5th day of the second month of the year of renewal
Headmaster Bastion, Chosen of Azureen:
I hope that this note finds you and the Egg well. As promised, I am reporting back on the events since I left beloved Bahamutal. Gao is quite overwhelming, large, crowded, with flying ships, horseless coaches, merchants hawking all manner of useless junk. All in all though the city is relatively clean and safe, I’m sure due to the efforts of a well run city guard.
I was welcomed at the Heroes Guild, and along with other new aspiring heroes, and quartered in spartan, but suitable barracks. Today I met with some others, when we received our first job, as it seems that there is a warehouse down in the dock district with some trouble with rats. Large rats.
I will make an attempt to describe my new group members, as it seems it is the intention of the Guild to keep us together, the better for us to learn to work as a team. It may be that the seven of us were chosen since we complement each other in our skills. Or perhaps it is just because we all arrived at the Guild at the same time!
Note also that I may not have every detail right, but have no fear, I will correct any errors I make in future reports.
Me, or course, you know. Graeleanna is an Eladrin, and seems quite adept at a most curious skill, artificing. I know very little about this, but it seems to be held in high regard in this city. Asalie is a Human, veiled, quiet, but assured. Rolen is a bow wielding Elven ranger. Seltzer is a Bard who knows a great deal about Gao, which I’m sure will prove quite useful to our group. Glespo is a wild Druid, who marvelously enough can transform into a dog, or a large panther. Perhaps more! And rounding out the party is Dalaan, who we first mistook as a wizard, but it turns out that the man can curse up a storm when necessary! A warlock then.
We proceed to the warehouse, and meet a frantic guy out front. It seems his friend went inside, and has not been heard from since. We proceed in and see a large open space, many crates, and a wounded man in the middle. No rats in sight. We get close to help the wounded person, and things go bad, and fast.
Crates are tumbling, the wounded man vanishes in the confusion, and rats come to attack us. Eight giant rats, two rat swarms, and two dire rats. Also, I must note that our party reacted well, and only one of us was knocked prone by the tumbling crates, and nobody was injured.
We accord ourselves well. I use my sweeping attacks to reduce the minions, while drawing the attention of both dire rats, trying to keep them away from others, as you taught me. Glespo (or Sparky as he doesn’t mind being called when transformed into a dog) encircles rats and swarms in circles of fire, Dalaan curses and uses other magical powers, Asalie strikes from hiding and does great damage, Rolan’s bow is busy. The rats swarms are troublesome to hit, and swarm over a few of us, damaging with many bites. We eventually wipe them all out, but due to engagements with the dire rats, Selzer and myself are not feeling well at all. Likely a disease which will need attention.
After the battle we take a short rest, and Grae examines the room, which she notes has been clearly setup as a trap. Also you will be pleased that your arcane training has not been lost on me, as myself and others in the group clearly see the magical residue left by the “wounded” man in the center of the warehouse.
It also becomes clear to others in the group that the drain in the back of the warehouse was used as a lookout, so we decide to follow. A few of our group are able to conceal themselves adeptly in shadows, certainly a useful skill. After a short trip the storm drain opens into a large vault with many people in it.
Our scouts report that there is clearly a leader with a halberd, three other reasonable fighters, two archers, and five rabble. One of which was the man outside the warehouse. Overheard talk indicates that they are expecting a “shipment” related to something called the “black hand” and the rat trap was intended to make sure nobody interfered.
They send the rat trap man back to check on us (he is sure that we are dead, more the fool him), and we trap him. Our trap wasn’t executed well, but he was quite surprised, and Dalaan does something to him which makes his eyes and ears bleed. He drops.
Although this could prove highly dangerous, we decide to engage these men. We concoct a subderfuge, with Dalaan wearing the cloak of the rat man, but these men are more disciplined that we expect (they have set a password!) and the ruse fails. Battle begins!
We have a reasonable plan, and our ranged members focus on the archers (who appear skilled), while I charge down the central causeway attempting to block progress.
The battle is tight, but we prevail. I must admit to you that I spent much of it on my back, continually either bull rushed or knocked prone by the leader’s halberd. I know you will not take my plea as excuse that at least I wasn’t knocked off the causeway and down 20 feet! The leader was not so lucky, as his face appears to have begun to boil, and Seltzer psychically knocks him into the pit, where a few carefully placed bolts make an end of him.
Grae’s devices are interesting in the battle, both for damage and healing. Once again the ring of fire proves useful (although at the time I was laying in it, which was not optimal), and ranged attacks were critical in removing the archers. Rolan can indeed fire rapidly! I will have to pick up something here myself for such situations, as I did not bring anything from Dragon’s Rest.
Asalie also reminded me that laying down was not the most advantageous position in the battle; I will endeavour to do better.
In any event, the battle was tight, but we prevail, and nobody had permanent injuries. Also Seltzer can sing a curious song which helped us feel better rapidly.
We return and report back. Our guild handler, Twelven Mithral Deepfork, wasn’t very happy with our initiative in progressing into the storm drains (“Rats! I said Rats! Not unknown encounters with dangerous smugglers in storm drains!”). He is also puzzled by this turn of events. Who or what is the “black hand?” Who took out the contract on the rats in the warehouse? Doesn’t seem likely that it was the people we encountered, they seemed to want to discourage entry into the warehouse. Perhaps the owner of the warehouse was unaware? And what was the shipment? Many questions.
Well, I must get some rest, I took time (of which Asalie’s help was most appreciated) to tend to my armor and weapon. Also you will be glad to know that although Seltzer and I were indeed infected with some rat disease, the guild has services to counteract such things, and the service when on contract is free.
Tomorrow we will be onto a new contract, so I must rest. I will write to you as time permits, and let you know how your aspiring young hero is doing.
Always your student, Quiz.