One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
Cast of Characters:
Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
Elrae: Human Bard
Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
Noot: Human Thief
Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
Vestron Orcburner: Elven Fighter/Mage
Back in Hommlet there was much rejoicing in the defeat of the Temple. Further, Elrae finds that he must marry Maia, the daugher of Ostler Gundigoot. While preparations for that go on, the rest of the party tends to personal affairs. Gotrek spends time repairing everyone's armor and weapons at the local smithy, while Thorgrim hires the carpenter to add a second floor to the Trader's Post, which he has decided to keep as a source of legitimate business for the party, now called the Heroes of Homlet.
Isilme would like to capture Lareth and the female elf assassin who escaped and bring them before. Lareth being the most important as a human follower of lolth. This should concern the elves greatly. If no one is interested she will do it herself. She is also interested in checking on the prince we saved and see if they found a way to revive him. If they need a sample of the wine of eternity to figure out how to revive him she would be happy to assist.
Hepla goes out after lunch to the forest to pick some poppies, mint, hemp and madweed. This evening, after mostly everyone has gone to bed she will make some more of her painkiller/sleeping medicine. In the early evening, after supper she will be distilling a tintcure of Hemp to combine with the other herbs later. At midnight she will spend 1 hour cooking this in a cauldron over the fire in the common room. If anyone comes in and sees her at work, hopefully not a superstitious person, she will look up and say,"Hi, giggle giggle I will be done soon. I hope there is still some of that fruit in the kitchen, making this stuff always makes me so hungry."
Noot had his eye on the innkeeper's younger daughter, but after the incident with Elrae, Noot seems rather subdued. He traded his Wand of Wonder to Isilme for a Rod of Smiting, and took a magical shortsword from the gathered loot. He is up early at noon and is casing the town, looking and listening, though only for practice. He doesn't want to cause any trouble.
So the next day you have all your minor details pretty much taken care of. A groups of soldiers returns to Hommlet, bringing full details of the collapse of the Temple. Shortly before that occurred there was an attack by a couple of very angry black dragons which drew the collective efforts of the Temple's leadership. A few of them were slain by dragon breath, when the last few suddenly disappeared. The dragons continued their attack, scattering the Temple forces until a massive earthquake collapsed the entire Temple. The dragons then flew off, leaving the disorganized and leaderless Temple armies at the mercy of the Viscount's armies which attacked from the North and West. The men surrendered, while the orcs put up a stubborn resistance, holing up in the various buildings of Nulb where they still remain. The rest were driven South and East, where gnomes, elves, and rangers destroyed them utterly.
Taki laughs, "Sounds like a few friends of ours."
Isilme uses her mirror to go check out the situation in Nulb. There she sees that the armies of the Viscounty have everything under control. The orcs in Nulb are surrounded and cut off from each other. There are a couple of wizards who are setting fire to the buildings magically. The orcs either remain within and burn to death, or they rush out where they are cut down by massed volleys from archers and gnomish crossbowmen. You see that half of the buildings are already burned down, and the men are methodically moving through the remainder. It won't be many days before they have killed all the remaining orcs.
Isilme spends most of the day in conference with salamander the Druid. She wants their permission and possibly help in creating a home on the island in the middle of the pond NW of town. Jaroo is gone, but Salamander gives his permission, as long as she maintains the natural beauty of the place. Thorgrim lends his Stone of Earth Elemental control for the task. When she breaks for lunch she heads over to the tanner/leatherworker with Hepla to pick up her items made of salamander skin. When you see her walking around town, you can't help but notice the beauty and brilliance of her new studded leather armour bodysuit, a combination of copper and orange coloring.
Berenn then hires to leatherworker to create a saddle for the griffons, which have decided to stay with him at the moathouse, which he renames Warden's Station. Rufus and Otis agree to speak to the Viscount about it, recommending that Berenn be given the land, to keep closer eye on the area.
Over the next week, while preparations are made for Elrae's wedding, Berenn spends time with the griffons, Ra and Thoth. He is getting them ready to let him fly upon them, which they will do. Also, Elrae spends the time riding Ker-Euli, his ebony fly. [Both take Riding-Air as new proficiencies.] Elrae also gets to know his new family much better, and also frequents the church of St. Cuthbert to plan the wedding, being that the Gundigoots are followers of Cuthbert. Berenn gets things planned out with the griffons, and everyone else takes care of all their personal stuff. Thorgrim checks on the carpenter, who's building a second floor for the Trading Post. That's coming along well. Isilme works on her island, with help from Salamander who uses the earth elemental to do the main work and druidic magic for other things. Gotrek spends the time continuing his work on everyone's armor, getting it all back in shape, fixing breaking in the chain, dents in the plate, etc. Hepla spends the time working on her spells. Vestron uses Isilme's mirror to bring his sister to Ostverk, from where she can pass into the Kingdom of Celene with an escort. Taki just frets around town for the week, bugging Gotrek constantly about a crossbow. Noot just does his best to stay out of trouble.
After about a week, a group of refugees soldiers and refugees from Nulb show up. The orcs are defeated, and the armies have largely broken up, returning to their respective towns. Burne, Rufus, Jordan, all are back. Only Jaroo is still gone, assisting in the Gnarley Forest, tracking down the humanoids who got past the patrols.
The Viscount also sends a messenger, bringing a formal request of your presence in Verbobonc, so it looks like you'll be heading that way. You will be escorted by a detachment of Mounted Borderers. It should only take a few days. Burne gives you letters of introduction to the Silver Consortium.
After another week, when Isilme and Hepla finish their present studies, the party heads off to Verbobonc for the meeting with the Viscount. On your way to Etterboek, you pass by the road to the old spider farm and remember the deadly combat in the spider pits. You wonder how Heri is doing. Late in the afternoon, you reach the small town of Etterboek. This small town of about 500 people lies in a small valley on the banks of Nigbs Run. It gets its name from the great number of Ettercaps which plague the hills between here and Nulb, and it is the presence of these monsters which forces all traffic along the longer route through Hommlet. The town straddles both sides of Nigbs Run, and is bustling with activity. Small boats, little more than barges really, line the riverside docks where they load up on trade goods from the Greenway Valley. As the stream is really no longer navigable after this point, there is a brisk trade between land caravans and the boatmen of the Nigb who constantly struggle to maintain their position as the primary purveyors of the Greenway Trade. Etterboek would be a rich town indeed if not for the gnomish dislike for boats.
You reach the Flimsy Gibbet, the same tavern where you spent your first night together after leaving Verbobonc, many months ago. The gnome bartender greets you, remembering fondly the heroes who rescued everyone from goblins. He sets you up with food and drink, and listens with interest as you regale him with your further adventures, from Canyonford, to Hommlet, and then the Temple.
It is now mid Ready'reat [our November] and the days are getting shorter, the nights colder. You are happy to have the warmth of a nice fire, and settle close to the fireplace to eat and drink, except Taki who goes and sits off by himself.
Soon Heri comes bursting in, and seeing the companions who saved her five months ago on the road just north of town, she rushes to them and hugs them all. "Friends," she says, giving Gotrek, Thorgrim, and Elrae kisses, "it has been too long. But where is Master Derry?"
She is very saddened to learn of the brave halfling's death. She is then introduced to everyone else, and gives a very polite welcome. She invites you all to stay with her at the farm.
"Heri, it would be our honor to be your guests at the barn. It pains me that that fine spidersilk rope you gave me was destroyed in an evil pool of acid in the Temple of Elemental Evil. Here let me tell you that tale..."
While listening, she sends her sevant out to their wagons to provide you with another fine spider-silk rope!
Berenn will stay there if she can stable the griffons, otherwise he will stay outside and use Log of Everburning to keep himself and the griffons warm through the night. She is amazed at the griffons, and would most certainly love to have you stay the night at the farm. While the soldiers all stay here, you can retire to the farm with Heri and there have a wonderful feast! You notice the place is a bit more rundown, and find that it is an unfortunately bi-product of their loss of so many laborers. Almost all of the farm workers were killed by the goblins, and getting people to come work with spiders has been anything but easy.
"You know what Heri," says Elrae. "When we reach Verbobanc, I'll put a word out for those seeking employment to look you up. You'll get your farm back to it's former glory. Your spider-silk items are the finest around."
Being a drow, though disguised by spells, Isilme is very interested in the spider farm. Hepi shows Isilme around the farm, specifically the spider pits where the giants spiders live. She then explains how they farm the silk to create unique items such as dresses, nightgowns, sheets, and rope. She freely gives Noot a 50' spidersilk rope, and promises spidersilk dresses for Hepla and Isilme. If they will give the tailor their measurements, he will start on them right away.
Hepla is quite excited and goes to the tailor to be measured immediatly. If Hepi will not let her pay in gold then she promises another Haist spell when they come back to pick up the dresses. She asks the tailor if it can be in black, if not what color will it be? She might need to pick up some stuff to accessorise her new dress.
The next day, you bid your farewells to Hepi and continue on your way to Verbobonc.
You ride the rest of the way to Verbobonc, which you reach in the late afternoon. One of the first things you notice about Verbobonc, is that the farmland gives way to forests and orchards before you reach the city. Very rare for cities, which usually have exhausted their nearby forests, Verbobonc is yet surrounded by trees.
"Druids tend 'em," says Berenn as you pass under the cover of the large branches, suddenly much colder now that you are out of the fading sun.
The band of forests is not large, and the road breaks back out into a clear stretch, studded with fields. To the left you pass a large ruined compound and learn it is the ruins of the Elemental School of Magic. This school was destroyed during the Elemental War. Due to the stigma attached to that war and this city, the school has never been allowed to be rebuilt. Only a brave few priest and mages mutter their complaints that they need a specialized elemental school once again. After recent events, any rebuilding will be that much more unlikely.
Continuing along, you pass through some more fields before reaching the outskirts of the city proper. Verbobonc is surrounded by a fortified stone wall 10ft thick and 30ft high. It is crenellated, and the top ledge has 6ft of room for guards to walk along. The walkways are covered in areas (wooden planks and poles only) to give some cover against overhead attacks. The towers interrupt the walls at irregular intervals. The towers vary in height/diameter but the average is 40ft in height/55ft in diameter. Most are 3-4 stories with arrow slits on the outer side of the uppermost story.
You pass through a small group of buildings, including an inn, blacksmith, stables, etc. All the necessities for the gem caravans can be found in this outgrouping of buildings. You see the caravan station off to the left, where some of you started your journey months ago. Who would have thought you would have ended up battling demons, dragons, travelling to other planes, and coming face to face with both the Old One as well as St. Cuthbert himself?
As you approach the wall, you see the gatehouse looming before you. It is a tower similar to the ones along the walls (40ft tall), four stories high, and with arrow slits on each floor. This gate is unique in that there is a finely crafted marble arch over the gate. Rose vines grow freely around the intricately carved stone. Carved along the top of the arch are the words (in Common and Gnomish): “Earth and Stone, Man and Gnome.”
The guards at the gate speak with the patrol travelling with you, and you are let pass without much more than a cursory glance. You are entering the city of Verbobonc.
"Guess we better find a place to stay," says Taki.
"I am sure the vanguard is going to take us to the Viscount first," answers Berenn.
Hepla, who thought Hommlet was a BIG city is spechless, not even a giggle, as she stares at the size of everything.
You pass along the main street, with buildings one after the other, seemingly with no end. The Temple of Evil was a huge place, but this city just dwarfs it! You can see a mammoth building up ahead, and as you pass the Temple of the Blinding Light on the right, the great tower dedicated to Pelor seems small indeed. When after a time the street opens up to a large plaza, you are left speechless at the immense cathedral which dominates the area. Berenn sees a church of St. Cuthbert on the far side of the square, and he can't help but feel a slight blow to his pride at how small it is in relation.
You continue past the plaza, and enter into another large square. To the right as you enter is a large square building, crenellated like a fortress with a tall slender tower in the corner. You are told this is Verbobonc's City Hall. It is a large square building of golden limestone, two stories high with a crenellated parapet surrounding the roof. A third story, half as big and also crenellated, rises from the centre of the roof, and contains the offices of the Lord Mayor and other important city officials. From the north-eastern corner of the building rises the ‘Ragosa’, a 155-foot tall tower of white stone used originally for observation. On a clear day the view is spectacular, and a beacon on the roof may be seen for leagues. Two members of the Viscount's personal guard are always on duty here, day and night. The ground floor of the building is the community house and is used for any town meetings, which the Lord Mayor feels fit to call. When not in use, it is an informal meeting place for the city's lesser magistrates whose offices occupy the second story.
