Gnome Alchemist (Artificer)
Character History – Biddlenuppgnimuruck Coundenbumnokkarwat (Bidds)
In the beginning of his adolescent life, Bidds along with his brother Schumnertamblebruck (Schooms for short) sold tonics, draughts, salves, and unguents from the back of the wagon they constructed through “borrowed” materials throughout the region. They weren’t outright thieves, but if no one was looking and a particular piece of material went unattended for too long it was obviously up for grabs. The wagon was small, but it worked perfectly because so were they. It was also light enough to be pulled by just a couple sheep; the novelty of which quickly drew crowds wherever they went. The main compartment easily fit the two along with the makeshift distillery they pieced together from scrap metal and discarded glass bottles. The sides and top folded down to the ground so they could use their impressive array of tubes, beakers, burners and cylinders as a sort of theatrical backdrop for their wares. One side also doubled as shelving for their various tinctures and potions, displayed and arrayed for customer’s ease of viewing. Bidds was more of a chemist than his brother, but both were impressive in their craft. While Bidds concocted tasty beverages, surprisingly soothing salves, and unnaturally sticky goops, Schooms was more mechanical gifted and gregarious. He often spent his time constructing contraptions which more often than not transported small objects (or animals) from one location to another at alarming speeds. He was immensely proud of the myriad firearms he created: stone cannons, dirt blunders, pebble repeaters, bottle blasters, rat launchers, his prized Thrundercannon… While Bidds worked in the wagon, Schooms would hunt, gather, network, and shoot shit. But before their entrepreneurial enterprise really took off, these modest poultice peddlers happened upon the scorched remains of what looked to be an illegal bootlegging outfit while in the wilderness gathering ingredients. This amused them as they could hardly imagine being dumb enough to blow up oneself through something as simple as distilling spirits or whatever was going on here. Little was found in the bulk of the debris, save for a couple burned bodies and the blossomed-out leavings of what once a poorly constructed ghillied-up shack. The one thing they did find was a rather unremarkable, slightly dented copper retort which was blown far from the blast without suffering much damage. It took them not long at all to figure out this piece of equipment shouldn’t have survived the force of the blast, considering the mangled and twisted state of the other metal components. Later experimentation confirmed it had to have been of magical nature, and seemed to be nearly impervious to any damage they could (or dared) inflict upon it. But far more remarkably was its ability to greatly enhance the qualities of anything created from ingredients distilled through it. Salves healed wounds faster, tonics cured illnesses easier, beverages tasted better, simple foods like hardtack were far more sustaining, and spirits were stronger while having nearly no diuretic side effects. Even adding water which has passed through this retort to a recipe or a beverage made the food more nourishing and the drink more refreshing. In the right hands, it was an absolutely marvelous tool. A tool which they could safely assume was probably stolen. Those dumb enough to die from a bootlegging accident could hardly be expected to afford such an artifact, let alone enchant one. For only a moment they entertained the idea of finding the true owner, but eventually decided to keep the windfall for themselves. Their reasons were mostly altruistic; the countryside was lousy with poverty under the heel of the more unsympathetic landowners and callous nobility. Bidds thought this artifact could help bring the needed to the needy. The illnesses of the proletariat went untreated, injured slaves were largely ignored until too late, and the less fortunate children of the region where left hungry too often. But they, too, were tired of being dirt poor. They also did not want to be pinned for the initial theft of the thing, so better to keep it as hidden as possible. It would be an easy solve for an up and coming officer looking to make a name for themselves by nabbing two little ones wot stole a wizard’s flask. So with the implementation of their newest addition, they began traveling the countryside offering their superior stock to the peasantry for little or nothing, while charging an arm and a leg to those who could easily afford it. It was at this point they decided to invest in a decoy retort to replace the enchanted piece during their open-carriage sales performances. After years of operating a purely itinerant business, they decided to plant themselves and founded and operated a small apothecary/bar (mostly bar after a short while) called the Dented Decanter. They were going to call it the Enchanted Retort, but both didn’t think people would know what a retort was and definitely did not want to bring attention to their priceless discovery. They settled in the port town of (fill in name here, Caleb) on one of the larger Southern islands of al’Jutha. While his salves and tinctures were a substantial cut above the rest, what really gained him local fame and respect was a line of brews and distillations that could not only knock a dwarf off his heels but with hardly any of the hangover his local and Capital City competitors’ brands inflicted. For this reason alone, he was able to maintain several under the table agreements with certain dock supervisors and post commanders to be the sole provider of libations to most dockworkers and the local constabulary. With fewer hangovers came higher productivity and greater public safety. Even with a slightly higher cost than the cheaper and more widely distributed brews and spirits, the savings in lost productivity was well recognized by the leaders of the region.
