Sunday, November 23, 2014

(Shadows of Waterdeep) The Package

From the desk of Maskar Wands

Seventh day Winter 1370

In the wake of the godsfall many religions underwent various periods of restructuring as many deities had their ethos changed, some names were new gods, while some gods no longer existed. Tymora was one of those divine powers changed by the evenst of the time of troubles. Championed by Heilean Eather, the Luck Rider gathered her god’s essence from across the north and ascended in Tymora’s name taking divine power away from Waukeen, the Merchant’s Friend in the process.

Torn apart from the inside Waukeen’s church, crumbled in the years that followed thereby allowing Tymora to assume the title as Lady of Fortunes and Wealth. Within six years the Cassalanter’s, who once revered Waukeen, fully rejected Merchant’s Friend in favor of Tymora. Houses like the Cragsmere’s, who already revered Tymora, rejoiced and set about building a stronger church. But it has not been easy because many individuals still blame the Cassalanter’s for the near ruin they caused twelve years ago.

What Smendric has come across however is a plot to further discredit the Cassalanter house; the encounter with the assault on Gloriana Cassalanter during the Parade of Maidens; and the murder of Lydda Artemel, who was also a cleric of Tymora.

It was all connected somehow.


“Smendric! Take the package and go! It will give you time.” Bryan told Smendric motioning as he did.

Behind Bryan Kormallis, silhouetted against the wintery grey sky, a drow elf stood speaking in a strange language Smendric did not understand. To Smendric it was the pall certain death by necromantic magic, but when the two locked eyes the drow seemed to smile, it was not the malevolent face Smendric imagined but stern but with a hint of recognition.

The drow mage gestured and released a wave of soundless magical energy toppling several wagons and carts along the street, Bryan was able to tumble away unharmed but many of the drow’s thugs were unavoidably upended. The advantage created an opening for Wykkar and Greywolf to enter the fray working as a team against the remaining thugs. 


The Jade Sea was just making berth when Bryan, Wykkar, Greywolf, and Smendric arrived to the Dock Ward. The night was cold each of them wearing matching black suits; the air whipped up from the harbor and up the streets carrying with it the smell of salt water. Bryan gave a signal to the Wykkar and Greywolf who split out checking the perimeter before taking possession of the package.

“What’s in the package?” Smendric asked once they were alone.

“Rule number one, I don’t ask what’s in the package.” Bryan said with a mischievous grin.

“Horse-shit,” Smendric replied whispering, sensing the exchange was at hand.

Keeping his wits about him Smendric put on Vicarzo’s magical spectacles; he could see Greywolf far ahead along their planned route but did not see Wykkar. At the Jade Sea three individuals were standing on the prow, one flashed a light twice.

“That’s it,” Bryan said. “Let us go and be quick.”

Making their way through the darkness the master and apprentice moved to the Jade Sea; the package was not a package at all but an old man, highborn by Smendric’s estimation. The gentleman was distinguished and well bred, he spoke intelligently and seemed naturally anxious.

“Well met, I am Caladorn Cassalanter.” The highborn man said.

Smendric was about to introduce himself, something he was always perfecting. “I….”

“No names.” Bryan interjected.

“Very well,” Caladorn said. “What is the plan?”


Shouts of outrage erupted from the prone thugs who were slow to get up. The plan was to secretly escort Caladorn to the Artemel villa in the Sea Ward, if things got rough then Smendric was along to read a teleport scroll. Smendric had the best change at successfully casting the scroll’s magic but even success comes with a risk of a wild magic surge. So the scroll of teleport was a last resort.

But now with an ambush crashing down around him, Smendric weighed his options. He could not use his magical boots, Caladorn was too heavy to carry; nor did Smendric want to use the scroll, he had other plans for that.

Swords and magic clashed behind Smendric as he considered. “We need to get off the street,” Smendric told Caladorn. With all other options seemingly gone Smendric suddenly remembered the tunnels and hoped the Iron Ring had forgotten them.


Bryan yielded to Smendric’s interrogation of Caladorn along their course; the boy’s incessant curiosity could not be helped it would seem.

“What makes you so special?” Smendric asked the old man, the ‘package.’

“Many years ago before you were born I turned my back on my family and set off with an adventuring company called the Blinkstone Companions. During such time my family brought disgrace upon itself and I never returned. I have since reconciled my differences with the leaders of my house, myself among them, I am here to certify titles for nineteen newly adopted Cassalanter family members.” Caladorn said proudly, the prodigal son returns.

“Adopted? Where did these nineteen come from?” Smendric asked. It was a question Bryan also wanted to know so he briefly brought their procession to a halt.

“Nineteen Artemel clerics and acolytes of Tymora” Caladorn said, and as he did men in hoods and 
knives emerged from the shadows.


