Rules and Q&A
Note: This thread is reserved for the in character ramblings of approved and active characters only.
The Sword Coast. A region that once took its name from the sharp storm lashed cliff formations that run for great distances along the sea, the name has taken on another meaning. Conflict has wracked the region since before even the living memory of the elves, with both bestial and humanoid threats making life difficult for the inhabitants.
Things have settled down recently, after the most recent crisis, legions of shadow beings that spread across the land like a plague an uneasy peace has held for a few years, from Waterdeep, the city of splendors in the north, to the great center of trade to the south known as Baldur’s Gate.
It is there in that great den of both honest and illicit dealings that our tale begins. Midsummer is less than a tenday away, and the prices for ribbons, alcohol, and other items needed for the festival have been particularly high since the month of Kythorn ended. The sun is hot, but a steady breeze from the nearby sea keeps things largely pleasant today.
The city is buzzing with gossip over an unusual contract posting made by the Harpers yesterday afternoon, a group not exactly known for making public announcements. The listed pay, a per head offer of 500 gold pieces, is enough to catch anyone's attention. The contract lists no details, save that applicants should be prepared for a long and dangerous task, and that those interested should present themselves at an office building near the Eastern Gate near the end of highsun (About 1PM) the next day.
Whether or not others received a personal invitation is not known, but a courier specifically sought out the band known as the Silver Blaze and requested their participation, though he refused to add any information not in the public notice. Already in Baldur's Gate for reasons of their own, the group chose to at least hear out the offer.
Clowders of the semiferal cats that roam the city seem particularly active today, hunting after the large wharf rats that are an ever present nuisance, but both felines and rodents disappear entirely as you near your destination. It is not difficult to see why, a very large crowd has gathered around the mentioned office. Hundreds easily, and were not most of them being sent away in droves, you would have to wonder if getting in was even possible. The gathering ranges from experienced veterans, to younglings with motley collections of gear, to elders bearing equipment nearly as decrepit as they are, and everywhere in between. The promise of gold brought many.
People bearing the symbol of the Harpers have set up a table outside, and are speaking to people as they approach. It is apparent that many do not like what they hear, as most leave shortly after getting within earshot, even if it is not yet their turn.
As you approach, it becomes apparent why. Many are turned away as being obviously unfit for the task at hand, others leave voluntarily as they hear warnings given:
-While both initial and ongoing supplies will be provided for contractees, pay is distributed on completion of the task, with no signon bonus
-Those who enter and accept the contract will have to swear not to reveal the information provided within until told otherwise, and will be leaving the city today. Those who enter and refuse the contract will be forced to bear a Geas which will magically require that same discretion for two tendays. A local Cleric of Gond is on hand to apply said mark.
Upon approaching the table, the agents skip the usual questions concerning competence once those of the Silver Blaze identify themselves, but reiterate the other warnings. The conditions mentioned should give you all pause, but you've come this far…
Those who do not turn away are ushered into a gutted office space with a single table, behind which stand two men. The first, a thin and aging half-elf bearing the Harper symbol, introduces himself simply as Mr Creel in a scratchy voice. The second is a large and burly human with a stern disposition, he is introduced as Onthar Frume, a senior paladin from the Order of the Gauntlet. The aforementioned cleric of Gond is seated by the door with a bored expression.
The room is crowded as the last of those determined to hear this out filter in. A careful count has 34 people in the room, including the cleric and the odd pair before you. The Silver Blaze represents the largest single group in attendance, but other representatives of Onthar's order, as well as some from the Flaming Fists mercenary band are present in addition to a number of individuals of unknown affiliation.
The agents outside slip in at the back of the crowd, and seal the door. One of them pulls out a magic item and fiddles with it. Only after he nods at the man does Mr Creel begin to say anything of substance.
"Welcome one and all, put simply, the contract is to provide immediate relief and support for the town of Greenest. An agent in the field recently sent word that this town is going to be attacked by a small army of unknown source in two tendays. Our own inquiries into the source of this threat have failed so far, but we have ruled out most of the more likely nations. At this time, we suspect it is an independent group of some kind."
"When we attempted to send warning to Greenest, we found that the usual methods of magical communication simply failed to work for reasons we have yet to uncover, and traffic coming from that region has recently ceased. These details are enough confirmation for my superiors of an impending threat, and thus we wish to send you. You are to travel there, provide warning to the people and garrison, and do what must be done to protect those people to the best of your ability."
"You will not be the only aid sent, the Lords of cities in a position to interfere have been contacted, and most are quietly assembling some of their own forces in response, but their ability to muster and arrive before the attack begins is in question. You should also know that while the Harpers are providing support and organization in addition to the bulk of your pay, the mission itself belongs to the Order of the Gauntlet, and Sir Onthar here will be deciding your overall orders in the field."
Mr Creel waves the paladin forward and has a seat. The large man clears his throat, "As he said, defending the peaceful people of Greenest is our objective. For those not familiar, aside from producing foodstuffs and finely crafted goods, the place serves as something of a pitstop for merchants traveling along the Uldoon trail. It lacks a wall surrounding the town proper, but does possess a reasonably formidable fortress at its center that has withstood such threats for the past 200 years without fail. Given advance warning to prepare, and the additional skills of those in this room, I have little doubt it can withstand whatever is coming, even in the unlikely case we end up besieged and waiting on the promised reinforcements."
