(Historian’s note: This starts at the first page of Grealeanna’s log that survived. Fortunately the events preceding this log were saved via a report that the great hero Quiz had sent to her Headmaster, Bastion)
Artificer’s log, Allandaria date 5th day of 2nd month Renewal, 11,744th year of All. (Continued from previous page.)
After talking with Twelvin, we met at the barracks to discuss our plans. At that time I had the most embarrassing moment! I had picked up a plaque thinking it would be useful for my work, but I had forgotten to show this potential “loot” to my team mates. We all took a look at it, but none of us know what it is. After much debate, we decided to keep the inlaid plaque and protect it from detection.
After reaching that decision the team split up. Quiz decides to stay at the guild and clean up her gear. Several others (Glepso, Rolan & Seltzer) go to the famous hero tavern and discover the barkeep has an amazing right arm – it is metallic with many gears and crystals! This is something I must see in person. I hear that there was a brief discussion of quality wines and much observation of the patrons there. In addition to heroes, many members of the nobility are there as well.
I went to the Artificer district. For a while I just wandered through the district. And then I started seeing small stores with artificer’s materials. Then I entered Eureka Place – a large square dominated by an immense building. The building had huge bronze doors flung open. On the inside of the doors many gears could be seen, and it lead into a lobby that turned into a huge entry hall.
From there my experiences were various and wonderful. But to summarize I was able to find a library with information that was new to me, so I settled down to read for the rest of the evening.
Dalaan opted to go to the knowledge district. He finds tree-lined roads and more townhouses. Dalaan looked for a temple of Dalnanor, knowing that it will contain plenty of books to review. He finds one and enters, with the intent to research the plaque that the team found. It turns out he found the largest, oldest library in the world! As he’s guided through the temple he sees all sorts of people from different walks of life, children, merchants, etc. Eventually he finds Brother Peter – an expert on heraldry. Peter recommends talking to an Artificer and initially he doesn’t recognize the pattern. Peter leaves and returns with 4-5 book, and he finds a book with a similar symbol. The bow is very similar, so he decides it is probably 5-7 thousand years old. Maybe it is the heraldry of noble family of Skyreach. But he definitely thinks it was made by Artificers.
Then an odd thing happened, when I asked to study the plaque Dalaan was resistant saying that he had already studied this thing and that it wasn’t that important.
Artificer’s log, Allandaria date 6th day of 2nd month Renewal, 11,744th year of All.
Goblins and Halflings and sewers – oh my!
The team met with Twelvin the next morning. He researched yesterday’s contract and it was from a “Hadren Cooper”. At the time there was no reason to suspect it was odd. They had also contacted the Merchant’s union to let them know about the trap and the smuggling. In response, the head of their anti-piracy division wants to talk to us. His name is Ustis Silvanna. He’s an important man, we shouldn’t keep him waiting. And our appointment is at 11:00 in his office at the Merchant’s Union. He may just want an interview, but he may have a contract too. Twelvin warns us that taking outside contracts are dangerous, and we should be careful if we do.
At that point Quiz asks about contracts – are they paid by wealthy folks only? How do poor people handle issues where they need heroes? Twelvin’s initial response was that the town guard is well trained, have magic, etc. But Merchants don’t like working with guard as much, there are lots of forms, etc. So they prefer to work with the Heroes Guild. And the Heroes Guild will sponsor contracts for poor folks if needed. For example, we shouldn’t forget that we’ll all have a 3-6 month tour with guard patrolling roads, etc.
After a short break, the team decides to head over to the Merchant’s union. A lot of the team takes a public auto-coach. This was a most wondrous of devices. I could only grasp the very basics of how it might work. Otherwise it was sophisticated beyond anything I could dream of – yet they were scattered about the streets for anyone to use! The rest of the party decided to walk.
We find that the grand market is the immense open space around the Merchant’s Union. It’s packed to the gills with people, stalls, etc. Everywhere we look there’s chaos. Even the auto-coach drops us off on the fringe, not willing to take on the crowds. The Merchant’s Union is by far the largest building we’ve ever seen anywhere. It’s an immense dome structure that is ringed by 10 towers, with a large tower at the center of dome.