Roguerun Alley runs up the interior of the westernmost city block on the north side of the Street of Glances. The alley ran north and split northwest and north east giving it a ‘Y’ formation. A famous inn, the House of the Flying Horse, once backed onto the alley. Before the godsfall the inn was used by smugglers as a clearinghouse for fencing stolen augmentation crystal and was ultimately destroyed during a dragon attack. A treasure of unclaimed smugglers loot is still said to lie hidden somewhere in tunnels under the alley under the ruined inn.

Smendric peered up Roguerun Alley, Caladorn in tow and saw that it was clear up to the ruins and the Y. Even the wind seemed to have forgotten about the alley because there was no discernable movement, as if time stood still. An explosion echoed a few blocks back reminding Smendric they were on the run. Focusing on his new spectacles Smendric could see Wykkar and Bryan chasing down one of the rival Iron Ring assassins who in-turn was pursuing them.

Caladorn could not see of course, but was nevertheless anxious to be on the move. Smendric quickly led them up the alley to the ruined inn, where he thought the hidden entrance to the smuggler tunnels was located. But the entrance was not immediately obvious.

A shadow fell across the alley way diming lanterns as well as the natural moonlight. Smendric looked up the northeast alley divide and saw the Grim Bishop grinning maniacally at the boy spell-caster and their target Caladorn.

“Morrandar,” Caladorn said with recognition. “the Grim Bishop.”

Smendric looked behind them and saw the evangelist, otherwise known as Randal Flagg, blocking their retreat. Beyond Flagg to the south the sounds of battle were beginning to recede. The battle is going the wrong way, Smendric thought, Bryan and the others were being diverted.

“Caladorn Cassalanter.” Flagg said apocalyptically. “I thought you were a coward being gone from your family and homeland for so long. Some thought you were dead, many for wished it.”

Morrandar soundlessly channeled a wave of negative energy, accentuating his compatriots commentary, draining both Smendric and Caladorn. The continuous impact waves sent Smendric to the ground but Caladorn stood strong.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you Flagg.” Caladorn said defiantly standing defensively over Smendric.

“And I’m sorry you had to come all this way to die.” Flag said.

From the ground Smendric saw the half-elf Greywolf come into view on the western roof-top, a bow in his hand. Greywolf pulled and knocked the arrow aiming at the Grim Bishop, then from behind Greywolf came the drow elf against the darkened sky.

Before Smendric could warn Greywolf, Morrandar let out a scream and closed the distance on Caladorn, around the evangelist magical iron gauntlets whirled and fisted about creating both a shield and a weapon. An arrow from the rooftop made a trail of blood across Flagg’s chest.

Flagg also charged, but not at Caladorn, at Smendric. Skeletons grew up instantly around Smendric clawing and ripping at him trapping him on the ground making his temper rise.

From behind Randal Flagg, Bryan Kormallis and Wykkar came around the alley entrance; each man was obviously badly injured from their earlier melee with the Iron Ring thugs. They came at Flagg, weapons bloodied weapons drawn.

A burst of violet radiance shot forth from the drow, who was now suddenly standing defensively over Smendric, scattering the skeletons in all directions. Smendric looked up into the drow’s lavender eyes as he silently held out his hand to help Smendric on his feet.

Morrandar continued to offer resistance and got the upper hand on Caladorn, but with the inclusion of the drow in the fray they were slowly gaining the upper hand.

Greywolf continued to fire deadly arrows down on the Grim Lord’s followers.

Morrandar looked at the drow incredulously. “You betrayer!” he said. “I will kill you for this…”

“Not unless I kill him first!” Cauldyth said now making a personal appearance for his deity. From the Inn’s hidden entrance stepped Cauldyth, his stout shape materialized like death itself. If you wanted something done right, he lamented, you had to do it yourself.

“Morrandar, Flagg, kill Caladorn already.” Cauldyth said, “I will kill Shar Auvryndar myself.”

*******

Shar helped Smendric on his feet; behind them Flagg battled Bryan one on one, and Wykkar and Caladorn flanked Morrandar but he held his own, and Greywolf was doing his best to make precision arrow shots.

Smendric looked to the drow confused understanding, he was not here to attack but to aid, the drow was Bryan’s spy and accomplice. Smendric let loose his most powerful spell; a red ray of dazzling energy struck Cauldyth between his eyes. The Iron Ring leader blinked his eyes attempting to correct his vision. To the left, Shar put up a wall of stone setting up Smendric for his next move.

In the distance of combat Smendric heard the gurgled screams of Wykkar as well as Caladorn Cassalanter’s battle cry, the old paladin was on the momentum; Greywolf, on the roof, was running short on arrows.

Smendic looked at the drow, Shar smiled and gave Smendric a ‘he’s all yours’ motion. Smendric smiled wryly and recalled his alchemy class and the day Teena Tarm saw the drow and the new ability he learned.

Smendric heard Cauldyth’s chanting from behind Shar’s wall of stone. The boy-alchemist reached into his gag jacket and started mixing urgents and volatile alchemical components, once completed Smendric wound up and threw the alchemical bomb not at Cauldyth but at the unstable ruins of the inn behind him. The explosion, made worse with the debris of the ruin, caused an avalanche of splintered wood and sharp stone burying the Iron Ring leader between Shar’s stone wall and the debris.

