30% chance of being accompanied by a Wild Squamous, 80% chance at nighttime.
- Firefly Pixie Cloud. May lead travellers to safety, or may lead them into peril, depending on how "local" they look.
- The Mosquito Swarm. Run.
Items: Trinkets and Souveniers
1. A set of Drenchwood Fishhooks, considered a favorite of the local catfish.
2. Limited Edition Miniature Lang Whiskey bottle, empty.
3. Seasonal bundle of Reekweeds, said to repel mosquitoes.
4. A little doll made of cork, easy to recover from the water.
5. A rustic carving made in a large plate of crayfish shell.
6. A tiny soap from the Hotel Doré, a collectible since they stopped making these.
Items: Treasure and Loot
- A box of Spirits from many years ago, back before the formulas were changed and watered down. Highly sought after.
- Scales of Great Moses, extremely valued by the superstitious and the hermetic.
- A Bogblood Vial on a necklace, can be cracked to keep the mosquitos at bay for 3 days. Why do the Lodge Initiates wear these?
- A mint-condition playing card from an Old Master's deck. Family heads would kill to get a complete deck.
- 1d4+4 Bloodseeker Darts. They never fail to draw blood from their target.
- The Skeleton Key, lost long ago by the bumbling Comissioner. Opens any door in town older than 5 years.
- Page from the Captain's Log, a document whose signer will immediately be pardoned of all animosity. Wonder what happened to this "Captain".
- The Peeler, a copper knife enchanted to cut a sheer piece out of anything. Seems to be very brittle.
HWG from the Orbital Crypt was wonderfully helpful in making this.