So last Friday night was really really fun. My first time as a DM was very well received and everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves.
So here’s a Synopsis of what happened this episode, starting with the Player Characters.
There’s Harjongr (Dwarf). A failed Necromancer doomed to slavery, he was rescued by Paladins of the Goddess Nusemnee and offered a chance at redemption. Taking it, he has become, himself, a Paladin of the order. Following the Death of the Minor Goddess, the order splintered and he became one of the last two adherents to the Order, dedicated to the principles and teachings that transformed his life. He traversed the landscape of Khorvaire during the Last War helping whom he could, not for the fame or recognition – simply because it was the right thing to do.
Mjothvitnir Ginnar, but his momma calls him Vit
There’s also his friend and comrade Vit (Dwarf). The sword to Harjongr’s shield, he is the other remaining adherent to the Order of Nusemnee. A a wanderer who fell in with a strange crowd, he was brought into the order by his friend and took to journey along the path of service and redemption, putting his darker abilities as a Blackguard to good use. The two Dwarves Traveled to the city of Sharn seeking a chance to serve.
Both Dwarves are also motivated by their mutual curiosity over how a Goddess, however minor she was, could just Die, and if she is truly dead at all…
Which is where they met the following Player Characters:
There is Othello (Human), member of a secret order of Gunmages. Towards the end of the Last War he amassed a small fortune as an Airship Pilot and Smuggler. Deciding to remain neutral during the war, he traversed the battlezones of Khorvaire delivering goods and cargo to the five warring factions up until the Day of Mourning, four years ago. After the establishment of the Twelve Nations though the Treaty of Thronehold, rumors began to spread among the smugglers that a law amongst them had been violated and that Othello had been smuggling far more than war supplies and arcane augments. Upon further investigation by officials, triggered by an anonymous tip, Othello’s shipping houses in Breland were discovered holding humanoid cargo, frozen in crystals to be sold. His business seized and his ships taken from him, he barely escaped capture, fleeing to the city of Sharn, driven by a desire to discover the truth of why he was framed and to regain all that he had lost.
Othello left Breland, but he did not do so alone. With him, traveled his “Nephew” Hamilcar (Kalashtar), the son of his Deceased Best friend and Brother in Bond. A formidable Psionic, he remains the heir to his father’s formidable shipping guild…or would have been, had his father not died when Hamilcar was but 16. The other merchants and ship captains, refusing to take their lead from a teenager they thought had no experience, they left, leaving the dual souled youth with an empty Guild and his father’s former Bodyguard Bolgor (Warforged – pssst, he doesn’t know/remember that he’s warforged as he has an Arcane-made Synthetic skin).
Not much is really known about Bolgor, mostly because he doesn’t remember much past his awakening in the home of Hamilcar and his Father (who’s name I don’t remember). He is conscious of the decision he made to be the family’s protector, a decision made more critical by the death of Hamilcar’s father. On that day he swore to defend Hamilcar to his last breath. (which is funny because he doesn’t remember any real desire to breathe, either) Hamilcar and Bolgor closed the doors of the guild and, vowing to someday return, set out to prove themselves in the world, but not before paying a visit to his “uncle” Othello, who happened to be, at the time, a fugitive of Breland with a significant bounty placed on him.
Bolgor – he really does believe that he’s human…
The trio, after escaping the authorities, made way to Sharn as Othello still retained a few loyal contacts there who might yet point him in the right direction on his own personal Vendetta.
But ah, the need for coin would soon arise and our heroes, sensing a darkness overtake the metropolis, are thrust together as they all quest to unravel the mystery of the Dolurrh (Eberron’s Shadowfell). On their quest they learn of a priest who wishes to bring forth the Prince of Undeath, Orcus, and lay a swath of death and, subsequently, undeath across the world. The Band of Heroes defeat the priest and prevent the dark God from stepping into the realm.
