Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Secrets of Waterdeep Society

De'Naire Pruhl chose a corner table for two that was dimly lit. The experienced con man from Luskan was a confident man by nature, but tonite he could barely contain his excitement. Though the Dock Ward was not particularly visited by nobility, The Hawk and Crow was a large establishment notorious for clandestine meetings of secret lovers. There were more than a dozen entrance/exits and it was easy for a cloaked visitor to come and go unseen. The notorious rogue had finally convinced Lady Selene Sussuruss to meet in a romantic tryst this very night. She was married, but to a meek man who seemed to obey her every command. He had been pursuing her for several months, and was sure he had uncovered her secret- he believed her to be a half-dragon in one of the Cults of Waterdeep. It would certainly explain the large hoard of jewels she kept and wore every where she went, and the rumors of her strange skin condition. well tonite was his first chance at ALL those jewels, and he was ready for action. With his scroll of protection from dragon breath to protect him, his victory was almost assured should violence break out.

Lady Serene could smell the death of her next conquest before she left her manor. "That fool De'Naire thought he had things all figured out, that smug bastard" she mused to her self as she prepared for the night of mayhem she had planned for months. The only thing she hadn't decided was whether or not she would take physical pleasure with the fool before she took his life.

She could see he was anxious as soon as she walked in to the famous debauchery den. As for him, he could never remember actually wanting her so badly for more than her jewels. The closer she got to him, he realized his nostrils were filled with her scent, and she looked liked she wanted to eat him alive. After a few rushed liquors, the wily con man was giddily chasing his prize to a private room. He wasted no time in disrobing the both of them, and as he forced her to the bed beneath him, he was horrified to see the mass of serpents suddenly appear where lustrous hair had just been. Looking into the eyes of Lady Serena was the last mistake the infamous rogue ever made, as his skin turned to stone from his feet up to his head leaving a very confused looking statue with a raging boner.

As Serena quickly gathered the stock of magic items that Pruhl always had with him, she safely tucked away the prize that cost Pruhl his life - a magic hat of disguise. The ring of protection +3, magic sword, Amulet of life protection and bracers of armor made the the whole set up a fantastic haul - her best ever. As she blew weak fireballs all about the place and smelled the charred flesh and wood fill the air, she made her escape from the secret meeting that no one knew about, and left the fire that no one survived. In fact, so intense was the heat of the flames, the only thing that was not destroyed was a strange erotic statue.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Martin Luckjoy

Martin Luckjoy has dedicated his life to defeating undead in the service of Tymora. Vigilant for any reports of tittering skeletons or lumbering zombies; he ventures out into the city day or night to eradicate the threat; and as of this writing, none has survived.

Lacking the typical sour demeanor of the more well known undead slayers; Martin’s positive, bright-eyed and up-beat personality contrasts his latent undead hunter-killer instincts. Martin’s bonded companion and church prefect is a Luck-Genie named Zellizands. Zellizands is a light-hearted prankster whose natural talent for creating duplicates of itself makes it all too easy for Zel to get the better of more than one Tymora follower. Together with luck on their side they make it nigh impossible for any would-be necromancer to have any custom in Waterdeep.

Recently, Martin Luckjoy served as honorary Master of Ceremonies at Greengrass and anointed Tauron Tarm into Tymora’s clergy in The Tower of Luck; a ceremony, by the way, he had never performed before.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Sword Coast

Azur's Rebellion



The Nine stepped forth to answer Azur's call

The last year's fallen wheeled out before all

Presenting the gift his dead hands held a year

A gem of power that drew all monster's near.



Receiving the curse, an Agundar of power

The Nine turned to face the challenge of the hour

None before had ever survived

Yet this day the bearer left the arena alive



After years of challenge the proprietor had grown lax

having provided no protection for the crowds who paid tax

And upon the initial creature's release

Chaos poured out into Waterdeep's streets.



Frog like creatures leapt into the crowd

Swamp bog creatures should not be allowed!

The Nine carried forth fulfilling their oath.

The Agundar survived his opening boast.



Now none can say that no one's survived

The Company of the Nine actually thrived.

A shamed Brokengulf who profited from curse

Risked the lives of those watching to fatten his purse



The Nine's honored challenge bringing them fame

The politician in hiding seeking to lay blame

The people step forward, they know what is right!

