Autor Thema: Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)  (Gelesen 2805 mal)

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Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« am: 19. November 2003, 21:18:57 »
 Hi!

Ich werde hier meine SH, die in der Welt des Diamond Throne spielt, cross-posten. Das Testabenteuer veröffentliche ich ebenfalls auf den Boards von Monte Cook, während die spätere geplante Kampagne wohl nach ENWorld kommt. Deshalb schreibe ich auf English... Have fun! :)

WARNING TO MY PLAYERS! DON'T READ THE FOLLOWING LINK, PLEASE!
Stats for the major NPCs can be found here:
http://www.p-pricken.de/rpg/online/npcstats.html' target='_blank'>The stats for my major NPCs and combat encounters
As these include stats about NPCs the players yet must meet, please don't spoil yourself or others by reading/talking about it here (I suspect the players will read this story hour).
If you really, really want to discuss it, we can open another thread for it :)  

Now, the casting:
Nathred, male human Akashic 6, strong skills in bluff, forgery, gather information, disguise, etc, though not diplomacy nor sneak. He can open locks and find traps, though. Nathred fights with trident and punching dagger, as well as throwing dagger.

Malethar, male litorian 1 greenbond 5, wilderness guy. He fights with a javelin and has Modify Spell, Blessed Mage, as well as Exotic Spell: Litorian Claws.

Dajsan: male verrik 3 mageblade 3, fights with glaive.

Tarkass: mojh 2 unfettered 4, fights with scimitar and sickle, is sneaky, but not perceptive. Wears leather coat.

These are off the top of my hat, so less and more detail as I remember :)  

Next post: Meetings, quests and reading minds: the group assembles.
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Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #1 am: 19. November 2003, 21:19:41 »
 The sun has set over the islands and platforms of Ka-Rone, one of the greatest cities in Dor-Ethenos, housing the biggest harbor of the realm, built atop the ruins of Ravenar in the middle of the Ghostwash delta. Merchants have closed their shop, and the people wandering the broad streets are now looking for business better suited to the warm autumn night. Glowglobes light the streets as well as the massive bridges spanning the arms of the Ghostwash, connecting the islands of a city with each other. The ever-present sibeccai guards in their armor of silvery steel exchange their relaxed wandering for a marching of much warier nature.
In the Red Boar, business is as usual, save for the lone stragglers apparently new to the town. Different as they may be, human, litorian, mojh and verrik, each of them shares a common item: a glass of burning cavefire. The strong drink stands in front of them, untouched, slowly burning down.

’Is one of them my contact?’, wonders Tarkass, its piercing eyes darting from one to the other in a calculating pattern. Save for the eyes, its serpentine body remains motionless, almost like a statue, even as the litorian suddenly quenches the flame of his drink and savors it.

”Enough waiting! I have not come here to watch drunkards.” Malethar Trackseeker stretches his lionine body to full height, and grabbing his spear in his right, his drink in his left hand, gracefully wanders over to the human sitting next to the playing board of three’s your uncle, a burning drink on his table.

“Are you the one I am supposed to meet?” Malethar’s voice reminds of grinding stone and betrays his impatience, as the litorian nods toward the drink.
Nathred Samos looks up to catch the litorian’s dark eyes. He flashes a grin.
“I’m sorry, friend, but it seems we’re waiting for the same woman. Or man. Why don’t we wait together?” The lithe man points at the throwing board. “Care for a play?”
As they each pull some used daggers out of the wall and begin to throw them at the board, they share information. Apparently, both had been approached by someone with regards to an as of yet unspecified “job”. They were to meet the client in this same bar, with a glass of burning cavefire in front of them.
“You drank yours.”, remarks Nathred. Malethar shrugs.
“I can always order a new one.”

In a dark corner of the tavern, Dajsan relaxedly leans against the wall, watching. He barely manages to prevent his brow from rising expectantly as he watches the mojh suddenly spring to a standing position, dart through the room, and just as quick as it stood up, sit down again at the table of the other two. The dragon-like being is clothed in well-traveled clothes, a long brown coat of rough leather, and armed with matching scimitar and sickle. A warrior.

“Mind if I join?” The rasping rumble of the mojh does not really sound like a question. Malethar regards the newcomer solemnly, but Nathred gestures with his scarred right hand towards the chair Tarkass is already sitting in.
“Sure. Be our guest.”

Before they can exchange more pleasantries, a dark figure enters the room, clad in a brown cape, the hood drawn deeply into his face. He looks around and approaches Dajsan.
“Follow me, please.”
The verrik shrugs, grabs his trusted glaive, and follows the man to the table where the other three are already sitting. The man sits down and asks the group to do the same. Malethar remains standing, but leans close.
“My name is Morush. I am the one you were supposed to meet. Mind if you told me your names?”
As each of the assembled follows his request, the man – for the flickering light of the drink shows him to be clearly human – nods. Then, he continues speaking in a dark whisper.
Morush is a subordinate of the human speaker in Ka-Rone, Firrul. His work encompasses trade and security. During the past months, he has tried to localize a group of smugglers professing to be a resistance movement against the giants’ rule. So far, process has been slow. Lately, rumors indicate the group giving up their passivity and planning an assassination against one of the top political figures of Ka-Rone; either the steward, Tu-Methus himself, or one of his trusted advisors, or one of the speakers.
With time running short and no real leads surfacing, Morush has decided to put his trust in outsiders, sending out his lieutenants to find someone who could believably claim to belong to the resistance, as well as fulfill one of many diverse roles, one of which the resistance might have use for. So he came up with a mojh, a wilderness scout (Malethar), an information gatherer and spy (Nathred), and a mageblade (Dajsan).
As they are discussing the reward for this assignment, Morush gets distracted by three newcomers: a middle-aged, richly dressed human woman who is treated by the staff as if she was a giant; a very young and quite handsome boy serving the woman and keeping close to her; and an accompanying sibeccai guard.
“Who is that?”, asks Tarkass, shaking Morush out of his reverie.
“Hm? Oh, that’s Firrul, the speaker. I didn’t know she frequented such a locale as this.” Morush furrows his brow. “Anyway, where have we been? Ah, the reward.”
Morush offers each of the four 500 queen, in addition to a special reward: Dajsan would be taught in psionic spellcasting, Nathred could become a regular spy for Morush, Tarkass would be given a home as he’d train warriors in the art of two-weapon fighting. Malethar, finally, is offered a complete stop in logging activities in a nearby wood.
“That’s not enough. I also want you to reforest twice as much as you took down.” Morush is taken aback.
“Twice as much? I don’t know that I have the clout to do so.” He ponders for a minute. “However, I will promise you to do my best. Is that enough?” Malethar thinks, then nods.
Nathred isn’t too keen on his special reward, as well. He’d rather get unlimited access to Ka-Rones akashic academy, which Morush agrees to. After settling on a down payment of 100 queen each, Morush is open for questions.
“Who is your informant?”, asks Dajsan. “You do have an informant, don’t you?”
Morush hesitates to answer. Tarkass jumps to Dajsan’s help.
“If we knew who he was, we could cut to the chase much easier.”
Morush seems to relent. Dajsan, however, uses his mental acuity and tries to skim his surface thoughts, successfully.
As Morush answers, “Well, I’m not too sure whether I can trust him. I’d rather you verify the information without him. If you are seriously stumped, ask me again.”, he thinks, ”@#%$ nosy verrik. Now I’ve got to make up more details about my “source”.
As the conversation comes to a close, Morush names three possible venues of information in Ka-Rone: the Smooth Hand, the Small Hut, and the Great Market. Being just three of many similar locales in Ka-Rone, Morush nevertheless thinks starting there would be advisable.

