Old Crynog is a wizened and foul tempered bugbear that is slowly creeping up on being a century and a half old. He walks with a loping gait, his long-fingered hands grasping about as he moves through the mountains and badlands he claims as his own. He looks like most bugbears, small and beady eyes, a harsh scowl, and a great number of large teeth jammed into his mouth. He favors a cloak made of a cavebear hide, although once a pale blonde color, the cloak is now infested with mildew and mold that it has since taken on a green color. Most of the time Old Crynog wanders around his mountain and talks to himself, mostly complaining about the weather, bad neighbors, and such.
Crynog wasn't always a bitter old toadstool, one he was a swaddling babe who was raised not by humans but by the halflings of Ormville. As a pastoral mountain community, Ormville was utterly lacking in distinction until they became known for having raised a bugbear child to be a young adult. Like most halflings, the Orms of Ormville were in favor of short work and long rests, small gardens and large meals. This sort of thing didn't sit well with Crynog, who by his blood was more inclined to stalk, explore, hunt and eat meat. Of course the halflings attempted to deal with his odd behavior the best way they knew how, they turned a blind eye to most of it.
Sometime during his late adolescent years, Crynog had a falling out with the mayor of Ormville, who also happened to be his foster-father. After this, Crynog became a self imposed exile and left the confines of Ormville to explore the upper reaches of Mount Ffroes. The next few decades saw a great deal of activity on Crynog's part, almost all of which went unnoticed by the halflings below. Mount Ffroes had long been infested with goblins, a family of ice trolls, and several dozen other nasty beasts. These menaces rarely bothered Ormville except in the worst of winters when the goblins would enter the outer fringes of the village to raid for food and supplies, while the trolls would at odd intervals come down to eat as many sheep as they could and carry of what they couldn't eat.
As a hunter and trapper, Crynog eventually culled so many of the goblins that they decided to pack up what meager belongings they had and seek out a safer mountain to call their own. As mementos of his personal war with the goblins, Crynog has several necklaces of goblin teeth as well as several dozen goblin skulls that he has piled against a wall in his cavern home. The trolls proved tougher prey, and it was only using oil soaked firetraps that he was able to bring the trolls down. There is almost nothing left of the trolls that Crynog killed except for a few knucklebones he was able to claim from a mostly charred hand. The other beasts were also felled, one by one, some by traps and snares, others by Crynog's powerful longbow.
On rare occasions, Crynog would venture down to the outskirts of Ormville, and would trade animal pelts he had cured and semi-precious stones he had discovered in the mountains in exchange for things he needed, mostly metal tools, iron arrowheads, and the like. The halflings of Ormville came to see these visits as something to be feared, as Crynog appeared out of the snow, hauling a sled of animal pelts, wrapped in the furs of a dead bear. He smelled of wild and mountain and cold. They would trade for the pelts, which were of good quality, but they traded quickly so that the bugbear would not tarry to long and would be off back to his mountain.
The Passage of Time
That was many decades ago, and now Crynog is feeling the effects of old age, as he has lived for a great length of time. The halflings in Ormville have so long lived unknowingly under his protection that they have forgone most of their most basic lines of defence. None remember the last time the trolls came and ransacked the paddocks, or when the goblins came and stole everything not nailed down. Instead, they cut down the palisade wall for firewood, and the militia is nothing more than a few fat old halflings who belt on rusty swords and parade about with equally dull and rusty spears. They have not yet connected that their peace and tranquility comes from the bugbear they themselves raised decades ago.
But Crynog is getting old, and Mt. Ffroes is a cold and demanding place to live. His aim is still true as it ever was, and his snares and traps more brutal and vicious than ever, but the old bugbear's stride is getting slower, and his bones creak when he moves, and something of his mind is slipping. There is one thing that has kept him on his long-toed feet, and that is Mrak, a beast of a worg. Crynog rescued Mrak as a suckling pup and nursed the worg back to health and raised him as his own. Mrak is a capable stalker, and hunter and the two move like shadows over ice.
Crempog Warren - Crynog's lair in Mt. Ffroes, Crempog Warren is a series of caverns within the mountain. he mostly lives in the third cavern, with the first serving as a foyer and buffer between the warmth inside the cave and the bitter cold outside. His collection of animal trophies and heaps of goblin skulls are displayed here. The second cavern is partitioned off with rough split timber planks and animal hides to block the wind. This chamber serves as a larder, keeping his food cold and fresh, but not completely frozen. The third chamber is his true home, and has a fire pit, a bed made of animal hide stuffed with raw wool. Crynog has ventured deeper into the warren, and found many things of value within but his exploration was stopped after he found several stone doors of master craftsmenship that he could not open.