Let the Nine hold the challenge and make the Brokengulf Fight!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Curtain falls on Azar's Challenge

The four robed men; Baerom Thudnerstaff, Morus Brokengulf, Ardolan of Azuth and Huld Bellabranta regard you gravely as your conversation ebbs under the Field of Triumph. Then finally, “We have the names of the dead, sir.” Says a man from the door; his tunic, stained with the black ichor of giant frogs, blood on his hands and his face bruised a sick yellow. “There were about a dozen with minor injuries. The clerics of Sune have offered their aid and they are on the mend, but two… individuals were too bent and broken to be saved. They did not die well I’m afraid… sir.” The man continued to say while not looking at any Company members, only the four.
Baerom regards Damian closely and asks the visitor, “What are their names?”
“Lyle and Lucine Roaringhorn, sir. They became trapped in the baignoire when the attack came. They were only children. They came to see the Stakes champion Tauron.” His speech breaks, as he reports the bloody scene.
The four robed men all exchange looks and turn to the Company, “The Roaringhorn’s are a well liked family in the city and they are known and trusted information brokers,” replies Baerom. A dark pall falls over the room. “They will have the sympathy of the city, regardless of the particulars of the past hour.”
Ardolan adds, “The words ‘violent death’ will be on the lips of all Waterhavians to be sure.” His words brief and articulate that of a learned man.
“You are excused.” Morus commands the messenger. But before he departs he leaves a box of items covered in blood and gore, “The contents of the giant frogs, sirs.” And with that, he leaves closing the heavy door.
“You winnings.” Huld says, emotionless in tone.

In a coffin that formerly held the body of last years Jewel-bearer:

Magic:
Wand of Magic Missiles (CL5)
Candle of Invocation (Evil- BANE)
Handy Haversack w/ Dire Hyena (from a bag of tricks)
Oil of Profane Weapon
2 Darkvision Potions
2 Resist Energy (Cold) Potions
2 Lesser Restoration Potions
1 Eagle’s Splendor Potions
1 Cure Moderate Wounds

Mundane:
Onyx Pegasus Statuette (800gp)
Four Mirabar trade bars, (trade bars of black iron and shaped like rectangular spindles. 10 gp in Mirabar, 5 gp elsewhere.
Blood note token. (Hand of Bane on one side the sigil on the other)
2 Bloodstones (50 gold each)
2 Jaspers (50 gp each)
2 Empty Potion Vials.
500 gold and 50 silver.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wd.P.D. Blues

Jarish walked down the twisting alleyway, clutching his thin cloak tighter to his narrow shoulders. The gods above and below must've sent the wind to creep into his bones, it was the only way he could explain how it found him in this maze of buildings, streets and alleys. He was stepping over some debris that was scattered before him when a large shadow detached itself from a darkened doorway and pushed him roughly against the wall.
"Hey, wha-?" stammered Jarish through chattering teeth
"Evening, Jarish. A bit cold to be out this late, isn't it?"
The face came into the feeble moonlight, but Jarish knew who it was before that. That lantern jaw, the fierce black moustache that hung past the corners of the mouth, Miltiades leaned toward the smaller man, one hand bunched up with Jarish's cloak and tunic and the other one calmly resting on the hilt of his broad sword.
"Mil... Miltiades, my favorite watch captain! And how are you this eve?" Jarish was able to squeak out.
"I'm doing poorly, Jarish. Seems there was a murder last night, behind your tavern of choice, the "Maiden and the Sea". I don't like murder, even here in Dock Ward." growled Miltiades. "I was wondering what you knew about it, seeing as how you were there at the bar that night."
"Ah, well, I remember the skirt. She was auburn haired, an adventurer, right? Seemed to know her way around her blades, she did. She was saying she was on a courier mission down to Baldur's Gate. Was to leave on this morning's tide, she was." Jarish replied, a bit more confidently.
"Well, Carmen her name is, won't be leaving for anywhere but a grave now. Her courier pouch, with the Cassalanter crest was found on her, empty. As well as this..." And with that, Miltiades handed over a lead disk, 2 inches across. "Know anything of this?"
Even in the poor moonlight, Miltiades could see Jarish pale in fear, his hand beginning to shake as he held the disk. "That's... That's of the League of Night and Fog..." he croaked.
"Tell me, Jarish. Tell me what you know of them." Miltiades commanded.
Jarish swallowed, his eyes dancing nervously around the alleyway. "That trouble you had last year? With the Zhentarim smugglers? The League will make them seem as fond memories. At least with the Zhents, y'know where their home is, Zhentil Keep or Citadel of the Raven, right? With the League, they have no home. They creep up on you like the night and before you know it, their deed is done and they disappear like fog. They left the disk on her forehead, didn't they?"
"Aye, with some stuff I've heard called a "living web". Don't hardly find it around here." Miltiades took the disk back, straightening up and letting go of his hold on Jarish, who seemed to cower against the bare brick wall.
"I know where you could find more of that web, I think it was left to goad you into following those that killed the girl. That stuff grows in caverns and the only caverns I know of around here, in the Dock Ward, are... Skullport."
Upon hearing those words, Miltiades eyes bore into Jarish's and grew grim.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010





