Welcome to the latest spinoff from the D&D on DDO (https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthrea...ght=Dnd+on+DDO) thread started by intruder1.
This group met and started adventuring together this week and plans to meet regularly to see where the game and associated stories take us.
Waldhorn arrives in Stormreach
Private Investigator - Stormreach
Hammond Greene looked up from polishing a freshly washed ale tankard when the door to the Leaky Dinghy Tavern opened. The barkeep exchanged a knowing wink with the Spirit Binder, Brother Calloway, as the entry was blocked by a tall, wide shouldered silhouette in plate armor that hesitated to allow his eyes to adjust to the dim light. Hammond could smell the empty coin purse and raw newcomer aura from where he stood behind the bar. It was not unusual to draw such a consumer when you ran a dockside tavern that stood on tall stilts, so as to be seen by every sailor and copperless traveler before they ever put a foot on shore. He'd heard every sad tale a cognitive mind could come up with, every horrid misadventure that a world both ancient and new could deliver, as to why a free meal and a drink or two would be a kindness. At least the newcomer would provide a break from the boredom that arrived every afternoon before the rowdies and brawlers showed up for their dinner, drinks, and dice at the tables in the back. The tale would be heard, before Hammond bluntly informed him that charity was not part of the establishments name.
The man appeared quite old at first glance, but a closer look belied that impression. The white hair and beard, along with a cruel scar across his left cheek, put years on him that he did not yet own. His blue eyes were steady, looking around the bar with a caution born of experience. Hammond saw Brother Calloway motion toward the small emblem on a chain around the strangers neck, a common religious emblem generally worn by a specialist Paladin, known as a Hunter of the Dead. He also wore an embossed ring displaying a field of blue, with the red dragon perched atop a white cloud, representing the Goddess Dol Arrah. The Spirit Binder, as a worshiper of The Silver Fame himself, had lost his earlier expression of amusement, and now wore one that could indicate a bit of grudging respect, as the armored newcomer's aura of good swept over them.
"Good afternoon, sir. I am called Waldhorn, new to Stormreach, and seeking work in reburial services, or other duties that require strength of mind, body, and soul." His kind voice was soft and deep.
"I'm a barkeep, not an employment agency!" Hammond snorted, with a dismissive shake of his head. "I can get you a meal and a drink.. for coin..., but a job of work you'll have to find elsewhere."
"Well... in the past, I have worked as a... a... private investigator. I have experience in recovering lost or stolen goods, and locating.... problems..., worldly and otherwise, in order to put them... to rest. If you should hear of someone in need, perhaps you might mention my name? Waldhorn."
With that, the young man turned and walked out, revealing a massive Falchion that hung diagonally across his back, nestled beside an equally large wooden club. The two weapons were secured beneath a quiver of arrows and unstrung longbow that hung diagonally over the opposite shoulder. A bedroll of camp gear nestled across the small of his back, a basic pouch of holding rode the hollow of his left hip, with water skin above a sheathed camp knife on the right.
'Longbow and two handed weapons', the barkeep and retired fighter mused to himself. 'This young warrior is not likely to be found in a defensive stance, unless in very dire straights. He came prepared for the trail as well.'
"You may not pass his name on, but I'll bet you remember that one!" Brother Calloway chuckled, taking note of Hammond's interested stare, and the fact he had neglected to burn the young Paladin with a sharp tongued parting response. The barkeep prided himself on getting in the last word, and having that word leave the recipient's ears glowing red.
Hammond ignored him, already wondering if Stormreach had private investigators, and if such could do well midst the constant turmoil that seemed to run through, and below the city streets. Rumors of walking dead, kobold infestations, Orc raiders, ...and worse..., had begun to be whispered, along with the strange unwillingness of local government and religious authorities to admit to it, or to put a stop to it. Maybe Stormreach had need of investigators willing to take on questions the high and mighty would prefer remain unasked.
With that thought, Hammond smiled at Brother Calloway, a representative of exactly the sort of organization in need of a closer look, even if he did not seem willing to admit openly to it at the moment.
"Did you notice his ring, as well as his neck chain?" Hammond asked the Spirit Binder casually. "A Paladin of Dol Arrah, a warrior who fights with wisdom as well as weapons. Those who betray their calling should fear such as he."
"Spoken like a true vassal of the Sovereign Host," Brother Calloway grimaced nervously, shaking his head and washing his hands as if to relieve himself of responsibility for the actions of more powerful others. "Best keep such thoughts to ourselves, and let the Gods move their agents about, while we observe in safety."
