Elminster

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The ship stops a few miles short of the town and you walk the rest of the way.

You arrive on the outskirts of the City of Farhole.
Farholde
Farholde overview map
Population ~9,600 (~7,500 humans; ~1,100 half-elves; ~650 elves; ~125 dwarves;~ 90 halflings; ~135 other)
Standing garrison ~1000 fighting men.
Primary resources: Salt mines, farming, and fishing.

The Balentyne is about 3-4 miles west from Farhole along the coast.

Most of the city itself is outside its wall and only the most prosperous citizen live inside the walls of the town. As such, there is no gate to prevent you from entering until you try to get into the inner city.

You spot groups of guards milling about patrolling the roads but they don't seem too concerned with you only giving you the occasional glances and a few stares as you do stand out a little bit. That said the town does see the occasional groups of adventurers passing by before going into the dangerous lands to the north to look for ancient ruins or treasures as many such places (like the keep you recently acquired) do remain still. So they likely assume you are another such group.


Having made you're preparation you board your new ship and make the trip down to the city.

Do you sail right to the city and dock at the port? or stop away from it and walk the rest of the way?


Also the Drake saddle was available in the market but not the reduction harness there were however scrolls of reduce person.


That being said Andrastus take Stannis aside for a short discussion in private.

Once they are done he will check if anyone else has any requests or questions if not he will leave teleporting away.

I assume you take the ship down to the city of Farholde?


"The count has so far been reluctant to offer his aid you will need to visit him and see if you can convince him to join or side." replies Andrastus

"The undead rowers are below deck and won't be seen unless the ship is boarded. It also carries markings as a merchant vessel from Ustalav. While Lastwall may not like the use of undeads in Ustalac their use is legal and so long as the undead remain onboard the ship you are not breaking any laws."


The ship provided is a Clipper ship with six human sailors and 8 undead rowers. It can travel 8 MPH and can make the trip down to the Balentyne in 4.5 hours


"Yes, focus your attention on the Balentyne for time being, as for the elf and the treant...I suspect I may know who you're dealing with. It's been over a century since we crossed paths but you are likely dealing with Calliaste a shapeshifting Azata posing as an elf. She and that pet treant of hers are likely watching this place from afar looking for signs that someone is trying to wake this place up. I doubt they will make a move until you begin the ritual so best to avoid them until you are ready...That being said it may be possible to trigger her into attacking the Balentyne or Farholde if you can convince her they committed some atrocity against nature or those under her protection."


"The boggards are of no import, deal with them as you will. I'm surprised the daemons are still here after so much time has passed. They must have agreed to some very unfavorable terms on their contract." Andrastus almost laughs and seems genuinely amused at this. "I sense the undead spirits in the walls, be wary of them, they hunger for the living and may eventually forget about your agreement."

"The ritual that summons the clouds of darkness. I need you to complete this ritual within a year (once started the ritual takes 222 days to complete). Once you begin this place will draw a lot of attention however so make sure you are prepared."

"I also wanted to tell you there is a lord Baron Vandermir, you may be familiar with him. He lives in Farhole just beyond the Balentyne. He may be amiable to help your cause. I happen to know a few of his secrets, namely that he is a vampire and was formerly a member of the brotherhood that operated out of this keep."


"I only just arrived and haven't had the chance to meet the locals yet. Do you mean the undead I sense lurking around or the local primitives?"

A large blue-skinned humanoid creature standing almost 9 feet tall approaches "This the new clients?" he says examining you with his six eyes. The creature is dressed in a flowing multicolored robe and wears a turban.

Yes, Tabernarius. You will visit this keep regularly and see to the needs of these people and you will find it quite the lucrative arrangement I'm sure.

Knowledge the planes dc 20:

This is a Mercane. Mysterious merchants of all things magical, mercanes are relatively weak and noncombative for creatures of their size. They prefer to bargain and haggle rather than to fight, but because they wander the planes seeking and trading magical goods, they typically travel with an entourage of hired bodyguards. Mercanes are capable of defending themselves, and often carry masterwork Large falchions. Yet these weapons are primarily for show, as mercanes prefer to let their bodyguards deal with violent opponents. If a situation turns ugly, mercanes typically use their magical abilities to flee, abandoning their hirelings if necessary.

