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Monday, 6th December, 2004, 12:04 AM #1
Novice (Lvl 1)
Adventure in the Open Skies: The Liralen Irregulars (Eberron, Updated 5/10)
Carly lopes along the back streets of Stormhome. Crouching among garbage bins, she moves with animalistic grace through the back alleys of the island city, most of which boasts lavish inns with grandiose entertainment ready to please any and all of the senses. A bastion of paradise in the midst of an ocean of near constant storms, Stormhome brims with the rich and idle, a vacation spot and refuge of wealthy nobles and merchants from all over Khorvaire.
But Carly is not afforded the opportunity to trim the fat from Stormhome’s elite. The young shifter’s prey is the coin of the common laborer, her hunting grounds the hole-in-the-wall hideaways and dark taverns where laborers and servants come to unwind. Her keen ears pick up conversation spilling out of the doors of The Brass Covey. Experience has taught her that people who are engrossed in talking are people who are not paying attention to their purses.
Carly slips through the kitchen entrance of the tavern. The chef, lost in his own concerns, doesn’t notice the shifter as she moves on all fours behind the preparation tables. Bright light from the chef’s lantern lights her face only for a moment, drowning in the long purple bruise across her temple.
Joseph is most violent when he is worried. Since she had covered for Errol the day he disappeared, it is only natural that she felt the brunt of that worry. Carly swallows the lump that rises in her throat. She misses Errol. Joseph said he was probably dead by now. Killed by someone, or worse, taken by the Fury himself for running off.
Joseph had worked them all mercilessly the last couple of days; demanding that they bring in Errol’s share for collection day. But collection day had come and gone and no collector had arrived at the back of the dingy bakery, their home and hideout. Joseph’s temper grew, and Carly took to the streets to stay clear of his path.
The dining area of the tavern is filled to capacity. Dimly lit and smoke-filled, Carly works her small frame unnoticed between a patron’s feet. Crouching next to the table support she examines the footwear of those around the table, trying to determine whose purse strings she should risk cutting. Conversation drifts down around her and she listens, eager to bring home news that might interest Joseph and divert his worries and his fist.
“And then he said, ‘Eyls in Sorre, eels in a special thick sauce. The recipe has several secret ingredients that I refuse to reveal lest someone seize this fine dish that I alone can make.’ I’m not kidding, just like that!”
Several of the dockworkers around the table chortle, glancing back to the kitchen as their server impersonates the Covey’s head chef. He leans in, grinning knowingly as he pitches his voice low for best effect with his rapt audience.
“Then he serves the House Special, you know what I mean.”
There are several winces, knowing nods and shaking heads, and the server waits for them all to lean in closer still before continuing.
“So the judges all take a bite, and I swear half of them passed out in their chairs and the other half ran for the privies! It nearly came to blows over who would get there first, the Host as my witness!” But the dockworkers are no longer listening, banging their fists on the table and laughing loudly at the chef’s expense. Carly’s alarmed squeak at the rancor is hidden by the sound of a loud crash from the kitchen and an angry face yelling out from the doorway.
“Chard! You useless… miserable…” The chef fumbles for words before reasserting his face into a scowl. “I have a whole crate of onions that will not peel themselves, get on it!”
“Yes Chef Mewldon!” answers the server, wincing at the prospect of onion duty but knowing his tips tonight will be very good. Picking up his tray he leans down to speak before leaving the table, “That isn’t the half of it, from what I hear, they took on a warforged cook! Have you ever heard of that?” Animated discussion begins anew on the merits of this bit of news as the server goes off to attend to his far less favorable duties.
Carly’s knife, if the battered piece of metal could be called such, whisks up with precision. In a deft movement she severs the strings and ties the ends to the chair. The missing coin-purse goes unnoticed as its owner loudly argues that a warforged can’t possibly be a cook because they can’t taste a thing.
Carly edges out from under the table and surveys the room. A loud voice from a corner booth catches her attention and she moves towards the drunken and angry source. Ale splashes on her face as a halfling in the booth pounds his mug against the table. Carly’s eyes sting, but she manages to make it to the dark space under the table. Crouching in an awkward position between the feet of the occupants, she pauses to wipe her face with the ragged edge of a shirtsleeve.