"If the Gods will allow that."
"It is my prayer. Make it yours as well."
Quests to catch up for 3/28/2014
Quests to catch up for 3/28/2014
We completed the following:
1. Walk the Butcher's Path
3. Recovering the Lost Tome
4. Kobold's New Ringleader
We now have enough characters at level three so that next week we can start running level three quests. See you all then!
The Kobolds' New Ringleader
Four days after the leading the dogs from the sewer, Waldhorn introduced Ashja to Curissa, the elf in the shabby robes she had seen the previous week. Curissa's robes weren't as shabby as the last time Ashja had seen the elf. The investigations the rest of the group undertook while she recovered must have been successful. She was sorry she had missed the fun.
After breaking their fast, Waldhorn, Curissa, and Ashja left the Leaky Dinghy and climbed the stairs up into the Harbormaster's Plaza to take care of what business they had at the bank and at the Hammer and Chain. Ashja sold some items she no longer used or needed and deposited what coin she didn't need for the day into the Bank of Kundarak. The three walked up around near the airship dock, across the bridge, and down through the Warehouse District toward the Wayward Lobster.
As they walked down the hill toward the Wayward Lobster, they happened upon Guard Jung, who was looking for someone to help him clear the Bonebite kobolds from their hideout in the Warehouse District. The Harbormaster had promised to send some guards, but that had been hours before. The party entered the Bonebite hideout.
Ashja walked over the grassy terrain, roughly following the conductor stones south and a little east into Vathirond. She looked for small streams or ponds, but the grassy plain was bone dry. Irregular hills and valleys kept her from seeing much further than the next hillock over -- in any direction. She knew that if she followed the stones, she would find a road; and if she found a road, she would find a town.
Indeed, she found a small footpath that eventually turned into a narrow road. As she walked, she saw fields of grain. A league further, the narrow road had widened into a broad street. As she approached Vathirond foot traffic picked up. The half-ef's sensitive nose picked up the assorted aromas of roasted, spiced meats and vegetables intermingled with unwashed bodies and animals. The closer she got to the town, the more people she saw. The more people she saw, the more nervous she got. Especially when she saw the priests. She saw priests and clerics everywhere. She was glad to see that priests of the Sovereign Host outnumbered those of the Silver Flame.
The young half-elf wasn't sure what to do. She had picked up a few decent weapons she couldn't use (and was able to sell) and had enough coin to get her a room at a half respectable inn until she could figure out what to do next.
The party arrived back at the inn several hours later exhausted, having cleared the kobolds and bugbears out of the Bonebite hideout. Guard Jung was pleased that they had found his badge and he had rewarded them well.
Ashja ordered a bath on her way to her room. She really hated the smell of her armor after a battle. She hated having to trudge back to the inn wearing the smelly stuff, but she supposed there was no way around it. Grabbing a fresh set of clothing, she dragged herself down to the baths. She was exhausted. Who knew that recovering from those dog bites would take so much out of her.
Sitting in the common room a couple of hours later, Ashja told Waldhorn that she would be spending the next day recovering from this one.
Curissa's First Assignment
Curissa's First AssignmentThe clear pre-dawn sky held the promise of another perfect day in paradise as I strolled along the damp boardwalk of Stormreach harbor. By the time the sun rose, the boardwalks and streets of the harbor district would be teaming with people of all kinds noisily going about their business but for now it was still and quiet and all mine save for the lonely sailor standing watch on a ship tied to the pier.
This day held more promise than any since Curissa had arrived. The old paladin she had spotted the night before was currently on sabbatical from his church or otherwise operating without direct supervision from his superiors; Curissa never did get a clear story from him. He had found temporary employment as a “private investigator”. Apparently some sort of constabulary that doesn’t report to the local lords. This man was full of enigmas.
Whatever this peculiar form of employment he was currently engaged in; he desired the services of a spell caster and had evidential concluded that Curissa was a wizard or sorcerer. She briefly thought of explaining that she was barely an apprentice, much less a true sorceress, but quickly changed her mind when she considered the serious lack of coin in her purse. And so, Curissa might be able to buy breakfast and perhaps even some decent cloths in short order. Waldhorn, that was the paladin’s name, had engaged her services for a couple of assignments this day.
First was more pest control than constabulary work. Clear out an infestation in someone’s basement. Then off to locate and retrieve some stolen tools; at least that sounded very much like investigative work.
