|"Perhaps you misunderstood me, sir. When I said I was capable of riding to exhaustion any small-brained, dung-breath, hump-backed, scaly beast that came across my path, I was surely referrin' to snollygosters, not to your wife."|
THE SCENE: A pair of mercenaries interrogate seeming ne'er-do-wells near the river's edge in Frogport.
THE SOLDIERS: The Goodly Company of Reliable Freebooters - also known as Massey's Men - all wear blue-and-red uniforms; most carry cavalry sabres, light lances, and carbines. Earlier this year, after losing some of their number to an ill-advised raid on a group of lumberjack giants, Massey's boys trotted into Frogport and have started a bit of a protection racket when they're not out doing "jobs". Their founder and leader, Eliphas Massey, spends much of his time at the sign of the Golden Wigwam, drinking beer and fiddling with architectural drawings of the castle he will build "someday when the money's finally right".
THE SPLENDID GAUCHO-LOOKING GENTLEMAN: This is Salamao Berengar, monster-hunter and gentleman thief (when the economy is poor). Berengar has had a number of very successful forays into the deeps of Snollygoster Swamp, returning not only with monster-heads, game, and rare herbs, but on one occasion claiming to have located a ruined castle which he pillaged. He keeps a fine flat in Frogtown, but spends most of his funds on fine clothing and carousing; Berengar's next expedition is always necessarily right around the corner. The blend in his pipe is a combination of tobacco and shaved swamp-chestnuts, ensuring that he always smells a bit like nutmeg.
GUY WITH THE CLOCKS: Comghall Hodge, a petty wizard. Hodge has sought out Salamao Berengar to enlist his aid in locating the Vanishing Tower of the Swamp Hermit which lies somewhere out in the marshes. Although a young sorceror, Hodge vastly overestimates his cleverness and readiness to confront the Swamp Hermit; he will prattle on at length about how good he is at overcoming magical traps and the like, or the projected resale value of the Hermit's no-doubt-numerous spellbooks. Like all wizards in Wampus Country, Comghall Hodge is slowly going insane with each passing year. He wears a number of paper clock-faces pinned to his coat, and obsessively moves the hands about to different positions in order to "balance out the chronastronomic humours".
THE BOAT (background): Mr. Gripes the puntsman ferries five visitors into Frogport. Two of them wish to open businesses; one is fleeing a curse; one is a Candylander agent provocateur; and the last is a clockwork lady discovered in a cavern who now wears the skin of her 'liberator'.