Human Gunslinger, Trickster of Torch
Born Keith Stone to Calia and Mathias Stone, Hudson Graves is a Numerian gunslinger and descendant of the Androffa, the mysterious race that came to Golarion aboard the Divinity during the Rain of Stars. Endlessly pursued by the Black Sovereign and his Technic League, who seek to eradicate all trace of the Androffa, Hudson Graves is a steadfast ally to those he calls friend, and a deadly foe to those he calls enemy.
Hudson Graves was raised by his parents, Alexander and Calia Stone, in the Numerian town of Torch. The Stones lived a simple life of farmers on the town’s outskirts, visiting the town proper only to sell their harvest and purchase supplies. It was a simple life, but also one of instruction. As a child, Hudson was instructed in the use of firearms by his father and mother, using his father’s hunting rifle, an ancient weapon engraved with the words “Last Whisper.” Hudson’s father also instructed him in philosophy and honor, teaching him to defend the weak and be a voice for the downtrodden.
When Hudson was 12, his father returned alone from the markets, instructing Hudson to hurriedly pack his things. As they rode from their farm on their single horse, Alexander told Hudson what had happened. Kathryn and he had been accosted by agents of the Technic League, Numeria’s rulers, while in the town. Things had escalated, and fire was exchanged. Kathryn had been slain in the initial shootout, and Alexander fled to retrieve Hudson and flee from the town.
They rode for several days without incident before the League found them. Alexander took a shot to the chest, a mortal wound, and told Hudson to flee, giving him his hunting rifle. He unsaddled himself then, leaving Hudson to his own devices. Whatever Alexander did, it bought Hudson enough time. He would not see the League again for decades.
Hudson’s father was, in fact, an alien to Golarion and member of the secret Androffan sect known as the Ro Jarnan. He was a descendant of the survivors from the Divinity who had fallen in love with a native woman. They married in Hajoth Hakados, where they stayed to help Lady Altouna with her work until Kathryn became pregnant with Hudson. Realizing the danger posed to their unborn child if they stayed in the tumultuous city, they fled to Torch.
Yet eventually the Technic League discovered Alexander’s true identity and dispatched agents to eliminate the Androffan and his hybrid child. Though Hudson escaped their clutches, they would always be on the lookout for the young Stone child, the one that got away.
Events of Dragon Watch
Hudson came to Kraggodan with fellow travelers Kelvannan Duskwalker and Orin. He had been traveling with the former for some time, and he had met the latter in the Mindspin Mountains, when they had been attacked by mountain trolls. Ever keen to find adventure, Hudson was nonetheless surprised to meet someone else with a mind for Hudson’s strange weaponry: the dwarven gunsmith Hibok Marbleaxe. Hibok claimed to have met another gunslinger in Kraggodan not too long before Hudson’s arrival. While investigating orc incursions in the Mindspin Foothills, Hudson discovered a damaged rifle, with strange lettering, that he took to Hibok for repairs.
While exploring Nar Voth, Hudson and Co. were pursued by a strange golem who appeared to be targeting Hudson specifically.
During the war with Molthune, he led the 4th Skeltic Brigade with Mera Corby to a string of victories against trolls and orcs in the Mindspin Mountains.
He fought in the Battle of the Thunder Plain with Bradoc Skyking. He traveled to Skelt to aid in its liberation. There he found more traces of the female gunslinger he had been pursuing since coming to Kraggodan, discovering that she had murdered a member of the The Canorate Covenant, the rider Vomek, but had been captured by their leader, General Habbraxis.
During the battle with Habbraxis, Hudson dueled and defeated the elven archer, Goleguil.
He rescued Amber Wallace afterwards, who had been kept prisoner by the Covenant. Although she did not trust him initially, she decided to stick with the party at least during their stint in Skelt. He returned her revolvers to her, Castrovel and Akiton, and she insisted he keep the Star Cannon, insisting it was not really hers anyway. She then warned Hudson that gunslingers like them were being hunted by a powerful, technologically advanced group of assassins. When described to her, she believed the golem that had pursued the party in Nar Voth may have been an agent of this group.
Amber Wallace also revealed that Hibok’s mentor, Rond, had not died of an illness but a poison, administered by this same group.
Hudson worked with Hibok Marbleaxe to craft ammunition for the Titanis’ weaponry. He tailed Iogan Greathammer into the Rat’s Nest, where he learned that the king was working with Bat Earthrender, leader of Hollow Men. After a close call with Molgrim Earthrender, he managed to escape and report his finding to his allies.
