Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

A Rude Awakening

The plot so far…

Demon horse

At the end of our last adventure, we found our brave companions fighting for their lives after crashing a not-so-friendly masquerade ball. Without weapons and armor, Z’alden, Felsmon, Barrick, Tira, and Rift managed to defeat the evil thief Craith and his minions. But in the end, Elena Goodright, one of the instigators, made good her escape on a foul winged beast. The brave wizard Rift followed her on a white pegasus, and her current whereabouts and health are unknown.

Poor Mr. Goodright, Elena’s father, and the owner of the mansion, had been turned into an undead monster by Craith, and locked in his own cellar. With their new friend Lorelei, the adventurers, rejoined by Erik, managed to destroy Goodright’s unholy carcass. Knowing that time was of the essence, they found a shaman willing to perform the risky ritual for raising the dead. The experiment was a success, and Mr. Goodright now sleeps peacefully in his upstairs bedroom.

Now, after a long evening, the adventurers contemplate the events, and reflect over their next course of action…


As the crossbow flashes into dust, Z’alden could swear he hears a sigh, as of a lost soul returning to its resting place. Perhaps the crossbow was once more powerful that Z’alden realized?

Regardless, the pile of residuum ash is quite substantial, with Z’alden estimating it at 400 gp total.

Lorelei tells Z’alden, “Do not worry about the other bodies. We can deal with them in the morning. But now, you all have some decisions to make.” She stares amusedly at the heavy sacks that surround Z’alden. "What do you intend to do with this newly-found wealth?

You are able to fit 15,000 gp worth of gems, platinum, and gold into the bag of holding. The rest is in the sacks.

A Rude Awakening

Z’alden cannot believe how much power his old crossbow must have had at one time. He carefully stores the residuum. Z’alden turns to Lorelei. “I would have us place the other bodies in the cellar, and I will care for them. It will only take a few moments to prepare each body.”

“My friends, Rift taught me a ritual for storing things, the ritual of the great Leomund for making a secret chest. We could store the chest between the planes and summon it to us as we need it. Tomorrow, let us get the components for the chest and store the wealth there.”

“I will use some to learn the ritual of Raise Dead from my Pelorian brethren and then acquire the components needed to raise all 9.”

“For my own purposes, some share of the treasure I would save until I can find a particular brooch for healing of which I have heard. The whole of this vast quantity of wealth would likely come close to the cost of such an item.”

OOC: Z’alden expects learning the ritual of Raise Dead to cost 800 gp and then 500 gp of components per Raise.

Unless Lorelei objects, Z’alden performs Gentle Repose on each of the nine dead.

In the morning, assuming nothing untoward happens, Z’alden hopes to explain to Mr. Goodright all that has transpired. If Goodright is unconvinced, he will use some of the residuum to speak with dead on the minstrel.

Then, he will ask Tira or Erik to go purchase the components needed for the several Raise Dead rituals and for the Leomund’s Secret Chest ritual.

A Rude Awakening

Lorelei thinks Z’alden’s plan for doing Gentle Repose is a good one. In fact, she offers to help you so that it will not take so long. Finally, the task is complete and the bodies lie peacefully (albeit dead) in the cellar. It is time for a much needed rest.

You all wake up after a long, trouble-free sleep. Each of you found different rooms to sleep in. Barrick seems to have found a most comfortable place underneath one of the dining room tables, an empty flagon of ale beside him. Z’alden discovered a room with a down-filled mattress, perhaps one of the many guest rooms? Felsmon snored unconcernedly on the floor, with his back to the cellar door, to make sure nothing came either up or down. Tira seems to have mysteriously vanished, but reappeared when her name was anxiously called. She had no explanation for where she slept, or at least none she was willing to offer. Finally, Erik dreamt he was sleeping on a pillow made from the finest gossamer. When he wakes, he finds himself staring up into Lorelei’s eyes. She smiles down at him, “You fell asleep in my lap, and I didn’t have the heart to wake you.”

Lorelei then slips quietly out of the house. “I must do some errands around town. Z’alden, I will look for components for your Leomund’s ritual, as well as someone who knows the secret of the Raise Dead ritual. Do not worry, I will return later.”

Finally, near midday, Mr. Goodright staggers downstairs, clutching his head. “What happened?” he exclaims. His eyes are bloodshot, and it looks like his sleep was not as peaceful as yours. “I had the most horrible dreams. It was dark, and I was eating things that should not be eaten. Why is my house such a shambles? And where is my daughter Elena?”