---
Next: Kings and Kingdoms, Togas, lewd remarks: prostitutes in Ka-Rone
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Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #2 am: 19. November 2003, 21:20:25 »
 The group decides to distribute the 500 queen they got from Morush, then find a room and introduce each other formally, as well as talk about the job at hand. As coins change their owner, people at neighboring tables start to take note.
Tarkass chooses one of them and locks gazes with him. The staring contest lasts nary 5 seconds, before the man looks down. Tarkass continues to stare. The man waits a short breath, then he gets up and leaves the tavern, not just slightly unnerved.
Before they make for an Inn, Malethar and Nathred try to gather some information. They get informed that the Red Boar is indeed the favorite tavern of Firrul, and the boy next to her is her current lover, Degenim.

The four exchange theories about their client, being finally alone in the newly rented four-bed room of a nameless Inn.
“I don’t trust him.”, Dajsan says. “He deceived us with his so-called “informant”, and I’m not sure he was telling the truth in other regards.”
“I think Morush doesn’t want us to find the resistance, if it really exists.”, agrees Nathred. “However, I thought he was serious about his offered rewards.”
“We should let nature run its course. With its power, all we be well.” Upon Malethar’s comment, both Nathred and Tarkass roll their eyes. The mojh then shares its thoughts.
“I don’t really care what his motives are. He could be true, then we’ll do what he wants us to do, or he could be false, which we won’t know unless we do what he wants us to do. Either way, I hope there’s money and fighting involved.”
“I agree about the money,” Nathred says, “but I am no fighter. Indeed, I wonder why we shouldn’t get away now. We’ve got more than a hundred queen each.”
“We can’t leave. The money is nothing to me. I need the logging stopped.”, the litorian counters.
After a lot of talking, the group decides to try and find the resistance, no matter why they are looking for it, until they know more. Indeed, eager as they are, they make for the Smooth Hand at once.

The Smooth Hand turns out to be the finest house in Ka-Rone for entertainment of all kinds, even unrelated to sexuality. It is a massive, three-story building full of wide halls, comfortable rooms and even a small park. The group decides to enter separately, in order not to cause suspicion. Nathred and Malethar, entering first, are taken back when they are asked to undress and leave all their belongings at the entrance, having to don a toga-like gown in addition to paying one queen up front.
The fee is worth it, however, as the staff is quite attentive. Almost instantly the two are transported into seperate chambers, where they are treated to a relaxing massage by comely females of their race. During the cause of the massage, the two subtly question the women, hearing all kinds of rumors. They are also referred to Sirala, an employee of the Hand working at the baths.

Meanwhile, Dajsan has begun to play Kings&Kingdoms against Seichi Kingsfire (yay namelist!), a snarky faen. After being chanceless the first game, Dajsan vows to beat the faen in the second one. He tricks and plans, but after a long and hard-fought match, Seichi comes through. They share a respectful glance.

Tarkass doesn’t see any of this. It has entered a hot room, filled with torches and volcanic rocks. After putting out several of the lights, it sits in the hot darkness, relaxing.

Nathred and Malethar, being thoroughly relaxed themselves, order a bath. They are brought to a big tub let into the ground, filled with hot water. Nathred enters skeptically, on the lookout for stray hairs from Malethar floating on the water. His mind is distracted as two supple sibeccai women enter the room, armed with a basin and a sponge. They quickly undress and join the men in the tub.
Nathred wants the women to take care of all his dirt first, and hopes for a little extra effort on his “little prince”, but Malethar immediately begins questioning Sirala, one of the two sibeccai. The woman signals her companion to leave them alone.
“Why do you ask me? I don’t know anything.” She seems more unnerved than innocent.
“Well, we just wanna know about the city. We’re new here.”, Malethar answers, as Sirala moves away from both.
“Don’t listen to him.”, interjects Nathred. “Just come here, and take care of me.”
“No! I really want to know why I of all people should know something. And even if I did, why should I tell you? I don’t know what you would do with the information I’ve got.” Sirala catches herself. “Or don’t have.”
“We won’t do you harm. We don’t want anything with the knowledge. We just wanna know.” Malethar seems a little stumped. What does that woman want? Nathred isn’t helping, either.
“Come on, forget him. Let’s take a private bath. Just you and me.”, he presses.
Sirala seems a little freaked, and as she gets up to leave, they don’t try to hold her back. Which is fortunate, for the house guards were probably waiting outside already.
“That’s your fault!”, Nathred accuses Malethar. The litorian just stares back.

The four adventurers regroup and share information. They decide to catch Sirala when she leaves the Hand. Watching the three entrances, Sirala leaves on the side Nathred and Tarkass were guarding. Sirala notices them, and stops in her tracks, looking from human to mojh and back.
“What do you want?” She takes a few steps backwards.
“Wait, Sirala. I just want to excuse myself.” Nathred seems serious, so she stops again and waits for him to continue.
“I realize we have been... little forthcoming. I’m sorry.” Nathred bows before her, and Sirala blushes a little, being treated so uncommonly well. Nathred kisses her hand.
“Please, allow me to escort you home. Don’t take notice of my bodyguard; he won’t harm you.” If Tarkass thinks otherwise, it doesn’t say so.
With the mojh traveling a few feet behind, Nathred and Sirala walk through Ka-Rone. They cross Violet Bridge (the six main arms of the Ghostwash are named after the colors of the rainbow), and Sirala says she’ll part company with Nathred at the bridge’s end.
“May I be honest?” Nathred slows his walk and looks at the beautiful, yet a little naive, sibeccai.
“I have a lover.”, answers Sirala. Nathred smiles.
“That’s not what I wanted to tell you. It’s about the information we talked about, earlier, in the Hand.” Sirala looks at him, suddenly a little frightened, then at the mojh, watching her like a cat before striking, and turns toward the railing. A hundred feet below, the Violet Ghostwash streams along.
“Look, Sirala. I can’t explain it, but you are in danger. Just as we found out you know something, others could, too.” The sibeccai is shocked.
“But I won’t tell anything. Why should they want to harm me?”
“To be sure.”, Tarkass says. The sudden intrusion of the mojh startles Sirala even more.
“But who says you won’t kill me after I told you?”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. Go.” Nathred steps away from her, freeing the way across the bridge. Tarkass would be faster than she is, but she doesn’t know that, so she relents.
“All right. I guess you’re serious. I’ll tell you what I know. As far as I know, a faen magister leads a group of resistance fighters living in the ruins of Reveran. They smuggle weapons into the realm. I think they hide their wares outside of the city, in one of the caves in the Elder Mountains. I’ve also heard rumors that some sibeccai would help him, as well as some people with influence. Wares that had been intercepted have disappeared, and shipments that were watched have not been fetched. So far, two harbormasters have lost their jobs because of this.” Sirala stops, having seemingly lightened her load enough to draw breath again.
“That’s very helpful. How do you know this?” The woman hesitates.
“I... I can’t tell you.”
“Oh, come on. We need to know. He or she could be in trouble, too.”
Sirala doesn’t budge.
“No. He can look after himself, and I won’t betray him.”
Nathred nods.
“Fine. At least let me escort you home.”
“No, thank you.” Nathred lifts his arms in a helpless gesture. As they part ways, the akashic nods toward Tarkass, and the serpentine fighter melds with the darkness of the night, silently following Sirala. Once, it has to step around a goblin noisily feasting on a captured snake, and once Sirala looks it dead in the eye, but she doesn’t see it.
Tarkass follows the woman to an apartment building right next to Ka-Rone’s palace. Interestingly enough, no guards are stationed before the building, housing apartments for officials working in the palace (most officials have additional houses in the city). As Sirala enters the building, the mojh follows her, creeping through the abandoned corridors until the woman knocks on a door. It is opened, and a male-sounding voice bids her to enter. Unfortunately, Tarkass can’t say whether it knows this voice or not.
As the mojh leaves the building, two guards approach, but it is too well hidden for their watchful eyes. With a last look at the dark windows of the room where Sirala seemingly met her lover, it turns away.