Goram was captured at a young age, taken from his tribe and forced to serve an eccentric wizard. Quickly reaching 16’ tall and blessed with incredible strength he was an ideal servant / protector. The unknown wizard performed some harmless experiments on Goram even permanently turning his skin a pale shade of blue. The wizard paranoid of death created an amulet that would allow his mind to be safely stored inside should his body be slain. The amulet a large gold disk with an open eye in the center always fascinated Goram. Although he was a slave his master always made sure he was well fed and had a clean dry place to sleep. He took comfort in the fact he didn’t have to fight for his survival day in and day out. Over many years they slowly began to respect each other as a master and student. Goram learned the human language, how to read and write, and some of the basic philosophies of magic.

After 8 years of slavery Gorams hill giant tribe finally caught up to the wizard. While Goram was out hunting his tribe avenged the wrongs of that day so long ago. With mixed emotions Goram took the amulet as a keepsake of his former master and wears it to this day.

Having trouble reconnecting with his kin after such a long absence, Goram strayed from the tribe and wanders the northern regions. Praying on small caravans and random creatures unfortunate enough to cross his path he keeps an open eye for signs of his masters return.

Amulet of life protection: The wearer is protected from magic jar spell or any similar attack that would usurp the wearers body. If slain the wearers psyche enters the amulet and is protected for seven days. Thereafter it departs to it’s original destination. Should the amulet be destroyed during the seven days the psyche is utterly and irrevocably annihilated.

The Flaming Sphinx...ter

Regarding gaining information on what we'll be fighting there is an elf named Rubigard Spinks who suppossedly knows a lot of monster lore. His main pursuit is discovering the original creators of a variety of magical beasts. My butler claims he is currently attempting to discover the original creator of the owl bear. Rubigard himself is a very capable swordsman and must have a lot of wealth built up for his pursuits. My brother has already mentioned having our man do some of our leg work, he is the only one I know of who could find this elf. Rubigard has several offices and apartments all over Waterdeep, we might get lucky and catch him at one. One other thing, not surprising for an elf but this one is a flamer. He is referred to in scholarly cirlces as "The Sphinx".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Last years winner

Elad Edals is said to have found trouble in an empty room. Legendary for wriggling out of close scrapes, his last escape still has the talk of the town. Two years ago The wands family had him arrested on charge of theft of a magical tome from their library. The guards searched him, and the legendary weasel was caught redhanded with a tome entitled "Manual of Stealthy Pilfering". It was never made clear if it was a spellbook, or a religious treatise, but he was quickly convicted and put to jail. All along he claimed the book belonged to him and he had brought it to market to sell. About 2 months into his sentence, he put in a formal request for a review of evidence. It was granted, but the guard could not provide the book. After months of stalling, they finally had to admit they did not have the book. On these grounds, Elad was able to loudly clammer for candidacy for Peoples Mercy, and win his freedom last year. He has since been pestering the city to find out what happened to his book. He contends the city trumped up charges so the city could take his book. What very few people know is a high level mage managed to secure that book and is trying to devise a way to control where it teleports away to. Obviously this caster is hitched with a local thieves guild. Elad really wants his book back, but more than that he wants to show what kind of theft greed and burglary is committed regularly by "the powers that be".He has come to the conclusion that a skilled set of acquisition agents may get better results and has started recruiting.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thraygar Blackbeard

While it is true that none who have worn the cursed jewel have survived in Azar's challenge, some of their companions have. Thraygar is one such man. He took the challenge with his childhood friend, a legendarily stubborn beer brawler named Florin "Donk" Durinbold. They challenged the minimum 5 beasts, but their draws were from a stock of freshly captured ogre barbarians, and Donk cashed his chips in during the 4 th bout. Thraygar misses his friend greatly, and developed a surly, grouchy outlook on life where fancy has little place. He is an honest working soldier, and is found working and living in the dwarven districts of Waterdeep. He serves as an officer in the calvary forces of Waterdeep. Donk's last stand was twenty years ago this Greengrass. The Durinbold family has always held a grudge against Blackbeard for not talking Donk out of his final folly.