Greatfull to them for this, the Lord Mayor Cathan ir’Demell, rewards them in gold and in a warm welcome to Sharn, granting them all citizenship in the process. Emboldened by this, the group decide that this adventuring thing, might not be such a bad lifestyle and buy themselves an inn/tavern that they call The Barrel and Hammer, to serve as a front for their private investigation/adventuring company. They hire a lovely half elf barkeep (Alarra) and a Dragonborn cook (Vol), and run the inn respectably in the heart of the Menthis Plateau, nearly a stone’s throw from Morgrave University.
And it is here that we begin our tale.
Part One: Death in the Upper City
A few months have passed since their meeting and the encounter with the dark priest, Kalarel. Their Inn is enjoying a moderate amount of success as the word spreads of the food and drink as well as of the newly forged reputation of its owners. The two Dwarves have even gone about setting up a small shrine to their fallen Goddess for those whom might wish to pay tribute, but since no one really pays much attention to that area to even notice the shrine, it’s mostly ignored except by the two of them.
1. The Bloody Bridge
On this particularly dark and rainy night, having not yet seen all that the city has to offer, the party leave the tending of the shop to Alarra and Vol and find themselves drinking and eating at an Inn called The Broken Anvil. Noticing the time, the party leaves to walk/stumble home, sobering up some along the way. Finding themselves upon a skybridge, Hamilcar’s awareness suddenly slams into focus as he spies a curious figure in a cloak avoiding the lights along the bridge, he watches curiously as the figure leaps from the bridge and disappears. After being informed as to what Hamilcar had just seen, the party moves cautiously across the bridge when they spot a body, lying on the ground in a pool of water and, presumably, his own blood.
When they get closer, it is Othello who recognizes the body of Provost Bonal Geldem, a scholar from Morgrave University. As they reach to investigate the body further, Hamilcar hears the sounds of an approaching climber and warns them just as the hooded figure leaps from the side of the railing an onto the bridge before them, throwing off it’s cloak it reveals itself as a Warforged, it’s eyes gleam bright red as it stares at Bolgor, atop his Dire Wolf mount, with a look of angry recognition.
the Warforged “Cutter”
Though confused by this, the party takes no chances and jump into action. The battle is lengthy but the party, having taken their fair share of hurt, lands a strike that, finally cuts through the metal of the Warforged and sends a blaze of sparks flying through the air. Harjongr, ever the diplomat, reaches out to the construct in an act of compassion.
“You can be destroyed here, right now, or you can tell us what you want with this man’s body. The choice is yours, we do not wish to destroy you, but we shall if you press this further.”
The Warforged spits oil at the Dwarf’s feet in derision. “I would rather be destroyed by you, than to give in and disobey my master. He will have what is in that satchel, small fleshbag, one way or another!” And as he levels his axe to strike, he is struck down, to one knee. With his dying breath he looks to Bolgor again, rage in the bright red glow of his eyes and says. “I would not have expected this from you, after all we had been through together. You betray us, for these sacks of flesh and meat?? Your day…will…come…”
With his last words a compartment opens within his chest and a small clockwork dragonfly unfurled itself from within it and zips off into the night. The Warforged itself, falls to the floor, sparks flying from it as it clatters into it’s component parts and spills oil onto the rained-upon pavement.
Horjongr took the satchel from the provost’s body and examined the contents, locating what appeared to be a small journal with a mithril laced sigil on its cover. He opens the journal to find the pages, which weren’t made of any material he had ever seen, completely blank but having a sheen to them that was strange and unnatural. He was sharing this with the party and had just slipped the journal into his own travel satchel when an angry and astonished voice rings across the night from the other end of the bridge.
“Olladra’s bloody nose!” the voice curses. “By order of the Watch, drop your weapons and explain yourselves!”
2. The City Watch
Sgt. Dolom of the City Watch
The voice has come from a rather sturdy looking Dwarf with a close cropped beard and wearing the black and green studded leather of the City Watch, he is flanked by a male and female human bearing Halberds and crossbows. The Dwarf levels his own crossbow at the party, who recognize the him as Sgt. Dolom, the leader of the City Watch.