Looking around, he spies Z’alden just breaking apart a piece of stale bread. “You!” should Mr. Goodright. “How dare you enter my house? Are you responsible for this carnage?” His face grows purple with rage.

What do you all do?

A Rude Awakening

Z’alden uses his best diplomatic skills to mollify the man. He puts up his hands to show no weapons and no harm is meant. “Good sir, well met! I am Z’alden, servant of Bahamut. We are no enemy of yours. Least of all, am I. When last me met, we were both victims of a lie. I acted in hasty judgment. But, you have been victimized far beyond our unfortunate incident.”

Delivering his best lines, he rounds with,"You have been the victim of a most vile plot brought upon you by foul villiany. It is only since we have uncovered the plot, defeated the villians, and saved you that you find your health and freedom. Many of your friends about town find theirs, too. The carnage is the result of the battle to save your good townsfolk from murderous rogues here in your own home. You will be considered most favorably when the tale is known. "

Z’alden continues hoping that the last sinks in,
“Do you remember any of what has transpired in your life since last we met many tendays ago? Horrible dreams were not mere dreams. Let us get you food and ale and hear your tale, and you shall hear ours. I imagine you are quite tired from your ordeal. I am a skilled healer. Please, let me continue to tend you, as I have done throughout the night, as your not fully healed.”

If it seems that Mr. Goodright will calm for at least a moment, Z’alden makes a comforting poultice and gets what food he can find, along with ale. He uses his healing skills to continue to comfort the recently raised. He hopes that Tira and Felsmon lend their aid in speaking with the merchant.

How does Mr. Goodright react?

A Rude Awakening

Mr. Goodright splutters, “A poultice! What the deuce would I want with a poultice? The last thing I remember is being tended to by my dear Elena. She had brought in a friend of hers, Craith I believe his name was, to help take care of me. Seemed a nice enough chap, unlike the lot of you.”

Goodright glares around his great hall, taking in the carnage. “What a mess! It will cost a fortune to fix the place up.” When he mentions the word “fortune” you see his eyes grow wide with alarm. “You’ve probably taken my fortune also, you murderous thieves!”

He shouts “Guards, to me!”. After a brief moment, the two stalwart guards from outside come stomping in. They do not seem surprised at seeing Mr. Goodright, nor at the mess in the hall.

“Guards, oh, what are your names again?” Goodright shrugs. “No matter. Stay here and watch these ruffians. Make sure they go nowhere. I must go and check on some things.”

With that, Mr. Goodright heads over to the curtained door in the southwest corner. After he disappears through, you hear him drag open the heavy cellar door, and then the stomp of his feet descending the stairs. A few moments later, you hear a loud wail from somewhere below. You can faintly hear the words “Gone! It’s all gone!”

When he returns into the hall, he is surprisingly calm. He strides over towards the group, brushing heavily against Z’alden as he walks by. He walks up to Tira, Erik, Felsmon, and Barrick. “I would like an explanation for what has transpired here. If I am not satisfied with the explanation, I will have all of you arrested and taken to the highest tower in Fallcrest and hung.”

He studies each of you slowly.

“Well, I’m waiting!”

A Rude Awakening

A bewildered Erik looks at Mr. Goodright, then at Z’alden, and then back at Goodright. “What’s a poultice?”, earnestly asks Erik. After a pause, he then pronounces, “I’m hungry.”, sits at one of Mr. Goodright’s long tables and starts to feast on some day-old poultry.

A Rude Awakening

Tira gives Z’alden a quick sideways glance and hisses through her teeth, trying to get him to stop talking and to step away from the bags of coins lying at his feet.

She smiles sheepishly at Mr. Goodright, then, using her best Charisma, says, “Good sir, I can only imagine how this appears from your point of view. Know that we are here to help. I have met your daughter in the past, more than once, and recognize in her certain qualities of myself.” She chuckles openly, then frowns, shakes her head and continues, “Alas, only a few hours ago she was whisked away from here on a foul winged beast. One of my companions is following her through the air, trying to bring her back here, to safety, but of the progress of that rescue, I cannot currently say. We arrived at your house last night to find a masked ball in progress. No sooner did we sit down to eat did a heinous robbery occur. The miscreants killed more than one of your fellow townsfolk before we could stop them.” Tira waves her arms around the room, “I am sorry we have not yet been able to clean up from the mess. We found you, not living, and quickly found a person that could raise you to health. Whilst waiting to see the progress of your recovery we have started trying to determine how much of the treasure is yours and how much of it belongs to your friends.” Tira smiles warmly again, pauses, then turns to join Erik at the table.

