You have been called back to the Chateau and again meet with the Marquis. There, in the same office in which he conducted your interview, you stand along with four strangers. As you size each other up, he offers you a contract of employment; the terms are simple, in exchange for your services “providing security for The Marquis Markus Lambert and his estate, under the authority of The Living Crown of Taldor” you are being provided 20gp as a monthly retainer, plus free room and board at the trading post, plus whatever you may acquire during the course of your services is yours to keep. Upon signing, he hands you a purse with your first months payment and tells you to enjoy the town, ”It may be your last taste of real civilisation for a good while.” He then hands each of you a wooden token with his wax seal stamped into it. ”This is a token of my personal favor. You may find someone in town with whom you can exchange this for their service and support. Now, reasonably, my favor carries different weight depending on who you’re speaking to.” He congratulates you, and before you are dismissed, instructs that you are to report to Pier 7 of the Riverside Wharf at sunrise, where the Marquis will be waiting for you.
Now you all stand around on the edge of the Lambert Manor lawn, with a fresh purse of coin and the Marquis’ personal favor to be cashed in by morning.
Here you are meeting your new teammates for the first time. You have the rest of the day and night to explore the city of Cassomir, together, or on your own. It is the 28th of Calistril. It is just past noon. The sky is partly cloudy, the air chilly, with the brackish smell of the harbor pervading the city. What do you wish to do?
Some of you are new arrivals to the city, some have grown up here. No knowledge checks necessary. Use the following info at your own discretion as it fits your character:
Cassomir is situated at the mouth of the Sellen River, a position that grants it considerable power as a trade city between the Inner Sea and the inland nations along the river's banks. The Sellen empties into the nearby Star Bay, which acts as a natural weigh station where the Taldan imperial navy secures payment from anyone wishing to access the river itself. The Bay also acts as the western border of the Jagged Saw, a dangerous span of coastline that continues to the mouth of the River Porthmos to the southeast.
Cassomir is divided into seven very distinct districts, the Abbey Green district that surrounds the ruins of Quickfall Abbey, the Admiral's Fen district plagued by the Blackwood Swamp, the unofficial district of Dog's Teeth consisting of a number of small rocky islands, the Old Cassomir district surrounded by enormous ramparts, the Grayguard's Shadow district which supports the impressive Grayguard Castle, the wealthy Threegates district, and the Imperial Naval Shipyards
You currently stand in Threegates district among the immodest dwellings of Cassomir’s wealthiest merchants and most privileged citizens. You’ve pretty much accomplished what you set out to do here today.
To the east are the main city gates over the moat which surrounds and protects Cassomir. Beyond that is the Blackwood Swamp.
To the west are the gates to Old Cassomir. Old Cassomir district is surrounded on all sides by huge ramparts. Two great gates on the east side connect the district with the rest of the city. Old Cassomir features solidly constructed buildings, well-paved streets, and parks. It houses the Admiralty Citadel, Pharasma's Pulpit, the headquarters of Cassomir's Constabulary, and the Swift Prison. Its inhabitants belong to the royalty and senatorial class. The few unbearded who live there are generally servants, gardeners, butlers, or craftsmen working in the upkeep of homes and estates. Around Pharasma’s Pulpit is the central square. Lined with specialty stores, it is the main commercial point in the district. The Sword Point is a pricey inn that is located near the northwest corner of the Old Cassomir district.
Directly south of the Threegate’s District is the Abbey Green, which surrounds the ruins of Quickfall Abbey. Abbey Green is home to artisans, scholars, former military officers, merchants, and craftsmen. The buildings are old—constructed of stone, brick, and mortar—and are no taller than three stories. Many merchants live here in apartments above their stores.
Most residents of Abbey Green avoid Quickfall Abbey and whisper frightful stories about it.
Further south alongside the river is the Imperial Shipyards. The Imperial Naval Shipyards manufacture huge, superior-quality war vessels for the Taldan Imperial Navy. The secret behind this quality lies in the blackwood trees harvested by the druids of Wildwood Lodge and sent to Cassomir in great volumes. The towering skeletons of dozens of ships in various phases of construction characterize this district. Around the shipyards, woodworkers, rope-makers, tar and pitch factories, sail weavers, and lumber mills represent a bustling industry surrounding the shipyards. The district also houses the industries of interest to sailors, like brothels, moneylenders, inns, pubs, fighting pits, shrines, and open-air markets. An infamous gambling house and inn “The Golden Barnacle” floats on an anchored barge just off the southern most pier. The Cassomir Constabulary heavily patrols the shipyards at night, though it is difficult to keep crime at bay. It is at the northern end of the Shipyards that you are to meet up with the Marquis in the morning.
