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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The Pendrake Encounters: Skiggs on a Train

Take your party for a ride on the railways of the Iron Kingdoms, but watch out for pests with explosive tastes!

“Human advancements occasionally have unintended side effects in the zoological world. Alchemy ultimately led to the adaptation of the thrullg, for instance. For a less perilous example—one by no means harmless, mind you—is the skigg. These swamp rats would have been nothing more than an occasional pest had humanity not begun mining and refining blasting powder for use in firearms. To our credit, we had no way of knowing that skiggs would eat the damned stuff.”

—Professor Viktor Pendrake, Department of Extraordinary Zoology, Corvis University

Renowned expert in all matters of unusual beasts, there are few individuals who have seen as much of Immoren as Professor Viktor Pendrake—the High Chancellor of Corvis University’s Department of Extraordinary Zoology—and fewer still who survived the experience and chronicled the tale. His foundational work, the Monsternomicon, gives a detailed account of the many unusual encounters he has faced in his journeys across the Iron Kingdoms and beyond. To get the most out of these encounters, you will need a copy of Iron Kingdoms: Requiem and the Monsternomicon.BackgroundTrains carrying ordnance between military posts and cities are a common occurrence in the Iron Kingdoms. From the mines where the raw ingredients are extracted to the laboratories of alchemists who refine the binary powder into powerful explosives, and then to its ultimate destination in fortresses, armories, and the headquarters of mercenary companies, at every step of the process great care is taken to prevent the compounds from mixing—thus avoiding catastrophic explosions.That is, until skiggs entered the equation. These large rodents are inexplicably drawn to blasting powder. They devour the stuff, filling their bellies with a volatile mix of red and black powders. Should a bloated skigg be subject to a sharp impact—or simply be shaken too hard—it explodes with the force of a hand grenade.The Lodestone is a train in the Steelwater Rail fleet, one that hauls material from Steelwater Flats to Orven and back. On one of its trips, it took aboard sixty barrels of blasting powder: thirty red and thirty black. It has been stowed in cars on opposite ends of the train by the train’s crew members, who have taken great care with the payload. Unfortunately, a family of skiggs had already discovered the powder. Long before it was even loaded on the train, the rodents had made themselves comfortable in one of the red powder barrels by chewing their way inside. As the train thunders along the rails, the curious creatures start exploring their new surroundings…While the encounter is set in Cygnar, it can easily be transposed on another location. Khador’s Iron Highway or the railways of Rhul just as frequently move loads of blasting powder and are just as likely to have pernicious skiggs find their way aboard…
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