*******

In the end it was not as simple as Cauldyth would have it. The Shadow Thieves Bryan Kormallis and Risen Cult of Bane: Cauldyth. Wykkar, unfortunately fell to Flagg. Greywolf, killed the Grim Bishop and Randal Flagg the leaders of the Iron Ring in Waterdeep; while Smendric Wands and Shar Auvryndar together defeated (another) one of the

The next morning Smendric sat uneasily in the large padded chair; he did not know the last time he was called into his father’s office but it was usually never good. Smendric still had not rested since the events last night, being too excited for one and second his scrapes and wounds prevented him from being comfortable for too long.

Before long Maskar Wands entered his office with all the formality of a court room, he sat and considered his son for what seemed to Smendric, a long time.

“There is so much you know Smendric and yet there is so much you do not know.” His father stated. 

“Knowledge can be deadly and can lead to ruin. This is the dilemma I have lived with ever since you entered our lives, your mother and I.”

Smendric could not have been more unsettled, his father never spoke to him like this. The thought frightened him a little.

“In the wake of the godsfall,” Maskar began, reading from his texts, “many religions underwent various periods of restructuring as many deities had their ethos changed, some names were new gods, while some gods no longer existed.”

Now Smendric’s fright turned into excitement, the subject of the godsfall was largely avoided in the house and was never anything his father would mention on his own.

“I want to explain what’s been going on,” he produced a series of messages and scrolls. Some, Smendric recognized with Bryan’s script.

“With the adoption of new Tymoran clergy into the Cassalater household, both the Cassalanter’s and the Cragsmere’s have enough combined influence in the financial district to bleed out the Umbrusk house, the only other moneylender family in Waterdeep. Caladorn was a paladin of Tymora, his return legitimizes the Cassalanter family once and for all.”

“At the expense of an innocent.” A voice said from behind Smendric, it was Shar. He was of course referring to Lydda Artemel.

“Smendric, I believe you have met Shar at the Specularum.” Maskar said, obviously mistaken, returning to his stately demeanor. “He is writing a book about the Time of Toubles and… may have some answers for you.” Maskar said looking gravely at his adopted son. “Remember Smendric knowledge can lead to ruin.” 




(Shadows of Waterdeep) The Veiled Society IV

Cauldyth watched as Halam Umbrusk chopped various peppers from his garden, smiling. Inside the sterling kitchen a large cauldron hung over a nearby fire was a stew to which Halam added his vegetables.  The kitchen was uncomfortably warm, but the smells of meats and spices more than made up for the heat.

Over the past few days it was whispered in the Umbrusk house that Halam approved of Radu’s actions in killing Lydda Artemel, some also say he condemned the murder depending on who you spoke to in the house; either way Cauldyth noted with unease that Radu was smiling and looked as cocksure as ever. Cauldyth hoped that Chimak and Radu’s uselessness would leave Halam no choice but to turn to Cauldyth, now that notion seems to be at risk.

“So explain why you have called us here.” Cauldyth asked insistently, immediately taking control of the reunion. “I am a very busy man Halam.”
                                                                        
“I will get to you in due time Cauldyth,” Halam said pleasantly as whipped his hands, studying him. “First, I would like to talk about Radu.”

At the mention of his name, Radu’s smile wavered slightly, a subtle tell that encouraged Cauldyth’s own aspirations greatly.

“Radu, there was a murder a few nights ago. Did you anything know that?” Halam leaned forward scrutinizing his son.
“Yes father I am aware.” Radu said in an impressively even voice taking responsibility for his actions.

“Ah, you are aware. Indeed. I’m sure and did you think me a fool that I would not find out? It is only because you are my son do you sit here Radu!” Halam’s temper flared, “It is only because you are my son will you walk out of here today! You may have ruined our plans, both of you.” Halam said indicting both Chimak and Radu with a wave of his chopping knife, “Now I must fix your mistakes before years of planning coming to a stunning failure.”

Halam finally turned to Cauldyth, “What about you Cauldyth? Can you correct this before my both of my son’s deliver us to ruin?”


Cauldyth smiled outwardly, he thought this day would never come, “I believe I have a way.”

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Inheritance III



Your Breath Weapons are a number of D6 equal to half your HD/Level.  (previously mentioned).

+2 Ability Points to your lowest stat including luck.

Your previous +2 bonus on caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance increases to a +4 bonus


Undead Access: 
If Luck Score is a Negative modifier you may not access this inheritance. Note magical enhancements to your Luck Score can overcome this restriction.
As a standard action for non-spell-casters and a move action for spell-casters a player may dismiss their own Undead Access. 


2. Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms). AWW THANKS DAD!

3. Immunity to death effects, disease, paralysis, poison, sleep effects, and stunning.

4. Not subject to nonlethal damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Immune to damage to its physical ability scores (Constitution, Dexterity, and Strength), as well as to exhaustion and fatigue effects.

5. Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects or is harmless).

While under the effects of undead access the player also gains:
1.     No Constitution score. Players use their Charisma score in place of their Constitution score when calculating hit points, Fortitude saves, and any special ability that relies on Constitution (such as when calculating a breath weapon's DC).
2.     Not affected by raise dead and reincarnate spells or abilities. Resurrection and true resurrection can affect players. These spells turn restore you to your natural condition before Undead Access.

3.     At the end of the effects duration, the player must make a luck check DC = 10 + the number of rounds the undead access was in effect.  If the player passes there is no effect. If they fail a ge 1 Year and any remaining action dice are lost for the day. The player takes 1D4 Luck Damage that cannot be healed magically by anything short of an appropriate ninth level spell such as wish or miracle. This damage heals naturally, 1 pt/day. 

(Shadows of Waterdeep) The Assignment


From the desk of Maskar Wands
Fifth day Winter 1370

I often look back to the events taking place during Smendric’s birth. It was a time of troubles when the gods of magic perished leaving the weave unguarded and vulnerable. Waterdeep was at war with Luskan; The Order of Magists and Protectors were targeted by the Arcane Brotherhood; and all the while noble houses battled each other in the city. Our house was attacked that night, and powerful spells were exchanged between wizards which may have had something to do with the young boy’s wondrous magical nature. Perhaps the wild magic surges are Smendric’s way to vent an overabundance of arcana within him or worse, and my greatest fear, that the chaotic fey discovered a way within Smendric to avenge the terrible things we did to the fey during the godsfall in order to survive. Whatever turns out to be true, chaos magic or no, it saved his life and the lives of six of his friends. 

Lydda Artemel was horribly murdered recentlly and two suspects are in custody although Smendric and his friends maintain there was a third individual named Delrach involved; nevertheless, the investigation is only beginning. The victim was the first Artemel cleric to depart from her family’s patron deity and embrace a post-godsfall new Tymora. It is a definite setback for the Artemel family and the financial community but one, with the right help, will emerge stronger for it.

In the meantime, in light of Smendric’s recent involvements, Bryan Kormallis has agreed to look into any correlation between the Brown Back Hard Men scuffle with the Parade of Maidens clerics of the and Lydda Artemel’s murder. 


“Nobody puts their hands on Smendric Wands and gets away with it,” He said to himself watching Mister Broken-thumbs, the drunkard who manhandled him behind the Pampered Traveler. It took Smendric a series of obtuse questions before Bryan Kormallis would give up the name of Mister Broken-thumbs without suspecting something, but eventually Smendric had the man’s name- Vicarzo DeMarcain

Over the weekend Smendric devoted himself to Vicarzo from a far, employing all the techniques taught to him by Bryan, Greywolf, and Wykkar to identify a pattern in Vicarzo’s activities- and before long Smendric saw a rich opportunity. 

*******

Vicarzo was shadow of his former self, aged and gaunt, as if he wagered everything on one bet and had lost it all. To Smendric he seemed to wander about Waterdeep looking for where it all went wrong, searching for something. Vicarzo visited many places over the two days Smendric trailed the unkempt noble. Smendric saw that having broken thumbs presents a host of inconveniences the least of which is pulling one’s boots on but another is a release of one’s tensions wether by sword play on the battlefield or solo sword play in privacy. 

Vicarzo had a bunk at Storm Keep, but would wander shops during the day, resting briefly at Heroes’ Garden before finally settling on a swanky establishment late Saturday night. The Efreeti Bottle it seems was Vicarzo’s choice for the release that he himself could not provide with his broken thumbs.

Smendric, having never been inside such an establishment, had no idea of the inner layout. He was not ignorant of what took place inside but Smendirc would rather not subject himself to the depravity. He considered, and remembered the tunnels; perhaps there were underground ways into the Bottle. And of course there was. 

*****

Coming out of a lower level and into an adjacent room inside the Efreeti Bottle Smendric found the old noble relaxing in a pool, the purpose of his visit served. Pale skin pulled taught over a bony skeleton, Smendric could hear sultry music playing unseen somewhere close but was nearly overcome with the rich perfumes laden in the air. The pool in Smendric’s adjacent room was empty unused, there were several broken piles of furniture each spotted with many stains. The young mage gathered the necessary props lying about for his ruse and approached the vent separating Smendric from Vicarzo. 


YOU DISHONOR ME VICARZO!” said a high ear-ripping, banshee-like voice. “WHERE IS MY RING?” Admittedly it was a ridiculously fabricated wail, but it was Smendric’s only other ‘voice’. 

Vicarzo reacted immediately, standing up causing water to splash about, obviously expecting to see an irate woman but when he looked about there was no one, just a disembodied voice.

“What ring? I…” the naked Vicarzo said as he pawed in vain for his clothes and spectacles. 

MY RING VICARZO? YOU PROMISED ME A RING BUT INSTEAD YOU HAD ME KILLED. I WANT MY RING!”