The halfling nurses his fourth ale and complains to a bored looking pair of dwarves across from him. “I tell you it wasn’t fair, wasn’t fair at all! Why, that big old half-giant couldn’t even push that dumb crate on his own, how’d they expect me to?”
“Eh, you said they tried out a half-giant for a deckhand?” One of the pair leans forward, a clerk at one of the local House Kundarak banks, suddenly interested in the halfling’s rambling drivel.”
“I hear one of them was able to move those huge crates, wasn’t it…?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah… some orc named Crash or Bash or something, but they didn’t take him for some reason, I think they took that half-giant and some others. But see, see, I could have done better peeling potatoes if they would just have let me…’ Both men groan inwardly as the halfling continues his diatribe on the ills of House Lyrandar’s hiring practices.
The halfling, an easy target, looks to have a light purse. Carly does not bother the bankers. While better dressed than the dockworkers, they always have a tight hold on their money, and the dwarves in particular are known for having nasty surprises for potential pickpockets. Just before she moves on, a spark of light catches her eye: the buckles on one of the banker’s boots! Blackened and tarnished, one sports a scratch that gleams silver. Carly carefully cuts away the fastenings on both boots. The man will not notice it until he stands to leave, if she is lucky.
Carly slips behind the row of cloaks hanging on the wall next to the bar. Her deft hands work through the garments; searching pockets, as she listens to banter across the mug-strewn counter.
A couple and one of the bartenders are in the middle of a debate. “I was there at Castle Lyrandar, they needed some extra servers for the banquet, I tell you Ruel’s act was the best! You wouldn’t think a wizard could dance like that, and his magic! Why, the whole room thought he had plucked dryads from the forest to dance for him, it was amazing! The bard was good, but she couldn’t hold a candle to him.”
“Well I saw the bard at that benefit concert, we both did, and Kashandi was by far the better performer then… isn’t that right dear?” The woman looks up at the bartender; trying to get the tired looking man on her arm to support her argument.
“Hmm… well I’m sure they are both very talented, but I’m more interested in the theft from the Vidari’s.” The husband, still dressed in the livery of one of House Medani’s sentinels, leans in at a curious glance from the bartender.
“Its not supposed to be common knowledge, but the proceeds from the Vidari’s benefit concert, you know, that are supposed to go to building an orphanage, were stolen. We haven’t been able to find out who did it, but I hear the Vidari’s ‘enforcer’ is supposed to be on the passenger list for the Liralen now. Me, I think he’s the one who took the gold in the first place. It’s awful convenient for him to be leaving now, if you know what I mean.”
Carly’s breath catches, these people have been to Castle Lyrandar! Perhaps they have the coin to reflect such status. She measures up the couple, and quickly realizes the risks are far too great. A Medani sentinel and his wife and there is little in the way of cover by the bar. Carly discards the idea and scampers out into the night.
She will try other spots before dawn. The gossip at the Brass Covey is centered on what most of Stormhome has been fixated upon – the airship Liralen – who made it on as crew, who the passengers are on the maiden voyage, and the controversies and politics that surrounds the ship like a woven shroud. It would have no interest to Joseph. She turns down a dark alley in search of comments more in tune with the life she knows. The darker taverns are more dangerous, but Carly does not want to go home and lie next to Errol’s empty pallet.
As she passes the dock where the Liralen is moored, she catches the scuffle of footsteps and faint voices. Curious, she peers through a crack in the fence surrounding the great airship. It is just some of the crew loading crates into the cargo hold, but the sudden sound of triggered Alarm spells sends her struck back as if a scorching hot iron touched her. Panicked, Carly looks back and forth down the alley and shoots off the way she came in search of the nearest cover from what is she sure will be hordes of Lyrandar guards after her.
But it is not the young shifter’s curiosity that triggers the Alarm and shatters the peaceful night…
Last edited by PhoenixAsh; Saturday, 10th May, 2008 at 07:56 PM.
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Monday, 6th December, 2004, 03:39 AM #2
Magsman (Lvl 14)
- Join Date
- Apr 2003
- Sydney Australia
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ø Block Herremann the Wise
I was doing a cruise of the boards and saw a new story hour and so here I am - I always like new stories. In this one, you seem to have captured a good bit of the flavour of Eberron. Our group's considering an Eberron campaign in the future so I've been having a bit of a read of such things.
