The afternoon sun is just beginning to peek out from behind heavy coulds, sending the last shafts of golden light through the durty windows of the Cracked Crown, an inn on the southern edge of Podol Plaza.
You are all sitting at a table, sent by your respective factions to this very inn with the promise of job prospects.
You may introduce yourselves and engage in witty banter over the course of the weekend. I am hoping that you both give each other a hint into your characters' personality and give each other a reason to work together (more than, the faction told me to.) Have fun with it! I will continue with the actual story on Monday.
Sitting at the table, Drakr nurses a large tankard of ale, an empty tankard already sits before him... dressed in chainmail, brown woolen britches and a faded green cloak, he strokes his 'dirty blonde' beard as he looks at the eclectic group that's gathered at the table, eyeing the Lizardman in particular, a scowl on his scarred and grizzled face.
Glenda sits down on the table and wonders what she's in for. She takes a sip of the ale and seems to wince. "This tastes worse than worm juice," she says.
She studies the other members of the group around the table, wondering what task they'll have to do.
Well, this can't be worse than preparing for a halfling wedding! she thinks to herself.
The fish that's started her on a life of adventure isn't writhing around as much as usual. She splashes some of the ale on it. "Maybe you'll like this better," she whispers.
She eyes the warpriest and tries to sound tough. "You managed to drink that rat's piss? She coughs.
This is how adventurers talk, right?
Drakr looks at the halfling with a side long glance, "You order the cheap stuff then you get what you pay for. Mine is delicious..." (you're pretty sure he's drinking the same brew) "Try drinking it all in one go, that usually does the trick... " he replies in a deep gravelly, with a dead pan expression.
The door to the inn swings open and short gnome excitedly steps through. He is dressed in modest clothing and pivots his forearm at the elbow lifting a hand with a pointed finger to point at the ceiling.
"Facio, Voco, Ferre." He utters in a soft voice
"This I do, I call, to bring you forth."
Along with the motion of his his hand, the door closes behind him without him actually touching it.
He sports a smile and his face conveys eagerness. He quickly scans the room and heads directly towards the table that the others have gathered. Along the way, he loses his footing while slipping on some spilled liquid. Quickly performing a graceless dance, he barely manages to keep himself upright. He tries to stifle the embarrassment of his reddening face as looks around to see if anyone has seen his clumsy display. Approaching an empty stool he drops his pack. He climbs the tall barstool like a person would ascend a ladder. Reaching the top he stands on the stool for a moment and drops into a seated position with his legs dangling from the front of the stool. "G'day! Must be quite a job to bring about such a large collaboration."
As a barmaid passes he raises a hand to indicate he wishes to place an order. "Milk..." Fronar pauses then winks at the server with a smirk, "... chocolate" He turns his attention back to the table. "Pleased to meet y'all, I am Fronar the mediocre! Some day it will be Fronar the SPECTACULAR! Until I'm appointed as such, it'll just have to be... the mediocre. Arcane studies and mysteries are my craft, I certainly hope my skills will provide valuable contribution." Relaxing for a moment while waiting for the others to respond, he takes a curious look around the room, "Soooooooooooo... where's that lady with my beverage?"
"Welcome, Fronar. You are obviously skilled. Don't look behind you, but you shut the door on a half-orc's nose. Thankfully he didn't spot you," Glenda says.
"I know I'm a little hard on the eyes, but I'm sure I'm hardly mistakable for a masculine Half-Orc?" says Krissina as she enters the tavern after Fronar, an amused half-smile on her face and her eyes sparkling.
She studies the gnome up and down, "I'm sure you have what it takes to be spectacular, Master Fronar. May I live to sing songs of your prowess, I only hope my meagre skills are up to the task of... whyever we've been summoned and that I am not merely dead weight holding us back. I'm afraid I only possess a few tricks and breadth of obscure knowledge."
Rakish sits at the table, listening to the others converse. He holds a small knife and a large bone in his hands as he whittles away at the bone.
As Glenda complains, he sets down the knife and grabs the drink in front of her, taking a swig.
Your tongue is faulty, he says without a hint of humor in his gravelly voice.
He sets the mug in front of Fronar, an audible 'thunk' can be heard as the mug connects with the table's wood. Try this, Dancer. Tell us, is it as good as worm juice?
Purchasing a second battle axe before the adventure starts.
A diminutive half-elf pushes open the door to the common room. Her long blonde hair is pulled back into a flowing braid, while her big doe eyes take in the surroundings. Spotting Rakish, a wide smile splits her face in half. Rakish! They assigned you to this one too! Seen any others from before? she asks, peering around for other familiar faces. She visually slumps when no others can be found. Well, not seeing old friends means its time to make new ones!