---
Next: Preachers, Prisoners, and profit: The Great Market of Ka-Rone
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Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #3 am: 19. November 2003, 21:21:52 »
 It is already early morning when the group has discussed the recent information. As yawns become more and more prevalent, the four adventurers decide to take a nap before continuing. That nap lasts long into the morning, and after a late breakfast, the group heads towards the Great Market, one among several, but the biggest of Ka-Rones marketplaces, situated close to Green Harbor.
The Market is an amalgamation of tents, shops, and carts selling wares often directly out of freshly shipped boxes. People instinctively keep a little away from the adventurers, and merchants selling potions, weapons, and magical trinkets praise their wares with new fervor when they are near.
Nathred buys a score of especially balanced throwing knives, complete with a matching bandoleer, while Tarkass goes to look at Prophet’s Wall, a stage where everybody can get up and speak about anything he likes to. However, most speakers seem to be either priests or madmen, and the difference between these groups is negligible to the mojh.

Malethar, meanwhile, visits Gellus Froron, one of the fired harbormasters. The other has already left town, but the litorian hopes that this one has some useful information. Unfortunately, Gellus isn’t home, and his daughter Cani seems loathe to let the greenbond speak to her father. She tells him to come back the next day, however.

Nathred wanders around the market, trying to catch the stray rumor, and also hears a name mentioned more than once, the name of Riolast Burnmane, a litorian herbalist. Nathred heads off to find Malethar before visiting this herbalist.

Dajsan comes upon a strange sight: several prisoners chained at neck, hands and feet are escorted by a troop of guards. He stops a bywalker and points in the direction of the procession.
“Tell me, please, what is that?”
The man looks at the prisoners, then shrugs.
“That? These are convicted criminals. They’ve been sentenced to death and have elected to be sold into slavery instead of losing their lives. They’re shipped to the south. Keeps them alive and brings a little money for Ka-Rone.”
“Sentenced to death? What for?”, inquires Dajsan.
“Depends. Arson, extortion, grave robbing, kidnapping, murder, rape, banditry/piracy, sedition and treason can all lead to a death sentence.” The man points to one of the prisoners. “This one there. He killed a man after that man offed a few goblins. People get crazy like that all the time.” He shakes his head.
“Stupid gob-friend.”, agrees Dajsan. He says goodbye to the man, then heads after the prisoners.
(DM’s note: the player of Dajsan is 99% sure to play a freedom-fighter, so I thought I knew where this was headed. Was I wrong...)

Malethar and Nathred enter Riolast Burnmane’s shop. It is packed with shelves and tables filled with herbs, fruit, vials of some potion or other. The shop smells of herbs, but depending on where you stand, it smells earthy, sweet, bitter, or altogether different.
Riolast Burnmane is an elder litorian sitting behind a worn workbench. His hair has grayed a little, and indeed seems to burn, as smoke rises up from them constantly. Riolast uses a gnarled branch for support, with mint leaves growing from it. From time to time, the litorian takes one of the leaves to chew on.
“Come in, come in! Such customers I rarely have. What can I do for you?” Riolast seems friendly, even cheery, and a little wierd.
After exchanging pipe weed, the two litorians talk a little about their individual backgrounds, and Malethar speaks to Riolast about the wilderness around the Harrowdeep, the elder litorian’s eyes lighting up upon hearing the stories. Then, they cut to the chase.
“We are looking for information, and you have been recommended to us in that regard.”
“Well, I have lived here for quite some time, and I know some things. But surely you understand, making customers feel at home, and having them talk freely, is a part of my business. If word got out that I talk, then I could lose many a sale.”, answers Riolast sadly.
It takes a royal to get him talking.
“Well, I have some ties to people who would rather remain unknown”, Riolast winks at Malethar, “and I know about this resistance you’re looking for. Truth be told, it seems more like a simple smuggling operation to me. But what do I know? Well, for one thing, I know they hide their wares in a cave outside the city, and that normally, they should get a new shipment soon, probably within the next seven to ten days. I’ve heard people say that a runethane called Toril led the group, accompanied by a faen oathsworn. They seem to operate out of the ruins of Reveran. But that, I fear, is all.”
Malethar promises to visit again and remember where to buy hard-to-find merchandise, and he and Nathred leave.

Dajsan has followed the prisoners to Green Harbor, where a three-masted and exotic-looking ship waits for the procession. An exquisitely-yet-foreign dressed man welcomes the captain of the guard, even though the sibeccai doesn't seem to share his enthusiasm. A small chest is exchanged for the criminals, who are led straight into the cargo hold.
Dajsan thinks for a moment, then sneaks into a narrow street. Two quick stabs with his athame, and a glamor sparkles around him, a charm waiting on his right hand. Deftly, he weaves through the street without letting on that he puts special care on not touching anyone, and approaches the ship.
“Ho there.”, he calls. The man he saw before, apparently the master of the ship, looks at him friendly.
“Ho back! What do you want?”
Dajsan gestures with his open hand.
“Mind if I join you up there?”
The merchant regards him shortly, then shrugs, the glamour taking effect on him.
“Sure!”
Dajsan ascends the gangway, solemnly regarded by two brutish sailors with broad curved blades, and holds out his hand to the merchant by way of introducing himself. The merchant hesitates, but doesn’t seem to take special note and shakes his hand. Immediately, a milky haze clouds his gaze.
Dajsan is led by Melandric – the merchant – into a small cabin and treated to a cup of black coffee. He small talks a little, then asks to see the prisoners.
“You won’t free them, I hope?”, Melandric asks, but bursts out laughing immediately as the absurdity of this nice man freeing criminals sets in. “I’m sorry, friend. I have to ask.”
Dajsan accepts the apology and even suggests keeping guards nearby, so Melandric doesn’t get in trouble with the real captain, who is in town right now.

Dajsan enters the cargo hold and approaches the slaves. He introduces himself.
“I am looking for information regarding a smuggling operation or resistance movement in Ka-Rone. If any of you know about this movement, I am willing to hear you out. Should your knowledge prove useful, I might be able to free you, and hide you from the authorities until you flee the city.”
Immediately, he is greeted with everybody spouting more or less senseless information. Only a faen closes his eyes sadly and murmurs, “Great! As usual, I don’t know jack!”
Dajsan listens to the various claims and makes out two seemingly believable sources, a human and a litorian, both looking equally down-trodden.
He approaches the human and sends a silent message into the criminals mind.
What do you know?
The human’s eyes widen a little, before he answers.
Neat trick! How’d you do that?
Doesn’t matter now. Tell me what you know, and I might help you.
The human hesitates.
We’re sailing tonight. How’d you know whether my information was good till then?
Dajsan smiles. We’ll just have to free you before that.
The humans relents and talks about a competition in Ka-Rone’s stewardship. While most people try to locate the small group of resistance smugglers, one or two individuals try to hide all traces and stay from being discovered. Dajsan thanks him, then approaches the litorian.
Tell me what you know.
The first answer is a mental growl. Get out of my head!
Just tell my what I want to know.