Oil of Timelessness

This year, Hyara Talmost, known in fashion and tailor circles as The Matriarch, has come to Greengrass to promote their clans newest development in furs. They claim to have worked with skilled alchemists to treat their high quality furs and make them waterproof. They call them timeless cloaks, and they are not magical, but are extremely resistant to weather and water. They get a +5 alchemical bonus to any saving throws concerning such elements. The family has said they are working on applying the process to less bulky fabrics. Such furs cost double the normal value.

B A T T L E

The upcoming Challenge of Azar should be very intriguing. I am planning on fighting with lance and sword from Horseback. However that depends on whether my barding is done in time. I dont want to go through that many fights unprotected. In that case, I shall be going at with blades, but with a bow at the ready if I can take advantage of it. Perhaps we should all post our initial battle plans, or at least describe a tactic you are thinking of.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Field of Triumph

Gladiator
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A gladiator (Latin: gladiator, "swordsman", from gladius, "sword") was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death. Irrespective of their origin, gladiators offered audiences an example of Rome's martial ethics and, in fighting or dying well, they could inspire admiration and popular acclaim. They were celebrated in high and low art, and their value as entertainers was commemorated in precious and commonplace objects throughout the Roman world.

The origin of gladiatorial combat is open to debate. There is evidence of it in funeral rites during the Punic Wars of the 3rd century BCE , and thereafter it rapidly became an essential feature of politics and social life in the Roman world. Its popularity led to its use in ever more lavish and costly spectacles or "gladiatorial games". The games reached their peak between the 1st century BCE and the 2nd century CE, and they persisted not only throughout the social and economic crises of the declining Roman state but even after Christianity became the official religion in the 4th century CE. Christian emperors continued to sponsor such entertainments until at least the late 5th century CE, when the last known gladiator games took place.


Order of the Black Sword

Takes its name from the bastard sword that was forged with the blood of the deep dragon that washed ashore all those years ago (see here), it precedes them at every appearance. Twice a year, they paint the Field of Triumph with the blood of their opponents: violent criminals. Twice each year the city of Waterdeep does a bit of house cleaning of the dungeons and transfer the inmates to the arena to fight for their ‘freedom’. These life-term criminals are the insolent trouble makers that corrections would rather do without. The leader of the Order of the Black Sword: Belgora Agundar. He is competitive, deadly, arrogant and is willing to wage war against any and all who crosses his path.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mere of Dead Men

This vast salt swamp stretches along the shore of the Sword Coast for over a 100 miles, reaching inland over 30 miles at its greatest width. It’s a desolate, insect-ridden place seldom visited by civilized races and home to a variety of fell creatures.

The Mere of Dead Men was named for the thousands of men, elves, and dwarves of the Fallen Kingdom who were slain here when dragons routed them here from the present-day sites of Yartar and Triboar. Several rich castles and manor houses stand flooded in the Mere, with only spires and battlements showing above the dark waters.

Travelers on the High Road, which skirts the Mere to the east, have been known to travel for three days and nights without stopping to avoid camping near the Mere. Eerie sounds, out of place smells and strange lights over the Mere are a common sight at night from the High Road.

Tales are told of floating islands, of foul pools of magical aspect, of lizard men shaman, and even of a penanggalan of monstrous size that haunts the area. Understandably, few folk are moved to investigate the dark, scummy waters of the Mere to learn the dire truths for themselves.

Renowned explorers, the Brokengulf family has procured exotic beasts this year for Azar’s Challenge- creatures from the Mere of Dead Men.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Greengrass Shoe Pitch

It was twenty years ago that the Tarms held their first horseshoe pitch tournament on Greengrass Day. They gave away a pair of 2 year old geldings as prizes to the winning team. It was a huge success and has grown in attendance every annual tourney, and is always held in a large open park in the city. It draws large crowds and many food and beverage vendors, as well as performers and bards. It is very festive and the tourney goes thru the day until a champion team is declared the victor. Teams are paired against each other in single-set matches, winner take all and moves on, If a round begins with an odd number of teams, then a losing team from the previous round is chosen randomly to advance to even the brackets. The tourney advances until only one team remains as the champion. As tradition, the Tarms select a pair of 2 year old geldings to award the champions.