Across the square is Jylee's Inn, a large, rectangular structure, and one of the finest in Verbobonc. It caters to the famous. Located next to the City Hall, it attracts mostly higher-classed customers. The three-story inn is a paragon of luxury at a reasonable price. Most of the ground floor is given over to a massive dinning room.
Next to Jylee's is the The Conservatory of Lirr, a school of art and music. The proximity to the Silver Consortium is not a coincidence, as both schools share a grand library and some magical facilities. Beautiful music can always be heard emanating from this building. Huge auditoriums are filled with students mastering all manner of musical instruments. Poetry recitals, book readings, painting classes, etc can be found in the curriculum of the school. Novice clerics of Lirr spend months making copies of the libraries archives of books, scrolls, poems, works of art, etc. Elrae tells you that most bards of the area are graduates of the Conservatory, though he learned his trade in Woodstock.
Directly across the square from the City Hall is the Academy of Farsight. Because of the large gnomish and elven populations, the people of Verbobonc have always enjoyed high standards of scholarship and the arts. While there is no university within the town walls, the Academy of Farsight is a public institution founded by gnome investors in 422 CY. As the city grew, the Academy branched out and now resembles a university in size.
On the left side of the square is a large and impressively fortified building, with guards out front. You are told this is the Banker's and Jeweler's Guildhouse. This location is home to the city’s bankers, moneylenders, etc. Although there is no ‘official’ bank in the city, there are many locations that will provide those services.
Finally, all the way back around the square and to your immediate left as you enter it is another inn, The Spruce Goose. True nobility or the very wealthy generally prefer to stay at the luxurious Spruce Goose Inn. Located prominently in the heart of the civic centre, this large group of buildings is one of the largest inn’s in the city. This expensive place caters to the nobility and to those who want to parade grandly and pretend they’re noble. It is here that you are led, as the Viscount has had rooms set aside for you there, as befits your status as heroes.
"I want a bar in the seedier part of town," says Gotrek. "If none is available, I guess rubbing elbows with the nobility has to do," he adds with a grumble.
Hepla looks at all this and says,"I'm not sure I can afford to stay here. How much will this cost?" She says this as she recognizes that she is the only human here barefoot.
Complete with it’s own stables, security, kitchen, and staff quarters, guests literally have all of their needs taken care of without leaving the Spruce Goose. Each room is ornately decorated in the latest styles (permanent one-way invisibility cast on sections of the walls creates secure windows, magical lighting, indoor plumbing with each room having its own bath, fine 4-poster beds, etc). The hallways are adorned with magnificent white statues. Sitting rooms with plush chairs, ‘Unseen Servant’ spells magically bring food and beverages, free massages for guests, etc. A huge marbled entrance hall is 40’ high, with arched ceilings, mirrors, and fine oak furniture. In the centre of the court, there is a large swimming pool. It is magically heated all year round. Great, carved pillars surround it, and servants can be seen bringing towels and beverages to guests who relax at pool-side. Magically, the entire centre court seems climate controlled, as huge tropical plants abound, and rain never seems to fall within its confines.
Royalty, dignitaries, ambassadors, visiting high-clergy, etc are all guests here. It is expected that such guests bring an entourage of retainers, servants, security, etc. These servants are usually encouraged to stay in one of the ‘less prestigious’ wings of the Inn, as Spruce Goose staff carries out most of their functions. Due to its important guests, security is always high, and stout guards are always present in each hallway – complete with ‘spit-polished’ armour and weapons. The bouncers are smoothly efficient and most of the staff is very snobby and aristocratic.
In addition to all the amenities listed above, guests are treated to great feasts within the central ballroom: huge, decorative banquets with all manner of gourmet food and the finest wine are available. The highlight of the ballroom is a grand marble statue of a white goose that spans the entire ceiling. Some 40’ up, the statue is lit by large magical chandeliers. The ballroom can also be reserved (extra $) for special functions. Room service is also available. As noted, the Spruce Goose can take care of any guest needs: staff is willing to run any errands in the city – from gathering books, to finding ball gowns.
When Hepla asks about the price, she is shocked. A single night at the Spruce Goose is 30gp/night. All meals are included as well as stabling. Servants can stay in the ‘staff’ wing for 10gp/night. You are truly living in style here; luckily you are also told that your rooms are already provided for, on order (and expense) of the Viscount.
Thorgrim for one is going to take a bath. He has not had one in over a year, but fondly remembers the experience! Vestron will avail himself of some of the pleasures of the nobility. It has been too long since he has been able to do so. He will introduce Hepla and others to them, if they desire given he is the only one who might have knowledge of what they are and how they work. He will also look to find a tailor to replace his lost elven clothing.
Hepla is stunned at all she sees. She goes with Vestron to meet all these people, is polite to them all while trying not to stare, but is soon overwhelmed by all the titles, and finery that she sees. When she gets a chance she goes to her room for a bath and to clean her robes . On the way past the main desk she asks as to where they can buy some spell books and sell some unwanted jewels and magic items. Star, who has been walking along with her jumps onto the counter as she is talking. Hopefully they are used to some people having pets.
One of the things you find is that the staff is absolutely at the disposal of the guest, procuring anything they may need or ask for. After taking baths, you find your new clothing all provided, and a servant to help you with any other needs.
When coming into town Isilme had pulled the hood down on her cloak, a little uncomfortable, realizing she is probably the only drow welcomed here since the first hut was a thought in this great city.
When she arrives at the inn she enjoys a nice hot bath, and enjoys all the amenities offered. Prefering to have fine wine and food brought to her room to enjoy then meeting human nobles. Having been far from the pleasures of her ancestral home for too long, some form of civilization is a welcome relief. She also sees to having a servant properly oil and polish her salamander armor and gear for her meeting with the viscount. Unfortunately, Isilme's servant runs screaming when she sees her true Drow features, leaving her to tend to her affairs herself.
Isilme sighs when the servant runs, and uses her clean and polish cantrips on her salamander armour, gloves, boots, and cloak so it will be glowing a brilliant copper/orange when she presents herself before the viscount. She lovingly hand polishes her blade Maerthorlear instead of using spells on it. She decides to leave her hair down and spends time brushing it out now that she has access to such finery. She also decides she will be fully presentable in the way of the drow court, as she is the first representative of her race to grace its halls.
Later there is a knock on Isilme's door, and when she opens it she finds the owner of the inn, with the scared servant girl cringing behind him. He is a bit taken aback at your features, and hesitantly gulps down his fear, but he does his best to show a smile, and apologize for the servant's actions. You are more than welcome in his establishment, and it is his honor to have you as a guest. He even bows low, as if you were nobility yourself.
Knowing that nearly everything she does while here will reflect on her people for years to come, Isilme acts with dignity and grace. "rise good sir, it was simple misunderstanding."
Hepla is told that the inn will be more than happy to bring all your gems next door, to the bankers/jewelers guild. They will pick up your requested items for you, or if you prefer to go yourselves, they will show you the way.
Ra and Thoth have to be stabled elsewhere, as the presence of horses causes problems. The inn takes care of this for you; you are not the first guest to ride a griffon. They even had elven princes on unicorns once! Berenn will prowl around in the shadows of the seedier parts of Verbobonc and see if he can here anything of interest. He will be wearing his Elven Cloak and Boots so no one should see or hear him.
Berenn heads over to the River District, on the west side of the city. [in case you wondered, the view of the city in the picture/map is from the NW] He heads along the main street, until he reaches the bridge across Nigb Run. There is a tavern to his right, called the Bridgewalk Tavern, but it seems a bit upscale for his tastes. He proceeds across the bridge which is not lit like the rest of town. Small recesses along the undersides sides of the wall, shine a dim light down on the pavingstones, illuminating the road while not terribly affecting the view of the stars. They seem to be minor continual light spells.
From the bridge, he can see the hustling port area, and a bit downstream, he can see where the Nigb empties into the mighty Velverdyva River. Ahead of him is an old gatehouse, that looks as if it is under construction, and beyond it lies the River District, stretching to left and right along the banks of the Nigb.
You wandered the area, but were surprised to find that it was not the seedy area you expected. The Season's End seems pretty nice, with a lot of country charm. Further down you find The Molten Spigot, a well-known local tavern. Families and respectable folk come here to drink and chatter. It is somewhat dimly lit, as most of the smoke from the fireplaces seems to end up in the tavern instead of up the chimney. Not really interested, you swing to the north and make your way back towards the river, eventually finding Kabora's Jewel of the Velverdyva.
Located directly beside the docks, this inn caters to many of the sailors and merchants. The walls are covered with shields, sails and tunics emblazoned with the arms and devices of those kingdoms along the Velerdyva River (Dyvers, Furyondy, Veluna, Perrenland, etc). This inn is getting old, and the dark wood paneling is beginning to show its age. You take a free table overlooking the docks, and can imagine that on a nice day you could see the Velverdyva off to the left. It offers a nice view, even now, and you relax over a drink. The innkeeper is Jessey Vestsmith who was once a caravan guard along the river. He tells you that the quarter was cleaned up by the Viscount a few years ago, when the new walls were built. Most of the riffraff have moved along to the slums along the Velverdyva, just to the north. There they don't have to deal with the law so much, as the Viscount's men leave it alone, and the constabulary pretty much stays away. You think about heading that way, but it's getting late and decide to just go to bed. As you return, you notice the awakening city as the news of the Temple's fall circulates. Eventually, you head back to the inn and go to sleep.
Gotrek goes to the bar, and the place empties in disgust as he plops down on a stool and orders a drink.
"You really need a bath, Sire," says the bartender, who then runs away when Gotrek stares at him.
While taking a nice hot bath, Hepla comes to two conclusions:
1. She is as good as anryone here. They have fancier outfits and titles but they invited her. She must still be polite and clean but she and Star are as good as they are.
2. She wonders how long Noot can be good with all this wealth around us.
Hepla will wear whatever outfit they have picked out for her, so long as it is not a little girls outfit, but if it does not have a brimed hat then she will wear her regular one. It is made of silk so it is of a fine quality material. She will even give Star a ribbon of the same color that she is wearing. You all find your regular clothes are gone, taken to be cleaned and tailored. Your new clothes are very similar, only of nicer fabric and design. It is almost as if they knew who you were an were prepared beforehand.
Noot goes back downstairs after he's done, and runs into Elrae and Thorgrim. Together they join Gotrek at the bar.
"Suren ye be a stinky one," says Thorgrim, ordering a drink for himself. "Ah never noticed 'fore now!"
Hepla walks up behind Gotrek and casts the Cantrip, CLEAN, while saying,"MMM, I think he smells just fine." Actually, she finds that she will need a few! Then COLOR will brighten his clothes back to a new condition. EXTERMINATE for the lice and who knows what else. POLISH and SHINE for his armor and other metal things, like his earrings and such. Maybe a few STITCH cantrips to fix loose ends. Then he'll be presentable!
Gotrek grunts and buys a round of drinks.
Hepla happily acceps the drink and downs it in one gulp,"Thanks, suddenly I felt exhausted."
Noot asks about any place to gamble, and the bartender tells you about the local Chapel of Rudd [B19]. Like all churches devoted to Rudd, this is a gambling establishment in addition to a school of fencing and archery. It is very close by, just passed the Academy of Farsight and opposite the square from the Temple of Heironeous.
Hepla tells the party that since she has now seen St. Cuthbert in person, she wants to run over to his temple and see how accurate are his picturs there. She, when she gets there, is going to takes one of her 100gp gems and give it to them for the poor in town.
Noot leaves word that he is heading for the Chapel of Budd and to send for him if he is needed. This inn is too sterile. He wants to stroll around a little and listen to the hum of the city and to pick any gossip going around. 'Anybody want to join me?'
