At a glance, you wouldn’t guess Ben is a sea-captain, certainly not one of Ghanian ilk. He is refined, polite and speaks if highborn, regardless of the company he keeps. He wears fine clothing and maintains an intricately manicured, dark black beard. One would more expect him to be some kind of sycophantic noble but nothing could be further from the truth.
“Why of course I’d love to hire you young ladies to my crew, you wouldn’t be from Ghan by any chance, would you?”
The truth, in fact, is that Ben Orsay is the infamous Swanky Ben of the Ghan high-seas, an enterprising smuggler and occasional pirate who all but disappeared one day. Some say he traded in his ill-gotten gains for an easy life as a land-lubber, some say he discovered an ancient artefact that he sold to the King for a pardon and retired. Most think, as the official records show, that Ben was killed with his crew and his ship sunk in a battle with a Ghan naval vessel. Nobody knows the truth, which is that Ben did indeed find an artefact, a powerful one that could teleport objects between bodies of water. In a last ditch effort to escape the Ghan navy in a botched smuggling run, Ben activated it and found himself and his ship suddenly stranded in the Sere Marica, far from home. The artefact however did not bring his crew with him and so Ben struggled to sail single-handedly to Nebalich, the artefact having burnt itself out. Back in Ghan, his crew were left floating in the sea to be picked up by the navy where they were arrested then executed or left to rot in prison.
Ben has built a new life for himself out of the reach of the Ghan authorities as a merchant, trading with the ports across the Sere Marica. What he misses most though is a crew full of women. As Ghan superstition dictates, a crew with more woman than men is granted good luck but in this part of the world, Ben finds hiring woman-folk far more difficult than in Ghan where every child boy or girl was born with salt in their veins. As such, he is easily swayed by women who show even the slightest interest in the sailing profession and will often pay them handsomely to join his crew, often to the resentment of his male crew who do not share his Ghan superstitions.
- 5 (15)
- Profit; Women; Avoiding the past
- The ports of the Sere Marica
Treats all interactions relating to trade or commerce as level 7. Treats all interactions with women sailors as level 2.
Ben is a strong and fit man, well versed in swordplay and the use of armour. He prefers to avoid combat if possible and even when in combat, prefers to make his opponents yield than to slay them outright. As such, he has many skills in dodging, disarming and tripping, treating any such actions as one step better in his favour. Furthermore, he has access to a range of cyphers in his travels and trading and will not hesitate use them, often favouring ones that immobilise or restrain over ones that directly harm opponents. Typically he will be armed with at least two cyphers at any given time.
During combat, he can be treated as having the abilities of a third tier Glaive who Fights with Panache.
Ben is a jolly, though polite person who shows decorum and respect to anyone he happens to meet, regardless of standing. He comes across as charming and harmless, but there is a hint of something more mischievous beneath the surface.
Typically he is very busy and doesn’t engage in small talk, cutting straight to the point, but if he is speaking to people of Ghan or woman, he makes an effort to ingratiate himself with them, impressing them with tales whilst being wary of being recognised.
Ben is very knowledgeable about the law in both Ghan and the ports of the Sere Marica, far more than the average merchant would normally be. He serves as an excellent source of information, a friendly way of getting items, work or travel, or a hook for drawing in characters who may recognise him or wish to expose him as the criminal he was many years ago.
As an enemy, Ben is apologetic and never outright malicious. He won’t pursue characters on land very far, but is perfectly willing to strand them on an island or in the middle of the Sere Marica or even sell them to the salt mines of Queslin, though he finds that distasteful in all but the most extreme circumstances. He’d much rather pay off an enemy than kill one.
Ben is very wealthy and has access to a large range of items and materials. He carries 2d100 shins, 1d4+1 cyphers, fancy, elaborate clothing, trade documents for several ports and 1d6 oddities.