Ambrose “Fishguts” Kroop
Ambrose Kroop is the ship’s cook, nicknamed “Fishguts”
by the crew, though whether this refers to the contents
of his soups or the stains on his apron is unclear. His
job is to bring the ship’s biscuit on deck at dawn for the
crew, and prepare and serve the evening meal. Kroop
is a drunkard, but not constantly inebriated, and is a
potential ally for the PCs. His unpredictability makes
him a frustrating but ultimately useful friend. Like his
friend Cut-Throat Grok, Kroop is from the school of hard
knocks, but where Grok has become tough, Kroop has
capitulated in the face of endless discipline and violence.
However, as the adventure progresses and he becomes
closer to the PCs, he becomes an increasingly useful ally.
Kroop is detailed fully in the NPC appendix on page 52.
When the PC assigned as cook’s mate first meets
Kroop, be sure to emphasize the cook’s sorry condition—
he is drunk, but not insensibly so. He describes the job
of the cook’s mate, which basically entails helping him
prepare meals, and actually acquiring food for meals by
fishing on a fairly regular basis. At some stage during
this initial discussion, Kroop makes the following point.
“It’s poison, this ship, but don’t let anyone hear you say it
aloud. The hull listens, see, and the cap’n hears it all. Poison
the Wormwood is, though, rotten to the core. You’ll not meet a
more nasty, sour piece of work than Cap’n Harrigan in all your
days at sea, and his crew’s the same, ’specially the first mate,
Mr. Plugg. Vicious little sod, he is. He’d take his own mother’s
liver to the butcher to make pies with, he would. But they
leave me alone, mostly. They know I can’t ’arm ’em.”
While Kroop is indifferent to the PCs at the beginning
of the adventure, he is, at heart, a friendly salt, and soon
becomes attached to any character who makes a modicum
of effort as the cook’s mate. In general, Kroop likes to
cook and drink rum. He is usually insensibly drunk in
his quarters during the evening, rarely venturing onto
deck after serving the evening meal. Kroop’s cook’s
mate gains a +2 bonus on all checks to inf luence the
quartermaster Cut-Throat Grok. Kroop is also happy to lend his mate any equipment from the galley, though
stealing it without his permission is easy enough.
Initial Attitude: indifferent
Ambrose Kroop - Dm's Info
Ambrose “Fishguts” Kroop CR 2
Male middle-aged human rogue 3
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +3
AC 13, touch 12, flat-footed 11 (+1 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 20 (3d8+3)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +0
Defensive Abilities evasion, trap sense +1
Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger +3 (1d4+1/19–20) or
frying pan +3 (1d6+1)
Ranged dagger +4 (1d4+1/19–20)
Special Attacks sneak attack +2d6
During Combat Kroop is no fighter, and prefers attacking
opponents from behind, preferably with a sneak attack,
rather than facing foes in a fair fight.
Morale When the odds are against him, Kroop fights like a
cornered dog. He feels he has nothing to lose, and rarely
backs down. If protecting a friend, he is fiercely brave, and
fights to the death.
Str 13, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 9, Cha 13
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 15
Feats Catch Off-Guard, Great Fortitude, Skill Focus
Skills Appraise +6, Bluff +7, Climb +5, Diplomacy +7, Disable
Device +6, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (local) +8, Perception
+3, Perform (oratory) +7, Profession (cook) +8, Profession
(sailor) +5, Sense Motive +5, Sleight of Hand +8, Stealth +6,
Languages Common, Orc, Polyglot
SQ rogue talents (resiliency), trapfinding +1
Other Gear padded armor, daggers (4), frying pan (improvised
club), steadfast grapple (see page 59), bottle of rum, chicken,
clay mugs (2), gold earring worth 5 gp
Most people think Ambrose “Fishguts” Kroop gets his
nickname from the stains on his apron or the contents of
his infamous stew, but few know he earned the sobriquet
as a competitive eater in the low bars of Port Peril. As
a young man, it was said that Kroop could eat more of
anything, and faster, than anyone. Folks still talk about
the night that Kroop devoured an entire bucket of boiled
eggs in the Salty Swab by the docks.
Kroop was trained as a professional chef at the Lobster’s
Armor, one of Port Peril’s most popular (and expensive)
restaurants, but when he was thrown out for inappropriate
behavior with his assistant, he ended up plying his
trade with several sailing vessels in the Shackles before
embarking on Captain Barnabas Harrigan’s Wormwood,
where he has served as ship’s cook for the past 3 years.