Beyond the Shipyards is the Admiral’s Fen. The Admiral's Fen district was built as an expansion of Cassomir after the construction of the Imperial Naval Shipyards. The land was reclaimed from the Blackwood Swamp by draining a portion of it into the brackish moat that surrounds the city. Streets, buildings and sewers were constructed, but the new district quickly began to lose ground to the ever-expanding swamp. The streets long ago sunk, many buildings crashed in muddy ruins, and the air became a perpetual swamp-stink of wet mud, rotting vegetations and murky pools of water. There are efforts to keep the district as dry as possible but it is a losing battle. Today Admiral's Fen is home to lower-class craftsmen, dock workers, and thugs.
Across the harbor is Grayguard's Shadow, a small district tightly pressed against the Grayguard Castle's enormous walls. It is built on the same rocky outcropping that supports the castle and therefore doesn't suffer from the Blackwood Swamp plague like the neighboring Admiral's Fen district to the east. The district supplies the castle with everything it needs. A single fortified dock, which is the only other dock in the city outside the Imperial Naval Shipyards, is surrounded by many warehouses and import/export businesses that supply the castle. In Grayguard's Shadow, the streets, which in Admiral's Fen are sunk into the murky soil, can be clearly seen. The district is well patrolled by the Cassomir Constabulary and naval security forces.
Dog's Teeth is a group of rocky islets just off the coast of Grayguard Castle, in Cassomir. It is home to a large number of vagabonds and rogues, completely ignored by the Cassomir Constabulary. At low tide, the Dog's Teeth islets are connected to the beach below the castle, while at high tide the inhabitants use rickety canoes to reach the shore. This unofficial district of Cassomir is ruled by an old half-orc named Tarik the Unclean. The district is the heart of the city's black market, and Tarik uses the money to bribe the influential nobility of the city and maintain his power in Dog's Teeth.
Iagon's eyes grow wide at the coin and promise of room and board...it was more than he'd dared to ask for, given his relative lack of experience in such mercenary work. He composed himself, barely, behind a cough, his fist tight to his lips to cover any grin.
After the Marquis' gives them their final instructions, Iagon attempts a handshake, then thinks better of it and retracts it to opt for a bow, which is ill performed. It's awkward at best, and he reddens slightly as he straightens and glaces to his sides. Not that I'd thought I wouldn't be known as the country bumpkin in the group, but thought I'd be able to enjoy anonymity for a little while, at least.
He leaves in silence, not knowing a good, dignified response to the charge...a "Thank you" seemed strange, but he had nothing else in mind. Outside on the lawn, he gives his new coworkers a friendly smile. So...here we are, and with time to kill. My names Iagon, and I'm a hunter and trapper from just outside of the city...or, at least I was, before I moved in to the city recently.
He holds a calloused hand out for someone to shake, aiming it in an ambiguous direction as if unsure of whom to greet first.
Roger steps out onto the lawn, heart still beating rapidly from the shock. I actually did it...I'm getting out of here. He breathes in. For the first time in years, the air of Cassomir doesn't smell horrible to him. He looks off to the distance, in the direction of the Shipyards. Well, Mom...you always talked about your trips along the Sellen. Looks like I'm following in your footsteps. Hopefully not literally. No offense. He's so lost in thought that he nearly misses the human introducing himself.
Roger walks up to Iagon and reaches up to give the much taller man a vigorous handshake. "Roger McFarren, at your service. Cassomir born and raised, and let me tell you that any time living here is probably more than enough. Where are you guys staying tonight? I'd offer accommodation, but uhh...my place kind of burned to the ground last week. You know. Stuff happens."
He toys with the token he was just given, glancing furtively behind his shoulder as he does so. Just have to make it to the morning, and then this city and everyone in it will be just a memory. Just have to live to one more sunrise... He shakes himself out of his thoughts once more and smiles broadly. "Anyways. We've got a bit of coin to spend, and this personal token thingy. What do you guys reckon it's good for here?"
Is the token only good for "tonight"? Or is it like a one-time thing we can use during the campaign for a benefit?
I had the idea that there’s this sort of secondary economy in Taldor based on political favors. You may or may not find people throughout Cassomir who are willing to make a special offer in exchange for the Marquis’ favor. This is meant to give you guys access to a few special items early on, but use it how you like. Explore the town, see what you find :)
With a wide grin at the surprisingly strong handshake, Iagon dips his head into a nod of greeting. Well...I'm sort of in between places as well, Roger....or, Mr McFarren. I usually stay with Eastil and help take care of the inn, but, well this new job was meant to take the place of that. He seems lost in thought for a moment, as if this was the first time he was considering the new dilemma.
He shakes away the thought and looks speculatively at the coin. Dunno...he said that different people may take the coin in a different way - like some may be more apt to help than others. Just don't know what sort of things I'd even ask for. Save for a bit of purpose, I haven't been wanting for much. Maybe we take it to an Inn and give it a try? We could just ask what we could get for it, and see what happens.
