Player Name: James
Character Name: Gladrags
Gladrags is, it would be polite to say, less than appealing to the vision. Fuck ugly, less polite folks might say. And that's without really being able to pierce the cascade of grime-and-sewage stained rags which served to conceal the ragpicker's true appearance.
Gladrags, even by any other name, would have to wash a million times to have a chance of smelling sweet. It is nigh impossible to tell race or gender under the layer of filth encrusting the motley figure Gladrags presents to the public eye. The hoarse, cackling style of speech, interspersed with the occasional fit of coughs, doesn't really help with identification either.
Apart from the smell, and the rags, and the bizarre speeches, one other feature tends to stick in the mind: Gladrags eyes are a piercing grey, and seem to work independantly of each other. It can be a disconcerting feeling to see one eye focused intently on you, while the other keeps watch on other details of interest
Beneath the rags is flesh which seems gangrenous, mottled with grey and green, and covered with a collection of weeping sores. Beneath the skin is a body riddled with cancer and ailments kept in check only by the trollish blood in Gladrags' veins.
=A fancy shanty=
Ladies, gentlemen, feast your eyes on this piece of prime property. A vaguely boxlike contraption of half-rotten wooden planks and assorted discarded construction materials woven with string and fishline and old fabric into the finest of shantyhouses. Gladrags built it where stones meet dirt, and half of the inside is dug out to give the flotsam shifter more space to live. It isn't very pleasant on a rainy day, though, so all her belongings tend to get piled up on the stone portions of the hut. Every now and then she has to rebuild or repair, for obvious reasons.
Oh yes. Rags. Lots of them. Colourful, not so colourful, stained, very stained, nothing but stains in vaguely raglike shape - Gladrags has the lot. She collects them, treasures them, wears them, but has never been witnessed washing them. She has fallen into the Ofriyu once or twice though, which did help on those occasions. It doesn't happen often enough, in some people's opinion. If she weren't so filthy, some folks'd likely 'help' her fall in again.
=Bits and pieces=
Knick-knacks, knack-nicks, thingummies and whatsits, all sorts of weird and mostly worthless trinkets trawled from the filthy sewers and piled in a stinking heap. Every now and then, Gladrags will take the shinier ones and clean them off for barter. Sometimes useful things can be found in that pile of sewage-encrusted bric-a-brac.
=Crew of ragpickers=
The flotsam sifters of Marn tend to stick together, figuratively speaking. The filthy nature of their work means that the only people who can really tolerate their company are their own kind. Gladrags, who has been sifting flotsam for as long as any of them can remember, has floated to the top of the scum as something of a figurehead and leader by dint of survival.
===Powers or Strengths===
Probably the only thing currently keeping Gladrags alive. Her trollish heritage has given her the endurance and regenerative ability to keep all the cancers in remission and mostly benign states. She's managed to avoid organ failure as well, though it hasn't really helped keep her teeth healthy. It doesn't really make her look any healthier either. She certainly doesn't heal as fast as a full-blood troll, and most of the healing factor is kept busy just keeping her alive: so if she loses a limb, it won't be growing back. Hell, the extra strain on her system from an injury that extreme would probably be enough to overwhelm her ability to regenerate and lead to her shuffling off her mortal coil to the relief of all. She has, however, managed to regrow lost fingers, toes, and ears. Which has been bloody handy, because even before the Orcrats arrived, regular sewer rats weren't exactly small.
As an added bonus, Gladrags has excellent vision in the dark, and a good sense of smell. Even better, her sense of smell doesn't distinguish anything as 'smelling bad'. Which largely led to her using sewers and the like to hide from prying eyes.
Gladrags knows her way around the sewers better than most. Sure, she doesn't have fancy maps or whatever, but she has years of experience trawling them for accidental treasures. She also has experience avoiding the gnome maintenance people and their guard exports. She is very familiar with the historic district, and with the edges of the Ofriyu.
=Can eat anything=
Almost anything, anyway. You really don't want to know. Dogs'd turn up their noses at some of the things Gladrags has eaten in her time. There's a reason why she's riddled with parasites and the like. On the flip-side, that's also a reason why she's still alive. It helps not to be a fussy eater when dirt poor.
While mostly outweighed by the effects of her troll heritage, Gladrags is still half a gnome, and given to flashes of insight into how to make something work. In Gladrags' case though, it is extraordinarily low-tech. Like a gnomish caveman who suddenly realised that if you lock the branches together just so they are actually a pretty strong construction. Gladrags will never make anything resembling advanced technology. But sometimes she'll jury-rig together a shelter or some simple tool which makes life just that little bit easier.
