The first anyone saw or heard about Clive the Barbarian, he was down at the docks in Harbor Approach, picking fistfights in bars.
“Come fight me, you weaklings!” he bellowed at the longshoremen sitting at the counter trying to have a drink. “Prove to me Eversink men aren’t feeble puny cowards!”
When no one got up from their drinks (and someone in the back yelled ‘we’re not all men, you twit’), Clive grabbed random people by the shoulder, spun them around on their stools, and punched them. The bartender shouted, and the fight was on! Bottles flew in the air. A table was crushed under writhing bodies. The longshoremen piled on, and Clive went down under flying fists. The Watchmen showed up and carted a bloodied Clive away.
Clive popped up at a few more bars along the waterfront. He picked fights, and the longshoremen fought back. The Watch hauled him away every time. The dockworkers wrote Clive off as one more weird Eversink freak. Last week the threat was mind fungus, and the week before that, the threat was some Sorcerer. This week, it’s Clive.
After a period of Clive acquiescence, he popped up at bars in the Tangle. Clive now ran with a posse of barbarian thugs. He pulled the same nonsense he pulled in Harbor Approach. Clive strolled into a bar. He yelled at people for being weaklings, and he picked fistfights. This time, Clive’s gang jumped in and assisted. Fists flew, and faces were punched. One bar nearly burned down – nearly.
Clive was more successful in creating chaos and mayhem this time. It took entire Watch stations of Watchmen to get Clive under control. As the Watch dragged Clive and his goons away, he yelled back at gaping onlookers: “I will toughen Eversink up! You’ll see!”
The law was tired of Clive and his gang. The local Tangle magistrate threw Clive and his crew out of Eversink. They’re not citizens, don’t have any rights, and Eversink doesn’t need Clive to tear up local establishments, the local Magistrate said. Either be civil or go home. Go home, Clive. As the Watch dropped Clive and his gang off on a far shore, Clive shouted: “You haven’t seen the last of me, you lazy jerks!”
Then, Clive was gone for a while.
Word just reached the city. Clive returned to Eversink. This time, Clive has an army, and they want Eversink to toughen up.
Clive comes from one of the many unknown, unnamed, forgotten towns in the rolling scrub wastes of the Border Lands. Where he came from, the men were men, the women were women, and the cows, well, they were cows. He worked on the farm growing crops and tending the animals. He learned to fight dirty with a sword from his Da and helped defend the homestead from those murderers and horse thieves.
When Clive was old enough to seek out his fortune, he took his Grandfather’s sword and headed off to the nearest town looking for wealth and adventure. Finding none in the next town, Clive kept wandering until he ended up at bigger towns. He found some adventure on the Deserted Plateau, enough adventure to hone his fighting skills and make a little cash.
That cash paid Clive’s way to Milktown. From there, he hitched up with a Mercenary crew and traveled the world. With the Blue Demons, Clive fought in random wars (sometimes on both sides). He hired out as a mercenary bodyguard for dubious wealthy nobles, killed for money more than a few times, and delved into some dungeons. He was a pretty amoral guy and formed a viewpoint about how only the strong survive on the plains.
In his travels, Clive heard about Eversink and how amazing a place it is. A golden city on a lagoon. A place everyone is rich. Blessed by the Swan. Go, and they hand you a trunk of cash on entry. Eversink is a fabulous sea-faring Empire of spices and silk full of adventurers and swashbucklers and doers of deeds.
Clive figured he’d go and check out Eversink. He left the Blue Demons and joined a trade caravan headed in that direction as a bodyguard. When Clive arrived at Eversink, he was just very disappointed in the city. He could make it better, stronger, and more confident with his fists.
Clive the Barbarian
Muscle-Bound, Ultra Confident, Kind of Annoying
Defense – Health: Health Threshold 4, Armor 1 (well-made leathers that cover shockingly little of his body), Health 12
Defense – Morale: Morale Threshold 3, Grit 2 (barbarian rage), Morale 8
Offense – Warfare: +1; Damage Modifier +2 (punch) or +4 (big two-handed longsword)
Abilities: Malus 15
Special Abilities: Allies (cost – 3), Bolster Morale (cost – 2), Extra Damage (cost – 3), Armor-Piercing (cost 3), Strength (cost 3)
Refresh Tokens: 5
Description: Clive is a big dumb meathead. He hates Eversink. Everyone who lives there is soft. They’re a bunch of soft, febrile merchants. No way this city is an Empire. He could do better. Clive decided – he will invade Eversink with his barbarian army, knock over the Triskedane, make himself its King, and force everyone to ‘toughen up.’ Pushups for everyone in the lagoon. Twice a day!
Clive is a ‘lead from the front’ military commander. He’s the kind of barbarian who leads the charge with the army at his back, hacking and swinging his big two-hander. He’s first to leap into the fray with his allies at his back. Taking him for granted or underestimating him is a mistake. In hand-to-hand combat, he can be deadly.
Defense – Health: Health Threshold 3, Health 6
Defense – Morale: Morale Threshold 3, Morale 6
Offense – Warfare: +1; Fixed Damage 4 (choose one of: sword, spear, mace, flail)
Abilities: Malus 10
Refresh Tokens: 3
Description: These are half-dressed violent goons covered in war paint who don’t think very hard. Not very good conversationalists.
Villainous Plot Seeds
- Diplomacy, Barbarian-Style: So… there’s a barbarian army coming in Eversink’s direction. The Triskedane would like the PCs to “do something diplomatic” about it. Like many orders from the Triskedane, details about how to “do something diplomatic” about it are a little lacking. In fact, that’s the contents of the entire order. Added complication: the barbarian army is coming overland through the swamps. Yet Eversink designed her defenses for sea battles. And while the swamp might eat some of the barbarian army, it won’t eat the whole thing. The PCs better develop a plan before Clive gets here and figures out a way to sack the place.
- The Great Arm Wrestle: The intelligence says Clive wants to see Eversink strength. What better way to show strength than to ride out to Clive’s army and challenge him to a duel? And what better contest than an arm wrestle? As the Triskedane send the PCs out to, well, arm wrestle an army, they’re not alone. Word has gotten ‘round Eversink that an exciting competition is going to take place. They’re already selling tickets. Half of Eversink is going to watch. Will this be an actual test of strength? Or will this descend into an Eversink-on-Barbarian brawl?
- Breached the Walls!: Clive’s past adventuring experience taught him to look for secret ways into – and out of – places. An ancient tunnel, long forgotten, led Clive’s barbarian army under a lengthy stretch of the lagoon, through the underbasements, and up into the Tangle! Now the battle is on, street by street! Clive will teach Eversink strength with his fists and his entire army! Are the PCs enough to stop him! Can they rally the city to stand against this invader and keep the city from falling into Clive’s hands?
Disclaimer: These posts are unaffiliated with official canonical posts or printed materials about Sword of the Serpentine. “Swords of the Serpentine” is (TM) Pelgrane Press. For more information on Eversink, visit the Pelgrane website.