Vestron stays at the inn, speaking with the patrons. Vestron learns little from the lesser nobles with whom he attempts to speak, except that they are uneasy lest they get drawn into the new conflict with the Temple. Many of the lords throughout the Viscounty already marched with their forces against the Temple, and if things go bad, well, they are worried. They apparently do not yet know of its destruction.
He asks about Prince Thrommel and learns that nobody seems to know anything about his return. In fact, they just repeat the same old story of his disappearance that everyone knows. He then informs them of the truth but uses it as a wedge to gather more info, clearly making it plain that he and his party were responsible for the Temple's destruction.
They make it clear they don't believe you, and throw a little of their haughtiness your way.. Then when someones bursts into the inn with news that the Temple has been destroyed, they all look back at you with a new respect. One buys him a glass of the finest Celene wine.
Thorgrim goes with Noot. Together (and with anyone else who wants to go) they head out into the evening. Here in the ‘Civic’ sections of the city, most of the main streets have reflective ‘Lantern-like’ globes with a ‘Continual Flame’ spell in them. These hang from building awnings at a height of 7 feet and are spaced 30-40 feet apart so most of the light is continuous. Other main streets throughout the city are lit by oil lights lit by lamplighters. Secondary streets and alleys are not lit; citizens commonly hire lantern-bearers when traveling the side streets after dark.
Feeling refreshed, Isilme will go out with them, wearing her finer replacement darksuit and blood red cloak, hood down. She is very interested in the "continual flame", and she levitates up to see if it produces heat or smoke. A flame, equivalent in brightness to a torch, "burns" from the wick of an oil lamp. The effect looks like a regular flame, but it creates no heat and doesn't use oxygen. A continual flame can be covered and hidden but not smothered or quenched. These are not lit by the lamplighters; rather, they simply remove a shroud that then hangs on a chain from the lamp until morning, when they replace it.
The way to the Chapel of Rudd is well lit, thus there is no need for lantern-bearers. You travel across the square, then passed the Academy on the right, and come into another square. On the right is the Temple of Heironeous, which looks more like a military barracks than a church. The large heavy doors are shut. On your left, judging from the lights and noise coming from an otherwise nondescript building, you must have reached your destination. The doors are shut, to keep out the cold.
You find the door unlocked, and it swings open rather easily. A large guard stands just inside. [assuming people are NOT walking around with armor, except for Gotrek for whom it is a second skin, and with minimal weapons. This IS civilization after all.] He frowns for a moment at the sight of Gotrek, armed and armored, but scowl from Gotrek makes him gulp. He turns to the others, who smile warmly except for Isilme, hidden in her cloak, and waves you in, stepping well out of Gotrek's way.
Upon entering the establishment, patrons may find it very hard to guess they have walked into a church. Gambling tables, dartboards, and other games of chance fill the rooms. Nearly every game imaginable is played here, and there is a bar in the rear.
Hepla whispers to Elrae about checking for magic. He puts his hand on Snowfang, but finds the sword not talking to him. When he relays this to the others, you find that none of your magic works at all.
Noot waits his turn, then sits down to a game of Tarok. It is much like Hearts, but with five suits (Wands, Pentacles, Swords, Cups, Magic). Noot loses his first game (subtract 5gp), but uses the time to gain info from the other patrons.
Noot learns that things in Verbobonc have been very tense. The rise of the Temple again, after everything that happened during the Elemental Wars, as they came to be called, really has everyone on edge. The army marched off a good month ago, after hearing of a second rising of the Temple of Evil. Apparently things had lapsed into an uneasy stalemate, and nobody has heard anything since. It is said that every family in the Viscounty lost someone during the Battle of Emridy Meadows, so their unease is very understandable. Noot gives a short summary of the group's adventures and the demise of the temple. At first nobody believes him, as, well, why should they? Berenn and Elrae, standing back and watching you, now that everyone else has left, exchange glances.
Noot ends up winning his next few games (100gp total which you can add to your sheet!). All the while, Elrae entertains the place, and though they don't usually go for bards here, as a distraction, your tale is simply too riveting. Soon most of the gambling has stopped, and those playing don't pay attention as they are listening to Elrae. That's probably why Noot won so much! The place cheers through the various parts, and by the time Elrae is done, others have left to go spread the news throughout town!
Elrae takes a bow and revels in his new found glory. Eventually, he and Noot both tire and return to the inn for a good night's rest.
Gotrek and Thorgrim play dice, in a boisterous game which includes a couple of rough looking barbarian types from the northlands. The priests of Rudd keep everyone peaceful. Gotrek wins 100 gp, as the barbarians are quite drunk and don't know when to quit. One tries to get tough, and Gotrek hits him in the nuts. As he folds over, Gotrek grabs him by the hair and head-butts him, knocking him down and out. The priests of Rudd then bust Gotrek for causing violence and kick him and the barbarian out. Thorgrim laughs and goes with him, as the other barbarian leaves with his unconscious pal. Outside, they drift off to the left, around a corner, and go out of sight. Gotrek and Thorgrim then walk off to find a REAL bar.
Gotrek and Thorgrim have headed down the main street towards the the River. They come to the large intersection from where they can see the Commerical Center of Town, and a new building being constructed to their right. Sounds of revelry come from around the corner, and they go check it out. The quickly come up to another tavern, the Packard's Trough. They see a sign with crossed swords behind a beer mug, and then the doos fly open as two men come out, dragging another, and toss him in the street, bloodied and battered.
"Now this seems more to your liking," says Thorgrim.
Entering, you find that this is a notorious dive that usually caters to soldiers. The tavern is a chaos of rowdy patrons, with violence from noon to night. They run into Taki, who had wandered the quiet streets alone for a bit, and together they enter the tavern. A few fights, and a lot of drinks later, they stumble back to the inn and fall asleep. Gotrek snores so loudly, Thorgrim has to cast a Silence spell around him!
Bored with the gambling place, Isilme heads over to see the Cathedral in all its glory, checking carefully for a shrine to her goodly Drow goddess - Eilistraee (song, beauty, dance, swordwork, hunting, moonlight). She asks Hepla to come along with her, knowing she wanted to visit a few temples as well, she is interested to see how close they came to the gods likeness as well, having seen him with her own eyes! She is amazed at the number of Olven shrines. Obviously, Corellon Larethian is prominent, as are Aerdrie Faenya, Deep Sashelas, Erevan Ilesere, and many others. In fact, she is even surprised when she notices that the shrine of Gadhelyn the Archer actually rivals that of Corellon Larethian! Unfortunately, Isilme finds no shrine to Ellistraee. It seems that Ellistraee is yet unknown to the greater surface world.
Isilme looks around in amazement at such a grand place. She is surprised by such respect for all gods, even demi-human in the city. You find an old priest of Trithereon passing by, wearing dark blue robes with gold trim. He is quite happy to talk to you about the Cathedral. It is the Great Cathedral of Trithereon. After St. Cuthbert, Trithereon is the most popular god in the city. His temple dominates the Civic Centre, and much of the religious life of the city revolves around it. The numbers of his faithful have diminished greatly over the last century, most being lost to the Church of St. Cuthbert.
He even agrees to take you inside and show you around. What you see along the outside is only the smallest part of its wonder. As he takes you within, he tells you about the Cathedral. Great gnomish, elven, and human architects, several mages, and the priesthood of Trithereon all contributed to its construction, making it one of the true wonders of the Flanaess. In addition to serving as the centre of the worship of Trithereon in the Flanaess, it symbolizes the diversity of Oerth's deities as well as the individual's freedom to worship any of them. As such, small shrines make up the outer-most areas of the temple, one devoted to every god or goddess, including the racial and dark gods. The inner chambers are mainly for worship of Trithereon and the vaulted ceilings are an incredible mosaic depicting the diversity and balance of all the known pantheons in the Flanaess. Pilgrims from across the Flanaess flock to Verbobonc just to see it, and none have ever left disappointed. Isilme sees a shrine inside, in a dark corner reserved for the gods of the Drow. She sees a small shrine of Lolth, Ergosal, Vhaerun, Nocticula, and all the rest. She also spies an image of Ellistraee, tucked into a small niche.
Isilme leaves a moonstone at the feet of her goddess in the small niche, and says a small prayer of thanks for leading her to the surface to walk in the moonlight and for getting her and all her new friends safely through their recent trials. She renews her vow to help any drow in need who wishes to return to the surface light away from the darkness of Lloth.
She asks the priest, "has there ever been any changes or additions made since the cathedral was built? "
The priest watches you with interest as you reverently place the moonstone beneath the idol's feet. He then answers that there have been changes made, new shrines have appeared over time, as needed. There is an entire section for the mysterious Olman deities, and more will undoubtably appear as others penetrate the southern jungles further.
He then looks back at the shrine, and your moonstone, and asks softly, "Please, if you do not mind, may I ask why you would do that?"
Isilme says "Because of this beautiful cathedral, I will assume you know the stories behind the gods that adorn your temple - and are tolerant of all faiths and peoples. Eilistraee has guided me this far in my journey to the surface world, and protected me while I helped to overthrow the forces of evil in the Elemental Temple. She is the only goodly goddess of the Drow - she protects all of my people who would escape the evil demoness Lloth and return to the surface light and blessings of Corellon Larethian. I have much to be thankful for." (she lowers her hood to allow the priest to take in her features)
"Have you not heard the temple of elemental evil has fallen? Have you not heard Prince Thrommel is alive and saved from the clutches of the Temple? The legendary holy sword "Fragrach" was at his side. This is not just a rumor, Hepla and I helped him home ourselves. She places her hand on the witch's shoulder. "Perhaps the forces of good have reason for joy, at least for a small time."
The old priest listens intently to what Isilme says, and when she takes off her hood, he involuntarily takes a step back in surprise. He quickly gets over it; however, and when she finishes, he steps forward, putting a hand on each of her shoulders. She is surprised by the obvious strength in the old man's grip.
"I must confess, the story of Eilistraee," he says, looking slightly ashamed, "was unknown to me. It is clear to me that you are no ordinary Drow, as your feelings for your companion reveal. No drow would care about another, let alone a human, lest they were fundamentally different."
He then bows his head, before letting go of Isilme and approaching the niche. With a clear bit of trepidation, he reaches out and takes the idol of Eilistraee, turns and holds it out to Isilme.
"Her rightful place is not here, alongside the other dark gods of the Drow, but with the rest of the Seldarine." Handing her the idol, he bows again. "If you would, let us take Her outside, where she may stand beside Her true family."
Isilme takes the Idol "Eilistraee chose to stay with her fallen people, that she could provide a balance of good to the drow pantheon and give her people a chance to return to their brother and sister elves on the surface and flee the tyranny of Lloth. I am no cleric, but I think she would be pleased to know her sacrfice would be recognized by a few on the surface - even amongst the humans.
She takes the Idol to the place she is shown and places her goddess amongst the other daughters of Corellon. If she sees a away to incorporate the moonstones she collected she will place them also.
It seems she wipes a tear from her eye as she cover her face with her hood again. "Perhaps you can add her story to the records of your temples so that others may know not all Drow are evil? Thank you for your kindness."
The priest smiles as you return outside and find a nice spot next to Corellon. "We shall rebuild the shrine, to officially recognize her place. Perhaps you would deign to spend some time with us, to instruct us on the worship of Ellistraee. I imagine there is much we do not, yet should, know."
He is about to say more when there arises a bunch of shouting across the square. Lots of people are moving about, in a very celebratory mood. A group of priests, dressed in the same robes of Trithereon minus the gold trim, rush over.
"Your grace," says one, bowing before the old priest. "Did you hear? The Temple has fallen! A group of adventurers have laid low the Temple and banished Demon Queen."
He smiles and glances at Isilme and Hepla. "Yes, my son," replies the old priest. "I was just informed. We are in the presence of two said heroines right now."
The other priests looks at Hepla and Isilme, their mouths dropping open in disbelief.
