This article originally appeared in Pyramid #13
by Brandon Cope
OrenThief and con man
5'6", 140 lbs.; pale skin, dirty-blonde hair, grey eyes,20 years old
ST: 10  DX: 12  Speed: 5.75 IQ: 12  HT: 11  Move: 5 Damage: Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d Dodge: 5 Parry: 5 (Knife) No armor; no encumbrance.
Point Total: 100
Ally (Rann, 12 or less) 
Strong Will +2 
Combat Paralysis [-15]
Cocky under stress [-1]
Smiles a lot [-1]
Clumsy around women [-1]
Warped sense of humor [-1]
Acting-13 ; Area Knowledge (City)-13 ; Carousing-12 ; Climbing-12 ; Disguise-12 ; Fast Talk-12 ; Gambling-16 ; Knife-13 ; Pickpocket-12 ; Scrounging-13 ; Sleight of Hand-13 ; Swimming-14 ; Traps-12 
Small Knife, 1d-3 cutting, 1d-3 impaling.
Contemporary: Literacy is no longer an advantage, replace Knife skill with Guns (Pistol)-13.
Near Future: as above.
Space: as above, but Beam Weapons-13.
Oren's parentage is unknown, though he proudly claims to be the illegitimate child of a courtesan and low-ranking noble. He was left at the steps of a church when he was only a few months old. He rebelled against their teachings at an early age, caring more for personal gain than brotherly love, and left the church at the age of 12. He quickly took a great deal of interest in gambling and con games, spending the next several years of his life learning the tricks of the trade. Ironically, his church training, which included learning to read and write, gave him a big edge over his peers, who were mostly illiterate. Even with this advantage, he managed only a modest lifestyle.
One night several months ago the course of his life changed dramatically. As he was leaving a brothel after a friendly visit and heading down to the docks to refill his money pouch with drunken sailor's silver, he saw a large man stagger to the end of a pier and then leap in. Oren is evasive about why he jumped in after the stranger (he honestly isn't sure why) and saved him. The stranger, Rann Swiftsword, became a close partner and plays the part of the tough-but-dumb barbarian who provides Oren with protection in return for a large share of the profits. Most of Oren's efforts are focused towards con games, such as fake potions and phony gemstones, though cheating at cards is a favorite pastime.
Oren doesn't spend as much time researching his con jobs as he should, making him vulnerable to a knowledgeable would-be victim. He will reluctantly resort to picking pockets or burglary if he is in dire need of money, and he and Rann have taken part in more than one "dungeon crawl," which has resulted in Oren loving the filthy city even more.
"How about an honest game of chance?"
"Surely you have heard of the great Harou Emerald? Its previous owner came upon unfortunate circumstances and was forced to part with it. It would truly be improper of me not to offer it to you, an obviously devout collector of precious gems, at a reasonable discount..."
- One night in a tavern, a game of cards gets started. Oren will play straight until he's down to about half his stake (he won't cheat if winning), then slowly begin manipulating the games. PC gamblers might notice what's going on (especially if they aren't playing). If confronted, he will do his best to create a barroom brawl to cover his escape.
- If the party contains any members that look like scholars or mages, he will try to pull his only regular con game, the sale of the great Harou Emerald, which he claims possesses great magical powers, though the means to activate them have been lost (but for a slight gratuity, he will tell the buyer where they may be found...). Oren prefers to pull this on groups of scholars rather than individuals, since Oren has rightly noted that a scholar is reluctant to admit ignorance in front of colleagues.
Barbarian turned bodyguard
6'3", 180 lbs.; dark tanned skin, bald, brown eyes, 30 years old
ST: 12  DX: 13  Speed: 7 IQ: 10  HT: 11  Move: 5 Damage: Thrust 1d-1; Swing 1d+2 Dodge: 6 Block: 8 (shield) Parry: 9 (Broadsword) Chain mail; medium encumbrance
Point Total: 130
Ally (Oren, 12 or less) 
Combat Reflexes 
High Pain Threshold 
Mild Phobia (Water) [-10]
Likes cheap ale and women [-1]
Swears a lot [-1]
Makes absurd boasts when drunk [-1]
Is sensitive about his word [-1]
Acting-9 ; Area Knowledge (Northern Plains)-10 ; Bow-11 ; Brawling-15 ; Broadsword-16 ; Crossbow-14 ; Fast Draw (Knife)-13 ; Fast Draw (Sword)-13 ; First Aid-10 ; Knife-16 ; Knife Throwing-14 ; Riding-13 ; Running-11 ; Shield-15 ; Spear-14 
Thrusting Broadsword, 1d+3 cutting, 1d+1 impaling.
Large knife, 1d cutting, 1d-1 impaling.
Crossbow, 1d+3 impaling.
Contemporary: Rann may have been a police officer in a small town who was framed by the mayor for a crime someone else (the mayor's son?) committed. Replace all of the skills above with the following: Guns (Pistol)-16; Guns (Shotgun)-15; Acting-10; Streetwise-12; Professional Skill (Policeman)-13; First Aid-11; Brawling-15; Fast Draw (Pistol)-13.
Near Future: as above, but was framed by a megacorp or the military. He may have actually been forced to fight in an arena.
Space: as above, but replace Guns with Beam Weapons.
Rann was born with a sword in one hand and a mug of ale in the other, or so he likes to claim. He was actually born in the nomadic lands, the son of a highly respected warrior. From an early age he was trained as a warrior and became the best in his tribe, well-liked and respected. His chieftain, however, feared that Rann might one day aspire to his position, so sent Rann to a nearby city as escort for the tribe's fur traders.
Shortly after arriving in the city, following the chieftain's orders, they got Rann drunk and sold him into slavery for entertainment in the arena. He awoke only hours before his first fight. With desires for vengeance burning deeply within him, he quickly dispatched his first foe, and continued to win contest after contest. Finally, he was granted his freedom. However, the hate that had fueled him for so long had run dry.
In a deep depression, he returned to the tavern he had been tricked at long ago. With no focus left in his life, an outcast in the city and unable to return to his own tribe, he leapt into the harbor. Had it not been for a young gambler and con man named Oren, Rann would have drowned. The two struck a partnership and friendship instantly, and Rann became the muscle of Oren's operation.
Rann will occassionaly join other groups of adventurers for short durations, especially if there is a good chance of gaining glory or gold, and sometimes just to get out of a crowded and smelly city.
"Think you fast? I kill you three no, four times before you draw sword."
"I slew four dragons that day, without sword or shield, using only... uuh... an oak branch."
- Since Rann left his tribe, the old chieftain died and his son took over. The new chieftain has received word that Rann is alive and free and fears that Rann plans to return and exact revenge. Since the tribe thinks that Rann was killed by bandits, he must hire a third party to kill Rann: the PCs. If the PCs learn the truth in time, what will they do?
- Rann gets drunk at a tavern the PCs are at and begins making outrageous boasts while denying that any of the PCs could do the same thing. This eventually leads to a challenge of some sort (except for them fighting each other) that presents either some great danger or humiliation. Rann, even after he sobers up, will feel duty bound to carry through.
Article publication date: June 1, 1995
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