I think I like where this one is about to go - based on the title. Good stuff - you provide a good feel for what's happening - so keep it coming and don't be a stranger.
Herremann the Wise
Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not,
and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.
He who is certain he knows the ending of things when he is only beginning them is either extremely wise or extremely foolish; no matter which is true, he is certainly an unhappy man, for he has put a knife in the heart of wonder.
Monday, 6th December, 2004, 05:09 AM #3
I'll try and post a few Dundjinni maps when appropriate.
Last edited by Micah; Monday, 6th December, 2004 at 11:20 PM.
Monday, 6th December, 2004, 12:16 PM #4
Novice (Lvl 1)
Update #2: In Which the Party is Hard at Work
Elisa shifts restlessly as she watches the half-dozen crew still working to load cargo and supplies aboard the Liralen. Clutching her greatsword resting against her shoulder and fighting the gradual creep of fatigue, she wishes for the hundredth time that she had been selected for dayshift guard duty. Adjusting to life as a night owl and sleeping during the daytime has been a supreme effort for her, and she still has trouble sleeping when the sun is shining. Stiffling a yawn, she peers up towards the passenger cabins, where two portholes are lit, one by the Liralen’s steward, the other by one of her entertainers.
Dox is the oddest changling she has ever met. Most of them keep their true self hidden and are bent on thievery, but Dox openly revealed his nature the second they were introduced. Boldly, he proclaimed that House Lyrandar had taken him on because, ‘With me, they can have a new steward every night!’ Maybe she should be more suspicious of him, but his open manner is very disarming, and it is hard to believe he is aboard ship to cause trouble. Maybe that is the exact impression he intends to give.
Ruel is the first wizard she has come to know well, and not at all as stuffy as other wizards she has met, though he certainly is just as full of himself as the rest. He competes with Kashandi in all things, from performance to magic to friendships among the crew. She suspects that is why he is here tonight instead of nose-deep in his spellshards.
“I sampled his dishes and my own, I am certain mine had greater variety and quality of flavor, seasoning and succulence. I do not see how they could have selected him as head chef over me, when all he prepared was meat.”
The warforged cook, Fortunato, unwilling to let his cooking implements be loaded without his supervision is also present tonight. Elisa cracks a smile as Alexandre, one of the other deckhands, rolls his eyes.
“Sometimes there is nothing quite like a good shank of meat though! Haven’t you ever… no of course you haven’t.” Alexandre shakes his head picks up a small crate and heads down to the opposite end of the dock. Fortunato watches him go with a rueful expression on his metallic face.
Elisa shares a look with Audric, officially listed as a passenger but really the latest addition to the crew. The warforged has been debating with anyone who will listen that he should have been named head cook for the past few weeks, to mixed reactions among the crew. Most of them still have a hard time stomaching that he will be cooking many of their meals.
The blare of the Alarm spell surprises both her and Audric, and they turn to find a heavily-muscled orc leading a band of Stormhome’s less savory citizenry at the dock entrance, the gate broken and cast aside. The orc shouts out an incoherent battle cry as spittle flies from his maw, charging down the nearest crewman, Audric, and striking him with a powerful blow from his greataxe, drawing a gout of blood that splatters against Elisa’s leather armor. Audric falls to the dock, dying as Elisa, shocked, raises her greatsword.
Emboldened, one of the men the orc brought with him calls out over the clamor of the Alarm. ‘Come on boys, she’ll have enough loot for us to live like kings!’ Elisa swallows and steps back as she finds herself facing down the brunt of the mobs charge.
Last edited by PhoenixAsh; Saturday, 11th December, 2004 at 03:18 PM.
Monday, 6th December, 2004, 12:27 PM #5
Novice (Lvl 1)
Thank you for the kind words Herremann. When our two DMs (of which Micah is one, thanks for posting the map!) decided on an Eberron game a few months ago, I hadn't even heard of the setting (it had not been released yet, of course). But it has quickly become my favorite.
A brief aside, to introduce our crew of PCs:
Alexandre (Human Swashbuckler, 2 - Deckhand):
Piratical person who loves poking holes in people with
Audric (Human Monk, 2 - Offically listed as a
passenger, Guard): The smartest monk you'll ever see
to be cut down by an orc's greataxe before taking a
single action in his first combat. (Well, okay, one
Dox (Changling Rogue, 2 - Steward): Has a flair for
bartending, as well as sowing confusion and arrows
among his foes.