Waterdeep Idol


For the last 23 years a singing event/competition has been held in a certain square on one of the sidestreets in Waterdeep. It's well known that the owners of the buildings that create the small square/courtyard are followers of Milil, the god of song and music. Just over 2 score years ago, these owners started a mini-festival of their own, during Greengrass, to help raise funds and possibly find new entries into the clergy of Milil. Any and all are welcome, singing or playing of instruments is up to you, as is the selection. Play something original or sing someone else's song, just do your best. Small cash prizes are to be awarded as well as a possible invitation to join the church and spread Milil's message far and wide

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The People's Mercy


Within the last 100 years a tradition has grown, referred to as the people's mercy.  All manners of law, negotiation, forgiveness, and arbitration take place during the festival.  Treasures and monies are exchanged between noble houses in efforts to end hostilities...or to start them.  If truly keeping with the tradition, decisions are suppossed to be made with the benefit of Waterdeep at the forefront of each sides thoughts.  The theory being that resolution can be reached when keeping others in mind and whatever is best for Waterdeep is best for everyone. 

The city has also joined in with this tradition by holding a new public trial everyday of the festival for any previously convicted individuals whose crimes are deemed worthy of a second look.   In past years these new trials usually were granted when new information or evidence became known.  The tradition has grown to such prominence that to be chosen as a jury member of one of these public retrials is a great honor. 

This year's first trial has been announced, Gimballon a gentleman thief of renown has petitioned for a new trial, based upon new information learned by Servian Rudergost, a noble banker.  Gimballon was convicted of the thievery of several scrolls and the murder of the author.  What has always captured the public's attention is that Gimballon has never denied stealing the scrolls, he denies the murder and claims that the wizard who wrote the scrolls was murdered for what was hidden on a scroll most confused for a scroll of protection from cold.

James you can name the wizard who was killed and how long ago.  Wait till you see how close the picture above is to the picture on the card..only older.

Azar’s Challenge

Poliamus Azar grew up impoverished in a small community centered within a desert oasis. As a child, he watched the caravans and immigrants traveling west and dreamed of high adventure. Once he was old enough he set out, and began an evil campaign of plunder and warfare; fleecing land owning nobles of their wealth along the Delimbiyr River.

As a barbarian warrior, he did not follow beast-totems; indeed the closest Azar came to religion was that he thought of Talos as a kindred spirit; both being vessels of chaos and destruction. As Azar grew in power he built a large, rich traveling tent-palace comprised of other barbarians, servants and many wives.

His end came about when Azar captured a young peasant named Drent. The sly young man offered Azar a cache of riches in return for his freedom. Drent did not have these riches of course, but knew where it was and could lead Azar there. The barbarian agreed, thinking he would just kill the peasant later. What Azar failed to realize was that the peasant Drent, was in fact a druid.

Deep within the eastern High Forest, Drent led the Azar into the Dire Wood- a small magical grove of black ageless trees. Within the Dire Wood lay the ruins of Karse; an outpost from the latter days of Netheril. Drent presented Azar a rune engraved stone marker set into the ground and on it was hung a jewel so exceptional that it reflected a different treasure in each perfect facet. To Azar it seemed to sing and after he put it on to claim the promised treasures- that was when the attacks came.

Jewel of Attacks

This gleaming gem radiates magic and appears to be a valuable item. It is cursed, however, and doubles the likelihood of encountering wandering monsters and the likelihood of pursuit when monsters are encountered and the individual seeks to evade them by flight. Once picked up, the jewel will always magically return to its finder, showing up in his pouch, bag, pack, etc., until the curse is removed or atonement is performed.

This magical jewel is a feature in the gladiatorial Field of Triumph. On Greengrass the event is called Azar’s Challenge; where to this day, no one has survived.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh Snap!


It was called West Watch, a failed attempt at permanent occupancy of Waterdeep’s sandy shores at the foot of the mountain’s western cliffs. Built just south of the west gate and away from the fisheries of the time; these stone vistas consist of a sturdy main structure with two to three smaller satellite buildings, sometimes connected via passages within Mount Waterdeep’s cliff wall.