“Dear spirits,” Vicarzo said dismayed. “I thought you…”

MY RING YOU MURDERING…” but as the banshee wailed, Vicarzo puled off a ring from his small finger and offered it to the voice. The iron ring was hardly fit for a woman, but Smendric did not care- he was having too much fun at the old noble’s ‘expense’. The duality made Smendric giggle. 

“Take this and be gone vile spirit.” Vicarzo said tossing the jewel onto the wet stone floor as if it were on fire. Vicarzo bolted for the door sliding on the wet floor disturbing many patrons along the way. 

*******

“Are we having fun Smendric?” Bryan Kormallis said as Smendric was inspecting Vicarzo’s ring. He thought himself alone, but the appearance of his mentor did not surprise Smendric. Obviously Bryan successfully discerned why Smendric was so interested in Vicarzo and tracked them both to the Efreeti Bottle. 

“Nobody puts their hands on Smendric Wands and gets away with it,” he said insistently. “Mister Vicarzo DeMarcain here is simply paying recompense for his assault on my person.” Smendric finished, approximating the ring’s value to be just higher than paltry. 

“He did pay, I broke his thumbs,” Bryan said evenly, always testing Smendric’s actions, reactions, and motivations. 

“So I am to rest easy knowing you are satisfied?” Smendric said in a sarcastic tone. “No, he put his hands on me, and here we are.” Smendric finished offering Bryan a sly grin as the young mage offered the ring to the man. 

“Keep it, I have come bearing a message for you Smendric.” Bryan said with gravity implying that Smendric would want to devote his entire attention to this. Bryan held out a roll of parchment sealed with a familiar but exclusive alchemical substance that burns the message away once the seal is broken. One only has but a moment to decipher the inscriptions before the substance consumes the parchment and the message contained therein. 

“An assignment?” Smendric asked Bryan with unbridled excitement taking the message greedily. Taking a deep breath Smendric broke the seal and quickly unrolled the message…

S.W.

Your impressive heroics on the streets during Moonfeast and your sly cunning in discovering the Artemel murder has got you noticed and eligible for your first task. An old evangelist has come out of retirement and is causing undesirable ripples in Waterdeep’s financial district, his name is Randal Flagg- a follower of the Grim Lord and he is not working alone. Find out where he is speaking, who he has with him, who he may be preaching to, both 
publicly and privately; and report to B. K., do not under any circumstances engage Flagg or his associates. 

The Master of Shadows

*******

It was later that evening on the High Road when most of the stalls in the financial district had closed for the night, there were many people are still in the open market. An orator stood at the edge of the market easily attracting a crowd around him. 

“People of Waterdeep. The Cassalanter’s are dangerous and are still a threat to our way of life. Do not trust them with your gold! Lest not forget that eleven short years ago the Cassalanter’s were known cult of the dragon-financiers bent on seeing the North fall to dragon rule.” The orator shouted over the growing crowd causing many to nod in dumb agreement. 

Smendric listened to Randal Flagg a safe distance away and watched as the crowd begin to get restless. Flagg did have an assistant that aided his huckstering by offering words of either protest or support depending on how the crowd swayed. Wow, he thought either the orator was that good or the people of Waterdeep are thick in the skull. This was over ten years ago, Smendric mused. Had not the Cassalanter’s proven themselves since then? They had turned their backs on Waukeen, who was really behind the infiltration of the house, and embraced the new Tymora like the rest of the city. Something was not right here.

“… and food from your children’s mouths to fatten themselves in luxury!” Flagg said bringing his diatribe to an end, presumably to find another corner of the district to preach upon. But as several men began to shout in shared protest against the Cassalanter’s throwing their fists in the air, lead by the mysterious second man, a clatter of horse hooves and the ring of steel being drawn made the crown turn. 

Ringing the outer edges of the market stood thirty financial-district guardsmen ready to break up the angered crowd. These private guards, commissioned by moneylenders like the Cassalanter’s and the Cragsmere’s, now became the object of the orator’s protests. The crowd grew silent as three of the riders slowly kicked their mounts towards the center of the crowd. 

“The markets are closed people, please disperse immediately.” One of the private security guards said. 

Without warning a fowl cry erupts from somewhere in the thick crowd, then something flew through the air; Smendric observed it was Flagg up to mischief. The object struck the speaking guard knocking him off balance, the other two raised their shields as the crowd transformed into a mob swarming angrily towards the riders. The other man made a sign in benediction then suddenly channeled wave of power that rocked the crowd enraging them further. 

“Ok I see Mister Randal Flagg, get the crowd worked up and evacuate.” Smendric said aloud. “Your friend too? now where are you going?”

The orator, Flagg, slipped out of the mob and turned down a corner that, because of a good angle, Smendic could see. Looking back Smendric lost the second man in the mob. Then with a speed that none of Flagg’s earlier movements hinted at, the evangelist bounded down the street taking long magical strides. Oh that’s cute, Smendric thought as he stood up and secured his equipment, but he doesn’t have these... Smendric then took a deep breath and vaulted into the air. 