An affable fellow, Kroop loves his food, and has
more recently developed a taste for rum, a habit that’s
only encouraged by Cut-Throat Grok, the Wormwood’s
quartermaster and Kroop’s best friend aboard the ship.
Sadly for Kroop, his drinking led him to bet his own life
against Captain Harrigan in a card game one drunken
night 2 years ago. Kroop lost, and his life became
Harrigan’s to do with what he would. Harrigan now
thinks as little of Kroop as he does a bilge rat, but he’s not
yet killed the cook because drunk as he is, Kroop is still
a better cook than anyone else on the Wormwood, and the
captain is partial to his cooking.
Kroop’s days begin with blearily handing out ship’s
biscuits to the crew on deck before retiring to the galley
to prepare the evening meal (almost always fish stew) in a
big pot. Then he cozies up with a bottle of rum (sometimes
mixed with raw eggs) and waits for the rest of the day to pass.
Nevertheless, Kroop is a skilled chef, though few of the crew
beyond the captain and his officers ever get the chance to
sample Kroop’s more palatable fare.
His only joy, aside from drinking and swapping yarns
with Grok, are his chickens. Kroop loves his poultry and
collects any rare breeds he comes across. Anyone with a
background in farming finds Kroop friendly, while those
who truly know their birds quickly discover a helpful
friend. Kroop’s favorite bird, a large black cockerel named
Black-Hearted Bezebel, often perches on the cook’s
shoulder and even talks to him, or so Kroop occasionally
Kroop is a large, some would say fat, man, weighing
well over 200 pounds and standing only 5 feet tall. He
exudes an air of neglect, perhaps even despair, from the
bushy tufts of black hair behind his ears, to his rotting
teeth, to the stains on his filthy apron. He walks with
a wallowing waddle, particularly when drunk, but is
capable of surprising acts of strength. Kroop talks with
a thick Shackles accent, which some people find hard
to follow. He’s had so many lashes that his back is like
tanned leather, and he claims to not even feel the bite
of the lash anymore. After 44 years in the school of
hard knocks, Kroop is a man who clearly cares little for
himself or what people think of him. Nevertheless, he
is at heart a kind man, and does his best to protect his
cook’s mate from punishments brought on by mistakes
made by either of them.
The PCs can learn the following about Kroop with
successful Diplomacy checks to gather information.
DC 5: “Fishguts” might once have been a famous chef
at that fancy place in Port Peril, but now all he cooks is
fishgut stew. He’s so pickled in rum now, bilgewater is
all he can make.
DC 10: Remember the last cook’s mate? Nobody
does—only when he disappeared. Just up
and vanished, that one, like he was spirited
away, or maybe dropped in a pot…
DC 15: Kroop was so drunk once that he
bet his life in a game with the captain, and
now he’s little more than Harrigan’s slave.
Ambrose Kroop begins the adventure as a cynical,
washed up drunk who is insensibly intoxicated half of
the time, dreaming of a better life. However, he is also an
obvious potential friend and ally of the PCs, as he loathes
the captain and crew of the Wormwood and longs for a
chance to escape. Kroop makes an excellent NPC to plant
the idea of mutiny in the PCs’ minds. He is not a risktaker,
however, and can, like Sandara Quinn (see page 56),
act as a voice of reason as the PCs plan their actions.
If the PCs manage to befriend Kroop, he can become
a useful ally for the PCs in the future. Besides being a
fine cook, he has handy communication skills and can
also help out in a fight if needed. Kroop has also plied
his trade in the Shackles throughout his life and has
an excellent knowledge of the region and its perils,
personalities, and possibilities.
As the adventure progresses, Kroop’s interactions with
the PCs begin to give his life purpose, to the extent that
by the time the PCs move to the Man’s Promise in Part
Two, he begins drinking much less. Away from the sour
atmosphere of the Wormwood, Kroop’s spirits lighten, and
he is only drunk 1 day in every four. When the PCs finally
mutiny, Kroop is sober for the event, and aids the PCs as
best he can. If the mutiny is successful, Kroop announces
that his new friends have inspired him to turn over a new
leaf. If the PCs are cutthroats, Kroop throws his lot in
with them to begin a new life. If they are kindhearted
dandies, Kroop sees in them a more honorable way of
life. Regardless, he offers his services as ship’s cook to the
PCs. His lapses into drinking become less frequent—he
is now drunk only 1 day in every week—and continue to
be so throughout the rest of the Adventure Path.
It is unlikely that the PCs will make an enemy of Kroop,
but should they do so, he gladly assists anyone who wants
to kill the PCs. Having had a taste of possible freedom,
he wants to punish those who let him taste it before he
crawls back into the bottom of a rum bottle to die.