The litorian’s information is far less detailed. It seems he mostly heard rumors of a group or individual trying to unite all major criminal movements under one rule. Dajsan also thanks him, then goes back to Melandric.
“When do you sail?”, asks Dajsan.
“This night already. We want to be away before the sun goes up again.”
Dajsan nods. “Good riddance, then. And be careful; one or two of the slaves might get a little angry.”
Melandric shrugs. “ We can handle it. Nothing we haven’t seen before.”
As Dajsan leaves the boat, he can hear the merchant mumble to himself,
“I don’t know what they always say. These verrik seem to be quite nice.”

---
Next: Harrid, Spiders, scathing wit: the Small Hut
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Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #4 am: 19. November 2003, 21:22:54 »
 Back in their room, the adventurers compare notes.
Nathred sums up, “We have heard that Tu-Methus himself plans to fight in the tournament at Song of Blades, and that the winner will get a free pick from a Fallanor ship’s cargo. We also know that the litorian, faen and verrik population are trying to get a speaker of their own, or at least a combined speaker for the three of them. Apparently, Tu-Methus tries to get the steward of trade, or the steward of the Ghostwash to move to Ka-Rone (imc, I have three non-regional stewards: Trade, Ghostwash and Peace). He also wants to change the harbor taxes relating to the worth of the cargo. Finally, the sibeccai speaker, Juroldon, is said to live with the owner of the Smooth Hand, Leinduro the Soft. Does anyone think these rumors are important to us?”
Nobody speaks up.
“I agree. What do we know about Firrul? Lately, people have been dissatisfied with her. While she was very ambitious and dedicated early on, she seemingly grew complacent later on. Now, she changes her lovers several times a year, and only supports choice endeavors. We also know that she appeared in the tavern as we were meeting Morush, either deliberately or coincidentally.
“Morush, on the other hand, is purportedly a very ambitious and sometimes inconsiderate, yet loyal and respected person. He is hard pressed to find smugglers and the resistance movement we are looking for, and lately has made an example of thieves and smugglers he caught. He’d also like to tighten security in Ka-Rone, strengthening the guards and perhaps even forming a secret police.
“With regards to the resistance movement, we’ve been told that they operate out of the ruins of Reveran, which are partially intact below the city. We probably won’t find the leader of the group, a faen magister or a runethane named Toril, and his assistant, an unnamed sibeccai or faen oathsworn, unless we know exactly where to look in the ruins.
“We’ve also been told that this group is more a smuggling operation than a real resistance movement, that they hide their goods in a cave outside of the city, and that they expect a new shipment soon. Also, signs point to a powerful person protecting that group.
“Lastly, we have the unknown lover of Sirala, who must be someone within government circles, and we have heard that Marel, the harbormaster, lets pirates and smugglers use his harbor for the right price. Thoughts?”

Tarkass is the first to speak.
“I think Sirala’s lover is Morush. He is a government official, and probably not rich enough to have his own villa in the city.”
“It sure seems that way.”, agrees Malethar. "However, I don’t really understand how that would work. Also, what can we do about it?”
“We could confront Sirala with our “knowledge” and see how she takes it.”, proposes Dajsan. “She doesn’t sound like a gifted thespian; we should know whether we’re right.”
Nathred continues this idea, “I could even disguise myself like Morush.” He thinks on it. “Nah, sorry. He had his hood drawn low, I haven’t seen enough of him yet.”
And so it goes. The four discuss who Sirala’s lover might be, and what he would know. They also talk about Morush and whether he is serious in his quest for the resistance, but it sure seems that way.
“I don’t care either way.”, says Tarkass more than once. “We are just the serfs in this game of Kings & Kingdoms. I say we enter the ruins and explore. Perhaps we find this group; either way, something happens.”
The group more or less agrees, but want to rest first, so that Malethar has a full allotment of spells ready. After discussing a little more, they agree that Firrul could be the smugglers’ protector, especially as she is Morush’s superior.
One hour goes by, and the group hasn’t set a definite course yet. Nathred wants to confront Sirala, thinking her to be easily impressed. Dajsan would like to visit the Small Hut and gather some more information. Malethar wants to find out to whom Sirala’s lover’s suite belongs. Tarkass, finally, wants to enter the ruins and test their luck. In the end, they decide to do all of these things: First looking into the owner of the apartment, then visiting the Small Hut, afterwards intercepting Sirala on her way home, and finally, the next day, entering the ruins.

They approach the palace as the sun sets. The apartment building is right next to it. Today, two guards flank the door and look up as the group approaches.
“May I help you?”, one of them inquires.
“We’re looking for Morush.”, bluffs Nathred.
“He ain’t here, sirs, he’s in the palace.”
“But we were told to wait in his apartment.”, replies Nathred, describing the location of the apartment in question. The guard shakes his head.
“I’m sorry, but this is not Morush’s apartment.”
Malethar focuses almost all his remaining magical prowess, silently forming a spell in his mind.
”Whom does the room in question belong to?”, he asks his modified (silent) compelling question (greater).
The guard answers at once, “Why, it is the room of the human speaker, Firrul.” As soon as the words have left his mouth, he wonders why he said that, and embarassed, sends the group away.

Nathred is the first to mouth his surprise, “Firrul! Is she Sirala’s lover?”
Malethar doesn’t think so, at first, but isn’t too sure.
(DM’s note: Malethar’s player said, “No way. There’s no lesbian character in an American adventure.” But when told that I write my own stuff, he said, “Oh.”)
Tarkass shakes its head, saying, “No. The voice I heard was not recognizable, but it sounded male. Sirala also spoke about her lover as male.”
“What about Degenim, Firrul’s lover?”, asks Dajsan. This seems to be the most likely option. However, the group is unsure whether Degenim controls Firrul through something, or whether he just overheard Firrul talking. They probably won’t know until they meet Sirala, so they put that question back for the moment and head to the Small Hut.

The Small Hut is a two-story building whose interior looks small at first sight, as everything is kept at human size. The dimly lit tavern doesn’t see many giant customers, and that is probably intentional. Even sibeccai are rare. There are dark corners all around, and from the balcony that is the second floor, scheming patrons watch the taproom for signs of suspicious behavior.

Tarkass sits itself next to another mojh. The two look at each other silently for some time, then they relax and turn towards the taproom.
“See that guy?”, asks the unknown mojh, its prehensile tail pointing towards a strange creature sitting at a table, “That’s a harrid. These bastards eat magic, they say. They come from the south. If you ask me, they should go back there as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Nathred has spotted an interesting woman. She is a verrik, her dark blue hair flowing freely about her shoulders, her red skin clothed in dark green. She sits alone at a table, quiet in the midst of the tavern's storm, watching the flow of people and shouted conversation ebb and rise around her. Just as he wants to approach her, something else takes his attention.