Isilme says, "Truly this little witch is the heroine you speak of, I saw her defy Iuz made flesh! "
Now realizing that this is not some minor priest, but a leader, Isilme bows deeply to the old man in the gold trim. " I am sorry Your Grace, I did not realize to whom I spoke. Perhaps there is much more you should know of our story - human followers of Lloth, the appearance of Iuz and St Cuthbert, and the elemental nodes. It was I who wielded the Golden Orb to assist in the destruction of the temple. Such power I felt that will haunt me until the end of my days. I would be happy to take you up on your invitation and visit you in the coming days"
Hepla is surprised but recovers quickly, she also bows to the priest, "Your grace, is it? We all did our part, my friend here fought the power of the orb and won when we all destroyed it, As for defying Iuz, when the fireworks started I decided it was safer behind St. Cuthbert rather then next to him."
As the town seems to awaken overnight at the news of the Temple's fall, the priest is called away. He agrees with Hepla, and tells her that she is wise beyond her years. You plan to meet again later, to discuss things. He also is grateful for having met Isilme, the first dark elf he has ever encountered. She is nothing like what he expected, and it is a certain justification for the primary tenant of the worship of Trithereon, individual freedom. "You are a beacon for your people," he says sincerely, "and an example to all. With that, he leaves, promising to see you again tomorrow.
Pretty much everyone makes their way back to the inn after this, where you get a great night's sleep, falling asleep with smiles as you listen to the sounds of revelry in the streets. Well, except for Gotrek, who hears nothing and is heard by none.
The next day you awake to the sounds of the city around you, and a note stuck under each door. They are invitations to meet with the Viscount of Verbobonc, Lord Wilfrick, at noon today.
[I think this interlude got a bit disjointed, as people split up to do various things. I'd just skip and move to the next adventure, but then thought differently. I think there's something inherently cool about the down-time, when players role-play their characters in non-adventuring settings. It is during these times that they really get their character development going, and since there is much more to come adventure-wise, I just couldn't leave this out. Some of it's not that big a deal, but episodes like that between Isilme and the priest of Trithereon are not things which should be forgotten. It's not all about killing monsters and gathering treasure! So, I hope that not only did I do a decent job of editing these dispersed ramblings into a coherent form, but that you also enjoy them.]
The type of story-telling you did during that interlude is as memorable to players as the battles they fight, Ragnar. I appreciate the way you gave each PC a chance to bask in the glory of being discovered as a hero/heroine as the news of the Temple's destruction proceeded through the city.
Cast of Characters:
Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
Elrae: Human Bard
Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
Noot: Human Thief
Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
Vestron Orcburner: Elven Fighter/Mage
You are summoned by a troop of soldiers from the Viscount's court. They take you outside, and you find the streets packed with cheering people. The Viscount's soldiers keep everyone away as you wind through the city. You pass through the Cathedral Square and alongside the burned ruins of an old theater, in the early stages of repair. You pass along a wide street which leads straight up to Castle Greyfist, home of the Viscount. The surrounding curtain walls tower above the city as the castle is built upon a large rocky knoll higher than the surrounding land. Towers along the walls reach even higher, and from them the banners of the Viscounty flap in a cold northern breeze.
You pass through the gatehouse, and into the innter bailey. Inside the courtyard was a buzz of activity. It seemed all the guards of Verbobonc were assembled there, standing at attention as you enter. Across the courtyard was the Viscount's meeting hall. It was a rather unimpressive building, built by gnomes centuries before, at a time when artistic flair was overshadowed by practical necessity. Since then, great arched windows had been cut into the sides, below the original round holes placed for ventilation, and all had been filled with intricately worked stained glass windows, made by Gnome craftsmen in the township of Tulvar.
You then are ushered into the hall, lavishly decorated with elaborate hanging curtains, beautifully worked Baklunish carpets, and the most ornately carved wooden chairs made by Oakham's famous craftsmen. Inside were assembled Verbobonc nobilitydressed in their finest attire and waiting on their Lord, Viscount Wilfrick. As you approached, they fell silent. While they nodded politely to Vestron, their looks towards the rest of you were coated with a sarcastic nuance. You are escorted through the great room, towards the Viscount.
On a raised dais, upon a rather simple chair, sat the Viscount. He wore a fine robe of Olven design, a gift from the Fey of Celene after the great victory during Elemental War. It's green and blue colors seemed to blend into one another, slowly changing back and forth, giving one the impression, at once, of forests, sky and sea, endlessly flowing into one another. Wilfrick's brown hair now showed much more gray than it once had, especially at his temples, and his beard was nearly completely gray, though he yet seemed quite proud of it. Though he sat straight and proud, Publius noticed his eyes no longer held that excited spark, which had once inspired thousands, including him. Although the years of governing the Viscounty had definitely taken their toll on Wilfrick, it still seemed that the old man could outwrestle a she-bear and win.
To one side of the Viscount stood The Lord Mayor Tymak, dressed to the hilt this day, having adorned his blue robe of office with the traditional red sash. His blonde hair was immaculately cut in one of the new styles from Furyondy, and Tymak brushed it back, an old habit he wasn't even conscious of. Tymak was an old friend of the Viscount, Wilfrick, and both had fought at Emridy Meadows, where Tymak himself was almost killed by an ogre. He was a stout warrior in his younger days, but age has taken its toll. He had recently won the election for Lord Mayor, with Wilfrick's support, although it was relatively easy since the previous Lord Mayor's extremely unpopular attempt to bring about a union with Veluna.
To the other side of the Viscount stood the old bald priest that Hepla and Isilme had met the night before. He too was dressed in finer attire, though still maintaining the same colors. He smiled warmly, and threw a surrepetitious wink at them when their eyes met. He was introduced after the Lord Mayor, and you find that he is none other than Cornelius Arx, High Priest of Trithereon.
After your introductions the Viscount laughs and asks for Elrae to come forth.
Berenn whispers, "Well, there goes any good will we have established."
Gotrek picks his nose, and Thorgrim elbows him.
Elrae steps forward and gives a exquisite, flourishing bow. The Viscount chuckles and then asks for him to regale everyone with the songs of the Temple's destruction that he sang the night before, the songs that put the entire city in an uproar.
Elrae sings, making sure to give the best performance of his career. When he is done, the Viscount leans forward and stares at him for a long while. The place is dead silent until the Viscount flops back in his chair laughing and clapping profusely. The entire room joins, and Elrae bows again. The Viscount gives him a royal decree of status as a Bard of the Court and then calls upon the rest of you.
He speaks with everyone in turn, conferring his thanks and the thanks of the Viscounty. He then asks Berenn forward. Upon him he confers a knighthood. He may forever forward be addressed as Sir Berenn Silverwood. To him he deeds land and title to the area around the old Moathouse as well as lordship over the moathouse itself, to rule in perpetuity. He also promises monies and labor to assist its rebuilding.
Sir Berenn thanks the Viscount graciously. "I am in the process of developing griffon riders to help warden the lands in and around Hommlet. Hopefully I will be able to cover a great distance in a shorter period of time. I have two griffons presently, but I plan on expanding once the ones I have our properly trained. You will always have my loyalty and gratitude." With that Berenn pledges his loyalty to the Viscount and his heirs unto death.
He then asks Thorgrim and Gotrek forward, and asks what boons they may seek.
Thorgrim glances nervously at Gotrek ,who is scratching his beard feverishly.
Gotrek clears his throat. "Milord, don't take offense by my words. I live for one thing: to find a glorious death in battle. As the rest of my friends can attest to, I am well on my way!"
Gotrek pauses. Yanking his beard violently. "I just ask one thing. And to be honest, my question is meant for another."
He turns to Thorgrim. He hands Thorgrim his gutshaker container. "I need you to keep that full for me, laddie, until I find a death that, hopefully, Clangeddin will deem worthy. We are meant to do great things together."
Gotrek laughs out loud. "And we ain't seen nothing yet!"
Gotrek grunts, and looks at the Viscount. "However, if you ever come across a 2 handed Battleaxe designed to kill evil giants, get back to me! I will put it to good use!"
The Viscount laughs most heartily, and he promises all the Gutshaker you can drink! He also says he will have his sages research this fabled axe of yours. Thorgrim asks for permission to bring more of his kin here, and for the Viscount's blessing to his attempt to reclaim his lost homeland, Dorob Kilthduum, on the edges of the Viscounty's lands. The viscount agrees, and promises that they will speak of it more.
He then motions for Taki to step forward. In awe of everything, the big man does so. "My Lord I am Taki of the hill people I joined this band later in this adventure to end the evil of the temple and I am at your service." With that Taki bows awkwardly.
The Viscount thanks Taki for the great service he has already rendered, and asks what he may desire.
"Sire," says Taki, "I do not know what my options are, I don't know what would be proper. I guess I would really like my maul to have magic powers or have a mual that did. In battle, I found myself unable to help defend my friends, and would not be so powerless again." He then looks down, "but that all maybe asking too much."
"Well," says the Viscount. "a warrior like I once was." He looks around, then adds with a sadly nostalgic look, "in my younger days. Where is Sir Ingish?" he bellows.
"Here, Milord," answers a voice from the crowd. You look over to see a romantic, confident man with olive skin, blue eyes, and dark brown hair. He is muscular, with a sharp-featured face.
"You yet have that maul we took from that giant, Mnoxer Irontwister?"
"Uh, um, yes Milord, but..." he stammers and is cut off.
"I know, I know, you will want something in trade," says the Viscount with a wave of his hand. "Fine, fine, you shall be recompensed. Just see to this fine lad's new weapon, will you?"
"Yes Milord," he snaps, and with a dark look at Taki, he then bows and backs up, back into the crowd.
The Viscount pays him no more mind as he looks back at Taki. "Good! See him in his tower tomorrow, and you shall have your maul."
"Thank you sir," replies Taki uncomfortably, "but if it is trouble for one of your own then let it be and your thanks will be enough. I wish to not be trouble to anyone."
"Nonsense!" says the Viscount. "Sir Ingish simply has always had an affinity to that maul. No doubt he will require some great item in trade, but so be it. I am certain we can find something to please even him."
He looks over at Sir Ingish who nods agreement, "Of course, Milord."
Hepla leans over to Taki, "Remember we still have that magical salamander spear that we were going to sell. Perhaps that, as a gift to Sir Ingish might smooth things over a bit?"
Sir Ingish hears you speak, and comes over to you. "A trade?" he asks quietly, to not cause a disturbance. "Why, 'tis all I desire," he says quite happily. "Come to my tower tomorrow. You shall have your maul, and we," and he puts his arm around Taki, "We shall barter like a couple of Paynim horse traders!" With that he slaps Taki on the back, beaming, and turns back to the proceedings.
When there is a pause Hepla steps forward," Your Viscountness, I am Hepla and this is Starle my cat. My mom always says to me, know what a person has that they can part with without lessening themselves. It seems to me that Sir Berenn, who clearly derserves the honor, became a knight without you lessening yourself in any way, except for the lands you gave him. Can you give me the title of Lady, I do not need any lands but I know mom and grandma would be so happy. Mom is a Lady but without the right to pass the title to me."
He smiles and even gets up from his throne to approach you. He embraces you with a loving hug, and then announces to the crowd.
"From henceforth I establish the Order of the Cat, with this worthy maiden as its First Lady. Arise, First Lady Hepla, of the Order of the Cat. You shall always have a home in my court as an honorary lady in waiting to my own daughter, Elysia. "
His daughter steps forward from the front of the nobles. She is a compact, middle-aged woman, with ebony skin and a round, cheerful face. She has curly, brown hair and blue eyes that do not seem to miss anything. She kisses Hepla on each cheek. "I am sure we shall be great friends," she says with a sincere smile that lights the room.
Hepla gets up and says, "Thank you, your Viscountness,and my Startle thanks you as well(giggle)this is a great honor for me and my family. Mom will be so happy." With that she backs over to Vestron, having been told that its improper to turn your back on the Viscount, and when she has a chance whispers to Vestron,"I think I need some more help with this court stuff."
He then calls forth Vestron, with the same questions. Vestron responds, "My Lord, I ask only that my fair sister be allowed to attend your court and learn the ways of men. She has long been isolated from the world and I have been loath in my duty to find her a suitable husband. Perhaps, you might suggest one suitable to the task that can handle a feisty elven noblewoman?"
"She shall be welcome to my court," says the Viscount. "In fact, we shall send message to the Fey Queen of Celene that we REQUEST her in our court. As the position of Ambassador has long remained vacant, ever since the departure of Prince Melf Brightflame, it is high time it was filled!"