Mercanes are known throughout the planes as traders in magical items. Each has a secret chest filled with wares stashed away, ready to be pulled out when it’s time to haggle and close a deal (or to bribe a potential obstacle). Mercanes are therefore not easily robbed, and they only surrender the contents of a secret chest when they have no other choice. Mercanes have no interest in mundane goods, no matter how fine or rare. Only magical objects earn their attention and their coin. They’re known for driving hard, but fair, bargains, and for hiring adventurers from time to time to recover certain goods of interest for a fair price. Although they are not particularly brave, they hold contracts sacrosanct and keep their agreements.

He looks down at you. "I will be stopping by once a week or so and I am interested in purchasing any magic items you get your hands on and do not need and in exchange I will be providing some for you. My stock is random and as such, I cannot guarantee a specific item but I am sure you will find something to your liking."

Andrastus points down to the river. "The ship I came in on will be staying here as well. You can use as you like I will be leaving here by teleportation".


I think the best way to move the story forward is to return to the keep for now. I am also changing a few things I had planned out to make things a bit easier for all of us lol

Having completed your shopping and gathered some juicy intel you leave Freetown behind and for now, return to the keep. You rest for the night before going back.

The next day you travel back and return to the keep which takes up most of the day you report your findings to those who stayed behind talk about your plans and get some rest.

The next morning a ship arrives at the dock. It's a small merchant vessel bearing the markings of Caliphas.

Andrastus is on board with a small screw. He leaves them behind and comes up to the keep and greets you. "How is your new home? I hope you find it to your liking. I've brought you a faster means of travel as well as some merchant connections that you may find useful in completing your tasks."


Ok so once you are done shopping you return to the keep?


You do not need to Rp it at this point just let me know what your looking for and it may be available to depending on the item I may roll to see if there is one or how many there are.


So let me know what your looking to buy and we should try to move on.


Maybe not the most interested but he probably is offering you the best price you can get in freetown at the moment. I don't want to spend too much time RP-ing every merchant encounter as I don't want people sitting at base with nothing to do for too long lol.


The alchemist smiles. She gives him the 4 potions of protection from good she has in stock. "People do tend to overly rely on those who can cast spells and sometimes forget that the simplest solution can be found in a bottle she answers.

--------------------------------------

You pay the merchant his coin and he relaxes."Very well, if you change your mind about the gold come back later."

Anything else you want to do in freetown


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So you pay cash then


Of course, this is only the gold items that are selling at 60% of their value.

If you pay mostly with coins you can minimize your loss.


I had mentioned that Freetown was a place where you weren't likely to get very good prices. After Cori's "Encouragement" he really did open with close to his best offer. What you were doing was kinda like being the guy on pawn star that has the expert come in and says "This item would probably sell at auction for like 100 000$" and then the guy looks to the pawnshop owner and says I want 100 000$ for it then the pawn shop owner says 60 000$ and the owner of the item says 95 000$.

Obviously, the pawn shop owner isn't going to take that deal.

The situation is also being affected by the fact that the town is being pressured/extorted to raise money by the clef heads so the merchants are being pressured to try and make as much money as possible on each deal.

Hope that clears it up.


"Perhaps we can arrange something when you bring me some items but I don't have the luxury to make promises on purely good faith at the moment."

You get the feeling he is at the edge of his max at best you might be able to 65% but it would be hard to push him further now. You also come to realize that this is likely related to the situation with the Clef Head's Tax. Were that resolved he might be more willing to negotiate higher.


"Not. a. chance...and you can forget about leaving here with those items unless you pay for them." Says Kemler growing frustrated. You get the feeling that any goodwill you've acquired with Kemler is quickly fading away and there is no way he can agree to pay more than he already is. "If you don't like my prices you can offload your stolen gold somewhere else"


@Casta
Arshoon is impressed by your formulea's and happy to meet a fellow alchemist.

She would also like to copy some spells from you.
Blur, bears endurance, Cat’s Grace, Bull’s Strength, Ironskin, Acute Senses

Since she is taking more than you are she offers 300 gold of store credit to make up the difference.

She doesn't have those poisons in stock however all the ones she has are injury types of poisons meant to be applied on a weapon.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- --

Kemler laughs "At 60% I'm already giving you the rate I would give my own mother. The only reason I am offering you such good prices on these items -other than the wonderful lady here. Is I hope to recoup my losses by re-selling your gold. Any other merchant in town would likely give you closer to 40% I just happen to be in a good mood at the moment."


