Handy Hirelings: The University

The university! The hallowed halls of higher education! Many strange folks lurk these corridors, staff and students alike, and they are all equally cash-strapped. Some of these educated eccentrics may be of help to any band of ambitious adventurers willing to cough up some coin. Perhaps these NPCs can help flesh out your adventures in the halls of Candlekeep, or can be the next quest-giver for your party~

  1. Thak Grimbrew, dwarven archaeologist. Thak is a stout dwarf, roughly as wide as he is tall, with dark skin and flame-red hair. Thak's area of expertise is ruins of an old elven empire, particularly its architecture. Even outside of that particular civilization, he has a keen eye for structural faults and a hardy disposition.
  2. Ksod is a black-haired goblin botanist who grew up in the forest, surrounded by herbs, trees, and poisonous plants. Her studies revolve around cataloguing the growth stages of rare and exotic plants. She makes a joke about "having a green thumb" to every person she meets at least once. She uses a wheelchair and is unable to walk as a result of a poisonous plant she ingested as a child.
  3. Salthazar Leafwind, elven linguist. Salthazar (Sal to his friends, so Salthazar to you and me) is an elf in his twilight years. His exact age is unknown, but he's spent his long life travelling the world, learning and documenting dozens of languages, from obscure languages spoken by a single tribe in the canyon lands to the church-tongues of far off religions. It is said, in fact, that he can even speak to certain kinds of sea life. If you need anything translated or its script identified, Salthazar is probably your best bet.
  4. Roland Eaves, master of the plane-eteraium. Roland, or "Rollie," is a wild-eyed human with coal-black skin, who runs the University's "plane-etarium," a large dome containing what is, allegedly, a model of extraplanar reality, using complex mechanisms to show the waning and waxing of planar conjunctions, centered on the material plane. his understanding of planar interactions is imperfect, but he's far closer than anyone else on the planet. If you find something truly alien, or want to learn about the strange realms beyond, Roland is at your service.
  5. Terry Willowgage, halfling "mythician." Terry's area of expertise is the Gods and their mythologies. Terry is far from a stuffy, serious scholar— he believes that the best way to understand the songs, poems and plays left by dead writers is to perform them, as they were intended. He can be found wherever a performance can take place, from street corners to nobles' homes. If you need an obscure reference sussed out or a mystical song played, Terry can probably figure it out for you. Of course, you will probably end up helping in one of his performance as payment...
  6. Safe-On-High, tiefling biologist. Ram-horned, purple-skinned and blue eyed, this tiefling has taken up the daunting task of solving the mystery of her own nature. Safe-On-High is equally likely to be in the library or in the surgical theater, digging up records of historical tieflings and genasi, or attending corpse dissections, respectively. Strange creatures, sentient or otherwise, are the purview of Safe-On-High. Just... don't bring up Mindflayers, okay?
  7. Zartus, minotaur metallurgist and weapons expert. Zartus is a towering, bronze-skinned man, eight feet tall at the tip of his horns. Zartus is well-versed in the art of blacksmithing, and he can probably identify the origin of any weapon the party may come across. On the wall of his small office is a sword and shield. Neither has any decoration or apparent significance, but if asked he'll explain that they were standard equipment for a particular army of old. The exact details of their craftsmanship has been lost to time, and he hopes to, some day, replicate such exquisite craftsmanship.
  8. Zeke Rivers, forger. A husky male human with messy brown hair and corrective lenses, Zeke is a student who was only allowed to study at the university thanks to a glowing recommendation letter from a high priest of a major religious order. This recommendation is, of course, a forgery. Zeke excels in both forging and detecting forgeries. His area of study is the literature of the people of the northern steppes. He is perpetually worried that somebody at the university will figure out that his recommendation letter is fake.
  9. Ewen Nickelfinger, dwarven geologist. It is said that Ewen can tell you the origin of some dirt to within 50 kilometers, just by its taste. Ewen cannot do that. Ewen can, however, tell you all about vulcanism and topsoil, and identify any gem and its approximate value. He's fit enough to hold his own in a fight, and any party delving into cave systems or abandoned mines should be glad to have him along.
  10. Ramshank Lockjaw, lizardfolk surgeon. Mundane surgery is not very advanced compared to the literal miracles of the churches and temples, but Ramshank Lockjaw stands at its forefront. He holds the record for most amputations in an hour at seven. He is very experienced in the area of trauma medicine. I do not recommend asking him if that is related to his amputation record attempts.

Bonus:

  1. Lenny the Skeleton. Lenny is an anatomical reference skeleton of human origin. For the last hundred or so years, he's been passed between the university's various fraternal and sororal orders, often left in common areas wearing some unusual attire or holding a drink. Lenny cannot speak or fight, but sure is good for a laugh.

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