Dolorous Longbow - A magical bow, the Dolorous Longbow causes the arrows it fires to be enchanted with a miasma of despair. Animals wounded with the bow tend to kneel down and await their coming death. Intelligent creatures are struck by profound depression and are left with no desire to ever return to the place where they were wounded.
Mrak - Crynog's worg companion, Mrak is a large adult worg, or dire wolf. The beast is absolutely devoted to the bugbear, and intensely dislikes intruders, halflings, and goblins.
Game Notes: Crynog is a ranger type NPC of middle levels, and rather than forests, is absolutely at home amongst mountains, ice, and rock. His skills lean towards hunting, leaving snares and making traps. He has little in the way of melee combat training, and will avoid armed confrontation if possible.
To Arms To Arms! - Ormville is besieged by a tribe hobgoblins that have roosted in Mt. Ffroes. The PCs are contacted to A. help in protecting the village from their raids, B. train the newly reformed militia in how to actually fight, and C. Find out why the hobgoblins are there and what happened to Crynog. The locals really don't care about the bugbear other than out of a sense of curiosity. The PCs can find the old Bugbear either wounded and healing, or completely outnumbered by the goblinoids, needing help that he knows will never come.
Too Much Racket! - While visiting/passing through Ormville, the PCs are able to take part in a boisterous halfling festival. They raise such a clatter setting off magic spells and discharging magic wands that Mt. Ffroes is shaken by several avalanches. Crynog, tired of the noise, hazard and perpetual ingratitude of the halflings comes down to tell them a thing or two about keeping it down. The PCs are sent to confront the angry old bugbear.
The Secret of Mt. Ffroes - Crempog Warren is one of the entrances to a long sealed dwarven citadel city. An intrepid band of heroes could find evidence of the Mount Ffroes Derrowdelve and the treasures within (Moria comes to mind) and decide to open one of the doors and break in. Of course this means trekking to Ormville, dealing with halflings, skulking up a winter mountain and going through Crynog's lair. Crynog would be agreeable to lead the PCs to the door they are seeking, for a portion of the treasure. If they fight, he is a cagey foe fighting in caves and passages he knows very well, while PCs are likely consulting a centuries old map.
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? Responses (9)
I do enjoy this amusing take on the bug bear. And 'Too Much Racket' puts Grendel in mind. Any chance that Crynog might become a terror if the halflings do something to really annoy him?
He reminds me of the Grinch.
I don't think he would become a terror; but he can easily be painted as one. Maybe he scared someone by accident, didn't make an easy business target as expected, or someone figured out his role of protector, and wants to do some badness on his own. Claiming that Old Crynog turned to evil is a rumor that will spread easily... let's hope some 'heroes' out to do good will investigate before trying to hack him apart.
Btw, where does he have that longbow from? There's bound to be an interesting story behind it. Old Crynog could become an interesting resource for his mountains, a teacher of certain skills even.
Oh, and I like Mt. Ffroes. :)
He reminds me of The Grinch as well. A nice NPC for every winter adventure.
For Cheka and Colonel Drackler, Old Crynog is indeed inspired by the perenial Christmas humbug, the Grinch.
As a side note, Crempog and Ffroe are older names for crumpets, and the old Grinch did live on Mount Crumpit. Just wanted to point that out since it took so long to find those delightful old words.
Other than some superifical resemblence to the Grinch, it is more Mountain Man/ Indian raised by Settlers/ etc. I mean he is a cranky old guy on the mountain with a dog, with nice people down below. But his motivations and actions are totally different. (Okay and the names are obscure rip offs, so there is some links there).
Though the Grinch is the inspiration, this character has moved far beyond that shallow association. Except for being written on Christmas, he really does not need a christmas freetext.
He is really more of a major NPC (though you could make a statement for minor). He is not a scenario base. If he shows up, there is more than one event that is possible... rather than a scenario based NPC which is the motivation/ victim/ monster for a single scenario. You should edit his coding.
Other than that, I really like this character. He reminds me of something that comes out of a Burning Wheel character generation. Segmented depth. He has history and motivation, slightly obscured but still functional.
A nice take on the Grinch, and as Moonhunter mentions, well beyound that character. An excellent adaptation of a character from fiction, even that of the wonderful Doctor Seuss!
Firstly, let me say that I really like this guy - he's so much more than the traditional "evil monster in the mountains"
Now, I would comment further but Moon and manfred have already said it all, so I'll just second everything they said
A good solid NPC - 4/5
... and BTW, I will certainly use him the next time I need a crotchety old mountain man to give my players the run-around