Three-league boots, an exclusive item of the mages of the Order, allowed Smendric to jump from one side of the city to the other in just a few magical leaps. Travel in this way was a hazardous because folk could not see where they were going to land, but the trick was to know Waterdeep three-dimensionally not two-dimensionally. To know the tallest buildings in each ward and to jump to those first, then to shorter buildings like great steps down a staircase of rooftops. 

Following the evangelist was not easy, not only was the man magically aided in his strides he was also sensitive to his surroundings. Smendric saw that Flagg was retracing parts of his route to evade followers, but what Flagg did not account for was a mischievous mage-thief wearing his father’s magic boots. 

After about an hour of tracking Flagg, losing him once, and finding him again, Smendric watched intrigued when the evangelist stopped to speak with a group of ten men keeping warm around a small fire behind Gounar’s Tavern, among them was the channeler. The wind was up and that made it impossible to hear what the evangelist was telling the men, but when Smendric saw Flagg produce gold he intuited Flagg was hiring them for something. But what surprised Smendric the most was when the channeler passed out iron rings just like the one Vicarzo had. 


Smendric dared to get closer, he wanted to impress Bryan Kormallis and the Master of Shadows with good useable information. Eventually the wind picked up again, this time from the other direction carrying with it some of the conversation. 

“Ca...dorn… Jade Sea… drow… tonight...” Was all Smendric could make out before the wind reversed itself again. The reversal caused the fire to flare up and briefly illuminate Smendric’s hiding spot. Without waiting to see if he was noticed, Smendric jumped and was landed heavily in front of Gavin and Hextor’s Haberdashery

It did not take long to relay the story and even shorter amount of time for Bryan to tell Smendric he is suiting up on this one- as a Shadow Thief.


(Shadows of Waterdeep) The Veiled Society III

Sitting alone in the Chess Emporium Cauldyth patiently waited for the first of his appoints to arrive. The stout man liked to be early because it allowed him to blend with his environment and benefit from its social dynamic, mimicking as to not attract attention. Patrons danced about entertaining themselves with drink, games, poetry, and escorted company making the Emporium a popular high-class venue because it also had a discrete side. 

Cauldyth had other pieces in play in Waterdeep and did not rely on the feeble machinations employed by Halam Umbrusk’s incompetent sons. He could no longer sit idly by as Chimak and Radu vied for acclaim in their father’s eyes. For one it made them blind to what was right in front of them and two, they had no real power in Cauldyth’s estimation- all their power came from their father, so ultimately the more they fumbled about the more incompetent Halam appeared. Cauldyth needed to turn this power struggle around in both the Umbrusk House and in Waterdeep.

As Cauldyth ordered another shot of whiskey a man walked in, shook off the wintery elements, and looked around. Cauldyth winced when he saw the old evangelist, a remnant from the godsfall like himself- Randal Flagg. Flagg wore fine serviceable clothes and a clean jacket equipped with a prosthetic right arm; Flagg’s black tangled hair was all but gone now and his eyes were grey with the sign of cataracts, but it was the way he walked that caught Cauldyth amiss- Flagg seemed to get around good, amazing in fact for a man of his age. 

Cauldyth stood to receive his former colleague, “Flagg, how is retirement?” Cauldyth said between gouts of laughter and a hearty embrace. This kind of exchange was typical between friends at the Emporium and was largely disregarded despite the black evil within their souls. “Hile Grim Lord.” They whispered.

A few minutes later drinks where served as the two caught up on the past decade over a game of chess. Cauldyth’s marriage into Waterdeep nobility and Flagg’s sudden retirement. “It was after I lost my arm when I retired, you know that,” Flagg said moving a chess piece, he was black on white. “It was the Cauterizer, the damned weapon...” His temper flared briefly. “I focus my energies on other things now; augmentation crystals have made me a wealthy old man.” 

“That’s very admirable, I’m glad you kept busy Flagg I really am. So many folks retire to an early grave when they still have something useful to give.” Cauldyth said praising the former evangelist moving a white piece across the board purposely creating a weakness in his defenses. The play would hopefully make Flagg amiable to Cauldyth’s request and purpose for this meeting.

Flagg moved his black piece across the board threatening Cauldyth’s pale bishop, as he suspected. “So is this why you reach out to me after ten years, to catch up or to lose?” Flagg said after he considered Cauldyth’s last move on the game board.

“Of course not Flagg, I need you to come out of retirement,” Cauldyth said looking up from the game board, now that the pretense was no longer needed. 

“It must be important.” Flagg asked intrigued, also forgetting briefly about the game. 

“I want it to be high-profile; I need you to remind Waterdeep that the Cassalanter’s were traitors to the city and their unfettered rise to former prestige and privilege will only undo the city in ways we cannot yet foresee.” Cauldyth said confidentially. 

Flagg remembered all too well that time twelve years ago when the Cult of the Dragon infiltrated the Cassalanter family and nearly foiled the Samular’s descendants from finding each other and saving the north from the rule of Dragons.