After a leisurely stroll up the boardwalk to the top of the cliffs in Stormreach harbor, Curissa met Waldhorn and reflected that he was not nearly as old in the morning sun. His pure white hair and the nasty scars on his face made him appear much older in the dim light of the Leaky Dingy. He would have been handsome before the scars.
Enough day-dreaming, it was time to go to work; time to start a new life.
An Introduction - Koryx T'hal
“Kobold’s balls and ogre snot,” muttered Koryx as he slammed into the rat hole that passed for a tavern in this so-called city. What a miserable pile of sticks and wattle this place is. This one was built stilts, leaning out over the edge of the dank water like many of the drunks losing their guts after they left his place. And it smelled; Crag did it smell.
The island, Korthos, was a bit better than this; at least the snow had kept the stink down. Some heroes released the dragon from captivity and cleared the island of the slavers. Too bad he wasn’t invited – that would have been fun! This journey has had so little fun involved since it started.
House T’hal was Koryx family; his clan had been retainers of House T’hal for generations before they were adopted as kin. It didn’t hurt that Koryx’ great-grandfather saved the Prince and his bride from pirates and his grandfather opened trade with the Underelves, which eventually brought peace to that part of the world. It almost backfired though, when the Underelf Priestess X’antlan tried to assassinate Prince Kordan’s son during the signing of the trade agreement. May she forever mate with goblins.
Far to the east, or was it south – he never did listen to those briefings – was home. House T’hal was the largest import/export company in the known world. If this trip had been a success, T’hal would have opened trade with this city and others and both sides would have prospered.
Family and clan are lost now, due to this ill-fated trip and that goblin-gobber dragon. Koryx had no money and no idea how to get home. Perhaps some work can be had in the city. Places like this always had things that needed doing. As long as he didn’t have to schlep through some sewer, Koryx didn’t mind some hard work.
His training as priest could come in handy for any group working in the wilds. He was good with a mace, and a sword if he could get one, and knew the healing and protective arts as well.
Checking the cloth he kept in his boot, although he knew the answer before pulling it out, he found, once again, that it was empty of coin. Standing at the bar, looking a bit less gruff than when he walked in, he asked the bartender for some water. “This will have to do until Better comes along. I just hope Better is not as late as She usually is.”
First Meetings...and later
The bar man eyed me warily when I asked for water. Words were exchanged, but he got my point – and I got his. No matter, he had his job of keeping the riff out of this riff-raff place and Koryx wasn’t far from being destitute. Most everyone here looked bedraggled and rung out. There were a few that stood out though; the sell sword by the door, with a bit of rust on his armor but functional and well-armed and the girl in worn but clean skirts.
The water is not the worst he had drank, but definitely rain from the roof and allowed to sit in a barrel uncovered. The dull metal and musty taste did not do much for his mood, although it helped his parched throat and at least filled his belly.
"How would you like to earn some coin?” the girl asked, tapping him on the shoulder and taking a step back as if he might take a swing at her. Koryx took a better look at her, not overly large in any place but fit; part elf if he wasn’t mistaken. She had a wariness to her, not quite looking over her shoulder but searching his face and manner to discern...what. He wasn’t sure what she was looking for, or afraid of.
“Now that sounds like nearly the best pickup line I have heard in a long time”, said the dwarf, smiling and turning to the girl. “But in some places that will get you arrested and thrown in the stocks, or worse. I hope you mean you need my help for some work and not something more...er...illicit.”
The look on the girl’s face was a mix of awkward disbelief, maybe some fear, and then embarrassment. She turned white, then red. It was after Koryx noticed the red cheeks that he saw the long knife in her hand. “Ha!”, he exclaimed, and burst into a larger, deep laugh, due to the girls’ reaction and his attempt to disarm a situation which he had been in several times before when someone didn’t ‘get’ his humor.
“I would most assuredly like to earn some coin, young lady,” Koryx said between sniffs and chuckles, bowing deeply but keeping a wary eye on the knife. “Sorry to pop off on you like that, but it was a most welcome hook that turned what could have been a miserable day into one that started with a laugh. I thank you for the opportunity to have one at your expense.” Koryx wasn’t certain if he had already stepped over the bounds and lost himself a possible purse-filling engagement. He certainly hoped not.
Koryx noticed another young girl – no, not girl young, but a young elf – standing nearby. She wore a nice red dress and had a definite stance of power and entitlement about her. Koryx had seen this type before, untried noble-ettes with too much power and too little responsibility. “Full of themselves and not much else”, Koryx uncle said of them. Koryx was like that once, not any more.