Elisa (Human Barbarian, 2 - Guard): Rightly feared
both for her greatsword and attempts at diplomacy.
Fortunato (Warforged Bodyguard Fighter, 1 - Cook):
Who's skill with a blade is exceeded only by his skill
with the frying pan.
Loki Malganis (Half-Giant Psychic Warrior, 1 -
Deckhand): Who speaks not too softly and carries a
large great axe.
Ruel Dunnanne (Half-Elf Wizard (Enchanter), 2 -
Entertainer): Who has absolutely no secrets, nope,
none what-so-ever. Nothing to see here folks!
Updates will continue to be frequent, at least until I leave on vacation in a couple weeks, then they will be frequent when I get back. I welcome all feedback in whatever its form, and will try to answer any questions as well.
Wednesday, 8th December, 2004, 12:55 PM #6
Novice (Lvl 1)
Update #3: In Which the Crew Defends the Ship for the First (And not the Last) Time
Loki drops a large crate to the dock as he hears the Alarm spell sound from the far side of it. Sparing a glance down, he winces, seeing the words ‘Fine Crystal’ painted across its surface. Above him, Ruel is running down from the passenger quarters with a crossbow in hand. Deftly scrambling down the gangplank, he pauses to clap the half-giant on the shoulder before continuing towards the source of the Alarm, calling out over his shoulder.
“That is what Mending spells are for, do not worry over it!”
Loki smiles briefly at Ruel and hefts his greataxe, larger than the half-elf running before him is tall. Pounding down the dock towards the melee, he focuses his mind and spirit to the task at hand: an intrusion, an attack on the ship… his ship. Casting his eyes to the end of the dock, he watches the orc charge down Audric, and fell him with one blow. Tightening his grip, he grits out the orc’s name between clenched teeth.
More than two weeks ago, Loki had applied to be a deckhand aboard the Liralen. Bash had tried out as well, and both of them with many others had undergone a series of tests, from peeling potatoes to obstacle courses to docking exercises, both in Stormhome’s pleasant weather and under the effects of a powerful storm invoked by Ravien d’Lyrandar, the ship’s Master Windwright. One test involved moving crates across a dock, and the largest crate even he had been unable to budge on his own, but Bash had managed it. It was not Bash, however, who had been hired. Rumors flew among the deckhands as to why that had been the case.
Loki does not care for the reason now, the orc has already committed murder of a friend. Loki’s eyes sweep across the battle and evaluate the situation. With Audric down, Elisa briefly holds the narrow dock on her own, but Fortunato and Alexandre quickly move up to prevent her from being surrounded. On the deck of the airship above the fight, Dox is freeing his bow and taking cover behind the wooden railing.
Two of the thugs charge both Alexandre and Fortunato, both striking with their shortswords, one drawing blood and the other barely denting Fortunato’s armored plating. A crossbow bolt shoots out towards Dox, but hits low, lodging in the wooden rail of the Liralen. On reflex, he returns fire with his shortbow, drawing a sharp cry but doing little damage as it nicks the shooter’s side.
Fortunato springs into action; throwing up his shield and turning a powerful slash from Bash’s axe, while driving his blade into the gut of the attacking thug before him. Staggered and bleeding furiously, he flails at Alexandre, but the nimble deckhand turns the blow and the thug falls to the dock, not rising again. Another tough tramples the body to strike back at Alexandre, gashing him across the shoulder with his blade, but not felling the gritty swordsman.
Elisa swings her blade two-handed and one foe falls before her. Coming up behind the furious melee, incanting and gesturing, Ruel casts a Sleep spell and four of the thugs slump to the ground, dozing peacefully. The crossbow wielder glares at the wizard as he reloads his weapon, running over and stepping on each comatose comrade. All of them stir and reach for their fallen weapons, clambering to their feet. Ruel’s expression turns from a grin to a glower as he considers another spell. One of the awakened men resolves to take out the spell-caster, and tries to tumble past the ranks of the crewmen, but Alexandre repels him at the end of his thinblade.
“Where d’ya think your going?” He taunts him with a crooked grin as he tugs the weapon free.