The harrid rises from his chair. He is a strange, abominable creature, a cross between a vulture and a man, and his long neck sports a jeweled chain of emeralds. To Tarkass’ magic-sensitive eyes, the creature’s blade, his boots and the chain glow with a trusting red light. The harrid’s companion, a rapier-wielding human, is bereft of all magic.
Tarkass gets up as well. The harrid looks at it, and the two lock gazes. Both issue a silent challenge, then the harrid seems to dismiss the mojh for the moment, and speaks. His voice croaks like an ancient nightingale.
“Greetings. My name is Deilliero, and this”, he unrolls a parchment, ”is a map to the Cave of Daroba Forben. I need companions to come with me. I pay well.”
The harrid waits for several moments, then makes a mocking gesture with his hand and sits down again. At the same time, a waitress passing him is pushed, falling onto the harrid and spoiling him with ale. Nervous laughter rings through the room, immediately going silent again as the harrid jumps up, claws closing around his scimitar. Tarkass grabs its twin blades as well.
The human companion’s hand darts out, grabbing Delliero’s arm in a cautionary way. Delliero looks down and relaxes just a little, his claws running threateningly over the grip of his weapon.
The man who pushed the waitress stands up as well.
“You want something? You can get it. Meet me at bridge street. But we better meet in an hour, so I can drink a little more. We’ll want a fair fight, no?” He laughs, and some of his companions join in. The harrid’s beak closes with a snapping sound, silencing the drunkards.
The man continues, “As you wish. At least you won’t be stuck looking for that cave of yours alone.”
As the human companion whispers something into the harrid’s ears, Nathred and Dajsan realize the brute has just tried to subtly convey a meeting place. It seems he wants to accompany the harrid, but doesn’t want his friends to know that. Nevertheless, the way he did it was neither subtle nor very intelligent.
As Delliero sits down again, Tarkass wanders over to the man, silently stepping behind him.
“You realize that you’re dead, don’t you?”, it whispers into the man’s ear, causing his skin to turn a little white. With a snarling smile, Tarkass goes back to its seat.

The verrik woman has watched the proeceedings detachedly, and as she looks up now, Nathred stands in front of her.
“Mind if I sit down?”, the akashic asks, sitting down gracefully. “I am Nathred Salmos, at your service.”
The woman musters Nathred, and after more than a moment of hesitation, sighs.
“My name is Frixit. What do you want?” Her voice sounds like waves crashing upon stone.
“Want? I want you to be happy, m’lady. I saw you sitting here, alone, and would like to entertain you.”
Frixit smiles  condescendingly. Then she shrugs, “Fine. Whatever. Be funny.”
Nathred is taken aback. He decides to press on, however.
“Why don’t we talk about what just happened. What do you think about it?”
“I?” Frixit speaks in a bored voice. “I think the man is walking a dangerous path, trying to survive two groups: his friends and the harrid. I also think the harrid is a fool, having been tricked into buying a false treasure map.”
Nathred would like to say he thought the same, but he didn’t. Instead, he inquires upon the cave the harrid is looking for. Frixit tells him the story in a voice as if she would explain it to a child:
Once upon a time, there was a spider totem warrior, the only one known in Dor-Ethenos. Her name was Daroba Forben. She used her powers for her own good, breaking and entering wherever she suspected a prize. One night, she broke into the tower of the faen magister Tyressam Featherquill. Tyressam cursed her with a terrible fate: From that day onwards, every spider Daroba encountered became friendly towards her, following her everywhere. Soon, numerous spiders of all sizes accompanied Daroba wherever she went, nearly driving the woman insane. In a murderous rage, she killed Featherquill, then took all her belongings, and the magister’s as well, and disappeared into a cave in the Elder Mountains, where she lived until her death. It is said many more spiders found their way to her, and they guard her grave even now. Some also say Daroba was reborn as a giant spider, ruling as a queen. All stories tell of the dangers and riches of the cave, however.
Annoyed at the verrik's behaviour, Nathred takes his leave and walks back to his companions.

The next to try its luck is Tarkass, but it doesn’t really connect with Frixit, as well. It doesn’t see any spiders around her, which seems to comfort it a little. All it can find out is that Frixit doesn’t lend credence to the rumors of an all-powerful group trying to take over the underworld. She believes it to be grand-talking of fools who have been careless or stupid enough to be caught by the guards, and are now unwilling to admit to their stupidity.
“Unless it’s a ruse in the guise of a ruse, of course.”, she adds.

Finally, Dajsan sits down at her table, much to the amusement of Frixit, who has now been visited by three of the four intrepid adventurers.
“What do you want?”
“First, buy you a drink. Then, talk about what you know.”
At the request of Frixit, Dajsan orders a cup of seawater for her, and for him as well. Frixit doesn’t seem to mind the salty, tangy taste burning down the throat.
“What do you know about the resistance?”, Dajsan asks, figuring straight talk to be the best course of action.
It seems to work, as Frixit answers, “If you can call them that. I know they’ve got an enemy in the caves outside the city, a giant called Es-Faron. I don’t know why, but the leader is bound by promise not to attack him, nor to hire someone to attack him. Now, said leader waits for someone to take care of his problem without his explicit approval.”
Dajsan is caught by surprise at the openness of the verrik.
“You’re going to talk about us, aren’t you?”
Frixit smiles. “If someone asks. If not, then I won’t. Both courses will prohibit permanence and encourage change, so I don’t care either way.”

As Dajsan walks back to the table, Nathred and Tarkass are deep in plans of attacking the harrid.
“I bet we can take him”, says Tarkass, patting its blades.
“We probably can.”, Nathred agrees. “We can also set up a ruse so that it seems as if the man meeting him was on our side. He would be pressed into helping us.”
Tarkass’ eyes glimmer faintly at the thought of such a trick.
Dajsan tells the others about the giant, but the group doesn’t know whether to believe the story. The leader of a resistance movement being beholden to a giant; that seems almost too absurd. They fall back towards planning on ambushing the harrid. Tarkass wants to takes his map and examine the cave it points to.
Nathred nods in agreement.
“We have almost an hour to prepare. Let’s plan.”

---
Next: Harrid, Giant, ruined cities? What will they do?
(this is where we stopped playing. It's a long time till November...)
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Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #5 am: 19. November 2003, 21:23:40 »
 -
(We played one week ago, and it was - interesting. In fact, my players fear to lose all regard you might hold for them. Why? Instead of telling you, I better show you...)
-

Sitting in the dim light of the Small Hut, the small company discussed what to do. The four of them can't see a way to the resistance movement; in fact, they are quite clueless how to proceed. In order to vent a little anger and just to actively pursue some clues, they decide to attack the harrid.
Malethar urges the others to leave the tavern and enter the dark, wide and wet streets of Ka-Rone's night, so the group heads off to take a look at Bridge Street, the meeting place for Deillero and the not-so-subtle man.
Bridge Street is a narrow pathway of wooden platforms floating on the Ghostwash. Two miles long and a hundred feet below, it connects two massive bridges - leading up to them with iron staircases. Narrow stairs lead up to street level, and in one of them, Tarkass decides to hide.
Malethar, Dajsan and Nathred are still undecided, when a torch approaches, being carried by the very human they are waiting for.
Malethar sucks on his pipe, causing the man to freeze.
"Who goes there?"
Malethar continues to smoke, not answering, while Nathred drops to the ground, playing dead. Dajsan sneaks off into another stairway leading upwards, and hides there. The man curses and reverses his movement, walking in the opposite direction.
As he passes Tarkass, the leather-clad mojh steps on the six-foot high railing - waist-height for giants -, and follows the human silently. The man stops in the middle between two stairs.
Nathred curses. How to get close to him without being noticed? He's not sneaky like Tarkass, or even Dajsan is - but he's a good liar. A plan forming in his mind, he walks toward the man, his chain-and-plates armor rustling in the night.
"Halt," the human cries! Nathred walks straight on, holding his hand up in a peaceful gesture.
"I work for Deillero," he says, smiling reassuringly. "I'm just scouting ahead to make sure there's no trap."
The man regards him solemnly. Finally, he nods.
"Well met. I'm Harns."
As luck would have it, just then a light becomes visible, approaching from Nathred's direction and lending his claim further credibility. The harrid's human companion carries the torch, and the two of them slowly, but steadily approach. While Nathred quietly waits for them, the other three have to think on their feet to evade them.
The first to be passed is Dajsan. Looking around for cover, he simply crouches in the darkness of the narrow stairs. This hiding place is not good enough, and the harrid's companion turns his head to look at him.
"Leave," he states calmly. Dajsan ascends the stairs, and the man walks on, oblivious to the verrik returning to the platforms.
In the meantime, Malethar put out his pipe and slowly slid into the cold current of the Ghostwash. Holding onto the wooden platforms, he watches two pairs of boots passing over him. Tarkass watches its companions' amateurish attempts at hiding. As the circle of light approaches his position, its clawed hands dig deep into the stone above. Using only the strength in its arms, the mojh silently and effortlessly somersaults, hanging twenty feet high and upside down from the rough walls. The harrid and his companion pass under him, never noticing the creature watching them with slight derision in its eyes. As darkness settles in again on the platform, Tarkass turns itself down again, creeping along on the railing, following the pair.
The harrid and the human approach Harns. Nathred shifts his position to the side, standing next to Harns in a position meant to fool Delliero and his companion into thinking he belongs to the man, while still keeping Harns from noticing his bluff. He succeeds masterfully.
Dajsan leaves the shadows of the stairs and creeps along the platforms. Malethar lets the current carry him closer to the group. Delliero stops ten feet away from Harns and points to Nathred.
"Who is that?"