Looking inside it appears to be almost as chaotic as outside, just different. The interior is one vast open space, and we can’t really see the end. All we see are carts filled with different grains. There are auctions going on all around us. We each see at least 1 thing we’re veeeery interested in. And there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to the stalls. As we near one of the towers, the merchants there are more closely aligned with that Tower. For example, as we approach the door we see a symbol for food shop. The stalls around this area are selling all manners of foods. Cheese, meats, etc.
The receptionist welcomes us. Matt asks for Ustis, and she directs us to the main tower. She directs us to crazy thing called “elevator”. Turns out it’s a box similar to auto-coach. Eric says “Main Tower” and it takes off.
There’s another receptionist in main tower. She directs us to elevator there.
When we arrive floor 13 (anti-piracy) is busy. Receptionist welcomes us and knows we were coming, but we have to wait a bit. We’re also greeted by Carola – Ustis’ assistant. She ushers us in to Ustis’ office, offering refreshment. It’s a large beautiful office with great view. Just before 11:00 a middle aged gentleman with graying hair comes in. He introduces himself as Ustis Silvanna. He brings up the Black Hand and asks for more information about them. We tell him about Hadren Cooper. They don’t know a Hadren Cooper, yesterday’s contract doesn’t appear to have actually come from Merchant’s Union- he doesn’t know why we were sent to that warehouse.
Ustis says that smugglers are always an issue. A certain amount is permitted, but these folks aren’t on the “list” as it were. He’d like us to eliminate them. They are prepared to offer a generous contract to eliminate the Black Hand and he has some info to give us that would help. For this kind of contract he’s willing to pay on the order of 500g total. And we get all of their stuff personal effects while the Merchant’s Union gets the trade goods. If the mission turns out to be much more difficult, we can renegotiate if we need to.
Once we sign, Ustis’ shares his info – they people we’re targeting appear to be a small group. Based on his information it seems like they smuggle a variety of goods, including rare commodities and valuable artifacts. Merchant Princes from other lands aren’t keen on the Union, and will pay more for things without the union stamp just out of spite. The goods are being transited through the harbor here. And they have at least one base here. There is one lead – there’s a person to follow up with. Speak with Joss, he’s the barkeep at the executioner’s pint.
With this information in hand, the team heads to the central district to seek out Joss. We find the Executioner’s Pint and enter. We see a large Teifling (with a large gut) standing behind the bar. Seltzer approaches and identifies him as Joss and buys cheap wine. We mention Ustis and Joss mentions the Black Hand. Seltzer offers a gold and is spurned, so he turns on his Bardic charm. It works handily, and Joss tells us about a townhouse a few blocks down. No one goes in the front door and the people who go in the back don’t come out. But he’s seen the same people go in the back several times.
Team decides to go to the house. It’s a regular old townhouse in a nice area. Back door was probably for servants. Alley is well kept. Glepso notices that on the doorjamb (rear) towards the lower end there appears to be a black handprint that looks like a smudge if you don’t pay attention. The door is sturdy, the windows are barred and appear to be shuttered on the inside.
We can actually see inside the front of the house, it looks like a normal house with a well kept parlor.
Then we discuss tactics a long time. Then the 5:00 chimes sound and there’s a lot of activity. In particular five Halflings scurry into the back alley. They knock 4 times in a distinct pattern and are let in. More debate ensues. Do we charge? Or look for more information? Information wins out.
Most of the team retires to Joss’. Rolan stakes out the house. Seltzer & Dalaan go to library to find sewer maps and discover it isn’t an easy task. There have been revisions upon revisions and they’ll have to reconstruct them. The 1000 year storm drains don’t appear to run under the house. But there was some rerouting of the drains built at different times. They wrap up the research and head to the tavern, collecting Rolan on the way.
The team decides to look for an entrance to the drains near the house and try to find a back way into the house. Some sewer entrances we have to avoid due to passing pedestrians. However, there’s one entrance in an alley. If we wait most people will be shut in and it’ll be a good option.
After a fine meal, we enter the tunnels. Glespo changes into an “alligator”, since they go with sewers “like apples and brandy”.