Hello! she exclaims, waving to those who carry themselves as adventurers. Names Seraphyna Bell, but most people call me Sera, or Phyna, sometimes Bell, and occasionally You, but Sera is what I prefer. As you look her over, she is wearing fairly new leather armor, and her weapons look pristine and new, though she does carry an intricately carved bone club with pink embellishment.
Glenda introduces herself to everyone. The table can barely fit everyone. "I suppose there must be quite a danger if they require so many of us..." Glenda says.
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"Well, either that, or none of our respective contacts trusted the others to send enough, if only everyone would trust each other a little more." Krissina smiles, "I'm afraid you're all new faces to me, but I'm always willing to find more friends. Perhaps, if we get some free time you can tell me of your prior adventures, and I can document them for future generations to study and learn from." The idea that would-be adventurers would likely not read books to learn their skills is a concept that hasn't occurred to Krissina.
Drakr largely ignored the folks gathering around the table preferring to focus on his ale, though he couldn't help but snort into his drink with suppressed laughter when Fronar described himself as mediocre and he made a point to keep one eye on the Lizard man... As Sera and Sahil enter he acknowledged each with a nod thinking they seemed the most sensible of the bunch and finally after taking another long quaff of ale and setting down the mug he replies to Glenda and Krissina's musings on the size of the group. "The more the better, more eyes to watch each other's backs..."
When Sahil arrives, Sera waves excitedly at another friendly face. When the teifling comments on trust, she seems confused, as she immediately trusts most people. Well you see, we just got done helping Kelmvorites clear out a necromancer who set up shop in some crypts. There was a wall of talking skulls that answered questions. They didn't answer all my questions though, because they stopped talking. Maybe I ran out of answers? Oh, and Rakish ate a zombie. Didn't seem tasty, but it sure scared those robbers. she says, as if to answer the request for stories, albeit very disjointed.
When Drakr makes his comment about backs, Sera hops off her chair and heads around to the back of his seat, looking it over. Well there's your problem, your back is as straight as a board!. She tries to hold a serious face, but quickly fails and bursts into laughter.
In the middle of your conversation, the door opens and a middle-aged human woman enters the inn. She stands tall, tall enough to have to duck to avoid striking the door frame with the top of her enameled, black helm. She pulls a vacant chair over from another table and seats herself, adjusting the sword at her hip as she does so.
I am Knight Aleyd Burral, she says, And I have a job for you.
Krissina, you have met Lady Burral before, in Shadows Over Moonsea. She was the one that was interrogating the first madman that the Doomsayer told you about.
"There was a tale I read of a tower of skulls somewhere in Baator, that are possessed of the largest collection of knowledge anywhere in the planes, of course as with all sugh things they tend to exact a price..." Krissina trails off as she realises that someone new is approaching. "Ah Lady Knight Burral. A pleasure to meet you once again."
She lets out a breath and removes her helm, giving a nod to Krissina before continuing, A string of thefts have been reported by various people that reside or work within the Scholar's Square. This is not, in and of itself unusual, but what is unusual is that nothing of any apparent value was stolen... Only a book each time.
Rakish waits patiently, allowing those who are interested in knowledge to continue their questionnaire.
Meanwhile, he keeps a surreptitious eye on the surroundings to ensure they aren't being watched or that an attack is not imminent.
The knight shrugs her shoulders, I do not know the particulars, but what I do know is that the thefts began six nights ago and every two nights since. Three thefts in all and all occurred in various shops within Scholar's Square.
Knight Aleyd Burral runs her fingers through her short hair and continues, If I had more men, I would be investigating these occurrences myself, but the bureaucrats cut funding recently and captain thinks that these petty crimes are not important.
So, here I find myself doing what I believe is right. I do not receive a great sum from the Black Fist, but I can offer you 50 pieces of gold to investigate this on my behalf. Perhaps the scholars from the Square will offer a reward for the recovery of their stolen books as well, and that could help compensate any trouble this will cause you. I would only ask that you keep me appraised of the situation.
She looks you over, eyes lingering briefly on the lizardman, Well, will you accept my offer?
"Well, 50 gold sounds mighty fine to me! And hopefully the scholars will offer something as well!" Glenda says.
That'd be a nice step closer to opening a new restaurant!
"Funding cuts, hmph, you conduct yourself with honour, paying from your own pocket to make sure justice is served, I'm happy to accept! Best off to go and talk to the scholars who've been robbed as a place to start? Could you give us their addresses?" As Drakr finishes he's not looking at Aleyd, but watching Rakish walk out the door.
At the sound of, "...Books...", Fronar's eyes nearly explode from his head and he spews chocolate milk in a mist from his mouth as he chokes a bit. *cough*cough*"Books! Did you say... Books! That's definitely gonna interest me! Dibs on the 1st chance to look inside and research them before they're returned!"