It all goes very quick. Nathred steps back, drawing his trident.
"Harns, now," he shouts, hoping to confuse the man and the harrid!
Tarkass launches itself from the railing, landing gracefully on the platform. Its scimitar and sickle glisten in the moonlight.
Dajsan notices a leather-clad figure running along the platforms towards the group from the other direction, and begins to run himself. It seems it really is a trap!
Malethar gestures and murmurs in the water, not allowing the current to disturb his spell. He feels the power of his slow spell take hold in Delliero and the two humans.
Before the enemies can react, Tarkass finally gets its chance to shine. I could take down his torch, it reflects, but with regard to its companions' weak light-dependant eyes, it decides otherwise. A quick slash with his scimitar, and blood flows beneath the human's tunic.
Suddenly, the sound of shooting crossbows fills the air, and three bolts whiz through the air, two of them plunging deep into the harrid's body. The sound of spellcasting precedes a blaze of fire exploding from the human's torch. The man drops, and the torch falls into the water, canceling the threat of further firebursts.
The harrid is wounded by Nathred's trident, and slowly draws his sword. Swirling blades and the sound of ripping flesh interrupt him as Tarkass' sickle bites deep, and its scimitar cleanly beheads the creature. Nathred swirls around and motions for Harns, who hasn't had time yet to draw a weapon, to drop on his knees and give up. The human relents.
Malethar lifts himself out of the water. In spite of the combat going on before him, and the clamor of Dajsan running towards him, he manages to make out the crossbowmen and the spellcaster hiding in the water. The four assassins are partially submerged, leaning on a drifting log, and have just reloaded.
The caster, a faen, murmurs again. Beneath Tarkass and Nathred, the water begins to boil.
Malethar grits his teeth.
"Oh no, you don't." Casting his own spell, he forms a small muddy ball out of thin air, throwing it towards the faen. The mudball explodes in his face, and as the magister screams at his sudden blindness, he loses control of his own spell and the water below the others returns to normal.
Back at the platform, the mysterious figure turns out to be a litorian woman clad in tight leather. As she carefully moves towards the group, her fists erupt into flames and diminish the darkness.
"Give me the map." She points to the dead harrid. Tarkass smiles cruelly and steps over the dead body.
"If you want it, come and claim it." The woman hesitates not a second.
"Very well."
She punches at bites at Narthred, but the akashic steps out of the way unharmed. At the same time, Dajsan finally reaches striking distance and unleashes a stunning mind blast, barely missing her. Tarkass grins and steps forward. Once more, its blades swirl around, and once more, they draw blood. For a moment, Nathred is struck with awe at the mojh's prowess. Then, he closes his eyes and concentrates.
"Harder! You must fight harder!" The giant corrects his student's fighting stance. / "Don't forget. You must hit right here." A disembodied arm points to a schematic image of a litorian. / A litorian steps back, surprised, her arm bleeding profusely. "How did you do that," she asks?
As he opens his eyes again, his mind is filled with fighting knowledge of several centuries, guiding his arm. He looks at the litorian oathsworn.
"Time to die."
Meanwhile Dajsan has reached the fight, slashing with his glaive over the still-kneeling Harns. In response, the woman moved forward and delivered a series of blows and bites, harming the verrik. Before she can enjoy her success, however, Nathred's three-pronged weapon punches through her defenses. The akashic pulls his weapon out of her flesh and Tarkass' blades flash once more. They almost miss. Almost. Instead, they bite deep, and the litorian drops down, her unconscious body rolling into the water.
Before anyone can react, Malethar is running along the platforms and jumping into the water to save her. Dajsan and Tarkass move after him.
Nathred looks at the still-kneeling Harns.
"Let's talk."

Next: Maps, Misunderstandings, Masters of the harbour: searching for clues
 
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Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #6 am: 19. November 2003, 21:24:24 »
 In a concerted effort, the litorian can be saved before drowning. Malethar casts a battle healing on her, and manages to hold on to her in the current until Dajsan and Tarkass can pull them out of the water.

Harns hasn't got much to say, but what he offers is valuable. He identifies the woman as Yintra Darkjaws, an enforcer for the Nightwalkers.
"Who are the Nightwalkers," Nathred asks? Harns shakes his head in answer.
"It's better not to know that. You don't know what you're getting into when you intervene in their business.
"Tell me." Nathred tries to intimidate Harns further, but it seems the man is more afraid of the Nightwalkers than of him. When the others arrive with the unconscious Yintra, Nathred is distracted for a moment. Just then, Harns drops backwards into the water. Nathred refexively punches his dagger at him, but misses. The man dives down and disappears in the dark waters.

The group decides to move their prisoner to safer quarters. They bind the litorian and sprinkle alcohol on her, smuggling her to one of their rooms at a local inn. Before waking her, Nathred takes Delliero's map and creates a copy of it, using his forgery skills. Then Malethar casts another healing spell and propels her to wakefulness.
Yintra's first action is trying to break her bonds, unsuccessfully.
"Don't do that again," warns Nathred. The litorian looks around. Dajsan regards her coolly, Malethar looks at her affectionately, and Tarkass stare speaks of blood and pain.
Nathred tries to question the woman, to no avail.
"Give me the map, and you will live," is her only response. She won't say anything about the Nightwalkers, and claims to be unable to get them a meeting with one of her superiors. She offers not to tell her superiors about the group seeing the map, but that is all she is willing to do.
"It's impossible! She's a fanatic through and through. We should just kill her," Nathred shouts.
"What would we gain by killing her," Tarkass wonders? Malethar agrees, trying to keep the woman alive.
"I think these Nightwalkers are the resistance movement we are looking for," Dajsan suggests. "We should try and meet them."
Tarkass follows up on his suggestion, "We should let her go, show them we don't fear her. That might make us interesting to them."
"We could give her the map. She doesn't know we've got a duplicate." The others turn towards Nathred as he notices his error, and as Yintra asks incredulously,
"Duplicate? You've got a duplicate? You're trying to deceive me, are you?"
"Damn. We better move to the other room." Tarkass curses his luck for having to work with these amateurs.
"Go. I'll watch her," Malethar offers. The other three leave the room.
"Are you all right," he asks, looking at her wounds?
"Thank you for saving me." Her offer seems genuine. Malethar bares his teeth non-threateningly.
"It was a pleasure."

