Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Moira Tynheart - Halfling Smuggler

Moira Tynheart

Race Halfling, Female

Age 63

Affiliation None


Moira Tynheart is an elderly Halfling, face heavily lined with age. She dresses in poor, baggy clothing that disguise her shape. Despite her many years and apparent poverty, she moves briskly and with confidence; careful observers always note that she still seems strong and vital. She is missing four fingers, a fact she generally disguises by wearing stuffed gloves. Moira can usually be found sifting the outflow of the Salzinwuun Charnel Sluice Grate, looking for odd scraps of value washed out with the rest of the slurry.


Moira Tynheart was born to a family of poor halflings, who split their time between working low class jobs and engaging in criminal enterprise. And throughout her life, Moira has followed in the family tradition. While stopping short of murder-for-hire and arson, if there’s a way to make coin dishonestly Moira has done it: burglary, mugging, extortion, smuggling… the list goes on and on. While never truly gifted in any illegal pursuit (and thus unable to escape grinding poverty) Moira did have a knack for avoiding capture/conviction. So despite decades of criminality, Moira is only missing four fingers and her back is only lightly scarred by court ordered floggings. While trying various extralegal vocations, Moira worked as a ragpicker, maid, cook; anything which paid (even a pittance) that could also be used to gain access.
It wasn’t until she turned 48 that Moira hit upon her ‘big idea’ which transformed her fortunes. While working as a sifter (that is, a poor person who makes their living trying to sieve out scraps of valuable organ or bone intermingled with the waste slurry that flows out of Salzinwuun into the Red River) Moira noticed that the sluice grates were conceivably big enough for a tiny creature to swim through She then figured it shouldn’t be too hard to train an animal to fetch things to and fro and voila; she’d have a small (but lucrative) channel for smuggling into and out of Salzinwuun.
This turned out to be more of a challenge than she’d anticipated.
Her first dilemma was simply locating an animal that could survive and navigate through the coagulating outflow. Moira tried dozens of creatures –fish, eels, toads, birds, bats, and kittens- all of which proved to be failures. She finally heard tell of an odd, red kind of salamander discovered on the outskirts of Heartsblood Marsh, which thrived in the bloody water. After locating a suitable specimen, Moira bullied her cousins into constructing a recreation of the Sluice Grates in an abandoned building. She then spent months training ‘Sally’ to swim back and forth through the grate, carrying and placing or retrieving small packages marked by a brass ring the salamander could hold in its jaws. Eventually, Moira deemed Sally ‘ready’ and the wizened halfling began her smuggling operation in earnest.

Behavior and Motivation

Every dawn, Moira travels to the Salzinwuun outflow. While blending in with the sifters, she lowers her sleeves to allow Sally to slip into the fetid ‘waters.’ The salamander then swims through the sluice grate, carrying a package to the other side (if Moira has given her one). She moves ‘upstream’ -almost to the Tarrasque itself- and if she discovers any brass rings she drags them back to Moira.
Using sleight of hand to retrieve Sally and any packages, Moira then returns home. She repeats this behavior near sunset. Mainly by smuggling out Tarrasque Ambergris, Moira has amassed a small fortune.
Moira Tynheart is extremely protective and proud of her enterprise. While experience has taught her to keep things small and strive to stay beneath notice, she would kill to protect her newfound livelihood.

Plot Hooks

  • The party is hired by a house militia investigating the increase in smuggled Tarrasque Ambergris.
  • The party needs a rare reagent smuggled out of Salzinwuun, the odor of which makes it near impossible to get out the main gates past the specially trained guard dogs. Cutting a deal with Moira (and she is past the point of wanting money) is the only option.
  • Every few weeks; massive, mutant, monstrous salamanders erupt out of the Salzinwuun outflow and wreak havoc. Increasingly, these monsters are a danger to Salt in Wounds citizens and extraction operations. Despite the God-Butchers best eradication efforts, they can not locate the source of these creatures (which come from mutated eggs laid by Sally) and the party is tasked to discover the source.
  • Sally is an emissary of the Fungal Sieve slowly enacting her master’s wishes inside the city of Salt in Wounds.
  • (Scaled up version) Moira is a crime lord who secretly rules the outflow with an iron fist. Every day, hundreds of tiny salamanders retrieve special packages while the other sifters all work to extract anything of value from the outflow, each paying Moira for the priviledge. Moira enforces control via her empathetic communication with dozens of terrifying, crocodile sized salamanders who in the darkness will attack and consume any who displease the lady of the sluice gate.

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