Fronar regains his composure and stifles his excitement. Turning slowly to address Glenda, he calmly responds, "Quite right you are. Texts can contain more value than a dragon's hoarde." He pivots slowly back toward the table and erupts in excitement again, "Accepted!" Fronar bounds up to stand on the his stool, "What are we waiting for! We should get going straight away!" He grabs his mug of chocolate milk and fires the liquid down his throat. *glug*glug*glug* He guzzles it down, wipes the milk mustache with his sleeve, and belches loudly. Fronar stands on the stool eagerly waiting for anyone else to push away from the table, signaling their readiness to begin, unable to contain his excitement, he bounces and gestures like a person who needed to use the toilet... REALLY BAD!
Krissina grins, such enthusiasm for books!
"It appears we accept your offer, should we need to speak with you further, or make a report to you, where are we best finding you? And of course the specific shops affected by the robberies, as my friend here requested."
Wow, they are almost as excitable as me! thinks Sera as conversation explodes around her at the Knights words. I do think we should start at the scene of the crimes! Perhaps they left some clue us able bodied adventurers might be able to spot! Remember, the appropriate clue spotting word is Jinkies!
After the locations are provided, Sera will easily be led onward, likely nestled between Rakish and Sahil in whatever marching order they fall into.
Glenda speaks to her magical fish after the lizardfolk leaves. "Oh so that's why you were so quiet... you were afraid of being eaten by him uh?"
Glenda follows behind. She eyes the gnome's enthusiasm and wonders if one of his kind could be responsible for the theft...
Briefly taken aback by Fronar's enthusiasm, Knight Burral turns to Drakr, You might be best served by speaking to Cassra Brandywine, the Scribe Master of Mantor's Library. She reported the latest crime this morning.
EDIT: She stands up and replaces her helm, On behalf of Phlan, I thank you. With a nod, she leaves.
If you want to talk further, you may, but I will post the next step.
Heading off to the Mantor's Library you walk the streets, passing several shops and inns. Those of you that traveled with Beryl Ironjoy recognize the tavern, Madame Freona's Tea Kettle.
Sun-bleached colonnades frame the austere facade of Mantor's Library. A solitary bench sits next to a tranquil pond at the fore of this property in the center of Scholar's Square. The grounds are well manicured and festooned with blooming flowers and other local flora.
A young librarian notices and greets you as you enter, Good day, sirs and ladies. How may I help you today?
Breathing a sigh of relief that this group of armed adventurers are not here for some foul purpose, the young librarian bows and says, Right this way.
He leads you into the main building and up the stairs to small and cramped office with a sign on the open door that reads:
Beneath that, a small piece of wood hangs on a nail with the word 'IN' written in chalk.
As the librarian knocks gently on the door, a voice from an unseen source calls out, Just a moment! A creak of a wooden chair follows, then a muttered curse and a loud crashing noise as a stack of books topples to the floor, revealing a young-looking halfling with short blonde hair; her hair and shirt stained with smudges of blue ink.
Noticing you all standing at the door, she straightens up and brushes herself off, Hello, my name is Cassra. What are your names?
Panting after trying to keep up with the longlegs and wishing she could have stopped at Freora's for some tea and cakes, Glenda mutters to Cassra, "G-Glenda H-Huckleberry. P-Pleased to meet you!"
"Drakr Stonespear, at your service." Drakr replies, pausing to give everyone else time to introduce themselves as well before continuing in his gruff voice. "We are looking into the the recent lot of book thefts in the area for Knight Aleyd Burral and were told you reported a book stolen this morning..."
As the rest of the group pour into the office, Fronar pauses and scratches his head while staring at the "IN" sign. Digging into a pouch at his side he produces a piece of chalk. He looks left and right to ensure no one is paying attention and mutters softly, "Facio, Voco, Ferre"
Casting Mage Hand
The chalk floats up to the sign and scrawls a "SP" in front of the "IN". The chalk floats back down and disappears into the pouch. He chuckles quietly, and performs a 360 degree turn before proceeding inside. "So what type of book was this that seems to have misplaced itself? Is there another copy of it that..." He freezes in the middle of the room for a moment and slowly scans the countless texts throughout the room. "Azuth's hand touches me! Surely there is something to be found amongst all this." Fronar starts rummaging through the countless books.
If Fronar comes across any books that reference spellcasting or magical study, he will stack them neatly in one place.
"Don't mind me, keep up the investigation, I'll chime in if feel we are missing something"
Seraphyna Bell. she says in response to Cassra's inquiry. She looks around for a few minutes, but quickly grows bored of that more important task, and instead finds a much more interesting book, likely something about daring adventures. She then goes to check on things over here... and tries to find a quiet, out of the way nook, and starts reading.
Cassra tries her best to memorize your names, but is greatly distracted by Fronar's casual demeanor as her rummages through the fallen books! Master Gnome! That is no way to comport yourself in this library! This is not some yard sale for you to peruse at your leisure!