Instantly, the party drop all of their weapons (all except for Bolgor, who lurks behind Othello, still gripping his weapon but has dismounted from his wolf). Horjongr and Othello immediately use their charms to explain to the officer exactly what had just transpired.
“You know of us, we’re good people!” Horjongr spoke up. “We don’t know what the construct wanted or why he killed the Provost. We tried to ascertain that from him, but he refused. He only mentioned that he was sent by someone, an unknown master.”
Dolom lowers his crossbow, annoyed, but impressed. “While ye’ shouldn’ta take the law into ye own hands, I count meself impressed by yer actions and by ye honesty. He hands them all a bit of gold as a reward and hands the Gunmage and the Paladin a small ledger with his contact information. “Should ye’ need anything, lads. Now, ye best clear out. We have an investigation to begin.” And he waves them off. The group thank the officer and move on towards their own tavern.
3. The Broken Anvil
As the group heads home in the pouring rain, they are approached by another figure in a cloak. This figure’s hood is pulled down to nearly over his eyes and holds his hands up and open before them, to show that he has no weapons and no intentions of attacking them. He moves closer to the party and speaks low, yet loud enough for the five to hear him. “If you would know the truth of Bonal Geldem’s murder, you will go to the Broken Anvil at dawn. He turns away, wrapping his cloak around him and vanishing into the night before the party can question him.
They all glance at each other curiously and decide to head home and rest first before investigating the broken anvil.
At Dawn, the party all walk into the Tavern, to enthusiastic greetings from the other patrons and and smile and hug from Rosie, the halfling matron of the tavern. As she hugs Othello, he proceeds to squeeze the ass-cheek of the halfling (cementing his role as the gun-toting, scoundrel-charmer), who then proceeds to punch Othello in his Solar Plexus. As he grasps his stomach he glances at Rosie in time to see her wink at him with a small smile as she walks over to a table at the back of the common room and speak to a patron dressed in a fine hooded cloak. Flanking her is the hooded man who approached them hours before, his hand on a blade that hums with power as he grips the hilt cautiously.
“My Lady.” She leans over to the lady seated. “Your guests have arrived.”
Lady Elaydren d’Vown of House Cannith
The cloaked woman nods and Rosie smiles and waves the party over to her.
As the party draw closer, the woman removes her hood, revealing a beautiful dark haired, blue eyes woman, whose hair is bound in solver and turquoise ornaments. The signet ring of House Cannith gleamed on her right hand as she beckoned the party to sit and drink with her, shaking her head as Bolgor attempts to suavely flip into a chair next to her, but instead nearly falling on his face. “Thank you all for coming. Please forgive the ‘Cloak and Dagger’, my friends, but time is of the essence and I have a matter of utmost importance to discuss with you all.” She then introduces her herself as the Lady Elaydren d’Vown and gives the party information regarding an ancient family heirloom lost in an underground foundry in the ruins of what was once Old Sharn. “I was going to fund an expedition to locate the heirloom, but without Bonal…” her voice trails off and her eyes give off a look of an idea or plan forming in her head. “Perhaps you would be willing to recover the item for me. For a generous reward of course.”
At this, the party confer with each other and agree that they will take the job, but that there are things left out that are not being said. to that end. Horjongr hands over the journal that they found in Bonal’s Satchel. The signet ring and the journal immediately react to one another and the Mithril strands on the journal’s cover begin to glow along with the ring. To the party’s amazement, she opens the journal and scrawled handwriting suddenly appears where the pages had once been very blank. Her eyes fall upon a particular entry in the journal, her eyes going wide for a moment before pulling a map from her cloak and unfolding it onto the table.
“The location of the lost foundry is deep within the Dorasharn Tower,” She proclaims, quietly. “Fifty-seven levels below the tower’s present-day sewer system.” She looks at each of the party members in turn, a look of measured hope in her eyes. “I offer you five-thousand gold pieces and the good will of my house if you recover the item and return it to me. Will you help me?” She places a bag upon the table, which Hamilcar opens and reveals it to be one thousand gold pieces. Lady Elaydren nods, “This is an up-front payment, and this…” she places a small token bearing the signet of her house upon it, “Is for you to use during this quest. If you are in need of equipment, go into one of the shops and show the owner this token. He will give you what you need on my house’s behalf.”