Fifty years ago.

A huge, oily-black monster was hauled ashore in nets and onto the fisheries. It was said to have had wings despite its underwater traits, a tail, and a general appearance not unlike a black dragon of the largest size.

When dragged out into the air, it revived, reaching out its long neck to devour surrounding fishermen who stood too near. Forty-eight wizards and warriors took spell and sword against the beast and when it was defeated, it belched forth a substance described as black sea froth.

People began to fall ill to a strange disease that caused fatigue and their skin to acquire a scaly texture. Most folk believed this strange malady had something to do with the sea dragon’s appearance.

Elspeth was the oldest of many siblings. Her parents were poor, and left her with the church of Helm when she was young. She was raised by the priests and watchers and became strong in her faith. With unsurpassed talents in treating for the sick and wounded, Elspeth stepped in and commandeered the West Watch as a hospice to treat the peculiar disease only to later fall to the illness herself.

Today.

The West Watch never saw resurgence in popularity and is largely considered polluted and tainted. To this day, nobody can explain the appearance of the deep dragon (that is what sages refer to it as) or the accompanying disease. Mongrel men gather here in shanties for protection and to fish the mud-trawl that populate the mud flats.

Since the dragon; twice each year, during the spring and again during the autumn equinoxes, enormous waves rise up from ocean and batter the western mountain side. These waves bring giant bull-crabs as well as swarms of hostile crown-crabs. The Mongrel men utterly fear the bull-crabs and avoid the West Watch whenever possible.

Worshipers of Umberlee have taken the equinoxes and the regular occurrence of the devastating breakers as divine providence and hence come here each time to make offerings and live sacrifice to the waves and the Queen of the Depths.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cassalanter and Cragsmere

Ghaenn Cassalanter was a charismatic Sembian gem-cutter, known in his time as one of the greats. He was the jeweler who first worked the Eye of Kossuth gemstone of Candlekeep, the Yellow Dragon’s Heart Topaz and the five Shakira Stones of Daggerdale. He was always looking for the next unique find and rarity; and thus found himself in the prestigious gem markets of Waterdeep. At first it was selling gems as an alternative currency to large sums of gold coins, but that held no luster or excitement.

It wasn’t until luck found him in the company of Ceraso Cragsmere, an aspiring cleric of Tymora from Yartar with an infectious smile and self confidence. Together they built an empire based on Waterdeep’s only domestic export; gemstones or to be more precise- weapon and armor crystals. Mount Waterdeep is to this day home to naturally forming magical crystals that wizards and alchemists toil to craft. It was enough to set their families among the Nobility of the city.

History has conflicting accounts on whose idea it was that brought about the exile of Ghaenn and Ceraso. And to this day each family avoids the subject completely. Today, both families are members of the Society of Changers and Bankers, a guild whose axiom reads: “no theft, nor trick nor falsification.” Despite the fact that Ghaenn and Ceraso were both found guilty and sent north for the crime of price-fixing.

Ghaenn and Ceraso had pricing agreements with merchants in Sembia, weapon-smiths in Mirbar and armories in Waterdeep. Agreements that guaranteed profits for all parties for many years to come. Indeed some believe that the Happy Halls of Fortuitous Happenstance, Tymora’s temple in Yartar, was built using profits gained by Ceraso Cragsmere.

Leading the investigation back then was Endol Ulbrinter of Waukeen. His sea-trade family felt the impact the most at the time by being kept out of the crystal markets completely. Even today Ulbrinter faithful look with distain upon the presumptuous Tymoreans who take it upon themselves to hold daily merchant blessing ceremonies- a sacrament of Waukeen.

Faced with utterly no cooperation from Gheann or Ceraso’s associates- Endol happened across an unlikely solution in the investigation. It was an adventurer Bryan Kormallis (who was already looking at dungeon time for slave trading) was found in the possession of an incriminating weapon crystal on his scabbard (a clue relative at the time). “Testify and all past unlawful transgressions will be forgiven.”

A awkward twist of fortunes for Bryan, he later begins to ploy his weapon-smithy trade and still holds on to the same incriminating scabbard to this day.

