Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Ull: Land of a Thousand Villains - Granth the Old-One

Welcome back Greyhawkers! Today I have a new installment of my ongoing series of NPCs, Ull: Land of a Thousand Villains. To see previous NPCs, check out the Best of Greyhawkery here or at the top of the home page. This time I am featuring an orc NPC, but don't roll for initiative yet, like most villains in Ull this guy may be useful if they can stay on his good side. Enjoy!

“In the Flanaess, orcs are feared and mistrusted as irredeemably evil monsters. In the Baklunish West however, many orcs whose ancestors also fought in the Great Wars, have found their place in society. Sure, most of them still make a living off violence, but they are making progress.”

Granth “the Old-One” (orc, male, fighter 9)

Hailing from the foothills of the Ongusk Khanate, Granth is a rarity, an orc who has lived to old age. In Ull, he is known as “the Old One” a nickname that is not at all lost on visitors from the Flanaess. Granth may be advanced in age but besides a hunched back and a slight limp he is no less imposing than in his younger days. Over the last few decades, he has earned a reputation, especially among Ull’s warbands, as a reliable weapon dealer. Granth and his loyal cadre of followers travel throughout the plains and steppes of the Baklunish West, trading and acquiring armaments from an extensive network of contacts he has built over the years. When there is a demand for a type of weapon the Old One is assuredly the best source, and at times he has even created the market for certain weapons. It is likely the proliferation of polearms in the south of Ull is due in large part to Granth’s influence.

Granth can usually be found in Kester, though his caravan ranges from Antalotol in the north to Kanak in the Dry Steppes as well as the borderlands of Ket near the Bramblewood Forest. Few bandits or Paynim mercenaries dare mess with this well-guarded caravan, fearing the standard of the bloody scimitar. Granth is an intimidating yet fair negotiator who remarkably speaks several languages and dialects. He is respected by many in the Mouqollad Consortium, though the Worthy Elders consider him to be no more than a contemptible smuggler.

DM’s Campaign Notes: Granth is a former member of the Uruzary Corps from the Sultanate of Zeif. He never speaks about his past or why he left this vaunted military group, but he does indeed still have contact with his brethren as he routinely smuggles used Uruzary weapons out of Antalotol. Since Granth travels a lot, he constantly shuffles his stockpile of weapons between several caches throughout Ull and the surrounding highlands. These hidden stores are rarely guarded though they are often trapped and intentionally sealed by rockslides, later to be cleared by his ogre bodyguards. In addition to these half dozen ogres from the Ulsprues, Granth typically employs orcs, half-orcs, ogrillons, and halflings in his service. The latter are favored for their culinary prowess and an ability to move stealthily. Despite his age, Granth is still hardy and walks with a halberd at all times mainly for show and to help with his balance.

Granth makes a good low-medium level contact or rival for player characters. He is well-travelled and can be a font of information on Ull and the Dry Steppes. Granth of course is easily the best person in Ull for adventurers to quickly sell off weapons and armor in bulk, not being too picky about quality or origin of goods. He pays half price for any items sold by PCs and sells his items at a 150% mark-up. Granth does not deal in magic weapons considering them to be too risky to move and store. Heroes who run afoul of one of Granth’s deals may find that he is vindictive and resourceful as any villain they encounter.

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