Meanwhile, the other room is filled with loud discussion.
"We should kill her," urges Nathred.
"No. She knew we had seen the map, and she had to at least suspect us having a duplicate." Dajsan tries to alleviate his comrade's concerns. Who knows what might happen if they killed that woman? If he Nightwalkers really are that dangerous, they might send another enforcer for the group, either to get the map, take revenge, or both. Tarkass agrees.
"We send her back, show them we are stronger than she is. We give her the map. It is a peace sign. We show them we don't fear them, but also don't want any conflict. Perhaps they'll leave us alone, or they might even want to meet us. If they choose to try and kill us, then we have lost nothing. But we have a lot to gain."
"I still say we should kill her," Nathred insists. After much cajoling, he agrees to let Yintra go. He sits down and writes a note on the duplicate's back, sending a message to the Nightwalkers deriding Yintra's abilities. He tries to sound confident, but not arrogant.
They go back and hand Yintra both maps.
"Swear not to read the letter on the back." The litorian looks suspicious, but agrees.
As she leaves the inn, Yintra Darkjaws pulls out the duplicate map, and without lookind at the letter on the back, tears the paper to shreds and throws them into the Ghostwash.

"So what do we do know," wonders Malethar?
Dajsan lists their choices.
"We could confront Sirala with our knowledge of Degenim being her lover. Or, we could look up the giant living outside the city, the one Frixit claimed was an enemy of the resistance."
"What kind of resistance is that, anyway? The seem to be smugglers, or something else entirely, but nobody so far has told us they really are a resistance movement." Tarkass shakes its head. "I rather believe Morush lied to us. He tries to implicate Firrul in shady dealings in order to take her place."
Nathred disagrees.
"I rather see Degenim as the head of it all. He's probably using Firrul as his puppet."
"What if Morush wants to kill Firrul? He just wants to make sure he sent someone to investigate well before the deed, so he can point to our failure as defense," points Dajsan to yet another possibility.
"We don't know enough yet. We must investigate further," urges Malethar. Dajsan continues his list.
"We also could sneak into the underground, and try to find the smugglers, resistance movement or whatever it is. We still have to talk to the fired harbormaster. Finally, we could try and find Daroba Forben's cave. You do know the map, don't you, Nathred?"
The akashic nods. "It's a three day ride to and fro, however."
"We don't have time," insists Malethar.
After much discussion, they decide to look up the fired harbormaster, then confront the sibeccai woman with Degenim's visage - Nathred being eager to try out his disguise kit - before trying to locate the smugglers. Dead tired and confused, they go to bed.

The following morning, Dajsan notices something new to Tarkass' appearance.
"Isn't that the harrid's necklace you're wearing?" He points at the five gemstones dangling from the mojh's neck. Tarkass shrugs.
"It is. And his boots, too. I tried his scimitar, as well, but was an inferior weapon."
Dajsan extends his mind and feels the comfortable tingle of magic emanating from the items.
"I see. The sword wasn't magical, then?" Tarkass looks at its companion, pleasantly surprised at this show of competence from the verrik.
"Indeed. Its magic left together with his life force."
"Give me the necklace, and I'll keep quiet." Tarkass agrees, seeing how it doesn't know what the gems do, but it already noticed its lack of tracks even in the deepest mud, an effect probably caused by the boots. Fancy, if not overly powerful.
Dajsan decides to examine the necklace closer in a quiet moment, and heads out to a late breakfast.

The market is filled with people. Nathred and Dajsan do a little shopping, Tarkass examines the layout of two of Ka-Rone's six harbors, and Malethar tries to see Gellus Froron again. His daughter Cani tells him to come back at noon, which he does.
Gellus Froron is an unkempt man, unshaved and disheveled. He seems to be clean, however, and sober.
"Good afternoon. My name is Malethar, Mr. Froron, and I am interested in your former job as the harbormaster of what - the Green Harbor?" Froron nods.
"Yes. I don't know what happened. I never did anything wrong, never took money or looked the other way, but they let me go from one day to the other."
"Interesting. Who, pray tell, is harbormaster now?"
"Some young man named Alun, the former assistant of Figgis Halsen. He seems a proper lad."
"I see. What about the other harbormaster?"
"Melandric? I never trusted that one, and he left town right after his expulsion. Seems he had something to hide."
Malethar thanks the man, and promises to help him get his job back. Froron thanks him profusely.

Next: Lovers, Sewers, and Disguises: Going Underground
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Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #7 am: 19. November 2003, 21:25:10 »
 After a little waiting and discussing again what to do next, Nathred pulls out his disguise kit and starts modeling himself after Firrul's lover, Degenim. Half an hour later, Nathred waits for Sirala on her way home, with the others waiting in the shadows.
The sibeccai hostess walks through the chill autumn night, and all hold their breath. Will she identify Degenim as her lover? Sirala approaches Nathred/Degenim and stops.
"Nathred? What happened to you? You look so strange!"
Nathred curses inwardly. It seems the disguise didn't work at all. He mumbles something about "trying out a new look", and confronts Sirala anyway.
"We know who your lover is. We must speak to him, for he is in grave danger. We know that the assassination attempt will be against Firrul and himself."
Sirala is shocked at that grave - and as of yet unproven and not even alluded to - news.
"Oh my! I better warn him!" She puts her hand in front of her mouth.
"Well, Sirala, it would be better if we talked to him."
"Oh, I don't know," hesitates the woman, "I shouldn't tell you who he is. And really he can look after himself."
Tarkass and Malethar arrive to force their point.
"We already know who he is. And really, it would be best if we talked to him."
In the end, Sirala proves just as malleable as they had hoped, but she insists on seeing her lover alone first, and preparing him for the meeting.
Together, they walk to the apartment buildings where the group thinks she is meeting Degenim, and accompany her right up to Firrul's chamber. She enters alone, and for a while, they wait.
Malethar's detect life shows two living persons in the room, and finally, the door opens again.
Sirala bids them enter and returns to sit on the lap of her lover. It's not Firrul's boy toy Degenim, however, but their own contractor, Morush.
"You've got news?", he asks, smiling guiltily.
The group gazes around the room, trying to think of an answer. Firrul's chamber is fairly comfortable, with a big bed and several couches and chairs. Four big columns, etched with imaginative decorum support the square room, and numerous veils of silk or other expensive fabric hang from the ceiling and break the light. Finally, Nathred answers.
"It was more a ruse to meet Sirala's lover," he admits.
Morush caresses the sibeccai's snout.
"My little puppy can be quite trustful. So, now you know that it's me. Do you have anything else to say?"
The group answers in the negative and departs, leaving behind two lovers trying to make the most of the interrupted night.

