Ambrose Kroop is technically one of the ship’s officers, but the Wormwood’s drunken cook has more in common with the ship’s press-ganged sailors than with its cruel officers.
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.
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