Isilme will slowly step forward when it is her turn, lowering the hood on her cloak and making it clear to all present her heritage as a dark elven. She pauses and slowly falls to one knee before the Viscount. Her voice echoes throughout the chamber with clarity of an ancient song.
"Viscount, I have no doubt I am the first dark elf welcomed here since even the first days of this great city as a small Gnomish settlement. On such a historic occasion, I feel it would be wrong to ask for something to benefit myself when I could do something of more meaning for my people. Someday it is my hope that others of my kind will hear the goodly song of Ellistraee and forsake the ways of Lloth to return and take their place in the sunlit surface world once again and seek the blessings of Corellon Larethian - as I did."
"For my part in the destruction of the temple, I ask that any dark elf that has forsaken their evil ways be granted asylum to live in peace and walk without fear in the lands which I helped save. I think it would be far easier for those few who might feel the call to forsake evil - if they knew there was a place of refuge to live in peace and call their home."
"Also great Viscount I feel I must speak for the two great dragons and their unhatched egg not present today that might be normally deemed as "evil" simply by the shade of their black hide. Yet, without their help the great army that your forces confronted would not have been so easily broken and sent into retreat. For their part in this, if it is within your power, perhaps it could be written that these dragons and their progeny be seen as friends of the kingdom and left to live in peace in their mountain home?"
Isilme silenty awaits the Viscounts response, head down.
There is a great gasp from the people, a few run away, and a few others faint, women AND men! The Viscount does not even seem surprised at all, and the smile on The High Priest's face betrays who told the Viscount of Isilme's heritage. The Viscount puts his hands up, calls for quiet, and then looks down upon Isilme.
"It shall be done," he says quietly. "I trust you will pass judgement upon them, to determine if they be true friend as you have shown yourself to be. IF these other Dr," and a somewhat harsh glare from the High Priest makes him quickly correct himself, "um, dark elves, should ever pass your scrutiny, they shall be welcomed in the Viscounty."
"Now, as to your dragons, their actions have been reported on already. From what I have been told, their lair lies deep in the mountains, well beyond our borders. However, it shall be made known their lair is to be considered sacred to the Viscounty, and no harm shall befall them that it is in Our power to prevent. I am certain that once their deeds are spread, and should they cause no trouble with the surrounding realms, that no expeditions shall be allowed to depart from them either. They shall remain safe and unmolested as long as they do so.
Isilme says "As you will, great Viscount. I will pass judgement upon any dark elf found in your lands to see if they are worthy of your protection. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for the boon you have granted my people." She slowly rises and wipes away uncharacteristic tears as she slowly backs away to the rest of the group. You notice she does not replace her hood, but stands proudly, allowing people to see her as she is.
Noot, being the last one, is waved forward, and pushed by Thorgrim. Noot steps forward and bows deeply. "My lord, I had but a small part in the destruction of the temple, so I wish no riches or treasure. However, I do have some petty warrants from my past life that have caused me embarrassment. If these could be done away with, my gratitude would be complete."
"Hah!" laughs the viscount. "Oh do I understand, my boy. Believe it or not, I was young once too." The Viscount then announces a full pardon to any deeds you may have committed within his borders. "Paper," he says, and a servant rushes up with a paper, quill, and inkwell. He quickly scribbles a note, then another aid drips wax on the paper, into which the Viscount presses his ring.
The paper is passed to you, and as you read the quick and simple pardon, you hear the Viscount. "Take that to the Constable; that should tweak his nose! He so hates it when I do that!"
As Noot backs away, the Viscount adds, "Best be keeping your nose clean from here on though. That paper isn't good for any...future transgressions."
Noot pockets the paper, and with a big smile replies, 'Thank you m'lord,' and backs away.
"Now that's done," says the Viscount, "You may retire. I am an old man and tire far too easily. The day is declared a holiday, the Feast of Heroes, and you shall be treated to all the finest that Verbobonc has to offer. Then tonight, we celebrate as you shall attend a ball in your honor."
The Viscount then rises, with the High Priest helping him as he does so. "You have performed a service beyond even my prowess, years ago when we threw down that hateful place. I hear you called the Heroes of Hommlet, and so shall it ever be so."
"Friends," he says, turning to the crowd of nobles, "A great evil has been laid low forevermore, and it is to these brave and stalwart heroes who we owe thanks. Treat them as you would myself, and may the Gods bless us henceforth with peace and plenty."
With that, the Viscount retires through a back door, along with the High Priest, Princess Elysia, and the Lord Mayor. The rest of the nobles crowd around you, smiling greetings and thanks. Berenn is hit with a barrage of questions and offers, as noble intrigue starts immediately. Vestron just laughs, far too aware of what it brings. Eventually, you can make your way back outside, where the multitudes of the city are enjoying this new festival with wild abandon.
Cast of Characters:
Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
Elrae: Human Bard
Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
Noot: Human Thief
Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
Vestron Orcburner: Elven Fighter/Mage
Without going into too much long slow narrative, you guys have a fun day enjoying the festival. You meet a lot of the locals, but there are just too many to name. You have to get clothes for the ball, and your search eventually brings you to the Gnome Quarter or Gnomesburg.
Most of the gnomes live in Gnomeburg, a small section of the city built in the fashion of the gnome warrens found in the Kron Hills. These are called ‘Rents’, small but comfortable dwellings partly-excavated from the cliffside below Castle Greyfist. There are numerous buildings along the narrow stretch of land between the cliffs and the river, the fronts being small shops, and also serving as minor warehouses for the gnome merchants who are the human face of the brisk Kron Hills gem trade. Since the gnomes have declared themselves free of the writ of the Viscount, many of the Gnome artisans have left the city to relocate in the Kron Hills (about 30% of the warrens are empty). While the main street is laid with large pavers, only small dirt pathways wander through the rest of the section.
You make your way through the district, and find the gnomes a bit more subdued over the news. The gnomes seem to continue with business as usual, and you are amazed at their industriousness. Along the river are numerous watermills, and you learn that it was gnome engineers that established the grist mills here. You approach a small stone bridge across the Nigb, short, yet about three times as wide as the main bridge, and follow your guide (provided by the inn) to a small building built into the north side of the bridge. A sign out front reads, in Gnome, Clotho's Clothes.
This store in the gnomish quarter is filled with every manner of clothing. All sizes are represented here from gnomish (50% of his stock) to human, elvish, halfling and even dwarven fits. Although most of his garments are of high quality, for the upper-class, he also has some lowend (Peasant’s outfits) items as well. This building has clothing shelves and racks that fill two floors.
Inside you are met by Clotho himself. Clotho is one of the most prominent gnomes in the business community, despite only knowing his gnomish language (and very broken common tongue). He owns several stores, and tries to attend each store the best he can. He has a flare for the dramatic and dresses very ‘brightly’ even for a gnome. Some find his ‘flashiness’ a bit over-the-top, as he commonly wears way too much jewellery and always arrives in style (ornate coach/carriage).
As she is paying off her purchase she will speak to him in undercommon. "Greetings noble gnome, I am sure by now the rumors have reached you ears of a dark elf in the company of the heroes of hommlet who is of good intent. Have you have heard of your people running into any dark elves here while your people mine, either now, or in the past?"
He doesn't speak undercommon. In fact, he only speaks gnome and his common, well it isn't good. You figure out that he's never seen a dark elf. In fact, now that you notice it, the gnomes seems to give you a wide berth.
Elrae smiles, bows, and shows Clotho the Gnome Friend ring that was given to him. Speaking in fluent gnomish, "Greetings and Salutations sir. What discounts might you have for the Hero of Hommlet. For I, Elrae of Woodstock am to be married soon and need to look the part. And tonight is a big gala in our honor."
He takes a huge liking to Elrae, and shows his most finest, flamboyant outfits to him. For a Gnome Friend, you all even save 50%. I will take the cost of nice clothes out of your Trading Post.
Elrae smiles at Isilme and gives her a wink. "That's how Elrae rolls."
That pretty much takes care of all the activities for the day. In the evening you attend the ball at Castle Greyfist. There you meet another of the Viscount's sons, Horrus. Horrus is a meticulous and determined man of about 30; however, he has no desire to rule. You learn that he spends most of his time tending to his lands south of the town. He has large estates, and controls all the trade downriver on the Nigb, exacting tolls for the boats which must stop here to discharge cargoes onto wagons, due to the waterfalls around the city.
You learn that the oldest son, Jon, is away with the army. Horrus laughs, thinking about how Jon rode off in his fancy armor, looking to win glory and honor while knowing nothing of either, and then you all stole it from him. "He must be irked!" says Horrus, laughing.
"Aw, stop having fun at our brother's expense," says a cultured voice from behind you. You turn around, and there is Elysia, decked out in the finest clothes from Greyhawk. They share a laugh, and then you just chat a while. You learn that she prefers the new styles from the Free City as opposed to the more conservative dress of Veluna. She really likes Hepla's medallion, though she says it pales next to Hepla's natural, youthful, beauty.
Elrae decked out in his finest gnome-sewn clothes, gives a big sweeping bow to Elysia. "M'lady I've traveled far and across planes, but nothing compares to your beauty. "Tis an honor to be here in your presence."
She smiles to Elrae, and you have a very pleasant conversation. You find she is extremely smart, shrewd, and above all, nice. You realize why the Viscounty is generally sad she was not a boy. She spends extra time with Hepla and Isilme, who stays close always, and is generally fascinated by your tales. She also spends some time with Berenn, and decides that she will have the people of Nulb, those who were not involved in the Temple's activities, relocated to Hommlet and to his keep. The area around the Temple, well, that will have to wait, but she seems determined to see that there evil does not arise again.
You meet Jimm Pithriggen, Crown Prince of the Kron Hills Gnomes. While he has no real claim to power in the town, the people have always respected the resident gnomish prince. The Viscount can find the gnomes very difficult when their prince lets his disapproval of an issue be known. It is for this reason that the gnome prince is always invited to be among the Viscount's aides. He listens as you tell of poor Wonnilon, and he vows that his sacrifice will not go unnoticed, promising to erect a statue to the lost hero. A little help from the party, in getting the description correct and such, will be appreciated.
You then meet Lady Kathryn Sarcina. She is one of the most influential of Verbobonc's nobles. Her family rose to prominence in the economic boom that followed Verbobonc's annexation by Furyondy, mainly due to economic connections with Furyondian nobility from which it descended. While her family was quite unpopular at the time, such shady affairs are ancient history to most of Verbobonc's citizens, and few harbour any ill will on account of them. In fact, the family is currently at the apogee of its prominence and popularity, due to the incredibly charming and cosmopolitan character of Lady Kathryn. Not only is she considered the most beautiful woman in the Viscounty, but her knowledge and wit are nearly unsurpassed as well. You notice that other than your introduction, she spends most of her time with Horrus, who clearly dotes on her.
You then meet Lord Marakios Haxx. He was Lord Mayor prior to Tymak, and has been an outspoken critic of the Viscount, who was often vexed by him. You find him very opinionated, and while he doesn't push his views or try to make himself more important by sharing them, he is not at all afraid to bluntly state what he thinks. For instance, he would take every single person from Nulb and its environs, have them executed for complicity in the Temple's rebirth, and raze the entire area that nothing would ever grow or live there again. He knows it's not necessarily the "right" thing to do. Since he doesn't really know what would be the 'right' thing, he tends to follow a simple philosophy; just pick the most expedient method to accomplish your goal and plow straight into a problem. Gotrek and Thorgrim certainly agree!
Finally, you meet Lord Mayor Tymak. He is an extremely aged (and increasingly disabled) man. Tymak won the office of Lord Mayor in the last elections, and you learn that he and Haxx have a long history of disagreement, though with a strong mutual respect. Haxx's father was a close friend of the current Lord Mayor, and is like a son to him. This doesn't stop them from arguing about nearly everything when it comes to the city. Lord Mayor Tymak has strong support from the Viscount, and is quite beloved of the people, so it is unlikely that Haxx will win back the office next election.
