Upon arriving we observe a clear road leading to the “free trade city of Nimbus” were we see a variety of intelligent races (cat people, albino minotaurs) doing their day-to-day business comfortable in our presence as if seeing half-dragons were a regular sight.
Just outside the city was a market of sorts where merchants hoped to improve their station by earning ‘shares’, a local currency, seemingly regulated by the cities trade corporations as indicated by tattoo markings we observe. Besides the shares system, minor goods were traded in kind for necessities like food and clothing.
Approaching a trade stand took many by surprise because we acted out of character of what the usual half-dragons do when arriving. Lopel was a merchant who hoped to improve his position on the road with the upcoming trade season (early summer to early fall) by selling an ivory carving; the ‘god’s grove’ (20k – 50k gp) had the potential to elevate him up the trade road.
As we conversed many locals began to loiter and openly listen in on our curiosity- our behavior was not expected. They all seemed to be huddled in their own sub-groups of races and social castes. During the exchange Jaren detects an overwhelming amount of divine magics over that of arcane but does in fact notice an invisible floating tower over the city and its connection to Avericia.
Durg breaks from the Lopel's stand and begins looking for a food vendor and finds a purveyor of whale blubber thereby sparking an impromptu pot-luck, feeding the four of us with an amazing amount of sea food and fruit, fruit, fruit. Races of all types participated in bringing strange meats and fruit based beverages.
The guards protect the city against the chance possibility of swarm attacks, arach, or winged apes wielding exotic weapons. Several ogre guards approach but do not interfere, however one is asked about local accommodations and his response was ‘you're not a devil’. Now we understand all the odd behavior from the local folk. We are now seen as separate individuals from the half-dragons/ half-devils by our diplomacy and not the run of the mill Tiamat followers. We were finally directed to ‘Omar or Sharif’s’ or it was suggested just take up in an open building.
As we continue our meal emissaries from the local temple to Tiamat approach with confused looks on their pusses approach and inquire as to why our delay. Erilis and four robed acolyte clerics (2 devil-possessed humans [connected to trade co’s], an orc and a drow woman named Anan Viator) wondered when we are going to arrive at the temple. We respond with 'after we learn the ways of local custom' was the extent of our brief conversation before the high priest flew back to the temple.
After the meal and after granting Lopel and Ali Baba a not so small level of prestige we enter the city.
Noon- The city was consisted of in inner ring of residential structures called the Hill and an outer ring comprised of the old remnants gothic buildings. The local neighborhoods were controlled by their respective racial occupants who contract their labor with the trade corporations.
Family businesses served as a community wide resource, these families have gained enough shares to become independent. The Trade corporations however, (half the outer ring) service their own without rivalry from other companies and operate the trade caravan routes.
The hill is a jealously guarded by the gargoyles and comes with a heavy pall of arcane magic, more so than the prevailing druidic magic outside the hill. Within the ring were three temples: a Shrine to All-Faiths, the Temple to Tiamat, and a Church to the Sky/Sun god (Aranu from Stormhaven?)
The Temple to Tiamat was a gothic structure formally a church or museum that accommodated flyers. As we fly in gargoyles watch our every move. Upon entering we see High Priest Erilis hard at work with his singular purpose: anointing the dragon-scale alter. He was a creature consumed with his duties at the church and was confident that Nimbus would fall to their lord.
Erilis was visibly relieved after our intentions were laid bare and were agents of Tiamat, albeit foreign agents. He gives us a tour of the Temple explaining the Temple’s role in the city and the long methods of gaining converts. It was later tabled that granting of titles to families would gain more recruits to the temple as a faster method.
Upon showing us the basement we find it to be very old and not so much divine in magic but arcane and of sin magic. Jaren performs a test and learns that certain sacrifices yield metamagic sin and has unlocked a key to a new form of magic. A gemstone is also required for the next step. Markings on the natural crystalline stone of the seven-halled room show over the ages a winged humanoid celestial race practiced here and was corrupted by sin magic.
Anan Viator, identified as the most resourceful of the four clerics, was then singled out as we let Erilis continue with his singled-minded service. The drow woman desired to renew an old family pact as a dragon-rider mentioning her grandfather who fought in many battles. She is a believer and a cleric but wants to avoid devilish possession if at all possible and knows this is the Age of Dragons.
She leads us out into the city and to the north road that leads into the jungle whereby she speaks openly after she identifies us a non-devils but princes nonetheless. She is from Darkell, the upper tip of a subterranean drow city. She is familiar with Stormhaven and Twilight House and ensures us that allies against the elves can be found in Darkell. (500 miles from Nimbus) We offer her status in the Stromhaven temple in exchange for her help.
In the mean time she warns us away from landing during monsoon season (rat swarms) and the probable locations of two metallic dragon lairs within 200 miles of Nimbus.
We also learned of a minotaur kingdom 1,000 miles to the west and the best way to find viable tar pits for Jaren’s idea would be to find a druid or an earth priest.
5 pm- We fly to the invisible tower to meet Avericia’s fist wizard Optatio a seven foot tall humanoid who was in all hi-def. Socially awkward he explained that he was looking through his magical telescope for the enemy where he hoped to infect them with a disease they could carry back to their kin allowing him to better track down their jungle elven homes. He has been here only a week and does not get many visitors.
Next session we plan on resting before Jaren teleports us and Anan Viator to Darkell.