"What do we do now," asks Dajsan?
"Let's go underground." Tarkass repeats its idea for the umpteenth time. This time, however, it is heard.
"Why not?" Nathred is open to everything. The akashic swirls his trident through the air. Nobody answers him. The group is desperate for any plan, still confused as to what is happening in Ka-Rone. In the end, they make their way to Gellus Freren's former harbour. If the resistance really smuggles its weapons from there, there must be a hidden entrance to their lair.
On their way, they discuss the fact that Morush turned out to be Sirala's lover. Tarkass, in particular, has a profound question.
"So, Morush hires us and sends us to Sirala, who in turn gives us information she gleaned from her lover, who turns out to be Morush again. Why?"
Nathred is sure.
"He wants to manipulate us. Feed us information he himself devised."
Dajsan chimes in, "It's interesting that nobody except for Morush ever told us that there was indeed a resistance. All the others talk about a smuggling operation."
Malethar lifts his massive shoulders and shrugs.
"I don't know. He could still be honest in his own way, trying to do what he thinks is best for the city. It is important to me that the logging be stopped, so I will continue working at the assignment."
Tarkass bares its teeth.
"Nobody says we won't. But we definitely cannot trust Morush. Whatever he's trying to do, he's lying to us."
"We should find the resistance and go from there," suggests Nathred, and everyone agrees.
They try to find an entry into the sewers, and locate one in a deserted street. Carefully and quietly lifting the cover, they descend the well-kept steps and enter the city bellow the city, a system of wide tunnels with comfortable walkways, filthy water flowing in a canal in the middle of the tunnel. Each stair leading upwards is clean oiled, and it's not as smelly as one would think of sewer tunnels.
More than once, Nathred feels unseen eyes resting their baleful glare upon him. In the flickering light of his sunrod, nothing can be made out in the murky water, but something seems to live there.
"Probably crocodiles," Nathred mutters, answered by a disbelieving groan from Malethar.
Before the Greenbond can explain further, Tarkass stops them by holding up his hand.
In the darkness ahead, its sensitive eyes make out a small, hunched figure, big eyes and floppy ears, cowering down. They had seen or heard some goblins before, but this one seems a little more inquisitive than the others, and may be baited.
Nathred doesn't wait long. Pulling out some dried meat, he throws it ahead, then lures the goblin to them.
"Talk to him," urges Dajsan.
"Talk? How? I don't speak Goblin," answers Nathred.
Malethar denies, too, so they try common speech.
"Do you understand us?" The goblin just watches them fearfully.
Tarkass thinks, then decides to just risk it and speaks the Giant tongue.
"Do you understand us?" The Goblin's eyes widen in recognition, and they can see him strain to form the words with his throat.
"Under-stand."
Tarkass sighs.
"Good. Lead us to the humans."
The Goblin looks at him questioningly. He does not dare to mouth his innocence, lest the draconic figure eat him. Tarkass tries it anew.
"Humans. Faen. Sibeccai."
"Up."
"No, not up. Down."
"Goblins down."
"Nothing else?"
"Lurker in water."
Tarkass is close to shredding the creature.
"Humans down?"
"Grubya."
"What did he say," interjects Dajsan. The goblins repeats, "Grubya."
"I think that is a name," suggests Malethar. The others hope that he is right.
"Can you take us to Grubya?" As a response, the goblin holds out his hand.
"Snakes." Frustrated, Nathred puts a queen into the outstretched hand. The goblins eyes bulge even more than natural, and he sounds awed as he repeats, "Snakes!"

They follow the creature for more than half an hour. Goblins left and right take flight, and after a while they reach an intersection. One of the tunnels ends in an iron grate, and in the small dead end, several goblins have made their camp. One of them is pointed out as "Grubya", and that creature is the only one not fleeing as fast as little goblin legs can run.
They try to address him in common, and the Goblin seems to understand. His knowledge of the language is limited, however, so he speaks a pidgin dialect and can't grasp many of the more complicated words.
"You know the humans below?"
"Grubya catching snakes. Keeping away from humans." The goblin proudly points to his chest.
"Show us the way?"
Gruby needs persuasion, too, so he is rewarded with a deuce.
"Snakes!" He seems impressed.
Off they go. Very soon, they need to get up in the city again, and Grubya admonishes them to be quiet.
"No hearing!"
As Nathred and Dajsan are too loud for the goblin's tastes, Tarkass accompanies him alone. It memorizes the way as good as it can, starting over as soon as they reach another good waypoint.
Soon, the pair reaches the Blue Bridge, a massive construction spanning the Blue Wash. To the side of it, old steps lead down into the water. Grubya descend the stairs and, standing to the hip in the water, uses a secret hatch and opens an equally secret door. It opens into a dark room with a grating in the first part of the floor where the water of the river splashes through. The rest of the room is dank, but not flooded. From the room lead two pathways, the right one leading to a small chamber filled with bits of snakes, the left one leading down below the river.
"Humans." The goblin points down the left corridor.
Tarkass thanks him anew, gives him a swimmer - taken delightfully by the goblin - and looks for a way to close the door again.
Nothing. No handle, nothing. It seems as if the door had to be closed from the inside, so that can mean only one thing.
"There's still someone down there," whispers the mojh to no one in particular. It looks for a way to close the door and finally uses a bit of silken rope and a grappling hook fastened at the door. It pulls the rope to close the door, and then cuts the rope at the wall. Contrary to its hopes, the rope is wedged between door and wall, so it doesn't fall off and into the grate.
Shaking its head ruefully, Tarkass returns to its companions. The rope won't be there for long. This very night, it plans to open the door again, and descend into the very depths of the ruins of ancient Ravenar.
"Resistance, here we come!"

Next: Dungeons, Darkness, and Exhaustion: The Ruins Below?
 
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Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #8 am: 19. November 2003, 21:33:49 »
 O.k., now here's my comment on last session:
It was chaos! Total and utter chaos! Okay, they had some very lucky rolls, but they also talked at the same time, interrupted each other, and in general, and most importantly, didn't follow my carefully laid out plot at all!

So what I'm saying is, it was a typical D&D session :D  

Anyway, after having to improvise about 75% of the game (don't tell my players :)   - and yes, guys, the figure is an exaggeration), I didn't really manage to emphasize the actual plot, leaving me with some really confused and helpless players. I do consider the reigning confusion as my own fault, even though we didn't play for over a month.
However, I also think I got the game back on track, and will just have to stow away 50% of my notes for later use :)  

Luckily, my players took on an active role, doing something no matter how far-fecthed or how much a cry for help it was, giving me the chance to adapt instead of trying to force them along some way. Yay, players! :)  

Berandor

ETA: btw, http://www.p-pricken.de/rpg/online/npcstats2.html' target='_blank'>here are the stats for Yintra and the harrid's companion. The harrid himself was straight out of DT, and the other NPCs had rather incomplete stats, as warranted by their planned actions.
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Kylearan

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #9 am: 20. November 2003, 13:16:47 »
Zum Gruße!

Um noch mehr (traurige) Berühmtheit zu erreichen, oute ich mich mal als Spieler von Tarkass. Wir haben wohl keine Ahnung, was wir da genau machen, aber immerhin scheinen wir mit dem Weg in die Katakomben wenigstens etwas richtig gemacht zu haben.

Macht einen Heidenspaß. Die Aktion von Malethar für sein Weibchen, ich meine die Litorian Oathsworn war ziemlich klasse. Und zu Beginn des Kampfes zwei kritische Treffer zu landen, macht es auch einfacher.

Kylearan
"When the going gets tough, the bard goes drinking."

Berandor

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Alone In Ka-rone (cross-post)
« Antwort #10 am: 20. November 2003, 14:12:36 »
Zitat von: "Kylearan"
Macht einen Heidenspaß.
Das freut mich wirklich. Ist ja die Hauptsache.

Eigentlich würde ich anschließend gerne die ursprüngliche Geschichte offenbaren, aber das wäre wohl langweilig und unnötig :)

Berandor
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