A Rude Awakening

Z’alden tries to calm himself and takes Tira’s hint. Realizing that Mr. Goodright is worse than predisposed to him, he grabs three flagons of ale, takes them to the guards and says to them,“It really is a good story. How long have you worked for Mr. Goodright?”

A Rude Awakening

Felsmon walks up to Mr. Goodright and says, “Now, I feel there is no need for threats such as that. We have just rided your house of a great villan and I feel you are being less than thankful to us for this service, so how about you calm down and explain what you want to us”

A Rude Awakening

As Z’alden approaches, the guards look at each other, and shrug. One of them says, “Been here a couple of weeks. Craith hired us. Said the old guards ran off with the treasure.” Goodright looks shocked for a moment. As the guard reaches for the flagon of ale, the other guard grabs his arm. “Blimey, Bill, not while we’re on duty.” You see him give a slight sideways nod of his head in the direction of Mr. Goodright. Bill pauses then shrugs again. “Hmmmph. Sir, will you be needing us any more?”

Mr. Goodright waves his hand dismissively, “No, no, you can go.” The nameless guard stomps off back towards the front door. Bill turns, then, after seeing that Mr. Goodright is paying him no attention, grabs two flagons of ale from Z’alden and hurries to catch up to his companion. The door slams shut behind them, and the adventurers are left alone with Mr. Goodright in the main hall.

Goodright stares uncomprehending at the huge dragonborn Felsmon standing before him. Then, he collapses in a chair, and puts his head in his hands. He is surrounded by half-eaten Gnomish game hen carcasses, spilled glasses of the finest Drow wine, a few napkins blasted by lightning, and a congealed pool of blood. “Ah, my Elena, what have you done? Where did I go wrong? Curse your mother for getting eaten by that remorhaz in the frozen Northern wastes.”

He looks up with a resigned look. “Z’alden Silverflame. That is your name, is it not? You are a worshiper of Bahamut, and you seek the truth, yes?” He does not wait for your answer, but continues, “Yet I see you wear a symbol of Tiamat also. That is good. It is wise to not put all of your dragon eggs in one nest, eh?”

From his crumpled bathrobe pocket, he pulls out a crisp folded parchment. As he slowly opens it, you see him sit a little taller in his chair, as if hope is slowly coming back.

“I have had a letter this morning. From my agent down at the Fallcrest docks. The Black Wind has come in, with a fine cargo of silver ingots from Karrnoch, and soarwood from the elves of Aerune. It is worth a fortune!”

His eyes light up with an unmasked gleam of avarice.

“But… apparently there has been trouble along the trade routes. Some one or some thing has been attacking the ships, plundering them, and leaving nothing but shattered wrecks. Even the bodies have been taken.” Mr. Goodright shudders, as if this topic hits a little too close to home.

He looks up again, and stares each of you in the face. “Well, you look strong enough. Perhaps you could… No, it won’t work. I cannot hope to…” He stops talking, and starts to fold up the parchment.

What do you say?

A Rude Awakening

Looking from the folded parchment to merchant, Z’alden says,“Where there is unfairness or oppression, the Light of the Great Dragon must shine for justice and hope. And, if necessary, for vengeance.” Z’alden taps the part of his holy symbol that shows Tiamat. “Trade is crucial to civilization and the Law that the Great Dragon guards over. What can be done to set this to rights?”

A Rude Awakening

Mr. Goodright keeps his hands over his eyes for a moment longer, as if debating with himself. Then he looks up, with a hopeful smile. “Would you really help? It could be very dangerous. My agent, no, my friend, is the captain of the Black Wind. His name is Ree ir’Wynarn, and he is a very strong warrior. If even he cannot protect himself from these pirates, then I wonder what good you can do.”

Goodright stares around at the mess in his hall, the stench of death still lingering. His gaze stops for a moment on the sacks surrounding Z’alden’s feet, then he shrugs, his mind made up. “Yes, Z’alden Silverflame. I will trust you. Let us make a bargain. You help me and my friend, and clear the trade routes of these villains, and I will forget all that has passed between us.”

He stands, folds the parchment carefully and puts it away, then marches slowly over to your group. Stopping in front of Z’alden, he holds out his hand in a gesture of reconciliation. “Are we good?”

A Rude Awakening

Barrick bites his tongue, barely believing his ears. We should go fight pirates – as far from the safety of caves as we can possibly get – to mollify this idiot of a human whose life and livelihood we have just saved? This, on top of letting Craith off elf-free after his treachery, because of some friendly witch-woman? What was the world of adventuring coming to? Used to be, you could ride in, break some skulls, take some gold, ride out again. Now it’s all politics.