Still pounding down the dock, Loki allows his focus to seek inwards, drawing new energy and strength from his spirit, then flow outwards to enliven his whole self with the effects of Vigor. Casting his awareness back into the heart of the battle, he sees Bash whirling his great axe in heavy arcs, swinging the weapon up under Fortunato’s shield and into the warforged’s frame with a rending screech of metal on metal. Nearby, Elisa delivers another powerful strike with her greatsword, doubling over her opponent and then felling him as she wrenches the blade free. Ruel finishes his spell and a slick of Grease appears under two thugs threatening Elisa as well as Bash, and all lose their footing and fall to the dock, writhing in the oily substance.
“Well done Ruel!” Fortunato sounds particularly relieved to have Bash floored as he slashes at the prone orc, causing only minor harm. Above him, Dox lets another arrow fly, catching one of the thugs in the chest and dropping him. Alexandre misses with his thinblade, but his dagger gashes the thug before him, staggering the man and who falls back unconscious.
Loki smiles confidently, as the fight has turned out very poorly for the attackers. Many of their number are down, and one of the thugs caught in Ruel’s Grease spell is desperately crawling out of the area of effect while the other struggles to his feet, but is unable to land a blow against Elisa. Yet again, one of the attackers tries to roll past Alexandre to attack the wizard raining spells down on them, but Alexandre is right there once again to block his passage and stab another hole in him for his trouble.
Loki’s face falls however as Bash leaps to his feet, moving with grace and speed that seems almost impossible for such a massive warrior. Bringing his axe down on the surprised Fortunato, his blow shatters armor and crumples internals, nearly rending him to pieces and he topples, crashing to the dock, the wooden beams creaking under his weight.
“That is the last mistake you will ever make Bash!” Loki charges into the fray and brings his greataxe down in a blow that should cleave the orc in two. Perhaps it would have too, if the orc did not manage to sidestep it completely.
Elisa, equally intent on engaging the orc, fells her third foe with a quick swipe of her greatsword and looks to find a way to navigate the Grease spell to attack Bash. Ruel lifts his hand and yells out a clipped arcane phrase and a burst of light pops in front of Bash, Dazing the powerful orc. Desperate to disable the crew’s spellcaster, the twice-repelled tough pulls a dagger free and hurls it at the wizard, but the agile entertainer ducks the thrown blade, which clatters down the dock harmlessly.
Dox fires another arrow from the deck of the Liralen, catching a thug through his stomach. Gasping, the man staggers out of the fray and back towards the ruined gate. Alexandre skillfully drives his thinblade into one of the remaining thugs, and then brutally gashed his dagger across the tough’s face, nearly felling him. A moment later he does fall, attempting a feeble attack against the deckhand that proves to be too much for him. Behind him, however, one of the men draws a dagger and leaps at Alexandre, and both fall back in a grapple, until the man sinks his dagger in beneath Alexandre’s ribs, causing the deckhands eyes to go wide as he twists the weapon cruelly.
"Rest easy now, mate." The tough spits in Alexandre’s face before yanking his dagger free, leaving him bleeding and near death.
Loki grimaces as he catches Alexandre’s fall out of the corner of his eye. Only himself, Elisa, Dox and Ruel are left standing. But the wizard had given him another chance to bring down the orc, and he intends to take it. Driving his greataxe into the orc’s side, he delivers a powerful strike that should cut any man in two, yet somehow the orc manages to not only stay in one piece, but also keep his feet and keep in the fight!
Elisa runs in to try and help finish the orc, but crosses the still active Grease effect cast by Ruel and she slips and falls, cursing. Only a moment later the Grease disappears entirely as Ruel levels his crossbow on the thug who felled Alexandre, shooting a bolt that catches him in the arm. He ignores the wound as he studies the massive half-giant facing down Bash.
Both Loki and the orc now face each other with great axes whirling in heavy arcs. Out of the corner of his eye, Loki catches sight of the thug leaping at him, forcing him to disturb the rhythm of his weapon. Catching the thug with the haft of his axe, he easily repels the clumsy attack. But Bash seizes the opening and drives his axe into the chest of the half-giant. The attack appears to be overpowering, but somehow seems to barely affect the massive warrior, and little blood seeps from the wound. Loki only smiles grimly and starts the deadly whirl of his axe anew.