Othello pondered this for a second. “So, it’s a credit chit then?”
The Lady smiled. “Yes, of a sort.”
Horjongr raised his eyebrows and spoke up. “That thing we fought on the bridge. what was it?”
Elaydren nodded solemnly. “That” she began “was a servant of the Lord of Blades called ‘Cutter’. He seeks the relic for his own nefarious purposes, no doubt.”
Vit, taking a swig of ale from his mug, spoke up as well. “And what, my lady, is it that we are recovering, exactly?”
“The relic we are seeking is an admantine plate in the shape of a seven-pointed star about the size of your hand.” She began. “It has no special power of its own, but it is an ancient schema-a piece of a pattern used by the ancient Cannith Artificers to create…well…unusual items. Recover this piece of history for me, and House Cannith shall be extremely grateful. ”
Now it was Bolgor who spoke. “Are there any dangers or dangerous people that we need to be aware of while on this…er…quest?”
Elaydren shrugged. “Other than the Lord of Blades, himself, who may have other agents seeking the schema…who knows what lurks in the hidden places beneath the city?” She pauses a moment. “Now that I think about it, Bonal did mention that he would definitely need to bring fire on the expedition with him. I wonder what he meant by that.”
The party look at each other making a mental note, thanks to Hamilcar’s mindlink, to equip themselves with fire as well.
The Lady continues. “Anyway, I urge caution, but I am completely confident that you can handle anything you might encounter in your search.” The hooded servant places a hand on her shoulder. “My Lady, we must get you back to the manor.”
She nods and begins to rise, as does the party. Horjongr places Bonal’s satchel on the table along with a few gold coins. “Did Bonal have any family, My Lady?”
She gives the dwarf a stunned look. “Why yes, yes he did. He had a wife waiting for him.”
He nods. “It would do my soul good to know that she received his things, along with this gold and our condolences.” He fingers the hilt of his hammer as it dangles from his belt. “We will do everything we can to ensure that his death was not in vain.”
Lady Elaydren blinks twice. “You show true character, master Dwarf. I shall see it done. I and my House thank you all.” She sweeps from the room with her guardian in tow.
Othello takes a last swig of his ale and gathers up the map, placing it in his many pocketed vest. “Well boys, To market!”
Part Two: Into the Depths
1.The Rat’s Market
After gathering supplies for firebomb crafting and enchanting and sharpening their weapons, the party, following Elaydren’s map, make their way through the tunnels and corridors of Lower Sharn, emerging into an area filled with a mix of Goblins, Humans, and Shifters gathering around small tables, booths, and wagons filled with items and trinkets. The smell of sweat and sewage permeates everything as the inhabitants are forced to breathe in the stale and putrid air. In the center of the area is a large collection of baskets filled with blankets and trinkets, either used or broken, or both. A Goblin shouts from atop one of them, eyeing the Party as they pass. “No pushing! No Pushing! There’s always enough for everyone at the Rat’s Market!”
the Goblin Skakaar
While Othello Haggles with one of the merchants over the sale of a long gun and shotgun, Horjongr surveys the area and catches the goblin, the very one who was shouting earlier, keeping a close eye on the Party. The Dwarf approaches the goblin and surveys his goods. “Is there a reason you watch us so.”
Surprised by the Dwarf’s boldness, the Goblin stutters his answer as the rest of the party begins to gather near. “I notice things is all, sirs. I can tell that you folk ain’t from around here, and that intrigues me. Is there anything that I might be able to do for you here, in the Rat’s Market?”
Othello, slinging the long gun onto his back and the shotgun into a leg holster walks over to the Goblin. “We’re looking for the entrance to the E-213 Valve Cluster. A Savy Goblin like yourself would know all about that wouldn’t you?”