“Coming out of retirement means my fees are doubled.” Flagg said.

“Fine.” Cauldyth said now hopeful.  

“and,” Flagg continued, “I want to bring in another cleric from the old days on this, Morrandar the Grim Bishop.”

*******

A few hours later, there was an sudden pause to the late night camaraderie in the Chess Emporium as all the lights dimmed heralding a newcomer’s foreboding entrance, a drow elf accompanied by a strange underdark species of bat. The deep bat flew briskly retreating to a dark corner of the ceiling to brood darkly over the Emporium. The drow made no attempt to conceal his heritage as Waterdeep was generally an accepting community of individuals of many races, cultures, and beliefs. He had long silver hair, exquisite pedigree and a bearing of rippling power. Every article on the drow was a variation of dark violet or plumb colors; his style was alien to Cauldyth but his information from Wykkar assured him the drow was just the individual for this part of his plan. 

“Ah, good please sit down or levitate if that is what you do.” Cauldyth said trying to add some levity to the meeting but nevertheless honestly pleased the drow arrived. Secretly Cauldyth was not sure the drow agent would show up, his tribute towards this meeting was in hindsight meager. He hoped the drow was not insulted.

“I was directed to you because you are perfect for a job I have and I understand you are comfortable with this kind of work?” Cauldyth asked the stoic drow who only nodded once, the drow’s purple eyes was stern.

“Good, there is a package arriving in a few days on the Jade Sea that I don’t want reaching its destination, it will have protection but I want this package eliminated.” 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review 11/18/2014

Lowport ! At last we arrived at the city we had heard of, read about, researched, referenced - but had not seen. Trouble was afoot, however, as Sarosh and Auge did not appear over  the river docks of Old Port with us. Sarosh was able to deliver a brief message that he was helping Auge, but they were being delayed and diverted. They would catch up with us soon. Fearing a trap for us as well, he pulled a follower, Potior, into the teleport and delivered him with the rest of us.

Appearing over Old Port, we peer across the Low River upon Newport, smelling the audacity of wealth perfuming their air. Speaking of air, it is filled with a dingy cloud of jungle insects. It is much less congested over the sea and river, but the skies over Old Port, and the ground, and all you carry, and anything that sets still is covered with bugs. Our scales offer us enough protection that we can easily ignore the bites and stings. Durg notices a flock of crows taking off in pattern: it is learned later that the folk here use such murders to determine how far away incoming ships may be.  Versel and Jaren both notice some magical auras that spring into being on the New Port docks, as well as some unfurling flags and a lot of scurried activity. On the docks below us, weapons are drawn, and people prepare themselves for trouble.

Within a couple minutes, a group of six well armed and armored ogres approach us, proving to be the body guards of a half-elf named Leander who says to us " Welcome to Lowport, as you are always welcome for business." He and Maycorth recognize each other from 'the  Delbelagio Party'. In introduction Leander says he is our man, whatever our needs are, from business and contacts to real estate. Maycorth slyly comunicates that he is a thief, and he seems to have a retinue of roguish types in the immediate area. Maycorth asks some pointed questions about the people he is looking for, after which Jaren suggests to Leander that he is most interested in eating.... something. Taking the hint, Leander leaves saying should we need him, he is "over in Ribbers" (evidently  a neighborhood). A the conclusion of this meeting, Maycorth is fairly certain Leander is a merchant that has dealings with the slaver group he is looking for. We split, leaving Maycorth to press the docks for information while we check things out and try to find a house or place to rent while we stay here.

As we begin to wander, we overhear a lot of discussion about the red-fanged trolls, apparently a force that the Lowport army is battling and having some trouble handling them. The battlefield currently lies between Lowport and King Kazzurog's realm. We spot a river barge, a large one, and it inspires us to try to rent the riverboat for a week. It seems a perfect location to keep an eye on these busy commerces. Ebson, the barges owner, agrees to an offer of 500  gold weight and offers an exotic looking man, Daymar, as sacrifice and city guide. Daymar looks to be a sorcerer of drow bloodline, or possibly a drow half elf. He takes us first to a fine restaurant, Johanson and Johanson, where we feast on meat sandwiches ( a 25 gp dinner). Over dinner, much is discussed and we become comfortable with each other. We agree to three months living cost (150) as payment to Daymar, and this opens up a much more informative relationship. He seems greatly reassured when we tell him we are paying him for his perspective, not our success. He tells us of a carnival that operates just outside Lowport's wall, that only closes during the rain season. It first arrived about ten years ago. He tells us of a great pyramid of gold, constructed by wealthy dwarves. The temple, he believes, is heavily involved in the slavery trade that seems to hang over the city. He calls it Pyramid Hill. It was built about ten years ago. Besides these dwarves, the 'normal' dwarves of Lowport are basically of two types, or maybe bloodlines; Limerock dwarves, and Downdour dwarves, said to be named after their surly demeanor. He speaks of a 'noble' family of Lowport, the Garsin Family. Described as among the oldest wealth in the city, they are notoriously ostentatious, and said to be able to trace their ancestry to ancient times. He says they will almost certainly be contacting us soon, and advises us to wait for them to make their introduction, and then allow them to introduce us to New Port. He also tells us of a company of allied merchants called Imp Town Curiosities. As their name implies, they deal in all the wonders of the world. In addition to two shops in New Port, they run regular wagon routes throughout the expansive city of Lowport and its surrounding farms and jungles. Daymar also speaks of a place known as "The Castle". It is a New Port business, and is the premiere supplier of components for spells and magics of all sorts. Also, in the category of general news, he explains to us that we are not the only half dragons here, and that folk are fairly accustomed to big humanoids, including half dragons. He also clues us in that half dragons are often used to take care of the industries that merchants to the wealthy didn't report for taxing and such. Slavery was one such industry, and while slaves weren't bought or sold in Lowport, they certainly were at the docks.