One of the toughs slips past the ferocious melee and jabs at Ruel with his blade, stabbing the wizard in the shoulder but failing to cause him serious injury. Elisa, finally retaking her feet, steps in and drives her greatsword in a powerful slash that breaks the orc’s skull, killing him outright. Ruel runs behind Elisa and Loki, intent on keeping both fighters between him and his foe, but his effort is unnecessary, as with Bash down the three remaining foemen run from the scene. Elisa catches up to the most injured one, popping him across the skull with the pommel of her blade and knocking him unconscious, as the other two escape.
The dock is silent for a moment, until the pounding of footsteps announces the arrival of the watch and members of the House Lyrandar guard.
Last edited by PhoenixAsh; Saturday, 11th December, 2004 at 03:19 PM.
Wednesday, 8th December, 2004, 03:55 PM #7
Novice (Lvl 1)
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Philadelphia, PA
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ø Block dravot
Thanks for the Eberrony goodness.
"And once again, tithing is 10% off the top. That's gross income, not net. Please people, don't force us to audit. Now I'm going to pass this around a second time. Brother Ned, you'll do the honors." - Reverend T. Lovejoy
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Friday, 10th December, 2004, 01:22 PM #8
Novice (Lvl 1)
Update #4: The Liralen Departs Stormhome
The morning dawns bright and clear on Stormhome, and the docks are filled with crowds of spectators wishing the airship Liralen well on its departure. Ravien D’Lyrandar delivers a short but stirring speech on the future of the vessel and the quality of her crew. The ship departs from its dock and begins its first voyage without any further mishap.
Most of the crowd watching her depart knows nothing of the attack in the middle of the night, but by the end of the day it will be yet another rumor surrounding the mystery of the airship. Even the authorities are not sure whether the attack was simple vandalism or if the orc and his men had other motives. Questioning the survivors has shed little light on the matter.
Ravien’s first stop, after the ceremonies are complete and attending to the important necessities of welcoming the first group of distinguished passengers aboard his airship, is to visit the healing bay, where he has asked that all of the men and women who defended the Liralen gather to be checked out once more by the ship’s healers and to thank them personally.
He shares a nod with Vijaya d’Jorasco and her son Grelyn, both checking over each of the injured crew once more, particularly Audric and Alexandre, who suffered the worst at the hands of the attackers. Fortunato too is present, repaired by Levic, the ship’s artificer, and in full working order. Vijaya is a veteran of The Last War and her experience was invaluable last evening in preventing any of the badly injured crew from dying. Though angry at the attack, Ravien is pleased that his particular care in selecting this crew has already been well worth the extra effort.
“Along with my thanks for protecting the Liralen, I would like to present each of you with a half-share of the worth of the items recovered the attackers last evening. As agreed, in addition to your wages, any special actions or assignments will be rewarded in this fashion. When you are cleared by the Jorascos, please see to your duties.”
The small group sets about dividing the reward, while Ravien moves to the command deck, to prepare for their passage through the turbulent winds towards Scion Sound, and then to navigate hopefully less turbulent conversation with Adal ‘ir Wynarn, prince of Aundair.
As the sun reaches its peak the ship draws towards the sheltering cliffs that form the opening to Scions Sound, where the winds are calmer. Passengers drift from their cabins to the deck of the Liralen, enjoying the sunlight and the view. Galifarian era ruins stand atop the edge of the cliff faces, an ancient reminder of more stable times in Khorvaire. Alexandre and Fortunato, carrying silver trays of food and drink, meander among the elite of Khorvaire and the ship’s two entertainers, including the recently healed Ruel, perform on the royal deck where Brelish nobles dine by invitation of the Prince of Aundair.
Ravien relaxes on the royal deck with the Prince, engaging in idle small talk. Adal, however, seems to have more interest in keeping to his thoughts, and Ravien is happy to give him peace to do so. The Master Windwright has little doubt as to why the Warlord of Aundair is present on the trip. Adal has asked pointed questions as to the ships armament and military capabilities, questions coated in a veneer of curiosity, and hidden in a slew of other non-related issues; but Ravien is very aware of the prince’s design. He wonders if anyone else senses the fleet of airborne warships reflected in Adal’s eyes.