A Rude Awakening

Erik stands, covers one eye with a hand and barrels out an, “Arrr, wenches! Count me ins would yee, matees.” With one eye still covered, he looks around somewhat embarrassedly to see everyone’s response.

A Rude Awakening

“Good merchant, as you honor your name, we will always be good,” Z’alden clasps the arm in reconciliation. “As a merchant, you must be aware that not all are as concerned with the causes of Justice and Law as I am and need other, more material, motivations. For my friends and I to participate, what reward can you offer? And, what do you require?”

A Rude Awakening

Mr. Goodright stares at Z’alden. “Ah, a man after my own heart. Of course there must be compensation and recompense. We must discuss it further with Captain ir’Wynarn, but I am sure he will be so happy at having help, that he will readily agree to any terms we propose. I suggest that you book passage with him, pretending to be passengers. He will sail his usual route up to the village of Nenlast, making trading stops along the way. Assuming all goes well, the pirates are bound to attack. Then it is simply a matter of discovering their identity, and killing or capturing them.”

Mr. Goodright coughs apologetically, “Of course, it would be better if they were alive, so as to face justice, but things could be handled either way.”

He looks thoughtful. “As to the reward, I am afraid that I am rather low on funds at the moment, having lost it all to my worthless guards. However, there is a bounty of 10,000 gold on the head of the pirate leader, subscribed to by the townspeople between Fallcrest and Nenlast. And of course, any treasure or plunder that you found on these pirates would be yours to keep. No questions asked.”

Goodright then looks worried. “And, there is one other thing. If you hear mention of my daughter, or even better, if you find her, I would be most anxious for her safe return. And this time, I promise no tricks for the reward!” He smiles.

“Now, if we are in agreement, we should make plans. I will send a message down to the Black Wind, giving the terms of the proposal, and asking them to delay departure until tomorrow morning. In the meantime, if you have any errands to attend to in town, please do so. You may safely leave your belongings here. They will not be disturbed. I would, however, recommend that you take them with you on your voyage, as I may be away from the house for several moons on business. Let us all meet down at the Fallcrest docks, say around sun down. I will introduce you to the Captain, and perhaps if we are lucky, he will invite us aboard to sample some of his fine wines from his travels.”

What do you want to do or buy around town?

A Rude Awakening

First, Z’alden asks to put the bodies of those killed into the cellar and cover them. With the care he has already given, they should not deteriorate for some time.

Then, Z’alden pats Erik on the back. “Erik, a poultice is a healing cloth with herbs and ointments. In fact, I can’t believe I have never given you one before. I shall make several for our trip, as they help increase your own body’s healing when you rest.”

He turns to the group, “While we have time before we depart, I also could make a few whetstones. They could be useful to improve a blade’s sharpness during a battle. And, does everyone have a healing potion? There is not much time and much to do.”

Z’alden wants to go to the local shops and get the components for making enhancing whetstones and for poultices. He also wants at least 500 gp in ritual components.

A Rude Awakening

Tira sidles up to Barrick, “I agree with you. We have no need to help this guy out. Plus I do not trust his sudden change in demeanor. I mean, from his point of view we kidnapped his daughter, probably twice, asked for money in return both times, slandered him in front of his friends, and actually killed him. But all of a sudden he is willing to forgive so long as we disappear up the coast on a ship bound for pirate infested waters? Ha!”

But then Tira’s gaze shifts up and to the left, as it does when she daydreams. “I would, however, enjoy seeing the ocean. My mother used to tell me stories of water so big you could not see the other side and you could sail so far out you could see nothing but water. I learned to sail on the Baron’s lakes and love the feel of a rocking deck, but being out on the ocean, now that would be something.”

Tira’s eyes refocus and a smile turns up one corner of her mouth, “And battling pirates at sea? That could be a refreshing change of scenery. And we do not have to come back; we could take the pirate ship as our own and go explore the world. Hmm, now that I think about it I think we should agree to go, but not for him, for us. What say you?”

Tira checks her pack and holds up one finger to Z’alden, indicating that she has but one healing potion left. She shrugs at her anxious friend, she needs nothing in town, but can help shop, using her charisma to barter for the best prices, if he wants company.

Then Tira’s gaze drifts back upward as she pulls out her dagger and absentmindedly cleans the underside of one of her surprisingly still manicured and polished nails.

