Thursday, May 24, 2012

Interlude--The Menagerie

Today's post is inspired by two elements. One is the history of Hans Sloane, a member of the Royal Society whose private collection helped to found the British Museum. The other is a comment one of my players made during this week's session, about bear wrestling.


Interlude: The Menagerie
The 1600s and 1700s are a time of great growth for science. Leading the way in the study of animal and plant life are the naturalists, individual who spend as many hours in the field, cataloguing new specimens, as they do in libraries reading about others' discoveries.
Doctor Mordechai Smith is just one such fellow. Born and raised on the island of Jamaica, he is just as comfortable amidst the buccaneers of the Caribbean as he is with the gentlemen and ladies of upper-crust English society. He is permitted to associate with the latter company, it should be noted, because of the fact that he is a skilled surgeon, and knowledgeable in medicines of which other doctors have not yet heard. Even so, he feels more comfortable in a seaside pirate camp than the wealthiest manor home. Indeed, such companions are far more useful to him, when it comes to collecting specimens, than fancier folks ever could be.

Dr. Mordechai Smith

Buccaneer 3/Warrant Officer 3; CR 6; Size medium; HD 6d8+12; hp 39; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (+1 dueling jacket); Atk +4 (1d6, walking stick) or +4 ranged; SQ Survivor +1, Expert Pilot, Resilient; AL NG; SV: Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +7; Str 10, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 17, Cha 12.
Background: Colonist (Knowledge: local and Profession: doctor).
Skills: Appraise +10, Heal +14, Knowledge (local) +10, Knowledge (nature) +10, Listen +14, Profession (doctor), Spot +14, Survival +14.
Feats: Alertness, Herbalist, Self-Sufficient, Track.
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Gentleman's clothes, dueling jacket, surgeon's tools, buccaneer knife, journals, writing supplies, walking stick.

Mordechai Smith, at first glance, looks little different from any of the other genteel folks living in Port Royal. This appearance is deceptive, however. In fact, he could be comfortable if marooned on any island in the Caribbean, and in many other places around the world. Smith enjoys the simple companionship of such people, nearly as much as he savors the thrill of new discoveries.

Using Mordechai Smith in a Campaign
The buccaneer doctor can be incorporated in a campaign in any number of ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • In his unending pursuit of medical knowledge, Smith could hire the PC's to accompany an expedition into a remote location. This cold be in pursuit of a new specimen, or perhaps to a location as detailed in “The Temple.”
  • Following a murder involving a rare poison, Dr. Smith is implicated. Perhaps someone stole it from him, or perhaps he was behind it.
  • One buccaneer, inspired by Smith's collection of animals, could capture a bear and bring it to the Sign of the Boar's Head for some wrestling matches.
  • Smith could hire the PC's to help transport his menagerie. If they ran into difficulties—such as those presented in the interlude “The Storm”—the situation becomes more complicated when some of the animals escape their cages.

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