Belabranta Bonds

The Belabranta's practice a method of item-bonding, that if one centers oneself enough and connect to an item that is native to one of the seven centers of power; that power carries the bonded item so another may be worn. The seven centers of the body are: the body, chest, eyes, head, headband, neck and shoulders.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Childhood Legend

One of my favorite stories when I was a kid was how the Bellabrantas got their first griffon. My father told me they were friends with a magical giant. This giant lived on a castle built on top of a cloud, and he floated all over Realms, high above where the birds fly. The giant wanted to let his friends visit his castle, but the other giants in his clan wouldn't hear of it. They argued and fussed, and eventually agreed to allow the humans to quest for the right visit the cloud castle. The first test was a test of strength. The Bella's sent out their strongest warrior, and the giants sent forth their biggest ox. The two charged each other, and with a mighty heave the bull was grabbed by the horns and forced to kneel. The next test was missile combat. The giants picked their best rock thrower, and the Bella's chose their best archer, who shot arrows made of pure adamantine. The giant threw the biggest rock he could, was set to crush the human, but when he unleashed his arrow, it cleaved the boulder in twain, and each half fell harmlessly to the sides of the archer. In the final test they called a giant eagle, and challenged the Bella's to command a ride from the gentle beast. This time a beautiful fey touched woman stepped up and smiled sweetly. Whispering softly, she produced a fish, and whispered to the bird, who bowed her head and one graceful wing. The lady proudly claimed the eagle had agreed to let her provide fish for her eaglets, and she was off to do so. She returned an hour later, by which time the friendly giant had made gifts of trained, loyal griffon to the Bellabrantas, so they could visit his castle whenever they wanted.

Family Alliances

The problem with nobility is the pattern of history repeating itself. Some families and clans take foul and ignoble behaviours to heart and dedicate themselves to the spread of such, inflicting pain at every opportunity. Such is the path of most of the Anteas family. Their cruelty is infamous as is their blood lust. The Belabranta family and the Tarms have long enjoyed friendly and prosperous relations since they were ennobled. Followers of Meilikki by tradition, both houses have often come into conflict with agents of the Mistress of Pain.

The history of the Maerklos brewery



The following events took place 20 years ago.


Arrabas Snome had taken pride in his home brew. Sure his father had brought the recipe back from the far east, but the ingredients he used where local. Even though his family imported drink from all over the realms he always felt his was the best. Winning the award for best original ale at the Green Grass festival 3 years running proved that. The family contract with Fellowship of innkeepers which guaranteed his ale in every pub in Waterdeep was his crown jewel.

Koris Maerklos loved the drink. He had started a modest brewery that was beginning to turn a profit. He had even managed to place second last year in the Green Grass competition. On one of his many drinking trips he stumbled across a familiar drink. Snomes finest turned out to be a duplicate of an eastern ale. He brought back samples and the recipe along with a plan. He waited until the day of the festival, knowing that Snome's was a lock for first he presented the evidence to the judges. Since his ale was not original Arrabas was immediately disqualified. Further more since he had lied to the Fellowship for so long they ruled he was banned from the competition for life and the family was stripped of there contract.
The public humiliation along with massive financial losses affected Arrabas. He broke down and began loosing touch with reality. He blamed Koris and the whole Maerklos family for his humiliation and condition. He vowed one day to have the greatest ale in the realms and would make Koris suffer.

Currently

Arrabas Snome and Koris Maerklos are both deceased. Even though there is not direct conflict between the family's, there is still a bit of bad blood. They are fierce competitors in Waterdeeps ale market and both export vast amounts of ale in an effort to become a household name and #1 ale distributor along the sword coast and the north.

Some history of the Maerklos & the Thunderstaff's

My mother Aldara Maerklos & Baerom Thunderstaff II attended the same school as children. They also both belonged to the same adventuring company (the Thunder Wands) in there early adventuring days. Rumors where they even dated for a short time prior to the group splitting up. I can’t say if that is true because she never brings up her time spent traveling. I think she is afraid it will give me ideas and I would take off looking for some unobtainable treasure (like that will ever happen). They stayed in touch all these years and Aldara would often give speeches in Thunder Hall.

Currently

Morgurn Maerklos & Arsten Thunderstaff II have (for the last year or so) been working together to better each families financial situation. When not teaching classes at Thunder Hall they can be found taking various jobs around Waterdeep. They and a couple other friends have managed to make a formidable adventuring group I am told. Rumor has it they where the ones who took down the Seaward Arson. I had heard the damage that arsonist did cost so much gold they put a bounty on his head higher then Butcher Boy Bills.