=Not on any academic shortlists=
Gladrags' thought processes are an unusual thing. It's part mad brilliance, care of her gnomish heritage; part single-minded denseness and poor memory, thanks to her troll heritage. She can remember, instinctively, things like directions and paths, and distinctions between smells. She even has a good memory for names and faces. However, give her a list of ten things and she'd be lucky to remember more than two or three of them after a day or so has passed.
She is illiterate, and cannot read or write.
=Reputation: filthy sewer-trawler=
So Gladrags is ugly, stinky, and spends her days in the sewer. Unsurprisingly, most people shun her and the other flotsam sifters. There are a couple of folks in the historic district who do trade with Gladrags and her crew, but it's on an infrequent basis.
=Distrust of authority and humans in general=
Over the years, Gladrags has come to associate guards and humans with violence and oppression, having been chased out of many a small town before she landed in the shantytown of Marn all those years ago. Gladrags shuns all government-operated facilities, including the schools, university, and hospital.
=How is she not dead?=
Think of an internal parasite. Gladrags probably has them. Think of a cancer. Gladrags probably has it. Think of a disease: well, okay, the troll blood takes care of most of those, and even if it doesn't quite do so, it at least prevents Gladrags from becoming a plague vector. At least, it has thus far.
Still, that doesn't change the fact that Gladrags gets to deal with a lot of physical discomfort from itchy skin, churning internal organs, and other assorted nastiness.
Alcohol dulls the discomfort of living. Alcohol makes the world a fuzzier, happier place. Alcohol, unfortunately, costs money. Gladrags will do a lot for alcohol, even ignoring her normal prejudices.
The less said of Gladrags' origins, the better. Suffice it to say that, one night, a travelling gnome encountered a troll and it didn't go pleasantly. Gladrags' mother didn't kill or abandon the child, choosing to try and raise it despite its parentage. However, her health was never the same after birthing the half-troll, and she died when Gladrags was six years old. Gladrags cannot remember her mother's name, and can barely recall what she looked like. Her only memory of her appearance is of fiery red hair on a vaguely bipedal silhouette. The young Gladrags was a gangly creature, arms and legs a little too long for her body, and her body thick and masculine in appearance. Her hair was a mixture of copper and muddy grey, and her skin bore a greyish and unhealthy pallor. She had a different name back then, something to do with flowers, but it too has been long forgotten. The only phrase the pitiful creature can recall from her childhood is of her mother saying, a few weeks before she died, "Let's get you into your gladrags for a trip into the markets".
Without her mothers protection, Gladrags was chased from the village her mother called home. It had a name, if Gladrags could remember it, but it was a long way from Marn. Gladrags was twelve at the time.
Surprisingly, it didn't take Gladrags long to adapt. Her troll heritage made eating a simple matter of finding something vaguely foodlike, and consuming it. In truth, had she less gnomish blood in her, Gladrags might very well have gone feral. But gnomish insight suggested that there was more food where people were, and so Gladrags gravitated towards settled areas. Where she would be promptly chased away, and a new settlement would be graced with her presence. Each time Gladrags was chased away, she came up with a new way of trying to 'fit in'.
The insight that clothes worked better than a coating of protective mud was one such epiphany, and went a long way to explain why her mother had insisted on clothing when she was still alive.
=The biggest and longest bath of Gladrags' life=
Gladrags, at age 22, had been chased from many places, but it was an unusual turn of events which led to the creature arriving in Marn.
Namely, a bath in the Ofriyu Mar. Except replace 'a bath' with 'being thrown in with the intentions of being drowned'. Puradynes, what can you say?
Irony, then, that Gladrags was snagged on the jutting spike of an old sewer grate in Marn. Pure good fortune that it was a flotsam sifter that noticed her, not a guard, and dragged her in. The wretched human who found her, covered in ragged clothing, was surprised that their prize was still alive, and disappointed that they'd gone to so much effort for apparently little reward. But from such small disappointments can greater ones develop.
=Life in Marn=
Gladrags never left the Flotsam Shifter community. In them, she found a place where she wasn't chased out of. Over time, she outlived a generation of them, and became perhaps the epitome of the class, a ragged and half-crazed derelict eking out survival amidst the sewers and the shabbiest part of the shantytown. For Gladrags the flotsam sifters are her family. Every now and then, a flash of her gnomish heritage comes through, and Gladrags does something unusual and beneficial, such as figuring out how to construct a nice and secure shanty hut for herself and other sifters.