Kemler is past his prime and you get the feeling he was never a very good lover. Focused only on his own pleasure he treats Cori much like a piece of merchandise that he acquired. His only redeeming quality is his enthusiasm, you get the feeling that it has been quite the dry spell for him.

When his time is done sweaty and exhausted he motions for you to get your comrade once your dressed.

He offers to buy your gold at 60% of it's market value but he can only offer items in exchange (no coins) because of the taxes being levied by the clef heads.


Why would he want the flower? Implying Cori is a succubus or something lol

@Casta Sorry forgot your response last time.

She considers for a moment and says "Very well show me yours and I will show you mine but coping costs extra."

Her formula book contains the following.
3rd—absorbing touch, heroism; Amplify Elixir; Displacement;
2nd—alchemical allocation, barkskin, false life, invisibility; cure moderate wounds, delay poison;
1st—bomber’s eye, cure light wounds, disguise self, expeditious retreat, shield
comprehend languages, detect secret doors, endure elements, identify;


It is in fact the same shop It's Kemler's General Goods

"Alright, you have a deal. He looks to Stannis you will need to wait outside until we conclude our business." He gives a short whistle and what appears to be an animated wooden mannequin comes out of the back. "Close the shop for a bit and keep an eye on things" he tells the mannequin.

As Alex enters the building he just gives you a quick look and says "I do but we're closing at the moment come back in a little over an hour."

Knowledge arcana for identifying the mannequin


The merchant ponders the offer for a time and finally says "17 000 for the belt and the amulet."


Other items he has are (Ring of fire resistance 12 000 gp) (a ring of Sustenance 2500 gp) (wand of mage armor 750 gp) (A Talisman of Arrow Protection 600 gp) (A ring of spell knowledge III 13 500 gp) (Amulet of Natural Armor +1 2000 gp)

The man considers you for a moment "One hour in the backroom and we have a deal but best I can do is 16 000 or the governor will have my head"


@Casta Peeking into my recipe books is a premium service dear, I can't just go around giving away all my secrets now can I?

She has a decent selection of poisons of varying potency.

@Alexandr "We will consider your offer...If the Clef Head leadership were to be eliminated by a third party unrelated to us, however, we would be amenable to a change in allegiance. Until then this conversation never happened. Never heard of the boots but I believe Kemler's Goods might have the eyes you're looking for."


Cori/Stannis: The merchant's eyes open wide at the sight of the gold. "Well of course for such a discerning customer I can take out my finest item.
He shows you a belt with a large platinum buckle that shows the symbol of Irori on it. This magnificent belt will enhance all of your physical attributes by a decent margin (+2). This rare and powerful item can be yours for a measly twenty thousand gold pieces or items of equivalent worth.

Alexandr: Alexander is allowed entry and given an audience with two people (and their guards) a middle-aged man (Garrik Bitune) and a middle-aged woman (Marguerite Drovenge). These are the two of the three surviving members of the gang of criminals who founded this town.

They are surprised by your first claim, they have clearly no idea who you are but try to hide it by showing a mask of indifference.

The man speaks up. "As interesting as your proposition is the cleft heads are underlings for another far more powerful group. If we ally with fire-axe and defeat the cleft-heads. Ardax White-Hair will march his army down here and raze freedom town to the ground. We are aware of the growing strength of the fire-axe but they are still no match for the Empty Hand tribe.

Casta: Casta enters the store and is pleased to this store has a decent selection of potions, poisons, and ingredients. A tiefling woman with deep purple skin greets him as he enters. "Greetings, I am Arshoon. What kind of problem do you need a solution for?"


"I do have some special reserves, like this ring of fire resistance to protect me from hot stuff like you. What kind of items are you looking for?" replies the shopkeeper.


Asking around Alex finds that the governors of Freetown are pretty information on how they run things. If you have something you need to discuss you can just go to their manor and ask for an audience and in most cases you will get it.

Cori enters the General store and sees that the place is stocked with all sorts of hunting, camping, fishing and survival gear and lights sources like torches and lanterns. There is also books and writing supplies and locks and manacles as well as a section for some technological trinkets imported from Numeria.


The central area of the town seems to have a Bazaar of sorts set up with various miscellaneous goods being sold. There is a weapon's shop (Slicers and Dicers), an alchemist shop (Bottle solutions), a general goods store (Kemler's Goods and supplies), a butcher shop (The good Cut), and a trap shop (The dirty Trap).

