The Professor - as many have come to call him, mostly to avoid having to remember each new moniker that is added to his name - stands at a modest height of about three and one half foot. The wild mane of flowing strands, referred to sometimes as his head
The Professor’s Appearance
The Professor – as many have come to call him, mostly to avoid having to remember each new moniker that is added to his name – stands at a modest height of about three and one half foot. The wild mane of flowing strands, referred to sometimes as his head of hair, is a distinct burnished coppery mix of red and orange. Bright eyes the color of the sky before a storm hits at sea stare out at the world with wonder, curiosity, and anxiousness through a pair of black-rimmed goggles. His ruddy complexion shows signs of constant energy in motion, as the gnome is constantly engaged in one or more of the following (sometimes at the same time: talking quickly about any number of topics, experimenting with new alchemical compounds or technological devices, satiating a particular curiosity, exploring a new environment, or enjoying a good drink at his favorite Inn and Tavern, Explosive Runes. Dressed in a long work coat over the thin, but protective covering of a mithral shirt, Professor carries with him any number of bubbling, steaming, sizzling, and gurgling vials, flasks, jars, and other containers with which to store his many alchemical creations. Criss-crossing bandoliers over his chest and back contain the most easy-to-access items, while a potion belt, scroll organizer, and many-pocketed backpack contain other readily available weapons, reagents, extracts, and bombs. At his waist hangs a particularly interesting weapon, appearing to be a sling but fashioned with a leather-bound cradle at the end into which flasks, bombs, and other hand-held projectiles may be held and thrown. Finally, hidden amongst the other items he carries is a strange, polished steel scroll tube that never seems to rust or show signs of wear.
The Professor’s Background
Two sharp scratches echo in the silence as two pieces of flint strike the pair of tindertwigs tied to the leather belt…
Professor Crasis Coggley Walty Ambergris Fiddleywick was born into the world merely as Crasis, though as with most gnomes, his name continued to grow as he did. His parents chose the name as an auspicious start and believed their son would embody all the virtue and power of their race. The town of Lightelf was as good as any to be born and raised and in typical gnome custom, his birth pet was born on the same day. His ferret was named Slink, for the far more obvious reason that the little guy was long and curvy even as a newborn. Slink and Crasis were inseparable, both exhibiting curiosity and a blatant disregard for their own safety growing up.
A few years later, Crasis was blessed with a little sister, Juliara. Her birth pet was a tiny badger, and the two of them were a handful to the young budding alchemist. Even before he knew what he was doing, Crasis would often experiment with any number of his father’s chemicals, compounds, and reagents, often to the shock and worry of his mother. Somehow, Crasis never managed to cause himself any permanent harm, and when his sister was old enough to walk on her own, she would often follow him around. Even though she’d ask constantly about what he was doing, Juliara never gained an appreciation for the alchemical arts. She would hound Crasis or get in his way until he would engage in mock swordplay with her. Never very good with a sword, Crasis preferred to use a sling to hurl bits of wood at her, which usually resulted in his being beaten by small fists and contagious laughter.
The differences between the two continued to grow, with Crasis’s growth slowing while his sister grew several inches his superior. Never one for feminine ways, Juliara practiced with swords any chance she could, often teasing her brother about his experiments. The last time that Crasis saw his sister was after a drawn out argument, which resulted in Juliara’s sword tip leaving a scar across his chin and his flask of acidic smoke leaving her coughing and weezing for several days. This would be the last Crasis would see of his sister…
The hissing of sparks as they ignite the oil/powder mixture down the clear, flexible tubes towards the boot-mounted vials…
As a right of passage, Crasis accompanied his uncle to Ossary when he was 13, days after the fight with his sister that left him scarred and her in a coughing fit for a few days. Never one to shy away from demonstrating the latest of his inventions, Crasis performed a rather…explosive show for a small crowd in the town square. Now, for a few years, Crasis had been integrating some more technology into his alchemy, creating wondrous items of power that used not only alchemical compounds, but bits of technology, such as gears, glass tubes, and steam. This need to show off his prowess would lead to the loss of his current life.
That night, Crasis was kidnapped by Skandik pirates of the “Rimewind,” a Skandik vessel that was struggling to make a name for herself. The captain, an old man named Svenoff, and the crew saw my appearance as an opportunity to tip the scales in their favor. Crasis was forced to create alchemical weapons for the ship’s armaments. Over time, the crew came to call him “Coggley” because he’d tried explained that the gears he used were called “Cogs.” The smell was worse than the sea sickness, and the gnome spent a lot of time below decks in a small part of the hold that the crew made into a makeshift workshop. It was here that he felt the first bombardment of attacks 6 months later.