The Goblin ponders this for a moment then begins pointing to his wears. “I have this rare stick of sealing wax, only partially used, for a mere sixty coppers. Or maybe you could use this fine woolen blanket with just a ‘hint’ of mildew? Only thirty-seven coppers. Ooooh, or maybe a skewer of boiled rat meet, eh? For you, only 4 silver. Or, I suppose, if I could point out the way to a certain valve cluster, but what would it be worth to you fine explorers, hmm? One hundred silver?”
At this, Vit steps foward, nostrils flaring. Horjongr senses this in just enough time to put a hand on his “brother’s” shoulder to calm him and leans over to the dwarf, producing a few gold coins from his satchel and tossing them towards the Goblin. “How’s this for assisting us?”
The Goblin, takes the coins and examines them, upon realizing that the coins aren’t fakes he flusters and turns a bright red color. He nearly falls off of his basket.
(Meanwhile, as Bolgor decides it a good idea to stand inside of one of the seller’s wicker baskets, Hamilcar notices halfling eyes upon him and his party and alerts the group to this via Mindlink)
The Goblin introduces himself as Skakaar. “I would be most pleased to aid you in this endeavor, but we must hurry, there have been others who seek the entrance to the cluster and they have not been nearly as generous as you sirs have” He leaps from his basket and gathers his things into a backpack.
A crossbow bolt, seemingly from nowhere, sticks into the ground in front of Skakaar and he leaps back cowering behind Horjongr, who readies his Hammer as a group of halfings begin to appear from out of the shadows. Their leader, a slender halfling brandishing a large knife, calls out from a few yards away. “You’ve been askin’ a lot of questions, and that’s something my boss don’t take to kindly to. It’s a shame, but we gotta kill you and the goblin now!” And with a signal, a trio of crossbow snipers appear atop the mercantile roofs and begin firing bolts at the heroes, while brutes move in from all sides to attack.
Rory, Halfling Rogue
Within moments, over half of the halfling party are dead and their leader knocked flat on his back, bleeding heavily. Horjongr stands over the little man and lays his hammer down upon his chest. Vit stands nearby with his Halberd at the ready, a snarl upon his lips as his shield-brother speaks. The rest of the party, stand close, weapons pointed either at the fallen halfling or at the remaining members of his party.
“Why does your master want the schema?” The Paladin asks. “Be aware that it should benefit you most if you surrender and tell us what you know, we don’t wish to kill you, but we will if we are pressed to.”
Knowing that he is defeated, the Halfing drops his weapon and motions for his men to do the same. “Please. You win, but I tell you I know nothing of the schema you seek, I only know that my master has ordered your deaths and that I will die, having failed him.”
Hamilcar sees into the Halfling’s mind and sees the truth of his words. “What is your name, halfling?” He asks, helping the small man to stand.
“I am called Rory.” He answers “Of the Boromir clan.”
Horjongr, knowing that clan name, frowns. “I have heard of your clan. How can one from such a noble clan come upon a lifestyle such as this?”
“Well, look at us!” he half shouts, half sobs. ” I was exiled from my clan long ago, for dealing in forbidden spices. Now I and my brethren live here, on these streets, fighting for our very survival.”
Harjongr, feeling sorry for the Halfling, pushes a handful of gold into his hand. “Take this and go to the Barrel and Hammer, get yourselves cleaned up and fed. If you wish it, we can provide you work, or, if you wish to continue in your current way of life, we can provide you with a safe place to rest, so long as you provide us with information when we need it.”
The Halfling and his men all beam at him. “You shall not regret this, my new friends. We shall await you at your tavern, good luck in your quest.”
They all watch as the surviving band of halflings leave the Rat’s Market. Skakaan turns towards the Party. “Well then, come now sirs. To the Valve Cluster we go…”
Will our heroes find the missing schema?
Will they get to the bottom of the Murder of Bonal Geldem?
Will they ever learn that Bolgor really isn’t as human as he appears?
What is the deal with Lady Elaydren?
Find out next session…
To Be Continued!!