The following speech was recorded by a scribe at an annual symposium of master crafters, artisans, scholars, and engineers in Alkenstar:
Good morning everyone! Good morning to the Gnomefolk, and to all the other races present here, so on and so forth. I am indubitably honored to have this opportunity to present to you some of my works! However, let me talk at you about myself first, yes? I have lived most my life here in Alkenstar, and it is a wonderful city, except the food and whores are mediocre compared to Varisia. They have wonderful cheeseries up in Varisia. I do so love that savory gypsy cheese. Ahem. My parents were successful tinkerers, specializing in various clockwork doodads and gizmotrons. I inherited my love for engineering from them — especially from my father, from whom I also inherited this splendid mustache. “The Envy of Alkenstar,” they call it. Well actually nobody calls it that, but they should. It’s rather fantastic. Look at it!
Ehm. Where was I? Oh yes, engineering. My parents didn’t put much stock in magic, and in truth we have very little of that here in Alkenstar, what with the Mana Wastes and having to waste most of our illusion spells on escaping from the overzealous, mediocre slutgnomes in Alkenstar City’s red light district. Yes, yes, you all know what I’m talking about. However, I was intrigued by the idea of marrying the fields of science and engineering with the mystical mumbo-jumbo of magic. So I traveled abroad and studied Arcana for a bit, and my eyes were opened to a world I never before knew existed: there are people out there who call themselves Artificers. Yes! And they make the most wonderful contraptions!
Take, for instance, these semi-mechanical weasels. In my father’s time, these biological/clockwork hybrids would have been called an abomination against the gods, but you can see the benefit to owning one: All the fun of a braindamaged overactive rodent pet, with none of the inherent mess! Now, traditional engineering techniques would not have been able to achieve this, but through some basic enchantments, it is possible!
Now, on to my latest masterpiece. Bear with me, it’s a bit bulky and unwieldy at the moment, as it is still just a prototype. But you see here this apparatus sort of resembles a backpack, and it is connected via cables and springs and hoses to this crossbow-looking doohickey here. This backpack is what we Artificers call a generator — we can convert mundane materials into usable energy, see. My design requires burning material to generate steam, which turns a wheel, which rotates a copper coil around a gold rod, which transmits the energy to a capacitor for storage. It works best with coal, but I’ve also used wood, cats, and linens, in a pinch. Once the energy is stored, I pull the trigger on the crossbow, which completes a circuit to the capacitor, where — in an instant! — the electric energy is dumped into this steel and copper bolt, and the bolt flies off, still carrying this massive amount of energy. Now I’m still perfecting it, were I to fire it now, you wouldn’t feel the pain from the electricity over the pain from an unsterilized homemade bolt plunging into your soft, tender flesh.
I already have several contracts pending to produce such devices in bulk, and once I settle a deal, I can devote more resources into significantly improving this. In the meantime, I’m going to do what I encourage you all to do: Travel, and learn! Stuff your gooey brains with knowledge, my friends!
This letter was found, written years ago by Professor Scruffles about some shenanigans in a seedy port town:
So there I was, as a young lad, traveling around Garund gathering baubles and knicknacks. I traveled to Port Peril on the Western coast looking for some mermaid urine, and perhaps bag myself a dirty pirate hooker, just to say I did. I stopped off at the Formidably Maid, a salty, popular tavern, and promptly ordered myself a plate of cheese and some famous spiced rum, with bubbles!
But it turns out they do not serve adorable cheese platters or bubbles in their spiced rum. This was a double shame, because I enjoy cheese and bubbles. Especially bubbling cheese.
But as luck would have it, their spiced rum was excellent, and I soon found myself in the company of two drunken cabin girls. All it took was promising them some pearls from the ocean after I harvested my mermaid urine!
But the next day, as I was swimming along, a shark caught the scent of the vennison-based anti-fungal cream I had been rubbing into my feet to treat a mild case of the Shroomtoe. The bad news is, I lost my leg. The good news is, the spectacle so terrified a nearby mermaid that she released her bladder and I was able to complete my mission!
Fast forward forty years or so, and now I’ve decided to head back to Port Peril and find those cabin girls and give them some pearls. If you know what I mean.
Hey, old Scruffles needs some lovin’, too!