"I mean, we could...but that just feels a bit wasteful, you know? There's plenty of places around here that you could practically buy for that 20 gold he gave us instead of the token...I wonder if one of those higher-end shops would take it. You know, the ones that sell the real quality stuff."
Liamae takes a deep breath as she looks around the manor grounds. "Breathe it in, boys. One last taste of rarefied air before we head into the woods. This city's been fun, but even a life of luxury gets boring after a while. Adventure and excitement await!"
The elf favors her companions with a dazzling smile. She's tall, standing just over six feet in height, lithe and willowy. Her appearance is eccentric and striking, her ostentatious outfit drawing the eye to strategically exposed pale skin. She adjusts her silver spectacles as she looks at Roger.
"Now then, a Taldan noble's favor can go a long way if you know the right people to trade it with. Fortunately, I've made a living out of knowing the right people. I'm Liamae, by the way. It's a pleasure to meet you all."
I'd like to know who I think could give us the most benefits in exchange for the marquis' favor. Specifically, I'm looking for anybody who might be willing to trade a magic item for it. I'll take 10 on Knowledge (nobility) for an 18.
Iagon nods slowly at Roger's wise words...though he didn't even really know what the "real quality stuff" would be. Having spent the majority of his young life using what his family could kill or trade for, he didn't really have a definition of worth for anything that he couldn't cook and eat, wear, or use to build or hunt.
His cheek's redden as he glances to Laimae, and he clears his throat as he purposefully avoids looking at her exposed skin. Hem....um, Iagon, and yes, a pleasure. My father knew trade, but his was furs, tools, and food...I don't imagine the Marquis meant for us to be seeking out things like that. He quiets then, somewhat awkwardly, awaiting some direction from those more experienced in the finer things.
Roger blinks slowly at Liamae's comment about Cassomir being a life of luxury. "Weeeeelllll...remind me to never take you to my old stomping grounds. And don't worry, Iagon-I'm definitely planning on getting some sort of tool. That tool might be luminescent and magical, but that's just details. The Marquis never said exactly what we could and couldn't use it for, and the rule of thumb in this sorry excuse of a city is that if it isn't outright forbidden, it's allowed. More or less."
I have a feeling Roger and Liamae come from two VERY different backgrounds. In the Taldor campaign setting book, it says that there's just this ridiculous wealth disparity in Cassomir-you're either ridiculously rich or (more likely) crushingly poor. Seems like we came from opposite ends of the spectrum. Should be fun!
Roger can be VERY excitable, and he tends to want to do something as soon as it's suggested. Don't want our other guys to think that I'm just brushing them off!
To say Kytes was overwhelmed would require the invention of a new word, because "understatement" simply would not suffice. He'd barely had time to adjust to the constant sensory input of Cassomir (a city! a proper city!) and now he'd been handed a small fortune before his first day of work even began!
A station at a trading post seemed like sensible enough work - the kind of place where his specialty, lifting and carrying, would certainly be in demand - and Eir had indicated it was the correct path for him, but he could still scarcely believe an important man like the Marquis would actually see much use in him.
Maybe it was the armor? People seemed to treat him differently ever since he started wearing it. Perhaps they could sense how much it meant to him - the farmers who'd raised him had scraped together every copper they had to buy it for him, after all.
Once out on the lawn, Kytes slowly observed each of his new compatriots. He tended to get along with people well, but often had to take his time in getting the lay of the land in a social situation: people just seemed to talk so fast!
He'd seen plenty of humans and even a few halflings on the farms he grew up on -he liked halflings, they were always so friendly!- but he'd never seen an elf before. She was as tall as he was! Elven men must be giants, he surmised.
And lastly there was the other half-orc. He'd never met another half-orc before, and he was at a loss for how to approach the situation.
Kytes finally caught up to the conversation just as everyone seemed ready to head out. They were debating what to do with the payment they'd just received - before a single drop of sweat had been shed!
"Maybe...," He began quietly. He felt Eir's feathers ruffle the side of his face, and a sense of forcefulness moved from his companion into Kytes' own mind.
"Maybe we could see if there are any others that need work? Eir and I saw lots of folks looking for work on the streets when we came into town. We've been paid so much, more than any of us could possibly need. We could pass it along to others, hire some extra help?"
Then, as if a thought caught up to him. "Oh, this is Eir," he gestures to the Cooper's hawk perched on his shoulder. "She's my friend," he continues with a big smile.
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Malryk listens to the Marquis and studies his new company. The half orc keeps his excitement regarding the Marquis' generous payment carefully masked. His mind begins races with the possible uses of such a treasure.
Nobles toss their favor about so whimsically. Putting it on a wooden token as if they are creating their own currency. However, this token may be very useful....
