Herein lies a selection of the Special Task Force for the Reclamation of the Overlook, initiated by the Diggers' College of Vanor:
There they all died horrible, gruesome, unspeakable deaths.
"Howler" was the only member of the raiding party to survive. Now he is left without shield-brothers or companions, and he is not charismatic enough to gather a crew around himself. He sleeps in the longship that brought him here, and he hires himself out as a warrior, bodyguard, soldier, and raider.
Bulb is a Kalingoi scavenger that has been shunned by her race. Her entire tribe was wiped out by a plague leaving her the sole survivor, weakened though she was. Other Kalingoi feared she would bring the disease to their camps and treated her as a pariah. She's rather used to being on her own and not fitting in, although she's made a few friends here and there. None the less, she's learned to look after herself first, and THEN think about others. But a girl(ish)'s got to live... and thus why she's chillin' with this bunch.
From the journal of Zaba Bradaslav:
Holy Dungeoneers Expedition 001
A proper burial? A proper burial?! Feh. Who's going to carry that meat soup and bones back up? Me. Who is going to dig the grave? Me. Well I've got news for these religious delver's. Those services cost extra. It wasn't my idea to try to jump that puddle of pudding. Nope. My idea was finding an alternate route. But this guy, wearing mail armor, rubbing a whet stone on sword every morning decides, "Nah, I can make it." But he didn't. Now, it turns out, the triune demands a proper burial. I can see the satisfaction on their faces. their shares just got a little bit bigger, and they want me, poor Zaba, to haul the dead fucking weight to the top in order to assuage their guilt. Well, it's going to cost extra. I'm taking his sword, and I'm getting his share. I'm fucking done making 3 gold a day to put up with these triune worshiping bastards.
Ardo Valerianus is an Expert who has studied Natural Philosophy and Alchemy, along with Naturalism. He’s not really cut out to be the brightest candle in any guild's candelabrum, but has gotten by thus far on the Sterling Principle: Always Follow the Directions Carefully. He is native to the city, although one side of his family looks to be Rothari (and then there’s his first name).
Alas, most collegia prefer alchemists who already have a full lab, along with full training. Ardo thought he’d take over from old Brontus eventually, but then Brontus and the lab disappeared in a distinctly impressive cubic explosion of wailing mauve vapors, leaving nothing but an eight-foot-tall stone sheep statue with rather unpleasant lichen on it.
Ardo had nothing to do with that. He wasn’t even in the area at the time. You can all rest easy on that count.
“Who forgot to wash the alembic? It’s got tiny talking demons again."
“Goals? Goals? Oh, that’s a good one. Right, let me just line my plans out in front of you, since there’s probably no chance at all that you might be some variety of brigand or mountebank, let alone one of that sort of people who delight in stepping on other people’s aspirations just to hear that despairing squeak noise as they’re demolished. Wait, no, on second thought, I’ll be just a smidge less trusting. Call it a character flaw.
So. Alchemists use what you might call stuff. Stuff we need expensive stuff to do things with and to. Glassware. Ingredients. Leaves, roots, seeds, calyxes, tubers and rhizomes; integumentia, sundry organs from uncanny beasts (or at least, insufficiently canny ones), scales, horns, liquors, ichors, and oozes; effluvia, perfluvia, humours and ylem. Are you going to give me all of those free of charge? No? Then stop asking me why I’m wearing a backpack and heading into a hillside. I have a Potion of Nasal Compression I can happily jam into your face if that’ll make you happier.”
Because these were submitted images by the players to illustrate their PCs, I've not made any effort to hunt down where they got these. Obviously, we didn't make these (except for Image #2, which was drawn by the player) and all rights belong to the artists and/or business entities that paid for the images. If anyone has the lowdown for sourcing these, please let me know, and I'll update the post.
Updated Image Credits:
Image #2: "Ivo Hermanni" by Bill Spytma (link).
Image #5: "Magia" by Andre Bdois (link).