It was decided by all to seek out a wonder wagon, and it did not take us long to find one. The wagon was found by a group of natural water springs led by a pair of donkeys and a gregarious halfling named Spicy Limpkin. Waving at the wagon and all of its contents he offers the lot of its contents for a mere 2500 in merchant weight gold. Seeing we are intrigued, he allows us to open its many cleverly stacked drawers and cabinets and inspect the goods offered as we banter. He explains he is eager to sell for a bargain quickly to clear his wagon space for the incoming trade season. The latest return of the crows indicate a large number of deep ocean sailing ships a mere three days from port. This is likely the first wave of trade from Stormhaven, but its hard to know for sure. Durg finds and purchases a satchel of maps, one of which is a truenamers map. Spicy goes on to reveal that he has favored trading status with King Kazzurog, and indeed claims to be friends with him. He is the only merchant in his company (Imp Town Curiosities) that is allowed to travel and trade within Kazzurogs realm. Versel discovers a book with a symbol emblazoned on the cover. It is the symbol of The South Wind, and the books details disciplines and exercises practised by a Monk of The South Wind. When Versel inquires about dragon egg, Spicy is incredulous, and states that Kazzurog has asked him to be on the look out for dragon eggs expected to arrive soon from Stormhaven. He even drops the name Uvrok "a dark dwarf, or something from a company known as Twighlight House" as the supplier of the trade. Hmmm. Jaren finds a scarf embroidered with Maycorths family crest, and.....a genie lamp! He buys the wagon load for the 2500, and asks about the strange symbol on the bottom of the lamp, some sort of sigil or seal. Spicy proudly proclaims that while most people would say it is a symbol of the eye, it is not. It is a symbol of  magic from ancient times, perhaps of an ancient magic god. Aside from many bauble and trinkets, a collection of loot for less and the lamp are the prizes for Jaren the Thrifty, and we bid farewell. He offers companionship if we leave the city and wish to travel along his scheduled trade route. We left off anxious to reconnect with Maycorth and our intrepid but misplaced teleporters.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The tale of Potior

There are darker tales from Stormhaven, tales that are retold in whispers, spoken as warnings to desperate folks ready to cast their fortune to the winds and seek out the world,grandest market port.

Potior hailed from an exotic land, farther away even than Egypt. His homelands were a collection of city states on the northern shores of waterways that led out of Egypt and south to the east shores of the continent. Long ago, a lifetime it seemed, he had aspired to be a learned wizard, blessed of Hecate the Goddess of Magics, a sage sought out by kings and councils. At 25 he signed an agreement with a rich sultan, and boarded a ship to become a house wizard in the land of golden sands.

To say he was struck by culture shock would be understatement. The decadence and flaunting of wealth was completely new to him. The extent of excess was grotesque. The deception of violent intrigue was all-encompassing. Slave culture, and the acceptance of it on part of the oppressed, was integral to the entire complicated society. Unfortunately, so was conflict, and it was only a matter of time before Potior was captured as a slave by one usurper Sultan or another. Ten years of this led him to be taken by a different kind of slaver -  a stormhaven pirate. All belongings and possessions he once owned were bundled into a crate that was sold along with him in a lot to a wizard from Stormhaven, from a place called the Black Crown. Upon his being purchased, life assumed more of an indentured servitude than slavery, though there was precious little difference to him. Yes, he had found the greatest of port cities, but there was nothing he could do to escape it. Still, the life of a house mage was pretty decent and it had served him well the last five years. Still, when the chance arose to align with the red dragons - well, they were the only creatures Potior knew of that dealt with Joscelin and his Spellgaurds as equals. that was good enough for him. He talked his understudy, Heims, into cutting ties with the Crown and leaving the madness that had fallen over the remote port of Stormhaven.

Now, as he was preparing for a trip to another port city of lore, Lowport, he knew he did so as a free man. . He doubted that Lord Jaren understood the power of offering Potior a job and a place in his retinue. For the first time in fifteen years, Potior was giving his loyalty instead of surrendering it.