A Rude Awakening

Could Felsmon buy a non magic Waraxe (AV) for say 40g? Then could Z’alden transfer the enchantment from his sword to the waraxe?

A Rude Awakening

The Town of Fallcrest gets a fair share of adventurers coming through, and has a decent selection of potions, whetstones, ritual components, and general gear.

At Sandercot Provisioners, Nimena Sandercot keeps a wide range of general (mundane) adventuring gear, for reasonable prices. “Aye, if it be rope you be needing, I’ve got hundred ’o staff lengths.” Nimena scowls at you.

Instead, if you go over to House Azaer, you can find any number and kind of potions, which Amara Azaer would be only too happy to sell. “Healing potions, poison, or in between. Amara’s got what you need.” She smiles brightly as she fingers a Waraxe lying on the scarred counter. You see a price tag, “Only 40 gold!”

Finally, the premier shop in Fallcrest is Naerumar’s Imports. The tiefling owner, Orest Naerumar, deals in gems, jewelry, potions, and magic. “Only the finest goods for the finest customers,” he sniffs.

At Sandercot’s, you can buy any mundane gear. At Azaer’s, you can buy up to 5 potions, each level 5 or lower. At Naerumar’s, you can buy any two potions up to level 11, as well as any two whetstones, also up to level 11. There is no other magic. Everything at list prices, no haggling. You can also buy 500 gp of ritual components.

What do you purchase, and when do you gather all of your belongings and go down to the docks?

A Rude Awakening

Tira looks around at the items, no daggers are better than the one she has and nothing else leaps out as a must have item. If she sees a set of darts, those used for playing darts in the pub, she will buy a set, but otherwise she does not buy anything on her own. She is ready to head to the docks whenever the rest of the party is ready.

A Rude Awakening

Z’alden and Tira go shopping. Z’alden is a little disappointed that his own negotiating skills, along with Tira’s, amount to nothing.

At Sandercot’s, they purchase 100 ft of light weight silk rope at a cost of 20 gp. Z’alden also tries to buy five fine non-magical whetstones, expecting each to run 2 gp, for a total of 10gp. Z’alden also buys 10 days worth of rations for all party members for 25 gp. He buys 1 everburning torch for 50 gp. He buys 6 empty flasks for 18 cp.

At Azaer’s, they buy 5 potions of healing for 250 gp and the fine war axe for 40 gp.

At Naerumar’s, they buy two level 6 augmenting whetstones for a total 150 gp and 2 potions of regeneration for a total of 320 gp. They also get 500 gp in ritual components. They have spent 1366 gp.
At Naerumar’s, they also try to convert 5000 gp in gold pieces into gems to make room in the bag of holding. Additionally, they convert 20 gp into silver pieces.

At Naerumar’s, Z’alden also asks whether Naerumar sells alchemical Herbal Poultices that add to a person’s own recuperative powers. If so, they will purchase five of them at 125 gp each for a total of 625, and total spending of 1991 gp.

Z’alden and Tira go back to the Goodright house, meeting Felsmon. Z’alden asks Tira to distribute the items. He then lights the Ritual Candle and works to transfer the enchantment of Felsmon’s dragonborn sword to the new waraxe. Z’alden can see the magic, feel its power. Almost as if physically handling it, he imbues the mundane waraxe with the dragonborn arcane powers. Felsmon marvels at the damage he will be able to do with his new axe, even as he realizes it is a little more difficult to wield than a longsword.

Z’alden expects it is about 4 hours until it is time to meet Goodright at the docks. Assuming it may take almost an hour to get there and that the party would like an hour to scope out the docks, Z’alden turns to the ritual of enchant consumable magic item to enchantone of the mundane whetstones into an additional augmenting whetstone using 75 gp of the components. He then takes some of the ritual components and into 1 of the empty flasks makes an additional potion of regeneration using 160 gp of the components. Z’alden has 265 gp of ritual components and 330 gp of residuum remaining.

Are the sacks with the other half of the treasure still where the party left them? If so, they put some additional amount into the bag of holding. Z’alden puts 1000 gp into one of the remaining sacks and turns to his friends,“Before we depart, no matter what the reason we go, we should make an offering to Melora the sea god and one to Bahamut.” Assuming no one disagrees, they take half of the funds to the small shrine to Bahamut outside of Fallcrest.

As they approach the docks, Z’alden looks for a shrine to Melora to make an offering.

The party arrives near the docks one hour before sundown. Using the 200 silver pieces, Z’alden (and Tira and Felsmon if they are interested) asks around about the Black Wind and its captain.