Rolan guides the group through the tunnels, while Glespo keeps an eye out for oddities. But after a few minutes, the team is startled – there’s a wall where there shouldn’t be. So we strike out in a different direction and end up off the map. So we find our way back and feel closer to the house but not there yet. Glespo notices a grate that might go back the right way. Having exhausted our other options, the team drops down and continues until Rolan is confident that we’re under the houses. About where our house would be, there’s a set of double doors- probably going to a sub basement. Glespo searching carefully notices a black hand on the door… The door is locked, and there are tracks heading the other way.
The team discusses options then decides to go for it. Grae picks the lock, and the team opens the doors and sees a bunch of crates and Halflings. They scurry away quickly.
We see a two story high warehouse that is well lit. On one wall there are stairs up the side that lead to a landing.
As we enter the room, we see that the Halflings are gone but there are Goblin cutters and warriors scattered around the room – battle ensues!
Sparky bites a nearby Goblin Warrior and shifts back to safety. Quiz dashes in and smites a Warrior & Cutter, but the Cutter shifts when Quiz misses him. Quiz also sees many more Goblins in the room. They immediately close on the party. As a cutter approaches him, Rolan strikes it down nimbly.
The other goblins swarm Quiz & Rolan, but they miss.
Then the team opens fire – Seltzer fires at a cutter and drops it. Dalaan enters the room and curses and smites another cutter, killing it.
At that point the Goblin Warriors step into the fray, closing on the party. One of them attacks Quiz with his blade, barely missing due to the crate.
Rolan steps in, marks a foe and fires his bow, killing one cutter. Angered, the cutters close again, two of them attacking Quiz. Both take advantage of their combat advantage to stab viciously at Quiz.
Having charged up his defensive shield, Dalaan curses a cutter and blows up another with his shield.
Intimidated, the warriors scatter, and two of them try to throw javelins at Dalaan and a third throws at Seltzer. Grae finally gets off a clean shot, striking a warrior with her crossbow bolt.
Suddenly the Druid steps in and throws an icy wind at two warriors, killing one and wounding the other. Inspired, Quiz strikes out at a cutter near her, striking it down. A bolt of lightning flies off the dead goblin and strikes another goblin, dropping it too. She then moves to engage a nearby warrior.
Rolan moves to get a clear shot, and fires on a warrior with twin strike, hitting it soundly.
The remaining cutter charges Selzter and hits him. Seltzer responds, insulting the Goblin making his head explode, while Dalaan curses a remaining warrior and blasts it.
The goblin warriors throw javelins at Quiz, but miss.
I strike again, bloodying a warrior. Quickly the druid steps up and gets range on a warrior, firing a flame ring on him. The flames surround the warrior and trap it!
Roland moves for position, and fires at a warrior hitting him once, bloodying him while Dalaan moves towards the other warrior, blasting him and dropping him.
The remaining warrior attacks Quiz, but misses. Enraged, the druid runs up at claws at the remaining warrior, killing him.
After the battle, Seltzer & Dalaan approach the Halflings, and Rolan watches the hall while the others scour the warehouse.
The Halfling says it’s just a contract, he didn’t know anything bad was going on. With persuasion we find out that if something bad happened they were told that they should “follow the black hands and solve the riddle”. We also found out that Halflings just load the crates, they don’t wheel them away. They met the person hiring at the Executioner’s Pint, got a few gold for the job. The Halfling also notes that this house is connected to the house next door.
The team finds that the crates are filled with trade goods of all sorts.
Grae locks the downstairs door to prep to raid the house next door. The team investigates, but find nothing at all in the other house. So we release the Halflings, and go search for black hands.
The black hands follow the cart tracks for a while, but after a while they split and go their own way. We choose to follow the hands and eventually find a metal ladder at the base of a manhole cover with this riddle:
Why do farmers love nunnerys?
Drawing on her knowledge of history, Grae realizes that the answer is: “Because of all the virgin territory.” As soon as he hears “Virgin Territory”, Seltzer remembers that there is such an inn/pub in the city.
Now we have to decide what to do next. Tell the Merchant’s Union about the goods? Track the cart tracks? Go to the pub “Virgin Territory”?
(Historian: Unfortunately much of Graeleanna’s journal is destroyed after this point, hopefully we can find another source to tell us what the heroes did next.)