"Basic transportation will be provided for any who lack such of their own along with food and other such materiel needed for the journey. We will be moving fast, I intend to arrive in town in less than a tenday. I guarantee nothing, but assuming matters don't get bolluxed up beyond belief, you can expect to be back here to collect your pay in two months at most, probably less. In the event this turns into a lengthy engagement, you will not be expected to see it out, though I am certain incentive to stay would be offered if that does become the case."
"As something of an apology for the unusual circumstances, in spite of what they said outside to turn away the greedy, my Order is offering a signon bonus of 100 gold on top of the offered reward. I suggest using it to fill out your kit, and putting the rest in a trusted bank, coin will not be of much use on the road. We will assemble at the East Gate in two hours and begin the journey. Does anyone have any questions before making your decision to go or stay?"
Cratol grunts in an indication that he is in and will nod towards the rest of the Silver Blaze that we should go. The promise of money and possible further fame is something good to him.
Targul chimes in, "It's about time! My coin purse is getting light and those barrels of ale aren't going to drink themselves." Slapping Poljen on the back he adds inquisitively, "Am I right, am I right?"
"Besides, my axe has been dry for far too long. It's time to get back to work and get paid."
Sar'ai stands patiently amongst the large gathering, her hooded robe flowing down to the floor, allowing only the lower part of her face to be revealed. Once the paladin asks for questions she speaks but not giving any indication of meeting his gaze, "How did your agent come to possess this information? Surely if the impending attack is of the magnitude that you believe, how is it that such a force would allow none but one aware of its existence?"
The half-drow cracks a small grin before continuing, "Sounds quite convenient, wouldn't you agree? Perhaps even an ambush?" That last sentence rolls off her tongue with a slight incendiary tone meant to further help weed out the weaker ones that managed to make it this far.
Out of Character: Sar'ai will do an insight check on Sir Onthar after her words are heard as well as an intimidation roll on her trying to scare off some more of the crowd.
The paladin looks somewhat at a loss for words, but Mr Creel speaks up instead, "Excellent query, but I'm afraid I must claim too much ignorance to fully answer. For reasons I cannot disclose, we are at least reasonably confident that the message came from a trusted man of our order, one not prone to either flights of fancy or disloyalty."
"Of course, that does not fully rule out the possibility of deception. Especially since there has been no further contact from him. But if there is an ambush planned, it is remarkably ill focused. There seems to be no means for this foe to be certain who if anyone is sent, and not enough people are going for their loss to significantly reduce defenses elsewhere, making it being an assassination attempt or tactical play seem unlikely. By all means though, keep your eyes open."
Note: The Paladin is something of an open book, and Sarai is reasonably certain he is not attempting to deceive. Mr Creel is a little tougher to read, you suspect he is not telling you everything, but don't have reason to suspect he is actually lying.
In response to the possibility of the mission being a trap, a few extra people are looking distinctly uneasy, and are eyeing the exit.
Edited: daishain on 1st Jan, 2016 - 10:34pm
Cahleth gives a subtle and professional nod of the to the present Harper agents, a no-nonsense type of greeting that few outside of the organization even notice. To the official with the Order of the Gauntlet, he gives a heavily pronounced bow and exclaims, "Onthar Fume! The pleasure is mine. Stories of your bravery and zeal echo throughout this realm. I am pleased to have finally met you and to be working at your side."
After standing from his deep bow, Cahleth quickly shoots a glance over his shoulder at Sar'ai before pronouncing (To the room at large), "Any mission championed by both the Harpers and the Order of the Gauntlet must be a noble cause indeed. I have no doubt that the people of Greenest are in harm's way and require swift action."
Onwen listens to the offer without expression, but once the offer has been extended he looks to the other members of the group and gives them a look that they may have come to know means that he is on board and willing to accept the mission. He wears his usual dark blue robe but has the hood pulled back to reveal his face feeling no need to have an air of mystery on this occasion. Onwen leans on his staff and brings his hand up to rub his chin as he thinks about the circumstances of the mission. The pay is decent he thinks could go quiet a ways in funding my research and his thoughts drift to Audreeana.
Lia is wearing her form fitting scale mail. It shines as the light reflects off of its quality craftsmanship. She has her shield and long bow strapped to her back. Her holy symbol is seen hanging around her neck. She listens intently while everyone is speaking. Her eyes widen slightly hearing Sar'ai question the paladin. She glances around the room to see the crowds reaction.
Upon hearing Cahleth speak she nods in agreement. She did not believe this was a trap. Caution should be exercised but she felt this was a legitimate mission. Glancing at the other members of their group she smiles. " I support accepting this task. I feel that the good people of Greenest urgently need our help. There is also a substantial amount of coin being offered as well to sway those that need more motivation. My vote is yes. " She grins at the group.
Edited: Kyrroeth on 2nd Jan, 2017 - 12:26am