OOC: What do they find out about the Black Wind?

A Rude Awakening

While Z’alden is off looking for specific items, Erik just peruses the shops. On his little journey he picks up 10 flasks of oil, some rags suitable for fuses and a sling. On the less practical side, if he finds a bicorne hat, he’ll purchase one of those. After the shops he heads down to the docks and looks for a place that has a harpoon. Being from the mountains, he has heard about them, but never seen one. If there is one for sale, he’ll buy it, complete with rope.

A Rude Awakening

As they approach the docks, Tira looks around at the men working there, and those that appear to be sailors. She turns around, goes and buys a bottle of rum and some tea. She dumps out the rum and puts the tea back in the rum bottle, diluting it with water to make it the same colour. She then puts a small inconspicuous mark near the bottom of the bottle and stows it in her pack. If she passes a shop that sells something similar to small metal marbles, e.g., large ball bearings, she will buy a small pouch of those as well, only winking slyly at the store proprietor if asked why she wants them.

A Rude Awakening

Z’alden, with Felsmon’s help, is able to accomplish all of his tasks, with moments to spare. The priests at Bahamut’s and Melora’s shrines are most appreciative of his donation. “May Melora grant you the peace of the waves and the bounty of the seas, and may the denizens of the deep remain far far below.”

Tira is unable to find any darts, until finally down at the docks, she discovers Quirrel’s Grog ’n Games. She finds a beautiful set of matching darts, made of a strong silver alloy, with the finest feathers from the rare Xyjub bird. “An excellent set!” exclaims Quirrel, the proprietor. “Well balanced, heavy. Careful where you aim those, you could hurt someone.” When asked about the price, he says, “For a beautiful lass like yourself? A mere 50 gold.”

When Tira looks shocked at the price, he quickly adds, “And I’ll even throw in a bottle of rum, yes?” Tira lifts an eyebrow and stares. “Um, and hope about a cup of tea?” Tira shrugs, how could she refuse? Then, when he notices her eyeing a large bag of glass marbles, he says, “And of course you need a bag of marbles to go with those darts. Here you go, compliments of the house.”

Just as Tira is about to leave, Erik strolls in, laden down with flasks of oil, rags, rope, as well as a bedraggled looking sling. “Good sir,” he exclaims to Quirrel, “I am looking for a hat.”

Quirrel looks nervously from Tira to Erik. “A hat? There are many kinds of hats.” He laughs a little too loudly.

You notice that he is wearing a most impressive bicorn hat, with a red ribbon that would perfectly offset Erik’s cloak. The other patrons in the bar look bemused, as if enjoying the sight of Quirrel’s discomfort. Erik signals with his eyes that Quirrel’s hat is exactly what is is looking for. Quirrel looks shocked.

“My hat?” he splutters. “But I’ve had this hat for years, ever since I was a lowly midshipman in the war against Karrnoch.”

Erik, what do you say to Quirrel?

In the meantime, after spending a little silver and finding out even less, Z’alden and Felsmon are directed towards Quirrel’s Grog ’n Games as the best place for information along the docks. As they enter, they notice that Barrick is already here, sitting in a corner, lustily drinking a pint of dwarven ale. Apparently he has been here the entire time, watching both Tira and Erik along with the rest of the clientele.

Z’alden, who do you want to talk to, and what do you say?

A Rude Awakening

Z’alden tries to get the feel of the place. Is there a patron who looks to be in charge? Or one who looks like the type who knows things?

A Rude Awakening

Seated at the table nearest to Barrick is a large half-orc who appears to be dominating the conversation. After a quiet whisper to a nearby patron, you find out his name is Gutgob, and he is a bit of a legend in these parts. He was a bit of a pirate a few years back, but has now reformed and is running a semi-legitimate shipping business, running rum from up past the Witchlight Fens down to Fallcrest, and running weapons back up the river. He is reputed to know everyone, and their business.

As a side note, he also appears to have no prejudices against anyone, as he has already bought Barrick a drink, and is trying to wheedle a story out of the dwarf.

A Rude Awakening

OOC: Everyone has a potion of healing. Everyone has a Level 8 Herbal Poultice: Standard Action. Use before you or an ally takes a short rest. The target of the herbal poultice regains an additional 4 hit points when he or she spends a healing surge at the end of the short rest.
OOC: Erik, Barrick and Tira each have a potion of regeneration. Erik, Barrick, and Felsmon each have a +2 Augmenting Whetstone.