Berenn makes a point to meet the current bishop of St. Cuthbert, Bishop Haufren. He is from the Viscounty, and well-loved as a local-boy-made-good. Haufren made a name for himself as a defender of the poor. He fought in the army at Emridy Meadows, and saved Wilfrick's life during an ambush in the Kron Hills. For this deed, he was knighted by Wilfrick and received the Gold Crown Badge of Furyondy from Prince Thrommel himself. Upon his return to Verbobonc, he was installed as the Viscounty's new bishop. The church's success in Verbobonc and the Viscounty is due, in no small part, to his efforts.
Though upright and gentlehearted, he can also be quite zealous in the promotion of St. Cuthbert's creed. As he is a firm believer in the protocol of social rank, he does not generally meet with the commoners, leaving that work to the local priesthood. Rather, he concentrates on the greater issues. You find, strangely, that he seems to discount your tale of St. Cuthbert and Iuz, and though he doesn't really say anything, he doesn't push the matter either. Rather, he is very interested in your tale of the rescue of Prince Thrommel, and you find that the two had become good friends after Emridy Meadows. He is quite pleased with his rescue, and blesses you all for your efforts. To Berenn especially he says that he will have much to discuss. His responsibilities shall be great, with the great honor bestowed upon him by the Viscount. He can count on the help of the Church, just as the Church will continue to count on him.
Berenn assures Bishop Haufren that he will do all he can to promote the creed. He will be a loyal minister of the church and knight to the Viscount.
Lady Hepla thanks Elysia for her complament and tries to blend into the social sceen. She goes over to the bar to get a drink and smiles, "I would like a glass of Moonshine," she says, and when the bartender says they don't have any she points to a small crystal bottle stuck behnd bigger bottles. After getting a drink she asks for a saucer of cream and puts a little Moonshine in it and then puts it on the bar and Star laps it up.
Hepla looks around the party but sees nothing suspecious untill a particully handsom young noble comes over and says, "So you decided to get rid of that hat and put on a nice star saphire. I think its an improvement. And once again, you are a great dancer."
Elrae approaches the chamber musicians and tells the to follow his lead. He pulls out his citern and plays a rousing song that is sure to get the crowd dancing.
Come and Listen to a story that will give you much elation,
About a little gnome who never used an evocation,
Never cast a necromantic spell to save his life,
and never never ever abjuration.
For he was a gnome illusionist from old edition two
Adventuring for years and years, what’s a gnome to do?
He settled down and he took for him a wife!
Where the whiskey was distilled and ale was brewed.
And he drank the whiskey down every day and every night,
Singing at the tavern til the early morning light,
He stumbled home at dawn and he gave his wife a fright,
Casting random spells from off his list!
A Glamour Audible and a Force Phantasmal,
Blurry Mirror Images, he drove her up the wall,
And he always had a little flask of whiskey in his fist,
The Drunken Gnome Illusionist!
One day when he went out, he heard the people shout,
The brewery’s destroyed, there’ll be no more ale or stout,
and also the distillery where all the whiskey’s made!
The gnome illusionist began to pout.
“If ever find the beast that took me whiskey drink,
I’ll find him, I’ll fight, for he’s pushed me to the brink!
His wife she laughed and said, “No more drunken gnome parades!
“Now you’ll be a sober gnome I think!”
“No I won’t!” Says he, as he searched and he sought!
Dusting off old spellbooks that all but time forgot,
Realized that he was higher level than he thought!
Recalling all the spells he had dismissed!
Improved invisibility and monsters shadowy,
Permanent and powerful Illusions, vacancy,
And he studied with a little flask of whiskey in his fist!
The Drunken gnome illusionist!
He followed forth the trail of every broken brewery wagon,
Met some whiskey dealers who were standin’ and a braggin’,
they said they saw what broke their whiskey still the other night!
“Tis no lie, we tell ya, it’s a dragon!”
“Was it black, was it red, was it green or white or blue?”
“We couldn’t really tell, but it took a cask or two!
“It’s living in a cave down by the river out of sight!
“What’s a drunken gnome like you a gonna do?”
The drunken gnome illusionist headed to the cave,
And found some dead adventurers who tried to be so brave,
Their torn and mangled bodies lay upon an open grave,
A slaughter that would marvel even Drizzt!
For their swords and their shields and their armor was the best,
Their wizard had a fireball and telekinesis,
But no one had a little flask of whiskey in their fist,
like the Drunken Gnome Illusionist!
The Drunken Gnome Illusionist had almost sobered up,
He held his flask of whiskey and he toasted “Bottoms up!”
Then he heard a voice from high above him sadly ask,
“Would you like to share, I’ve got a cup!”
The dragon wasn’t blue or black or red or green or white,
Silver, copper, bronze, or brass or gold as morning light,
Twas an amber colored dragon, just like whiskey from a flask,
“I’d rather share a drink than have a fight!”
The Whiskey Dragon smiled as they shared a drink or two,
The Drunken Gnome Illusionist he knew just what to do!
With Permanent Illusions made the Dragon’s Lair anew!
Fulfilled the Whiskey Dragon’s lifelong wish!
Now the cavern was a cavern, where the whiskey ere would flow,
The dragon had a flagon and the town would always know,
He’d saved them with a little flask of whiskey in his fist,
the Drunken Gnome Illusionist!
And that pretty much wraps up the evening!
The next day you can go and take care of your two errands. The girls want to go to the Silver Consortium, the guys to the tower of Sir Ingish Blackhand. Thorgrim puts everything in the portable hole, and you head off to the Tower of Sir Ingish. Ingish Blackhand was once a wealthy merchant. He has since (semi) retired and given most of his title/land/wealth to his children in Greyhawk city. This is the family holding in the city. The tower is 4 stories tall with a peaked roof. The top 3 floors are devoted to storage and living quarters. The ground floor is open to the commercial market district and has a small, but eccentric shop of rare magic items for sale here. [I almost NEVER let players buy magic, except for potions.]
Although Sir Ingish Blackhand has retired from the merchant business, he is still a respected part of that community. Indeed, most merchants come to Ingish when a rare or monumental find has been discovered. He is still a member of the city senate, but usually restricts his comments for issues of great archeological or historic significance. Sir Blackhand leaves much of the day-to-day affairs of running his shop to his half-elven wife Citheranal. She will only bother her husband for extremely important items/matters.
The bottom floor shop is alive with all manner of spell components. Everything from live crickets to rare plants and animals are scattered around the shop. Cages holding winged creatures hang from the roof, while jars of various monster parts line the shelves. A huge, stuffed owlbear dominates one corner of the shop. This crowded shop has almost every spell component (the only exceptions are gems/jewels/or precious metals over 100gp in value).
Thorgrim scratches his head, "Heh, the girls would have loved this!"
A good-looking half-elven woman glides over to you, "Ah, the great heroes. Please, let me fetch my husband." She disappears through the rear door, and a few minutes later she reappears, with Sir Ingish close behind.
"Ah, my friends," he says. "Please, come this way." He waves his hands, "This is my wife's shop, but I, I deal in more...manly pursuits." He then brings you through the rear of the store, and up to the second floor. The entire floor is a large practice area, with racks of weapons of various styles along the wall.
Sir Ingish goes to the side wall where there is a large vault, and whispers something to it. You hear a series of gears whirr and then a door cracks open.
"Please," he says, wait here. He then comes back a moment later with a huge maul, even bigger than the one Taki was using. "This is Crusher," he says, or at least that's what the dumb giant we took it from years ago called it. "Never met anyone who could use it, but I dare say you'll do," he says, handing the maul to Taki. "Besides, the Viscount wills it, so it is so."
"Now, may I see the spear?" he asks. When Taki hands him the spear, he wonders at the ancient craftsmanship.
"Bakluni," he says, "perhaps from before the Great Migrations. It is certainly exquisite."
He takes the spear and puts it through a series of tests, moving with a grace you didn't expect. When he is done, he nods, accepting the trade.
You produce the other items you've brought, and Sir Ingish takes an instant liking to the Shield, bearing as it does the flaming eye symbol of the Temple of Elemental Evil. Berenn mentions his desire for a magic longsword, and Sir Ingash replies that he does, indeed, have such a weapon. He disappears into his vault, and comes back with a magic longsword of Keoish design.
"This is Foulcutter," the blade of which glows blue when undead are near. [It is +1, +2 vs. Undead.] He will gladly trade you.
Thorgrim talks Taki into keeping the magical field plate; he will carry it in his portable hole. "You never know when you need a spare, and that is some fine armor, boy," he says. "Take me word for it, you don't want to give it away."
The girls and Vestron (who is kinda like a girl) head over to the Silver Consortium, in the corner between the Conservatory of Lirr and the Academy of Farsight. You pass a nice corner tavern, the College Lane, and Elrae thinks, "We should really check that place out when we're done."
Vestron will also join the Silver Consortium, as is his right. Hopefully, he will be given a position of high renown that befits his station.
The Silver Consortium is a major centre of magical study and the site of Verbobonc's extensive library of the occult and arcane. The city's mages guild takes its name from this place as well. Its members are apothecaries, alchemists, diviners, scholars, and other spellcasters. Security is fairly high at the consortium. No one is permitted into the building (beyond the reception area) without permission.
You enter the Silver Consortium, and you find that you are well-known to the young male receptionist. "Oh, we have been studying you for some time," he says. "Please, may I see your letters of introduction?"
You hand over your letters from Burne, and then receptionist casts a spell. Isilme recognizes it as Message. From the next room enters another young man, about the same age. "You are here for spellbooks. Follow me." He then proceeds through another exit, and Hepla, Isilme, Vestron, and Elrae follow. "And don't touch anything."
Initially, the building seems chaos of libraries, classrooms and meeting halls, along with numerous illusions, and magical transportation between some rooms. Students flying between classes, magical constructs walking around, and books floating along hallways can make this a very confusing place. But students here are faced with a very regimented routine. Rules are strictly enforced, and all of the staff seems to have a ‘stuffy’ feel of ‘elitism’. You get the feeling they really are not too enthusiastic about helping you.
The Consortium has many different libraries. Each one with different entrance requirements and security. All of these libraries offer similar services: attendants are available (for 5gp/hour) to read for the illiterate. Scribes are available to copy (none-magic) materials (for 5gp/page or 30gp/map). Researchers are available to find specific information (30gp/subject – more if a high degree of detail is needed).
The Consortium hosts a ‘public’ library. Entrance is not restricted, but will cost 5gp per day. This public library contains books on most common subjects (non-magical). Most knowledge skills, regional history, maps, political info, alchemist formulas, herbs, etc can be studied here.
The next section of library is the ‘Occult’. This section is also not restricted, but permanent wards are placed to detect ‘evil’ upon entrance. Any evil person is immediately turned away and reported to the authorities. Cost is 10gp/day. This section has all manner of books on most occult subjects, including demon lore, extra-planer creatures, evil cults, evil gods, necromantic arcane rituals, etc. Note: no copies of any information are allowed to be removed from this library section.
The final public section of the library is the ‘Magic’ area. Again, this section is not restricted, but security is high. Magic detection spells are present, and no magic items are allowed in, or out of the area (the libraries magic books are detected and cannot leave the chamber). Cost to enter is 10gp/day. All arcane spells of 1st level are here to study, except any spells from the necromantic school. All the materials to copy spells are available here (at PHB list price).
All other services are for members of the Consortium only and are thus restricted. You are brought to a room off the libraries which is full of various spell books, all empty. There are many different types and styles, and you can pick and choose what you want.
Isilme is excited and happy to finally be amongst the famous mages of the Silver Consortium. Once the business of buying books is completed, she will ask the young mage whom she needs to speak with on a number of matters, like spell research, hiring a sage, etc.
Elrae looks at all of those who are trying to join the Silver Consortium and wonders why would anyone go through so much trouble to be around such boring people. The call for adventure and fame is what drives him.
Hepla answers, her mind swimming at the possiblities,"Access to all that knowedge they have as well as the chance to join a group known to do a lot of good."
"They just sound a bit elitist to me. Then again I am not a mage, my magic comes from music and song. After seeing what I've seen I doubt there is much I could learn from a dusty old library. There is more to learn down at the College Lane, that I can assure you."
"Your magic is indeed wonderful," she says, "and has saved us many times. But I can't sing like you do and must learn from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and from the experiences of the practice of magic. I will see you on College Lane after the test and enjoy a good song with you."