The was stoppers on the vials melt as the last of the powder burns, the flammable liquid inside churning with heat…
As the smoke cleared on the deck of the “Rimewind,” most of the crew were dead, another ship off the starboard side was attached with boarding lines. A cheer had erupted on this other ship and the gnome was almost cut down by an overzealous one-eyed man. His life was saved by a human named, Ragabashir, a Tarantine alchemist, who saw potential in the gnome covered in whale blubber. The crew immediately nicknamed him “Ambergris” since that was how he smelled for a week after being brought aboard the “Tempest Eye,” having hid amidst the perfume ingredient before being found by the attackers.
Life was better on the “Tempest Eye,” since he wasn’t forced to work under abysmal conditions and had a mentor in Ragabashir. The ship itself became a scourge to merchants and other pirates alike in the Winedark Sea, thanks in part to the inventions of Ragabashir, strange mechanical devices that could propel projectiles further than crossbows and shoot gouts of flame at nearby ships before they were boarded. Disregarding the shady nature of their work, Crasis…well Crasis Coggley Ambergris as his name had come to evolve, was delighted to be learning so much new alchemy, weapon crafting, and spellcraft. After another year, Ambergris ‘graduated’ from Ragabashir’s tutelage to become a full fledged alchemist and was dubbed “Professor”, as the crew came to call him for the next 5 years.
Without much choice and without much concern for doing otherwise, Professor Ambergris continued to work and live on the ship, perfecting his craft and even advancing his knowledge about merging alchemy and technology to create near magical items. In one particularly difficult fight with another pirate ship, the Professor used a combination of slow burning fuses and alchemical acid to blow open the other ship’s cargo doors, earning him the moniker of “Fiddleywick.” Ragabashir also confided in the Professor that he was working on a new device, something of great power that the captain wanted built. The only guideline was a strange scroll written in an unknown language, which Ragabashir was having trouble with.
Throughout his time aboard the “Tempest Eye”, he became friends with the captain’s hound. The captain, for all his faults, neglected the poor creature and seemed to only keep it around to vent his frustrations. Fiddleywick would often look after “Admiral”, feeding him when he was hungry and tending to his wounds when the captain would kick him.
One explosion follows another as the vials ignite, flames shooting to length of 2 feet and causing a concussive force to propel the booted feet forward at an ultrarapid pace…
After a while, the ship’s captain became more sadistic in his taking of other ships. The Professor noticed this got worse after the captain replaced his first mate with Crumblefish, a tall, violent man. Another recent abductee, a wizard named Larista, noticed it as well and the two would often comment on the change. The captain started attacking ships with no cargo and slaughtering the crew to a man. This was too much, and despite his new found freedom and stature among the crew, the Professor knew he had to escape. He formulated several alchemical extracts and when the ship was docked in Tarantis City, he set his plan in motion. Locked in his laboratory, the gnome set loose an explosion that destroyed part of the hold and used the distraction to escape, hoping everyone would believe he was dead. It might have worked had he not left Ragabashir a note telling him the truth, stolen the strange scroll to prevent the captain from getting his hands on some new weapon, and taken “Admiral” with him when he hid for a week in town. The “Tempest Eye” eventually left port, and the Professor found passage on another ship to Malikarr. Little did he know he was followed…
The speed of motion was almost too much, one foot moving rapidly in front of the other with barely enough time to consider the next step…
Having heard of Malikarr’s reputation as the City of Alchemists, the Professor thought this the best place to search for answers about the scroll. Understandably, he was jumpy and scared the entire voyage, earning another nickname of “Walty” for the way he kept tilting over the edge of the ship looking for pursuers. The Professor spent several months in Malikarr, talking to alchemists, wizards, and sages about the scroll, but each time he hit a block. The scroll was kept in a polished steel, waterproof case that never rusts. There were text and diagrams on the scroll, but it has resisted Comprehend Languages and Detect Magic spells. After finally giving up, he found passage on an Antillian vessel back to the mainland, hoping to visit the City State of the Invincible Overlord, Viridistan, or Tula, the City of Mages, to find answers. However,instead of heading for Ossary as expected, it was headed for Tarantis…someone had recognized him and was going to turn him in to the “Tempest Eye” for the bounty on his head.
The Professor managed to construct a makeshift paddleboat from spare parts on the ship and one night slipped away again with Admiral, making his way to the city of Armagh before his boat finally fell apart beyond repair. Hoping to find a safe haven for a while, he made his way to Warwik…with no money and Admiral as his only friend. When he was too tired to continue, the gnome slumped over the dog’s shoulders, but Admiral continued to get him to Warwik where a Karakan Innkeeper named Shiloh found him. The innkeep, also a sorceress and spellcrafter, found him and gave him boarding at the Explosive Runes Inn, sensing something special about him…
Now, he and Admiral make their home in Warwik for the time being, hoping to uncover the secrets of the scroll and always looking over his shoulder for the “Tempest Eye” to come storming after him again…
Udalrich's Pathfinder Character Sheet
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