A Rude Awakening

“I tell you what”, Erik says to Quirell, “I’ll give you 10 gold now and if the hat isn’t returned to you with some great tales, you can keep the 10 gold. Deal?”

OOC: After Erik’s attempt to borrow the hat, he’ll join Barrick and Gutgob at the table, with an eye toward finding a harpoon and perhaps a ballista to shoot it.

A Rude Awakening

Quirrel squints long and hard at Erik. “Done! Although I have a funny feeling that I’ll never see you again…” The way he says it sounds more like a prophecy, and Erik feels a cold shudder run down his spine. But, “the sun is always shining in a glade somewhere,” as Erik’s mother used to say, so he shrugs off the feeling and goes over to join Barrick and Gutgob.

Gutgob was just telling Barrick about mermaids and sirens, and how to tell the difference between them. Barrick looks amused, but tries to steer the conversation back towards the upcoming voyage.

Meanwhile, Z’alden and Felsmon have drawn up chairs at Gutgob’s table. “The Black Wind, you say? Aye, she’s a fine ship, with a fine captain. Wynarn (or Wynnie as I like to call him) is one of the best. Not always on the right side of the fence, but it’s wide enough to sit on, I always say.” At this point he guffaws loudly, and slaps Barrick on the back.

“Old Wynarn’s been having a bit of trouble of late, from what I hear. Come to think of it, we all have, what with the new excise taxes bein’ levied by Nentir. Course I ain’t been bothered by tax collectors, they ain’t that foolish.” Gutgob stops, stands up, then shouts “Hey Quirrel, how bout another round o’er here? Starboard side’s full, but the larboard could use some ballast!” He laughs hugely at his own joke as he sits down, while others nearby join in the fun.

“Now what was I sayin’? Oh yeah, that ship ‘o his, the Black Wind. We call it the Ill Wind sometimes, not to his face ’o course. Seems like trouble’s always dogging poor Wynarn’s trail. If it ain’t sea serpents, it’s dragons or what not. Now he’s goin’ on about pirates. Ha! I’m the only pirate around here, and I been mindin’ me own business of late.”

As Gutgob talks, Erik notices a tall figure in a hooded cloak who stands near enough to the table to overhear. The figure stays a moment, then slips quietly out the front door. Erik cannot be sure, but he thinks he caught a glimpse of pointy ears, and black eyes set in a gaunt sallow face. A longsword is clearly visible beneath the cloak. As the door swings shut, Erik sees the figure stride quickly off into the crowded street.

“Are ye signin’ on with Wynarn then? Help him with his p-p-p-pirate problem?” Gutgob appears about to laugh at his own joke, then stops when he realizes he’s hit on the truth. His face grows serious, and his voice goes lower. “Now, I won’t be tellin’ you what to do, but I’d be careful. Wynarn’s alright, but his crew is another matter. Thought about signin’ on with him once meself, but his crew is so mean, even I had second thoughts. Maybe things have changed, that was quite a while ago.”

Gutgob pushes back his chair, and with a slight wobble, gets to his feet. “Well, best ‘o luck to you. I’m sure it will all turn out fine. Just a lark of a trip. Meanwhile, I’ve got a load of rum to deliver, assuming me crew hasn’t drunk it all by now.” Laughing loudly to himself, he quickly strides out the door. You hear his laugh receding in the distance.

By the light outside, you can see that night is fast approaching. Time to head over to the ship?

A Rude Awakening

We look for any sign of Goodright before heading directly to the ship. If he isn’t to be seen, we head to the ship, otherwise we go to him as planned.

A Rude Awakening

A kindly seaman directs you towards the Black Wind’s berth on the Upper Quay. As you approach the ship, you see Mr. Goodright up on the deck, waving his arms and talking to a much taller man. They appear to be having quite an argument. Finally, as you walk up the gangplank, you see them shake hands, apparently having reached some sort of agreement.

The Black Wind appears to be a tidy ship. She has but a single sail, located amidships. The sail is currently furled, but you see several crew members checking ropes, hauling stores on board, and generally getting ready to depart. One strange feature of the ship that you notice immediately are two large wooden poles that stand on either side of the ship, just aft of the mast. At the top of each pole is a metal bracket about one staff length in width, with nothing sitting in them. They appear to be supports for cranes, perhaps for lifting heavy cargo over the sides. However, Z’alden, with his keen senses, discovers a strong “arcane” aura surrounding the brackets.

A deep voice calls out, “Ah, I see you are admiring my lightning brackets.” The voice comes from the man who had been talking to Mr. Goodright, and who has now walked down from the poop deck. This must be the Captain.