Malryk turns his attention to his companions. He searches for the small details that might give him some clues that he might use to his advantage.
The man named Iagon seemed to be trying too hard to fit in, which was not uncommon among people that were new to cities. He smelled a bit like a tree freshly struck by lightning and a coppery scent of dried animal blood. The was no hint of flowery soap or perfume on the man that was so common to city folk trying to portray a station above their own.
The elven woman was a sharp contrast. She seemed almost oblivious to her surroundings much like a scholar so involved in a book that they miss the story going on around them. Her glasses and her clothes seemed to scream for attention. The elven lass, like most elves, smelled like a morning dew fresh and young. There were layers of flowery perfumes, new and old. This was often a sign of a mercurial personality whose whims changed from day to day. Her garish clothing had an odd scent. They smelled old and new with subtle hints of brimstone, molten metal, and the smell on the wind just before a storm. It was very intriguing.
The halfling named Roger would need watching. He smelled like soot. Most halfling's worked hard to avoid attention but this one appeared to thrive on it. He seemed truly relaxed as if there were no worries in the world. Malryk knew to be wary of a smiling halfling and this halfling's smile seemed larger than most.
The other half-orc may have been the most odd. He seemed almost too human. He did not have the same wariness of most half-orcs that have grown up being treated like abused dogs. This lad seemed shy but oddly confident. He smelled like sweat but the clean sweat of a farmer that lives a simple life having never tasted beer or wine. There was a clear scent of steel and oil mixed with bird dander which was not surprising given the hawk that perched on the half-orc's shoulder.
Malryk clears his throat and speaks up,"Pardon M'lords and Lady What about the Dog's Teeth? I know it is not a place for Lords and Elf Maidens like yourselves, but a token like this may be worth a good bit to Old Tarik in Dog's Teeth. Noble favor is rare in Dog's Teeth, but more common in Old Cassomir, yes? Fancy wines and such are all fine and good but tomorrow we head up the Sellen and Old Tarik may have favor up the Sellen that Nobles may not, yes? It may be safer for you three to shop in Cassomir of course.", Malryk scratches his chin a moment in a show of thoughtful contemplation before gesturing to Iagon,"If that good sir would lend me his token then both groups would have two to trade with, yes? The lad with the hawk can watch my back, eh?"
I am not stealing from these other's, I just trust that I can put the token's to better use! Don't need the half-orc lads help, he seems a little simple, but better with me than following those others to Old Cassomir!
Roger shakes his head at Malryk. "Mate, trust me on this-steer clear of the Dog's Teeth. Nothing but trouble there. I should know-I've spent a LOT of time there. You don't want to stand out there. You guys go waltzing into the Teeth flaunting two tokens from a local noble..."he shudders. "Look, I'm not gonna tell you guys what to do. In my opinion, Tarik's got more than enough nobles in his back pocket. We've got one last day here, and I am going to spend it in the most well-lit part of the city. And if that light comes from my brand new magic thingy, even better."
Roger starts trudging off in the direction of Old Cassomir, but then seems to reconsider and comes back. "Look, maybe I came off a bit too strongly there. Bad memories of that place and all that. I can't stop you if that's really what you want to do. Just...stick to the shadows, don't give anyone your real name, and don't show those" he motions to the tokens "to anyone but the person you plan on trading them to. Don't give anyone a reason to remember you. People have long memories here, and the local guards have very poor eyesight at the worst possible times."
Iagon looks back and forth among the party. Being that he was a loner for the majority of his young life, he wasn't used to any such social strife, and he was quickly getting overhwelmed. How did he know which argument was the right one, or who to trust?
Nice to meet you both...or, all three of you, that is. He grins at Eir...now that was a beast to trust, all instinct. I'm fairly new to Cassomir, and know little of the area. But, if there's an area that's unsafe, then I'm not sure we should risk it. I mean, we do have a job to do now, right?
”Every area in this city is unsafe.”, Malryk replies in a serious tone.
Malryk flips his token in the air several times before it disappears somewhere on his person.
Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
”I should still have time for Dog’s Teeth even after Old Cassomir, if it is still needed. Besides, it is high tide now and getting to the Teeth would cost a bit of coin.”
Malryk follows the others doing his best to avoid attention.
Everyone is going to Old Cassomir then?
The streets of old Cassomir are really no different than the Threegate’s district, although the avenues are that much more shaded by the healthy old growth oak trees, whose thick, winding branches are dripping with moss. The estates are not as large, but you get the sense that the money that owns them is that much more established than, say, the Marquis. The streets are empty, the wealthy and nobility preferring to keep themselves sequestered behind their large lawns and estate walls. A covered carriage rolls by without any indication of who rides within. Every once in a while, you see a constable casually strolling down the street, whistling to the oak trees. Every once in a while, a constable sees you, and stops to watch you make your way down the street.