She seems totally flustered at this point, having lost all train of thought!
Glenda gently corrals the gnome. "Later, Fronar. There is a task at hand."
Glenda addresses Cassra. "We'll get him out of here the faster you can tell us what books were stolen and what their contents might be,"
Glenda's words seem to calm the master scribe somewhat and Cassra concentrates a bit, only occasionally casting a sidelong glance at Fronar, Three exceptionally rare tomes were stolen from various people residing in Scholar's Square. These thefts were barely two nights apart each.
She rubs the bridge of her nose, under her glasses before continuing, The first book, stolen four days prior from the office of Aya Glenmiir. Arcanist Glenmiir is a wizardress who maintains a small shop not far from the library. The book stolen from her was a treatise on the Weave (of Magic), entitled: The Weave: A Collection of Impractical Observations.
She takes a breath, hoping that the overeager gnome's attention has been grabbed by this statement, The second book belonged to Marten Foss, a retired adventurer and resident of Phlan that has kept a private collection in his home in Nobles' Quarter, just a stone's throw from the Scholars' Square. This was a personal journal of Ren, a long-dead ranger of some repute and once one of Phlan's most famous citizens.
Seeing that she has the attention of most of you, she continues again, The latest of thefts occurred last night. A book entitled: The Lords and Lineages of Phlan was in the possession of Agin Lamark, a local noble that specializes in the histories of the Moonsea region and Phlan in particular, specifically genealogy and heraldry.
If you can retrieve these three tomes, I offer you 100 gold sails to split amongst you. I care not about the thief, though I would assume that Knight Burral would be interested in that information. You may ask why I care so much about this, or why would Knight Burral send you to see me? The truth is, one of those books is actually the property of the library. The book on the Weave, the one that Arcanist Aya had in her possession, had been entrusted to her to study and it causes no end of frustration that it has gone missing.
The names are far too complicated for Glenda to remember. "Uh, I hope the rest of you are taking notes. Someone seems interested in the history of Phlan? A fellow who thinks he's the child of a noble?"
Glenda scratches her head while the fish trashes around in it's container pouch. "Well, that is a fine reward! But could you not be a little more generous? I am sure the books are valuable, and more are going to go missing if we don't stop these thieves.. And look at this fine dish... I mean, party of adventurers gathered here to complete the job. We have a little bit of everything, including a walking lizard creature who's waiting outside!"
Glenda tries to persuade Cassra to pay more. Persuasion: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Sera's eyes roll behind her book as Glenda tries to negotiate prior to proving the worth of the party. She shouts out, Can you give us the location of these people? Vague references to proximity will have us looking the fool as we wander aimlessly shouting out names.
Hoping up from her nook, she places her book back in the exact place she found it, before remarking,
Cassra shakes her head slightly, While I appreciate your plight, Miss Huckleberry, 100 pieces of gold is no small sum. Though, I am sure that if you happen to find the thief, he or she will not have need of his money. The Black Fist will certainly have no qualms about relieving the guilty of their moneypurse, so why should you? But you did not hear such words from my lips...
At Seraphyna's request, the young halfling nods, Of course, of course.
She disappears behind the stacks of books and there is the tink of an inkpen against glass followed by the scritch of quill on parchment. Shortly after, she returns, carefully and hands a note to the young half-elf with three addresses.
Do be careful, these books are rare and worth something to lovers of history.
So, who to visit first? Aya Glenmiir, Marten Foss, or Agin Lamark?
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I offer you 100 gold sails to split amongst you.
Rakish is actually excited at the prospect of earning a sail for this task. At least it's something useful, unlike the odd yellow metal discs the softer folk seem obsessed with.
Master Gnome! That is no way to comport yourself in this library! This is not some yard sale for you to peruse at your leisure!
Immediately realizing he must have breached some sort of etiquette, Fronar quickly stands up, puts both hands behind his back, and uses a foot to nudge the pile of books back towards their original location. "My apologies, I am very fond of books. Especially those relating to..." He stops mid sentence and his attention is immediately focused, "A wizardess?! We should definitely visit her 1st."
Fronar's focus was short lived. He quickly replies to Sera, "Hoc est certus dignitas divinum consilium et operam meam."
Turning back to Cassra, "Thank you for your insight thus far, I only have 1 last question for you..." Fronar grabs an inkpen from his pack, points it at the librarian, raises a single eyebrow, and finishes, "Where can I find an application for a library card, and how quickly can it be authorized?"
"Thank you, by titles alone they do not seem like there is any common thread between them. Such may have given us a vital clue..."
Arcana/history?: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25 Any idea about the books, who Ren the Ranger was, or on the people who had possession of them?
"We need to visit them all, so I suppose the wizard is as good as any to start."