It will take several days before R'yzzntyg hears back from the druids. The treant doesn't appear to come this close to the fortress R'yzztyg sees no sign of it. R'yzzntyg does make some headway however in learning to summon mudmen and mud elementals from the magic pool below by studying the murals on the second level.


I don't really have more to add at the moment. Pretty much just waiting to see what you decide to do.


A yes no need to give Slid a share.

The flute is worth 250 gp.


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I'm around if you guys wanna continue. Feeling better now. Symptoms have mostly gone.


letting you all know that I've come down with a case of the covid and will likely be down and out for a few days.


@alexander when asking about problems for the local leadership the two subjects that come up are the fire axes massing in the north and the Cleft Head tribe who recently relocated to the hills to the west of the town. Apparently, the Cleft Head tribe has aligned themselves with the Empty Hand tribe and has been given control over this region. The problem is that the tribute the Cleft Head are demanding is much larger than the previous amount and the councilors (The only three surviving members of the Sharpes Gang who founded the town) are not sure how they are going to raise enough gold to satisfy them. There is talk that people might need to be offered up as slaves to make up the difference.

I mistakenly called it the white hair tribe before but that is actually the name of a singular chieftain that is a member of the Empty Hand tribe.


The barge lands on the other shore after a short while.

"Same as always I reckon, they send out patrols and watch for sign of invasion but they won't lift a finger to help us out here if anything happens." replies the driver.

Freedom Town

The ferry is off the map a little bit further downriver just south of the bottom gate.


"Don't worry all the businesses are still running, those who live here typically don't have anywhere else to go or are too invested to leave. It's mostly those that were "just visiting" that have fled."

------------------------------------------------------------------

Some boggard sees R'yzz eyeing the chest and fetch the shaman who warns you (in draconic) that the chest is empty and trapped. Opening it would trigger large rocks to fall from above crushing the one below of forcing them in the boiling mud.


He is discussing it like one would discuss the weather, you sense no reason why he would be lying.


you do not have a bag of holding or the likes yet as far as I know. How much gold did you take with you? You have backpacks so you can still carry quite a bit.

He takes the money and motions for you to get on the raft.
"Not too many travelers lately, word is the Fire-axe tribe is on the warpath and massing in the north. Free-town is under the protection of Ardax white-hair so we should be safe but the Fire-Axe and the white hair hate each other so those who could have fled south just in case."


The man, a midle-aged half-orc gives you a quick look over as he gets up and says "A silver each, or 5 copper if you help push the raft."


Ok So going to assume some of you head out to freetown. The trip to get there takes the better part of a day moving along the river. The trip is uneventful, you notice a few orc patrols that seems to notice you but they leave you alone.

By the time you arrive at freetown the sun has already set and it's getting dark. The town itself is on the other side of the river but you notice there is a raft-ferry setup to take people across.

The ferry is attached to a rope and is pushed along using long poles. There is a small cabin close to were the ferry is moored were a man sits in a chair smoking a pipe.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

For anyone staying at the Keep let me know what you do during the day.


That is something you could learn in town. And yes you can reach the town whiteout entering the castle. The keep guards the only bridge across the river for miles around but I'm sure you can find a way to cross whiteout using the bridge.


Farholde is the town closest to the keep and would be a excellent place to go to gain Intel on the keep itself the keep is however only open go people with official business and not open to the public.


Well, the group has 3 sending stones that were given to them at one point. They are one-time use items but can useful in a bind.

If s+*@ hits the fan you can call Tiadora who can teleport at will to come get you.


In the instances where I have split the party in the past I usually tell everyone to post their actions as normal and I reply to each group with a spoiler

group 1:

This is happening with group 1

group 2:

this is what happens with group 2

But either plan has merit and thorn would forgive you for arriving on day 4 if you have something to show for it.


So what is the plan, there isn't much more to do at the keep at the moment.

All of it is explored at this stage.

Your next objective is pretty much going to be going out to gather more information or resources.

Thorn wont be arriving till day 3 so you have time to make a trip and come back.


ah and yes Str 23, Dex 11, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 13 with another +2 natural armor seems correct.


@stan you can technically delay as long as you want.


Can you make a large I believe you need to be level 10 for that.

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