Eventually you find yourself at the central square and Pharasma’s Pulpit, the elevated stone platform where public executions ordained by the mayorship are performed. Today, no such spectacle is scheduled and the square is quiet. Two bearded senators stand at a corner under a lampost, gossiping about the latest scandal to come out of last month’s Grand Merrymead Ball. Around the square you find several fanciful shops, galleries, and cafes.
Wynna’s Treasure Chest
Just off Old Cassomir’s central square, in view of Pharasma’s Pulpit is a single story timber framed building with a blue tile roof. The wooden sign depicts a red dragon coiled around an open chest overflowing with gold.
The bottom floor of a two story building of red brick facade and a shingled roof. Vines of ivy softly frame the large store window in deep green. Planters hold flowers in full bloom despite the late winter chill lingering in the air.
The Reliquary Boutique
A squat one story building of rough hewn stone. The windows are small and square. A chimney emits the pleasant aroma of cedar smoke. The door is cracked open, and a small white dog naps on the doormat.
Roger makes a beeline for the Reliquary Boutique. "I have no idea what's in here, but any store with a dog has to be decent." He gingerly tiptoes around the dog so that he doesn't wake it up, pushes open the door, and goes inside.
Malryk watches the halfling scurry off towards the building that smells of cedar smoke. He considers following him but instead turns towards the blue roofed building. He pauses a moment to regard the sign above the door then proceeds to enter.
Iagon looks about with wide eyes as they walk through the streets among estates showing wealth he'd never seen. He looks at the three stores, taking his time to carefully examine the ivy and planters, attempting to identify among them plants that he knew from the wild.
He glances aside as the others choose stores. Well...not much in those other places for me, I think. he pushes his way into the apothecary, his interest aroused.
Kytes was wholly unsure what he should be doing. It was easy enough to follow the group at first -once they'd settled on a destination, though this being Kytes' first time in a city it was all the same to him- but now they were splitting up and heading towards different buildings.
He sheepishly glanced over to Eir perched on his shoulder. He felt embarrassed to turn to someone so important for such simple direction, but he was at a loss. Eir proved no help, however: she was busy preening and he sensed no instruction from her.
Realizing he'd soon be alone and standing in the middle of the city road, Kytes uncharacteristically trusts to chance and follows Roger into The Reliquary Boutique.
Bells chime as you enter to find shelves and racks filled with unique objects. The place feels more like a museum than any shop you’ve seen before. Among the archaeological treasures, a suit of armor dating back to the Third Army of Exploration stands in the corner. The well preserved left hand of an Osirion mummy lays on a velvet pillow, encased in glass and gold, prominently displayed on a central table. A gnarled oaken staff leans in it’s own stand, emitting a low hum. A placard hangs above another glass case, reading “Real Red Dragon’s Tooth!”. Most of this stuff is way beyond your means, but sure is neat to look at!
The floor is lain with ornately patterned tiles. Ferns hang in pots in the windows. Overall, it feels cozy and inviting. At the counter is a bored looking, well traveled woman dressed in red-dyed leather and wearing a rapier at her hip. She sighs heavily as she counts coins and makes marks in her ledger, barely lifting her head to see you come in. A purple pseudodragon purrs itself to sleep on a shelf behind her.
Inside you are greeted with a veritable greenhouse of plants and their herbal aromas. A couple of gnomes quickly and purposefully move throughout the space, tending to various plants, watering, pruning, and harvesting. The female gnome beams at you as you enter, drops what she is doing, brushes her hand off on her apron before extending it out to you. She says, ”How do you do? Welcome to Rose’s Apothecary, I’m Rose! How can I help you? Would you like to sample some of our teas?”
Immediately to your left, a dwarf with white in his beard leans on his stool, his back against the wall. He puffs on a pipe while he wittles away on a block of wood. He looks up at you from beneath a single bushy eyebrow a a pair of wireframe spectacles. He soon returns to whittling down the block of wood and clamps down on his pipe with his teeth and mumbles, ”Have a looksee around. Morning prices, everything’s 20% off.”
The shelves carry a variety of items, mostly clothing and accessories, but a few other odds and ends, like bells, crystals, even swords and shields, all neatly sorted into categories for ease of browsing.
Iagon looks around in wonder, his relative youth and lack of experience in the city getting the better of him. He glances down and excitedly shakes Rose's hand. A pleasure, Rose. This is quite the place you have here! It's an oasis of life among a city of stone...I commend you. Of course, I'd love to try some....do you have a loose leaf that can calm the thoughts and nerves of one confronted with something new and foreign? I fear I may have need of it soon.
A moment of clarity strikes him, and Iagon removes the token of the Marquis, and holds it up for Rose to see. Tell me Rose, what's your opinion of the Marquis Markus Lambert?
