Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Nikolaus Storzenbecher, the Triton-Touched

The tritons of Bothnia do not tolerate intruders. Sailors who enter their territory, whether deliberately or otherwise, are attacked and captured. Their boats are then sunk and they find themselves stripped of all their belongings and left out at sea at night, miles from shore, to face "the judgement of the waves". Those who are pure of purpose are washed to shore unharmed by morning, while those who are not, drown.

It is said that only one man who was not pure of purpose has survived the judgement of the waves. His name is Nikolaus Storzenbecher, and he is chief of the pirate gang known as the Vitalienbrüder. According to the story, Storzenbecher was among the perpetrators of the sacking of Bergen in the spring of 1342. Fleeing capture he sailed due east, to the far kelp forests, and headed north to triton waters, knowing that none would be brave enough to follow. He presumably hoped to hide there long enough to avoid pursuit. But within hours of entering the triton domain his ship was capsized by a great wave and most of his crew were drowned; he and five companions were the only ones to survive long enough to be captured by the tritons.

Storzenbecher and his five companions were left out in the cold grey sea that very night, naked and helpless, to face the judgement of the waves. Only Storzenbecher made it back to shore alive. So much is known, or has been told by Storzenbecher himself.

But how he survived is a mystery. He was not pure of purpose, and in spring Bothnian waters are still cold enough to kill a man within minutes. Some say that Storzenbecher was aided by a beautiful sea spirit, who brought him back to shore in exchange for his seed, and that somewhere out in the gulf lives the product of that union - a boy even crueller and prouder than his father. Others say that the pirate somehow struck a bargain with the tritons, the content of which can only be guessed at. Still more believe that Storzenbecher was somehow helped by whales or dolphins. One of the more outlandish rumours is that a mighty kraken spared the man, recognising in him a soul even more evil than its own. What is for sure is that Storzenbecher either will not, or cannot, say.

Sometimes skeptical souls challenge that the tale contains any truth at all; they accuse Storzenbecher of making up the story so as to enhance his own prestige, and believe that he probably never went to triton waters at all. This may indeed be true. Pirates are not famous for their honesty. The only evidence that anything unusual happened to Storzenbecher that spring night is that previously his eyes were brown, and now they are a cold grey-blue.

NIkolaus Storzenbecher, the Triton-Touched

Level 8 Human Fighter
Chaotic Evil

STR 17
INT 13
WIS 16
CON 17
DEX 12
CHR 17

HP: 50
AC: 4

Equipment: Broadsword, handaxe, spear, studded leather armour.

Magic Items: Storzenbecher wears a plain copper ring of protection +3, and carries a flask each of Oil of Fiery Burning, Potion of Human Control and Potion of Giant Strength.

DM's Note: Once per day, Storzenbecher can summon aquatic monsters to his aid. These appear within 1d6 rounds. He can summon 2d3 scrags, 1d10 merrow, 5d4 lacedons or 5d6 sharks (3-5 HD). This power is a closely guarded secret which even his crew know nothing about; Storzenbecher willl only use it if his life is in great danger.


  1. Why do evil persons always have German names? ;-)

  2. Probably for the same reason they all speak with English accents. ;)