He then leaves and wanders back to the College Lane for a pint!
Hepla, Vestron, and Isilme all pay dues for membership into the Silver Consortium. They then buy new spellbooks, items for research and study, and even pay for a few minor spells which were lacking. They also sell off a few items, or more appropriately trade them, for a discount. Once they are finished, they leave and move on to other things.
You also have another meeting with His Grace, Cornelius Arx. He provides an even better solution to the problem of the Temple items: consecration. The items, assuming they are not of a "magical" nature, can simply be "cleansed" of whatever taint has been laid upon them by their use in evil rituals as well as any "desecration" placed upon them by evil priests themselves.
You bring the items of the temple to the Cathedral, and in a room off the main chapel, you find a magical circle inscribed on the floor in a beautiful mosaic pattern.
Cornelius Arx is there, and accompanied by another 20 priests. Some have the clear look of warriors as well, and you assume they are likely Avengers of Trithereon, holy knights of a sacred order. You are directed to place the temple items in the center of the circle, and you do so. Elrae seems a bit unhappy to part with his old Earth Temple robe, but a little prodding and he produces it. Once everything is there, the priests begin a long and boring chant. You don't see anything, but it feels like the air gets a bit thicker. Their chant eventually reaches a climax, and there is a very subtle thrum as you all feel a wave of force extend outwards from the circle. Then the priests inspect the items, and His Grace declares them free of any taint.
"Use them, sell them," he says, picking up a crystal dagger and looking at it. "They are now just things, bereft of any alignment or aura. Do with them as you will." He then tosses the dagger back to Isilme, who snatches it out of midair, twirls it around a few times, then slips it into her belt with a grin.
You take all the items back, and put them in the chest, for return to Hommlet. Then Isilme spends the rest of the day in consultation with the High Priest and a couple other priests, expounding on her knowledge of Eillistrae. Isilme asks the high priest if he has maybe two regular books that she could pen what she knows of Ellistrae and the early history of the elves. Also, an exact accounting of their adventures in the temple of elemental evil to add to their histories. She would like very much other temples of his kind to have this knowledge and perhaps offer refuge and kindness to her and other drow that would flee Lolth. She would spend more time with him once her errands are done.
When the ceremony is finished Hepla walks to the Crystal Bowl(1000gp) touches it very carefully then picks it up and walks to Cornelius Arx and says, "Surly your temple could use this in some of you ceremonies." and hands it to him. "Thank you."
He thanks you. "The Temple of Elemental Evil has long plagued this region, and this church. We shall display it as a symbol of its defeat, and the ultimate and sure victory of Good over Evil."
Taki returns to the weaponsmith he passed in the evening, in search of a crossbow. He would really like a quad such as Elrae used. Gotrek goes with him, and when the weaponsmith is confused, he heads off and finds Elrae. With Elrae's and Gotrek's help, you can discuss it with the weaponsmith. However, it'll take over a month to make. If you want it, pony up the money. Right now it's the cost of 4 heavy crossbows as a deposit. I'll give you the full cost later.
Elrae will do whatever it takes to get Taki that quad bow. He can accurately describe the one that he fired on more than one occasion in great detail and draws what it looked like. He'll even put down the deposit.
With the information from Elrae, the weaponsmith is pretty sure he can come up with something, and promises to have a prototype ready at the end of the month. They then meet back up with the others. Berenn and Isilme put the word out for laborers, carpenters, masons, etc., to assist in the rebuilding of the moathouse, which Berenn officially renames Warden's Station. Isilme seeks workers for a temple in Hommlet, though she first attempts to find people to take work at the Spider Farm. That is harder, but she gets the word out nonetheless.
When Hepla learns that no workers for the spiderfarm are found she heads around to various temples and asks to talk to the orphan children who are old enough to leave on their own. She will tell them of this opportunity to leave the orphanage and, perhaps, get a good job working with the spiders. They do not have any experience but if they work hard might get a permanent job in an honest profession. She is able to find a half-dozen who are more than happy to leave and join her.
With everyone done with their particular interests, for now, it is time to return to Hommlet. You get your mounts, and set off for the return trip. Gotrek is riding a large wagon that he bought, loaded with barrels. "Needs me something good to drink," is all he says.
You stop at the Spider Farm on the way, and there tell Heri that you put the word out for workers. However, with the coming of winter, and the nature of her farm, it didn't go too well. Still, there are going to be refugees from Nulb, as Isilme mentioned last time, and you will send some her way if they are willing. Hepla also introduces the six orphans, whom Heri is more than please to take in.
Berenn has ordered various items for Warder's Station, but they will not be ready for a while. When they are, a caravan will bring the equipment he needs to Hommlet.
The next day you leave early and return to Hommlet. You find that things are returning to normal now. It seems the troops are starting to disperse, with the various lords taking their forces back to their own lands. The gnomes have returned to the Greenway Valley, and the Viscount's personal forces have marched home through Canyonford. Only the Mounted Borderers and the elves have continued to harry the last humanoids.
It started snowing on the day you leave Verbobonc, and the snow continues off and on for your entire trip. By the time you reach Verbobonc it has gotten quite cold and there is about half-foot of snow on the ground. Travel was tough by the end of the journey, and you are very happy to get back to the inn. Elrae visits Maia and gives her the ring of warmth. "May this keep you and our love child warm during the upcoming winter." He gently kisses her on the lips and then on her protruding belly. "I was thinking, we should get married on the Winter solstice, Needfest."
In Hommlet there is a large camp of refugees, at least a few hundred, huddled in a camp just outside of town, near the Church of St. Cuthbert. Taki will buy or ask the loan of an axe and go cut a few cords of wood for the refugees. Thorgrim goes with him, and in fact offers to bring those who wish to the moathouse. There they can be sheltered and fed, and can also assist in the cleanup of the place. About 1/2 the people agree, especially after Berenn offers them a permanent place there.
Taki tells them about a chance for a job at the spider farm, and about half-dozen agree to give that a shot. They plan to leave as soon as the weather permits. Isilme and Hepla travel with them, using magic to aid their journey.
While studying Senshock's spellbooks, Isilme stumbles upon a couple of pages that are apparently stuck together. Working carefully, she is able to separate them, and between them she finds a folded piece of paper. When she unfolds it, this is what she finds:
When she shows the others, Gotrek grunts. And perhaps he is smiling under his tangled beard..........
Elrae looks a bit excited as he reads:
The horn of Iggwilv,
Pierces the heart--
Look over your shoulder,
Before you start.
How many sorrow?
Because the didn't
turn back then.
"Not really the best poetry," he says. "Perhaps we should investigate the meaning of the Horn of Iggwilv?"
Gotrek pulls him by the ear. "Ye are getting married first. Now stop dawdling!"
Over the next few weeks, the party arranges the marriage of Elrae. They use Isilme's mirror to transport his parents from Woodstock, and the entire town turns out for the event. Isilme and Hepla continue their studies, and Isilme travels back to Verbobonc a few times using her mirror, to speak with Betham the Sage. She hires him to study various magical questions, such as knowledge of Leomund's spells, Wild Magic, and familiars.
Berenn decides that the outside repairs will have to wait until Spring. In the meantime, they can attend to the inside upper level and lower level making it warm and hospitable. I also want to be sure the one tower is fixed up as much as possible for Guhk and Petri. Berenn will also finish up teaching Ra and Thoth attack, fly and stay. He also succeeds in getting Elmo to take up a post at Warden's Station, in essence becoming his second. He will also start instructing Elmo on riding Thoth, as weather permits. Elmo doesn't exactly take to flying.
Over the next few weeks, Isilme is busy gaining all that information I posted in the new thread. Elrae is busy increasing his charisma (after which the Tome disappears) and the mages are all busy with their spells. It has continued to snow off and on, and there is pretty much no travel on the roads.
It is soon time for the Marriage of Elrae. The day of the wedding as arrived, and finally the storm breaks. It seems like it's been snowing for two weeks straight! The sun finally breaks through, and though it is still cold, everyone goes outside and enjoys a brief stand in the warm rays. When someone mentions the lucky break in the weather, Jaroo just smiles, as if he knows something you don't.
The wedding takes place at the Church of St. Cuthbert, presided over by the Canoness Y'Dey. It seems the entire village is in attendance, and all goes well. Elrae ends up married, and the party moves to the Inn of the Welcome Wench. Ostler and his wife throw a huge party, and all the town's notables show up.
Gotrek opens a barrel of gutshaker. "Let's see you humans handle this concoction!"
Thorgrim offers up a necklace to Maia, made from the last few gems he had. It's worth about 1000gp. It is infused with the blessings of Berronar, and will ensure a healthy birth.
Jaroo and Sal gift Elrae with a couple of seeds for him to plant the day the baby comes. They are in small pouches which radiate a dim magic when he later checks.
Isilme secretly has a circlet of Platinum and gems fashioned in Verbobonc by gnome gemcutters, and offers that to Maia and a small ring to Elrae.
Taki provides two milk cows, which are very welcome. Maia gives him a kiss which turns his face red. " The milk will be good for the expectant mother and will supplement the babe as needed. It is a very thoughtful and practical gift. Thank you."
Berenn gives Elrae's wife a Small Silver Box worth 75gp with a Gold Ring with Large Pearl worth 550gp inside.
Vestron will pay for an elven tutor for the child when it is old enough to learn.
Noot gives Elrae a set of engraved pipes so he can play lullabyes.
"Very thoughtful Noot," says Elrae, playing a quick tune. "Thank you."
Finally, Hepla suggests that the couple open the small medicine chest in their room, in it they find beakers of herbal medicins for baby illnesses, natural painkillers for mom to have a painless birth and four beakes of different colored oils for when the couple is alone. Instructions are on each bottle with the last four saying simply, "For external use only, you figure it out."
Elrae looks at the oils and winks at Maia. "Thank you fair Hepla, you truly are a good witch. Very kind gifts that will help my wife tremendously." Elrae kisses Hepla on the forehead in gratitude.
Gotrek whispers to the newlyweds. "Check your bedroom out. I left you a little something in there." Unbeknownst to them, he was not working on armor in the smithy these last weeks. When Elrae and Maia check their room as Gotrek mentioned and find a remarkable, specially crafted bassinet therein. It is made of mahogany wood, with carvings of harps, flutes, etc. It also has a small mobile hanging off of the top of the crib. This will be constructed of metal, and will have figures of various animals. Some of the spider silk from the spider farm has been used to help dangle the figurines, while small blankets within are made of the same material. You also notice a small key, which when you turn it allows the animals to turn much like a carousal.
Tears well up in Elrae's eyes and he hugs his beautiful wife. They then retire for the night, and the rest of the party (and many of the townsfolk) spend the night in drunken revelry!
Cast of Characters:
Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
Elrae: Human Bard
Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
Noot: Human Thief
Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
Vestron Orcburner: Elven Fighter/Mage
In the morning, Isilme plans a visit to the castle where they delivered Prince Thrommel, asking Elmo or maybe the high priest in Verbobonc to go with her. She wishes to check up on his progress, and will offer some of her wine of eternity if they think they can make an antidote utilizing the original.
In a nutshell, High Priest Cornelius Arx tells her that he is not really too welcome in Furyondy, so he will not go with her. You learn that Prince Thrommel was a paladin of Heironeous and that he switched to Trithereon just before the battle of Emridy Meadows. Ever since, the faith of Trithereon, and Cornelius himself, are not too well received in Furyondy. As for Elmo, he doesn't know anything of the king of Furyondy. It was Rufus who showed the way to the castle. He won't "drop in" on the king either. Nobody has heard anything about the Prince, so that must be the King's choice. He won't interfere.
Isilme decides to go on her own. However, Jordan, bannerman to Sir Rufus, is sent with her. As a paladin of Heironeous himself, Rufus figured he would be useful in seeing she isn't killed on sight!
Isilme scries the city with her mirror, and steps through, investigating the city in person. Chendl was a planned city, a capital built to specifications, intended to replace Dyvers as first city of the kingdom, it was strongly walled, with beautiful buildings. Canals crossed the city, along which gondola-like vessels languidly conveyed peacock nobility. It boasted hanging gardens, broad boulevards and a wondrous palace. Chendl had a claim to be the most delightful city in all the Flanaess.