"Wow! Would you look at all these amazing treasures!" Liamae says, peering in the display cases. She smiles as she approaches the woman at the desk. "Did you gather all of these yourself? It's quite the impressive collection! I wonder if there's anything you might be willing to part with? We don't have coin, per se, but we do possess a favor from Marquis Lambert. That can be worth more than gold in certain circles!"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
Roger nods in thanks to the dwarf and turns to Kytes. "So, you ever been in a city like this? You kind of had a wonderstruck look on your face. See anything in here that strikes your fancy? I kind of want to look at those swords, know anything about what I should be looking for?"
Kytes was caught off-guard by Roger's appeal to the young half-orc's apparent expertise. He was struck by a sense of embarrassment as his understanding of swordplay and weaponry was -at best- self-taught and most accurately described as "inspired".
"Oh, ah, sorry sir... Roger, I mean. I don't know if I'm the best to ask. My weapon was, uh...," Kytes unconsciously reaches a hand up to lightly pet Eir as he searches for words.
"Given to me, a gift" he concludes.
His mind scrambling to establish himself as a useful member of the group, the boy quickly follows up with: "But if you had somethin' you wanted in mind, I could take a look at it for you. Check the weight on it and such. I've been around enough farm tools to know when a thing's been put together well enough."
Malryk, the first obvious thing that stands out to you is the complete absence of any sort of price tag on any of the objects out on display. Yeah, it’s that kind of store. Everything is a one of a kind, completely unique item, such that no one thing stands out any more than another. One shelf holds jars and small pouches of some interest, labeled as things such as “Mimic Skin”, “Crystalized Dreams”, “Powdered Dire Moose Antler”, and “Preserved Gelatinous Cube”. Your skill in appraisal, however, comes from sifting and salvaging through scrapyards and trash piles, and these sorts of things are out of your element. Something that does feel out of place, however, is hanging from a peg in the wall behind the woman at the counter. It’s a much more practical item, compared to the others: a bandolier with multiple vials filled with liquids of varying colors and consistencies, a sheathed dagger, and a carved and polished wooden stick coiled in dull gray metal wire.
Liamae, the woman at the counter suddenly stands and returns your smile as you approach. She seems to be caught by surprise, however, or stunned, but quickly becomes very helpful. ”Oh!... yes… hi!... Welcome! Uh… yes, everything you see here I’ve collected over the years myself, or mostly myself. Hi, I’m Wynna…” she extends a hand out to you.
She peaks around your shoulder to watch Malryk slowly and observantly move around the store before carrying on, ”I used to work with a small outfit. We travelled the world, adventuring, you know? Well those days are behind me now, and somehow I ended up with all this stuff. Makes for a healthy retirement, when I can find someone to buy it.”
Wynna stops as if suddenly remembering something, ”You were saying something about a Marquis?”
Rose gasps at the sight of the token and mention of the Marquis. Her sudden shock slowly melts into a large grin, ”Honeeeyyyyy… we have a customer!” she sings over her shoulder to the male gnome still busily working in the back of the store. He doesn’t seem to notice or care.
She quickly ushers you to the back of the store where there’s a small counter and register, as well as a gnome sized kitchenette. ”Here, here. I think I have just what you need! Just wait a moment… I’ll have it out in a jiffy.”
With a few whistling noises and wiggling of her fingers, she suddenly has a pot of water boiling. She measures out a spoonful of dried tea leaves into a large mug and pours the water over them. Handing it over to you she instructs in a soothing voice, ”Give this a few minutes to steep. This should help calm your nerves.”
You notice a rack with teas for sale:
Teas sell for 5bags/1gp. Brewing one bag of tea takes 10 minutes and requires steeping the tea in 1 pint of boiling water. The tea can be taken then or be stored in a waterskin for use later. Drinking or administering the tea is a full round action and on the next round immediately alleviates the following conditions:
Tummy Tea - Nauseated
Energy Tea - Fatigued
Calming Tea - Shaken
Alertness Tea - Drowsy
Note: the teas only alleviate the conditions, but do not cure you of any ailment causing the condition, ie. poisons, diseases, etc. conditions still may return if ailment persists.
After handing you the mug, Rose begins talking in a much more rapid and excited pace, ”Oh I know all about the Marquis. I’ve heard all about this new trading post from my sister. She’s a Druid of the Wildwood Lodge, you’ve heard of them? They fancy themselves the protectors of the Verduran, and, well I guess they are. My sister, Violet, she’s concerned, but also thinks there may be some potential there, for us! See, she’s recently got into the art of potioncraft and has been sending me some samples. She thinks maybe I can start selling them too. Maybe we can work out a deal with the Marquis, get our product into the market up there, maybe expand our brand beyond that!”
As she talks her pupils dilate as she gazes at the token once again, ”Say, where’d you get that anyways?”