“…and I said ‘I hope you mean you need my help for some work and not something more er illicit’, and she pulled a knife on me”, Koryx told the tale again to Waldhorn, hoping this time the Paladin would get the innuendo and laugh with him. It didn’t work. The humor had worn off on Ashja, the target of his story, and Curissa and most of the others that frequented the Leaky Dingy, as Koryx miscalled it, to the owner’s discomfort.
They had become companions after that first meeting. Even though the ‘job’ involved wading around in some of the largest sewers Koryx had ever seen and dealing with a large population of koballs, trogs and gobbers, they emerged unscathed. It put coin in his purse, food and ale in his belly and helped out one of the guards. You never know when a friendly guard in the right place might make a difference.
“Okay, to business”, Koryx said, since it didn’t look like anyone was going to laugh at his tales any longer. “Once we find the other lost man in the sewers we should be in good with the Harbor Master. That’s a friend we may really need someday. After that, I heard there was this merchant named Baudry looking to hire for a job in his warehouse. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll be glad to get the smell of sewer out of my nose and clothes for a while.”
The Lost Seekers, Interlude
Ashja was still working through her feelings about the newest member of the investigation team. Ever since Essrynn and Windchill had parted company with the group, they had struggled to stay alive, so a cleric would be a welcome addition. She missed the boisterous elf and quiet human. Not just because of their protection and healing abilities, but also because she missed Essrynn's antics and Windchill's quiet grace.
She sighed and continued packing her extra backpack. Now that she had decided to move to the Wayward Lobster, she couldn't wait to get out of the Leaky Dinghy. She spoke with Master Greene and settled her account; then hefted her bag and headed across the Harbor to the Wayward Lobster. She had paid for a room at the Wayward Lobster before moving. In fact, she had ordered a bath for when she arrived to take up occupancy.
It was dark when she reached the Wayward Lobster. She was sore and achy when she arrived, and she looked forward to the bath she had requested. Mistress D'agon was gracious enough about the later arrival, but Ashja could tell she was a little peeved.
As Ashja soaked in the tub, she thought about the dwarf, Koryx. He had certainly taken her offer of earning coin the wrong way! Her ears burned again. She should have remembered that some dwarves had a bawdy sense of humor. And Koryx reminded her of another dwarf she knew.
After the disappearances, Master Henrick had ordered the caravan to settle in for a couple of days. They would have to make up the time later. It was still early enough in the journey that they would be able to arrive on schedule, but they would have to be mindful of any further delays. When the rescue party returned to camp for the night, the caravan master had cauldrons of water heated for the healers and for baths.
That evening around a roaring fire, Master Henrick ordered a small keg of dwarven ale tapped. The young dwarf who had been sent to bring her to the caravan master -- she later learned his name was Roland Firestone -- began a bawdy story that ended with Ashja's ears and cheeks burning. She was glad of the relative darkness -- until she realized that dwarven eyesight was as sharp by the light of Eberron's twelve moons as was her own by the light of the noonday sun. Ashja laughed along the jokes, even though she didn't quite get some of them. Master Henrick saw her discomfort and confusion and had one of the female healers in his employ talk to the young half-elf. Ashja was forever grateful for his discretion and understanding.
She had been only eleven when the slavers had killed her family and barely twelve when she and her cousin Mahmoud were sold to the Eldrid Brotherhood. The brothers and sisters had practiced strict celibacy. She had never seen or heard of any coupling among the Brotherhood members or their conscripts. The only instruction about the subject that Ashja had ever received was when Sister Elspeth lectured her at the onset of her cycles. The topic had been presented as clinically and dispassionately as any other subject that she had been taught. The brothers and sisters kept their conscripts busy from before dawn until well past sunset. Most nights she fell into exhausted slumber, only to be wakened before she felt she had slept at all.
Ashja had surprised herself when she drew her long knife on the dwarf. She could see from the sparkle in his eye that he had been teasing, but he had surprised her and she had reacted instinctively. Besides, most clerics and priests that she knew were reserved and shied away from such bawdy humor. This cleric was different. He definitely had the dwarven sense of humor.
She sighed. She would have to take care with her words. Either that, or get used to the teasing she was sure to get whenever Koryx managed to make her ears turn red. Most likely, she would have to get used to his teasing. In spite of his gruff temperament and teasing nature, Ashja liked him. He reminded her of Roland -- with far fewer constraints.