With the Decanter’s success came not-so-friendly competition. At least a dozen late night fires mysteriously ignited on its roof over the last few years, as well as several broken windows, missing shipments, and even an attempted kidnapping of his brother Schooms. Bidds only found out after the fact from the local law when they came knocking at the Decanter’s door asking for more details about Schooms’ incident. He apparently carries his Thundercannon at all times and is not shy about using it.
While the popularity of his concoctions (mostly the liquor) and backdoor agreements with the locals make the Decanter undoubtedly successful, it comes at a high cost. Paying pirates for “protection”, hiring guards to oversee local supply and property security, bribing corrupt local government, property damage from his more retaliatory competition, the occasional and unavoidable missing shipments, reimbursing the families of the caravaneers that go missing along with the shipments, giving “a taste” to local landowners, his numerous and often expensive experimentations… The Decanter barely breaks even.
Bidds currently lives and works in the sequestered research ward of the Zamarrid Academy of Arcane Sciences as a “freshman” artificer of alchemy. He’s only been attending the Academy since Ahmaan of the 22nd year of Jalilaa V’s reign.
When he left for the Academy, his establishment, formulae, and sole access to their prized retort was handed over to his brother Schooms. Bidds has faith in his brother’s intellectual capabilities, business acumen, and steady trigger finger.
Bidds is the only Gnome among Human and Dragonborn artificers, arcanists and scholars. Most of the Dragonborn here are Blue, but a few talented Greens and Reds attend as well. The professors and facility overseers are mainly Copper and Bronze, but a few tenured Humans hold positions here among them.
His aptitude for Alchemy and high intelligence earned him an invitation into the Academy. Originally he had no plans to enroll in the school, but word of his talent somehow made it to admissions. Bidds assumed his brother wrote on his behalf, but he had no evidence. He would often mention in passing a desire to learn more about alchemy than he could out in the boonies, but never thought his brother was listening.
It was a controversial decision, however, as a Gnome’s complete disregard for personal space and annoyingly insatiable curiosity does not fall in line with the Academy’s highly competitive and sometimes cutthroat culture.
He was immediately disliked and distrusted by most of his peers upon arrival. Gnomes are generally thought of as inferior in the Empire, not to mention far too curious and disrespectful of personal space and property. At least that was the impression most had at the university.
The fact that he was a bit of a backwoods bumpkin did not help his reputation in the beginning. Arriving via teleportation circle in tattered overalls, overly worn boots, a shirt missing more buttons than remained, and the rest of his possessions in a bindle over his shoulder granted him instant infamy. However, in the first month he defied expectations and even made some friends. His signature booze helped a lot. It wasn’t easy though. While out in the countryside, Bidds was able to theorize and experiment in any fashion he wished. That usually meant recklessly and irresponsibly. At the Academy, this did not fly. He was at the center of more than half a dozen catastrophic incidents, one of which forced a remodel of the Senior mess hall. No one was hurt in any of these early mishaps, but that could only be attributed to the Gods and the Overseers knew it. He could easily and effectively produce a relaxing drought, a tasty beer, or a soothing salve. No one disputed this. But the path he took experimenting with substances like propellants, accelerants, or anything even remotely unconventional was usually decorated with scorched craters and ringing eardrums. That made him a bit of a novelty in the beginning. Watching his formulae come to life in the proving grounds of the Scale became a sort of event. On the days he scheduled time in a chamber, the viewing balconies would often be packed shoulder to shoulder. Even some Overseers could be caught scouring the schedule logs just to look for his name in hopes of catching a show.
He did not, however, win acceptance from everyone. A Blue by the name of Jarib immediately contested his approval to the academy citing merit, race, and his often explosive method of experimentation. Neither of which held up (his method coming close), but Bidds assumed all the noise Jarib made was the entire point. He wanted to instill doubt. As the weeks went on, Bidds became the target of insults, pranks, and threats all of which he was certain originated from Jarib and his cohorts. Retaliation wasn’t Bidds’ style, so the taunts and gibes he received would go unanswered. He decided to let his achievements to do his talking for him. And if one of Jarib’s toadies got hurt in the process, he’d try not to lose any sleep over it.
Only half way into his first semester, Bidds received a short but urgent sounding letter from his brother Schooms. In it, he requested Bidds come back to the Decanter. It sounded important, though nothing specific was written. That gave Bidds pause, but decided to head back home anyway. His marks would suffer as he fell behind from this absence, which he was sure Jarib would love. His brother was in trouble though and needed his help. This was far more important. So the Academy agreed to grant him passage on a merchant ship departing from the facility. This was faster than being ported back to the Capital City and sailing from there.