The dwarf continues to whittle away and puff on his pipe, but watches you with interest as you move around the store.
”You two are an unusual couple, aren’t you? My guess is you aren’t from around here.”
He takes two more puffs in contemplation. ”Aye, but you both have an… air about you, don’t you? Hmm, yes, let me know if you have any questions then.”
The swords and other weapons are, oddly enough, grouped on the same rack as such items as leather boots, belts, and vests. Everything is, as far as you can tell, of average quality and make.
Malryk nods respectfully to Wynna once he sees that she is watching him. He slowly approaches and give a low whistle, "You have a nice store. A lot of wonderful things that are surely a testament to your past successes."The half-orc nods nonchalantly to the the bandolier, dagger, and carved wooden stick hanging from the peg in the wall behind the counter, "Are those for sale too?"
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Knowledge(local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Malryk tries to recall anything he can remember about a small local adventuring group with a woman named Wynna. He carefully watches Wynna's face and body supplementing any non-verbal clues with any telltale changes in the woman's scent. He tries to listen to any changes in the shopkeeper's voice that might give him some insight into the woman's intentions. Also watching the small purple dragon, likely a familiar, for any signs.
Familiar's often give more clues than their masters. They seem to have less filter. If this woman has any concerns my guess is that the familiar will show it before she does.
Liamae produces the wooden token in the palm of her hand. "We are representing Marquis Markus Lambert on a mission to open a new trading post in the forest. He's offering his favor to anybody who can assist in outfitting our band for the expedition. If you have anything that could help with survival in the wilderness, we would be willing to trade with you."
Roger blinks at the dwarf calling him and Kytes a couple, but lets it slide. "Uh, close-he's not from around here, I think...I definitely am though. Not this exact area, but you know...just down the street, really. Haven't really been in this area of town in a while, and it's going to be my last night in Cassomir for a while, so I figured I would just check out the shops for a little while."
Iagon follows Rose into the rear of the store, appreciatively eyeing the fauna as he walks by. He smiles warmly at the gnome's seemingly nonstop chatter. A friendly one...and they say the city is dangerous...
At mention of the druids, he is lucky to be holding his mug up in front of his mouth, for it hides his grimace. The druids, yes...yes, of course. I've heard a tale or two - no doubt we all have. I stay out of the forest now, though. seeming to think he may have slipped up, he clears his throat and examines the token, as if seeing it for the first time.
The Marquis himself bestowed this upon me, as I find myself currently his employee. He sips the tea. My, that is good...I would take one of each, if you would, and another of the alertness tea - so five bags.
The purple pseudodragon slowly lazily opens its eyes to observe you two as you approach the counter. It then rolls over and presents its belly before dozing back off to sleep.
In a city the size of Cassomir, adventuring groups are known to come and go. You may vaguely remember hearing tales of such a band venturing off across the sea to Garund and striking it rich with their exploits.
”Hmm? These?” Wynna looks over her shoulder at the bandolier hanging on the wall behind her, ”These are just keepsakes, you know, reminders of the good ol’ days,” she says. You pick up on the sort of lingering cadence to her words that usually accompanies a moment of wistfulness.
She turns back to you as Liamae presents the token, her eyes suddenly widened. ”The Verduran?” she asks with a shudder, ”I’d much rather raid forgotten temples in the Mwangi than live in the Verduran. Do you know how many people go missing up there? You think the Druids have things under control? Your Marquis sure is brave to try and settle that place, smart too for getting you properly outfitted.”
She stops to scratch her nose and consider the token in your hand. ”Don’t know how much good any of this stuff’ll do you up there. But…” She drifts off, obviously on the fence about something.
The purple psuedodragon rolls back over and lifts its head, eyes now wide and alert.
Rose begins bagging you order, and as she does, shakes her head every now and then as if arguing with herself silently. As she hands you your order, she clears her throat and begins, rather nervously, ”Listen, if you’re looking to trade for the Marquis’ favor, that could really go a long way for us.” Rose looks over at her husband who is still doing his best to pretend to ignore your conversation. She clears her throat again and continues, ”You see, we could use that to get a shipment of our goods up to the new trading post, get a corner of the market up there. We’re trying to expand our business, you see?”
She reaches down and retrieves a satchel from a lower shelf, and pulls out a small glass vial filled with swirling silvery pink liquid. ”This is the latest batch we got from Violet, my sister. Not much of a market for potions here in Old Cassomir, but up on the border in the Verduran! Lots of folks moving through those dangerous woods. We could keep your Marquis fully stocked, if we make a deal.” She adds on those last words with the sweetest of smiles.
”So, If you’re willing to make a trade… I’ll give you this batch of potions here and throw in some more teas for free, in exchange for the Marquis’ favor. How’s that sound?”