Hudson obtained the Man in Black’s meeting location from the Technic League’s bounty hunter, still a prisoner of the group. After scouting the area where the two were supposed to meet, Hudson then led his allies to spy on the Man in Black. The meeting was short-lived, when the bounty hunter revealed Titanis to the Man in Black, and Orin opened fire on the hunter with a retaliatory spell. Hudson managed to escape to the Titanis with his companions, and he was able to destroy on the Riders in Black with the air ship’s weapons – but his nemesis eluded him.
Hudson slew the Golka Council’s corrupt Conqueror during the expedition to the Golushkin Mountains.
After the Initiative’s confrontation with Orin’s Aboleth beneath Illmarsh, Hudson determined to learn more about the technology he had been discovering, not the least of which was the airship, Titanis. He traveled to Fort Ramgate to study technology and crafting under the dwarven gunsmith, Hibok Marbleaxe, at the Adamantine Forge. Yet these studies were interrupted by news that Crystalhurst had gone silent since the war. Investigating with Thorgur and Amber Wallace, Hudson found his old companion, Kelvannan Duskwalker, the only apparent survivor of an attack on the druid village. When Hudson learned that the Technic League had been behind the devastation – led by the Man in Black in particular – he set out with renewed determination to find the Man in Black and stop him. Following Kel’s lead to Korholm, where he had last been with the League, Hudson led our heroes on his hunt. In Korholm, he and his allies learned of the Technic League’s movements across Lake Encarthan, and rightly surmised their eventual goal: Starfall, in distant Numeria, with Kel’s captured eidolon, Malam, in tow.
Hudson led his friends to Hajoth Hakados, at the southern border of Numeria, in the Titanis, where they hoped to head off the League on their way back to Starfall. They found the League just east of the city, and in the ensuing battle, Hudson put down a second Rider in Black, the female he had seen before in their encounter at the Thunder Plains outside Kraggodan. Malam was saved, albeit temporarily, and Hudson returned to Hajoth Hakados victorious. Yet it was a bittersweet victory, for Malam died soon after, weakened from his experience and the magicks of the League’s arcanists. When he brought news of the victory to the mayor of Hajoth Hajados, Lady Altouna, Hudson’s victory was given new meaning. Lady Altouna had been close to Hudson’s parents, so close that his father had left her his guns before departing for a quieter life in Torch. Lady Altouna gave Hudson the revolvers, and left Hudson with a final piece of news: the Man in Black was close, making his way alone to Starfall across the Numerian wastes. Hudson would have his chance to confront the Man in Black at last.
Hudson caught up with the Man in Black in the Numerian wastes. He confronted the Man in Black, who named himself Benjamin Holt, a close friend of his parent’s. Benjamin and Hudson’s parents had fought the Technic League for years, but when Hudson’s parents retired to Torch to raise Hudson, Benjamin himself joined the Technic League, hoping to fight them from within. Though Hudson would turn down Benjamin Holt’s offer to join him in his crusade, he did allow the Man in Black to live, showing the gunslinger a mercy – and Hudson’s true character.
Hudson defended Brevoy during the Battle of Skywatch, where he met Benjamin Holt once again, this time on the battlefield. He wounded the man in the ensuing gun battle, but his right arm suffered extensive damage from a bullet wound and was amputated. Titanis eventually reconstructed Hudson’s arm as a robotic limb.
Hudson went on to fight in the War of the Citadels, a war that drew in almost every nation in Avistan, on the side of Brevoy. While engaged in the field in eastern Numeria, on the eve of winning a critical battle against the Technic League, Hudson witnessed the destruction of the Silver Mount. The ensuing falliout seemed to permeate all of Golarion, and terrible Old Gods began to roam the world in the new Apocalypse. Hudson lost Titanis, but returned to Skywatch. He continued to range from the fallen city for decades, ever searching for his old friends – Thorgur, Amber, even Titanis herself – and even Benjamin Holt himself. He was never successful, however, and over time, the Numerian wastes grew more and more treacherous, forcing Hudson to range closer and closer to Skywatch.
When Orin and Astrid arrived at Skywatch from the past, as young as the day he last saw them, Hudson found renewed hope. Orin used the Frozen Heart of Orphys to locate Titanis, under assault from strange creatures, and Hudson found his friends standing by him as they set out to free Titanis and bring hope back to Skywatch once again.
Titanis was in both more and less danger that Hudson feared, however. He found her in the care of Amber Wallace and Hibok Marbleaxe, who were working fervently to extract the AI and transport her to the relative safety of Brevoy. Hudson immediately set about to help them, and he was reunited with none other than the Man in Black. Benjamin Holt claimed to be truly repentant now, and Hudson showed the old gunslinger mercy at the last moment.