[I did lose some posts, but the Side Treks thread has the rest of this. Isilme and Jordan spent some time investigating the city, and then decided to go to the castle.]
You quickly find out that only those with a pass are allowed in the inner palace, and you, most certainly, do not have one. You are surrounded by a group of guards, and when one yanks off Isilme's hood, they gasp and draw back. When some make to attack, a voice behind them says, "Hold!"
This gentleman reminds you of a loyal dog. He has round brown eyes that are like two splotches of mud. His thick, curly, charcoal-colored hair is worn in a style that reminds you of a rocky outcropping. He is very short and has a broad-shouldered build. His skin is light-colored. He has a crooked nose and large hands. His wardrobe is dignified, with a lot of grey. He has the symbol of Heironeous, a silver lightning bolt in a clenched fist, emblazoned on his tunic.
"General Bemedior, sir," stammers one of the guards. "We found these two without passes, and she's, well, she's a dark elf." That last is almost hissed, but the general stops any further argument.
"And how many drow walk in the company of a Paladin of Heironeous," he says, without even a hint of a question. "Only one that I ever heard of...." His voice trails off, then he tells them to begone and swears them to silence. "I shall handle this."
He then tells you that he knows who you are, and to follow him. "But perhaps," he adds with a smile towards Isilme, "you should put your hood up."
You are then brought back to the palace. It is truly a majestic building of gold-veined white marble, fluted columns, and even a glassteel dome covering the exotic garden. The latter you almost missed when you walked outside as it is polished clear daily.
Atop each of the walls are tall spikes whose edges gleamed in the sun. All of the palace windows are barred, and each entrance is guarded by four of the King's House Regiment. They simply salute General Bemedior as he leads you straight through the palace. You are whisked past many of the minor functionaries and deposited in an anteroom to await their audience with the King.
Jordan pointed over to the wall, where a plush carpet led up to two chambered doors. Those doors began to swing open and the general stood there, motioning you forward. You are led into the august presence of his pious majesty, King Belvor IV.
The king was a tall man of regal appearance, with short light brown hair, blue green eyes and a prominent jaw. To his right, stands another man, about the same age, shorter, but stouter. Both wear the tunics of Heironeous, and as you bow, you are introduced.
"Your majesty," says General Bemedior, "may I present Jordan Dawnbringer, squire to Sir Rufus of Verbobonc, and Mistress Isilme of Hommlet."
Jordan reaches out his hand, with a rolled up scroll. "Reports from Sir Rufus, Your Majesty," he says without looking up.
Belvor asks you to rise, as he waves to the general to take the report. "I met Rufus once in Verbobonc. You hail from there?"
"From Penwick, your majesty," replies Jordan. "My father, Kendric..."
"Your father was Kendric?" replies the king's companion incredulously. "We traveled together years ago, decades in fact, when I was young. He was strong of faith, though poor of purse. "I heard he acquitted himself well at Emridy Meadows and won himself a title and pension. Good for him. So, you are his son, eh?"
Jordan squirms a bit as the king eyes him, then nods.
"Yes, Garaeth, I remember the stories," and the king chuckled slightly.
The name Garaeth strikes a chord, and you realize the man next to the king must be none other than Garaeth Heldenster, High Priest of Heironeous.
"You have great boots to fill," says Garaeth, "but if you are half the man your father is, you shall do him, and Heironeous, proud."
The king then nods, "Hail and well met, from one warrior to another."
The King then looks over at Isilme, kneeling and still cloaked. "And you," he says. "I hear you are one of those who found my son?"
"Yes Your Majesty," she replies humbly. "I am of the group that saved your son and helped defeat the forces of Iuz and Zuggtomoy at the temple of elemental of evil - to its ultimate destruction. I am not a paladin, but a bladesinger and any who would aid in the fight against evil and those who do evil to the elves I count amongst my allies."
She remains kneeling, as she continues. "Your son was lost in the battle against this evil.
It has disturbed me that your son was found in that condition and that we had not the power to resolve it. I came not ask any favor or boon your majesty, but simply to offer my aid. I know as a king, you have far greater assets at your disposal than a simple elf. But I thought I had something which might aid you in bringing your son back.
In the temple I found a vial of the legendary Wine of Eternity, said to place everlasting sleep on any who might drink even a single drop. Only the elves are immune to it, and it is said that only the most powerfull of spells - the legendary "wish" - will bring them back. I know not if this is true, but perhaps with the source at your disposal an antidote can be found."
"But I would not deceive you good king," she adds. "As a follower of Ellistrae, the only goddess of good and a rarity amongst my people, I would have you know who and what I am before you accept this gift." She stays kneeling and lowers her hood revealing her dark elf features. In an outstretched hand, she offers up the half-vial of wine of eternity she prepared for this trip to offer the king.
The king's eyes widen, not so much in surprise, as he clearly knew of you, but in simple amazement at finally seeing a dark elf. He glances at Garaeth, who also has an incredulous, though not surprised or threatened look, and then the king smiles. Garaeth nods, and the king then laughs loudly.
"Oh, if my men had half of your courage," he says wistfully. "We'd kick the Old One back to the Abyss in a fortnight! We have been well informed of you by Rufus, and glad I am to see the tales were not exaggerated."
He reaches down and takes the Wine of Eternity from you, looking at it strangely before handing it to Garaeth. "'Tis a great gift you have given me, to bring back my son from the clutches of villains, foul as the deepest pits of the Abyss. Now you add to such with this," and he waves a hand towards the vial. "You shall ever be awarded respite here, if not in my lands, then within these walls. I hear you have means of secret travel, and though such things worry many a ruler," and he leans forward, locking gazes, "you I do not fear."
He leans back, and then orders General Bemedior to show you his private study, that you may travel there if ever in a time of great need. "I ask only that you reveal yourself to my guards immediately, that no alarm be raised unnecessarily.
He then reaches out, and Garaeth hands him something that even your keen eyes don't catch, except for a flash of gold. You start to say that you desire no reward, but he silences you as he stands, asking you to do the same. He then steps forward and pins upon your chest a golden broach, emblazoned with the arms of Furyondy. Only then do you notice that Garaeth also wears a like decoration.
"Tis the Golden Arms of Furyondy," says the king. "Given only to those who have saved the life of the king. In this case, the future king. Wear it proudly, and with honor."
Isilme bows back, "You honor me with a place of protection within your household and even the Golden Arms of Furyondy! I shall wear it with pride. Thank you your majesty.
I wished only to see your son on the field of battle once more, for there is yet great evil in the world to be defeated. Should I find anything else that may aid your house I shall bring it to the attention of your worthy general."
Isilme then departs, relieved she wasn't slaughtered by a household of paladins and clerics!
When she returns to Hommlet she turns to Jordan " I want to thank you for coming with me. You showed great bravery in the face of the household guards, never loosing your presence of mind. I have no doubt you will someday become a great warrior. I have a strong and battle ready medium warhorse at the inn at Hommlet I would like it very much if you should take him and use him as he was intended...I doubt he will see the honor of battle he deserves owned by a mage. I shall leave a small stipend behind to ensure he stays well fed while you work your way up the ranks.
she winks then vanishes.....
Isilme will spending time finishing her studies in Verbobonc. She will also commission an artist to draw up the arms of the order of the cat for Hepla: a Full Moon of Pale Blue with a pouncing Midnight Black Cat with bright Emerald eyes. She will also commission two silver broach with a full moon made of powdered moonstone and an onyx cat with an emerald chips for an eyes. She will register both as the arms and symbol of the order of the cat with the court. Before she re-joins the party she will check on the status of quad crossbow and the spider silk clothing for Herself and Hepla. None are ready.
She also checks in on Betham the Sage, whom she hired to research a few projects.
Betham was also set to work looking for information on the object of Gotrek's quest, Giant Goreblade. He manages to pass the information on to Isilme while she is in town researching the Horn of Iggwilv, based on the map they had discovered.
[I guess a note about Gotrek's history is warranted. This is from his character history, what little Gotrek himself knows.
"Fifteen years after first discovering my past from the envious dwarf Gunther, the Dwarven God of War, Clangeddin Silverbeard, visited me in a dream. He told me I was one of his chosen few, a Battle Rager. He told me my goal of killing giants was good. Great, in fact. But he also told me not to forget about the other evils that plagued the world:the titans, the drow, the goblins, and on and on.
He then told me one more thing. In my path of self destruction, it would lead me to a great weapon. A great two handed battleaxe. Made of mithral, and laced with gold. Magically enhanced as well. It had numerous magical properties, but one in particular justified its name. Giant Goreblade. The Bane of Giants. Goreblade for short. Silverbeard told me once I found the blade, the answers to my past would be known as well. So now, I quest. And as I quest, I kill. If I die before finding Goreblade, so be it. My axe is plenty gory as it now stands, anyway.
That dream was five years ago. Ever since then, my fighting prowess has increased. During battle, I feel no pain. I kill all, with greater strength and determination than would seem possible. I am truly blessed by my God. Now, in search of answers, I must go where all dwarves hate. A city full of stinking men. I go now towards the Viscounty of Verbobonc. I heard whispers of the axe passing thru this way a little while back. I hope these humans don't piss me off. All I want to do is destroy the scum of the earth. Men, for the most part, have not made that list yet."]
So, after talking with the Viscount, Isilme set the sage Betham to work researching this Giant Goreblade. He was able to discover the name of the last known possessor of the weapon, a dwarven mercenary named Kilkrak Bloodjudge. His last known whereabouts was in the Wild Coast where he was working as a mercenary captain for a band of rogue dwarves, the Deldukr, dwarven for Steel Wall. Kilkrak Bloodjudge is a Sundered Dwarf from the Pomarj region. The story he pieced together is that his clan was largely wiped out when the Drachenscrag Mountains were overrun by humanoids during the Hateful Wars.
In 498 CY, the Hateful Wars began as an alliance between Celene and the Ulek States, who sought to drive the orcs, goblins, and other evil humanoids from Lortmil Mountains. The Prince of Ulek invited the former barons of the Pomarj to join the alliance, but the lords of the Pomarj refused, fearing reabsorption into the Principality and seeing little reason to involve themselves in what they viewed as chiefly a conflict between non-humans. By 510 CY, the Hateful Wars were over, but this conflict would have great repercussions for the Pomarj. In 513 CY, hordes of surviving orcs, goblins, and other evil creatures from the Lortmils, having few places to hide from their elven and dwarven foes, fled to the Pomarj, emerging from the Suss and falling upon Highport in a destructive rage. In a matter of months, all of the other former baronies fell to the humanoid invaders. Over the next few decades, the Pomarj became essentially a backwater filled with orcs, goblinoids, and other evil creatures, as well as a haven for human bandits, pirates, slavers, and other criminals. Various humanoid tribes carved out territories. Any good humans left lived as slaves, or else waged a losing guerrilla war against the invaders.
Kilrak is known as a bitter, vengeful, and thoroughly bloodthirsty type, who built quite a reputation as a mercenary. His band is made of other dwarves, most with similar stories, who hire out to any who can use, and pay for, their services. They served in many lands of the Flanaess, from the Shield Lands to the Great Kingdom, and currently are in the Wild Coast where they sell their services to the various lords of those fiercely independent and dangerous city states.
Isilme brings this info back, and Gotrek is all excited to head off immediately for the Wild Coast.
Elrae's been enjoying his bride. After awhile the thought of adventure grows as big as his wife's belly. He's ready to venture forth and bring some treasure back for the family. "Shall we get Gotrek his axe?"
The party meets at the inn that night, and discusses their options. Typical for him, Gotrek simply says, "I'm off tomorrow fer me axe. You can come or not, as you will."
The party chooses to go with Gotrek and help him retrieve this legendary axe from his visions. They will leave in the morning. Isilme still has a few weeks of magical study to do, but since it will take that long to reach the Wild Coast anyway, she tells them to leave without her. "I'll catch up with my mirror."
The party splits up, each heading off to their homes to gather their belongings and prepare, then settle in for one last easy night's rest. They will set off for the Wild Coast in the morning, and for Gotrek, a date with Destiny.
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