”Ah, venturing out I see, into The Darkwood Swamps I presume, to fight hydras, yes. Well, Torag’s blessings be upon ye.”
Other than short swords, there are a few unremarkable daggers, a mace or two, and even a battle axe. Seems out of place in a store otherwise filled with silken garments, bizarre hats, holy symbols, crystal balls, bundles of incense, brass bowls, silver mirrors, card decks, random books, musical instruments, jewelry, wooden masks, etc. Actually, it’s an extremely eclectic store now that you’ve looked around a bit.
As Roger browses through the shelves, an idea dawns upon him. He snaps his fingers and turns back to the shopkeeper. "Actually, maybe you'd have one of these-I've heard about this kind of magical item that kind of floats around your head and emits light, so that your hands can be free. I've got really bad night vision, and something like that could come in handy out in the Swamps. You ever hear of one of these? Think they're called an Ioun Torch?"
Kytes leaves the talking to Roger and ambles over to the various displays, scanning the large variety of trinkets and implements.
He directs a sense of confusion and wonder to his avian companion. "There's so much... stuff! Eir, I can't imagine how anyone shops here. How does anyone need this many hats?" the half-orc wonders aloud, his questions rooted in bewilderment rather than criticism or judgement.
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Iagon pauses in surprise, and looks to the left and right, as if seeking some way out of this predicament. Not that he didn't appreciate the offer, but he considered himself to be far too young and inexperienced to make such a bargain. And...he only had the one token.
He looked at Rosie, and his face grew sad, for he knew that he'd have to crush her exuberance. A fine offer, miss Rosie, I heartily agree that there's been a fine market for such potions on the frontier of the forest. But, I'd not part with the Marquis' favor so easily. I hope you understand...let me considered it and I may return to accept your offer.. He offers a shrug. I'm sure that your tea and your sister's potions would speak to their own value, if these samples are representative of their quality.
Of course, should you be able to make the arrangement a bit more profitable for the Marquis, I'm sure he'd allow me to speak on his behalf. Perhaps a small tax to help build the foundations there, or perhaps some complimentary potion making services for the guardsmen?. Iagon knew he was in way over his head, but he wanted to start off on the right foot with his new employer.
The pseudodragon lets out a whiny yelp in protest.
”Oh Chub-Chub, I know, I know,” Wynna turns to face the creature and they seem to share a moment. ”But they’re right you know. We don’t need to be hanging on to everything. We still have each other, don’t we?”
Chub-Chub moans and lays his head down low.
”Look at them, so young, with so much waiting ahead… they need it more than we do with our comfortable little home, and getting to do business with a Marquis, well who knows what we can do with that?”
Chub-Chub rolls back over and whimpers in defeat.
With a pained smile, Wynna grabs the bandolier off the wall and lays it across the counter in front of you. She goes over its contents, ”Some potions to get you out of a jam, the wand casts Mage Armor, to save your skin, the dagger is cold iron, comes handy in a pinch…” then she digs in a small pocket and lays something flat on the counter, ”and of course a wayfinder, never leave home without it.”
Of the potions, 3 are a swirling silvery pink liquid, 2 are a deep yellow oily substance, and 1 is a foggy blue vapor [Perception or Spellcraft checks to identify]. The dagger does not detect as magical, but is very finely crafted.
Rose stands slack-jawed as she listens to you explain your way out of a deal. Then, just as soon as you are finished, she beams a grin and jumps right in, ”Oh! Of course the deal will be fair to the Marquis. From what I’ve heard of him, he is a master negotiator, and you, of course, must be his pupil. As an investor, you will surely earn back your share of the profits, and then some! And of course! There will be plenty of stock prepared for your use. Oh please, young Master… oh, I didn’t catch your name… Please young Master, please do consider our deal. This is what I can offer you now, but the payoff in the long run will be most beneficial!”
The dwarf hops down from his stool. ”Aye, I can do that for you, son.”
Setting his whittling knife and block of wood down, he walks over to an ornate bureau behind a counter. You didn’t notice it there before, but how could you with all this stuff to catch your eye. Each small drawer is finely inlaid in bone with images of dwarves toiling underground. There are many hand carved wooden figurines resting on top, along with a bejeweled broad humanoid skull. The shopkeeper opens a closes a number of the drawers before finding what he’s looking for. He returns to the counter with two small pouches. Out of one he plucks a dull gray ellipsoid pebble and out of the other he pours a small amount of red crystalline dust into the palm of one hand. Holding the stone between his fingers, he closes his eyes and seems to concentrate. Not a moment later, a bright, cool flame ignites around the stone. Opening his eyes, the dwarf smiles and hands out the flaming crystal towards Roger. He counts on his fingers and says, ”Aye, that’ll be 60 gold, young man.”
He then looks up over to Kytes, ”Anything for you, big guy?”