“Greetings, I am Captain Ree ir’Wynarn, but you may simply call me Captain.” As you each introduce yourself, he nods his head politely.

Tira sees that he wears a long coat, of fine material but well worn. In his belt you see a long dirk as well as several pouches, and a fine scabbard containing a longsword with a hilt that has seen much use.

Erik notices that tucked into his belt is a small grappling hook, with a very short piece of rope attached. Under the coat Erik can see that Wynarn is wearing light green leather armor that shimmers, almost as if it were covered in reflective scales.

Z’alden’s eye is drawn to the Captain’s left shoulder, where he sees a small brooch adorned with the symbol of healing. This man does not seem like a healer.

Felsmon just stares at Wynarn, daring him to make himself taller than a Dragonborn. “How could a human be so tall?” he wonders. Felsmon notices that Wynarn has a large scar running down the left side of his face. As Felsmon looks him over, he also sees that Wynarn is wearing some sort of boots that he would swear are Dragonborn-made.

Barrick makes no attempt to talk to someone so foolish as to be that tall. Instead, he looks around keenly. This is his first time on a real ship, and, as his stomach gives a brief lurch, he fears it might be his last. Barrick notices that all of the crew seem quite subdued, quietly going about their tasks with only the minimum of talk. He also notices that they are all wearing robes with hoods, and each of them carries a sword.

“Gentlemen, welcome aboard my humble vessel.” He gestures to Mr. Goodright, standing somewhat nervously over to the side. “My esteemed friend Mr. Goodright has informed me of your offer to help me.” Wynarn again bows low. As he does so, Barrick, who can now see him face-to-face, sees a strange red light flare up in his eyes for an instant, but it is gone so quickly that he thinks it must have been a trick of the setting sun.

“I happily accept your offer of assistance, although I hope for our sake that it is an uneventful trip. Now, please, as we still have much to prepare, let us go below to stow your gear and have a quick toast to a prosperous voyage.”

“Come!” he says in a deep authoritative tone. It seems like a perfectly normal request, but all of you feel an overwhelming desire to obey the Captain. You understand now why the crew is so obedient – given the Captain’s overwhelming size and presence, one could not help but follow. You see Mr. Goodright also quickly falls in line behind you.

As you descend the stairs below the poop deck down to the cargo hold, Barrick gets the feeling that he is not inside a ship, but instead is inside a dungeon. The light grows dimmer, while the sounds from above are muffled and echo in the confined space. Everburning torches line the curved walls, while crates, boxes, and barrels are stored in every crevice and cranny. You see a closed door that must lead to the Captain’s cabin at the stern, while ahead of you a narrow path between the barrels leads to the crew and guest quarters near the bow. As you pass by another stairway leading to the bottom hold and the bilge, a strong stench wafts up, smelling of stale water, rats, and something undefinably musty.

Wynarn opens the door leading to the forward cabin. You see that a table has been set with several dusty bottles of wine, flagons of ale, and pitchers of water. The wine appears to be the finest Drow and Elf vintage, the Dwarven ale is cool and smells strong, while the water sparkles and shimmers.

“Let us toast!”

You each make a choice – wine, ale, or water. As Z’alden sips politely from his wine, he thinks how wonderful it tastes. “Is this Drow made?” he asks.

“It is. Death’s Head.”

As Wynarn says this, Z’alden begins to feel a little funny. Strange, he has had strong wine before, but he never felt like this. He feels like he had better sit down. The ship is still at anchor but the room is swaying and rocking.

Tira starts to giggle. “What’s the matter Z’alden? Too strong for a follower of Bahamut?” Why is she saying this? she thinks to herself. That isn’t like me. She stops giggling and stares stupidly at her drink. She begins making funny babbling noises.

Barrick thinks to himself, “Wine! Hmmph! That is for leather-armor wearing townies!” As he sits and finishes his mug of ale, his head collapses face downward. Deep snores are soon shaking the table.

Felsmon ignores the wine and ale. “Too much of that can fog the brain.” He takes a deep swig from the water pitcher. “Ah, just like water from the springs in the Kengi mountains.” Wynarn watches bemused as Felsmon topples face forward, crashing full length to the floor. A muffled “Ooof!” is heard, then nothing more.

Erik does not drink. Z’alden hears Wynarn say “Come! Bring them!”.

The last thing that Z’alden remembers is seeing Erik, along with Mr. Goodright, dragging Felsmon through the doorway. Then blackness descends upon all of you.

A Rude Awakening
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