Baerom Thunderstaff II is the dean of Thunder Hall, the Mage School specializing in counter magic. One of the first classes required at his school is on “Building Your Resources and Conflict Preparation”. This lesson places emphasizes on building valuable contacts and equipment. As well as creating a strategy using those contacts to assure your chances of success. Morgurn lectures this class one day a week showing the value of foresight in preparation. He says he enjoys teaching, though I think he does it just to fool the wizards into think we can tell them everything they want to know. I do know we get a lot of students coming to the house since he started "teaching". Paying for information on everything from test answers to what there greatest accomplishments will be.

Eva

Belabranta and Gundwynd

Once upon a time there was a young Mielikki warrior named Nissa Belabranta. Nissa loved the night, hunting its creatures and most of all her graceful griffon steed Jinx. On one night, when the Peddler’s Moon was just beginning to peak his shifty eye from behind his pack; while riding Jinx, Nissa encountered a man in shining armor. Devin Gundwynd a Cormyrean noble who, like her family, bred their own magnificent winged creatures- hippogriffs. It was over the Moonsea that they met for several heated days. She on her griffon and he on his vain and prideful hippogriff Geoff; who bucked and snorted each time his master wished to fly out and meet the two. What Nissa didn’t know is that Devin, Paladin of Torm, had a wife and several children.

And when Devin’s wife Tristeza became suspicious of her husband Tristeza bent her knees to the gods to intervene.

That night under the full Peddler’s Moon, Nissa was approached by a short unkempt masked peddler.

“A gold for one humbled by your beauty?” The peddler pleaded to Nissa. “Or mayhap a gold for a word to the wise eh? Be wary your dreams are just a tryst, for he is wed to another.” And with these words the peddler vanished as the moon disappeared behind a shadow, the shadow of Devin on his steed.

Nissa hid from Devin and followed him to Tragidore where she discovered the heartbreaking truth. Nissa whispered thanks to the gods before confronting this man- this mockery of a Paladin. It was then the prideful Geoff attacked Jinx and before anyone could discern anything in the chaos; Geoff the hippogriff was dead as was Nissa Belabranta.

Since that day the Gundwynd’s have not forgotten about the loss of their threaded stock hippogriff. And of Devin? He denied the affair until the day he died. The Belabrantas, despite the loss of a young princess, recovered with gaining the favor of Mask; for it was he dressed as the peddler. Together with the continued blessings of Mielikki, opens a new path to becoming the prestigious shadowdancer: the icon Nissa became on the day she was killed by a lying paladin.

Agundar family secret: Arandur

This legendary metal is worked by Talos master-smiths and metal workers who regard Arandur as sacred ore; "Talos’ gods-blood seeped into the veins of the land to mine and toil."

Arandur is a rare natural metal found only under a trio of mountain peaks called Arandur’s Crown, as streaks of blue-green ore amid vitreous glass. So that it does not become as brittle as the glass it is found in, it must be tempered with the blood of dragons in its forging. The finished forged metal is silver-blue with a green reflective shine. Arandur also bonds with other metals and is known for holding a sharp edge even when abused or neglected.

Bladesemmer: Ally of The Agundars

Founded over a hundred years ago by a mage, Curcio Bladesemmer, who knew the value of having a good sword to watch his back. Curcio didn't have much in the way of offensive magics, relying on illusions to surprise and bewilder his opponents. He earned enough to purchase his nobility in Waterdeep and set about hiring a virtual army of blacksmiths to begin making high-quality blades. Over the years, his decendants slightly branched out into designing exotic body armor and the teaching of fencing. It wasn't until 16 years ago, when the captain of the Agundars' mercenaries, Ghengil, a warrior from the far east, suggested an alliance between the Agundars and the Bladesemmers. The Bladesemmers provide the Agundars with swords, at a 30% discount and we do all our blade-trading through them. The Bladesemmers in fact taught Bordane how to fence and provided him his first rapier. Balazar was initially against Bordane's learning of this style of fighting, wishing the boy to take up the bastard sword. Ghengil, again, stepped in and reasoned that, while Bordane would be primarily be trained as a fencer, Ghengil would see to it Bordane learned the other weapons as well. And many an exhausting and bruising training sessions followed