No Dragon-marked House would ever consider siding so obviously with any of the nations of Khorvaire, but all of the nations jockeyed for any possible advantage in the fragile peace since the last war, and the royalty of Aundair is by far the worst of the lot. Ravien sighs and let’s his attention be captured by his handpicked crew.
He smiles as his performers garner a round of applause from the gathered nobles, the rivalry between the two of them has kept both of them working at their peak, each attempting to display their superiority over the other. He may have to talk to the steward about Alexandre’s appearance, however, as the crewman still has an unsavory, piratical look even arrayed in the ship’s uniforms. Nonetheless, his deftness and innate grace in clearing plates from around the passengers makes him well suited to waiting tables. Ravien is pleased with his crew’s flexibility, considering he never hired them on with the primary purpose of waiting tables.
The warforged cook seems to be a hit with the Brelish nobles, and when asked why he left the kitchens, informs them that he is enjoying the fresh air. They start debating between each other whether or not a living construct can truly enjoy fresh air and other creature comforts in the same way most humanoids can.
Fortunato, is not paying attention to them, however. Looking over the railing, he points out something to some of the crew on the lower deck. Curious, Ravien and Adal both rise and move to the rail to see what he is indicating.
“What do you see there Fortunato?”
“Look there, at the top of those cliffs. Figures are firing arrows at us. I believe they are skeletons.”
Ravien’s eyebrows raise but squinting he can make out the figures, just as Fortunato indicates. “You have good eyes, well-marked. It is almost laughable, even if the arrows could damage our hull we are far out of their range.”
“What about a little target practice with the siege weapons?” Ruel gets an approving response for his suggestion from the nobles, and Ravien almost glares at the entertainer, as he sees Adal nodding at the suggestion.
“I think we can pay them no mind, they are no threat to the Liralen.”
Beside him, Adal finally breaks his silence. “I thought you said this was an expedition ship Ravien, and these skeletons may not be a threat to you, but they might disrupt water-bound vessels traveling the Scion.” The Prince’s words are almost a challenge and it is a moment before he softens his tone and adds, “Besides, I would like to see the ship in action.”
Ravien has to suppress a groan, as the last thing he wants to do is feed the growing delusions Adal has of a Lyrandar airship fleet for his armies. Weighing his options, he decides on a more palatable alternative to an outright bombardment. He nods to Adal, “Very well then, we can proceed to the observation room and I’ll show you this ship’s most powerful asset.” Turning from the disturbing gleam in Adal’s eyes, Ravien shouts out to his crew. “I want some volunteers for a surface excursion to stop those skeletons!”
“I will go.” The warforged cook volunteers quietly from beside them both.
“And I will go!” The boom of the half-giant Loki’s voice, working on the lower decks as he hefts his massive greataxe, catches everyone’s attention.
“My particular talents are not well suited towards the extermination of skeletons, I will remain behind.” Ruel answers smoothly. Nearby Kashandi shows interest and with an icy glare at the wizard announces, “I’m going.” Ruel rolls his eyes, causing her to bristle as she storms off below decks.
Soon the bard, the cook, the deckhand and two of the guards are taking one of the smaller elemental-powered craft down towards the cliff-side ruins. Watching them go from the deck, Alexandre crosses over to Ruel and asks the wizard, “Just what is it between you and her anyways?”
Friday, 10th December, 2004, 03:40 PM #9
Heh he, my favorite update so far! But I guess I know more about what's coming. Thanks for doing this PhoenixAsh! It's certainly giving me a reason to stop by the boards every morning, catch up on the storyhour, browse around and get more evil ideas to throw at the crew!
A Dundjinni map of the ruins:
Last edited by Micah; Sunday, 12th December, 2004 at 05:03 AM.
Saturday, 11th December, 2004, 03:11 PM #10
Novice (Lvl 1)
Interlude: About Two Weeks Ago in Stormhome
And thank you Micah for all your help with this and the maps you have been providing.
And thank you everyone who is reading!
Before going to the ruins, a brief visit into Ruel's past and how he first became acquainted with Kashandi:
Ruel Dunnanne enjoys his performance tonight at the Redmoon Hospice, just one day after arriving in Stormhome. After the trials of the trip from his home in Fairhaven and the subsequent interview at House Lyrandar’s castle, here he has a chance to relax and enjoy the company and comfort of a good inn. It has been a hard road but things are looking up. He has a solid job prospect aboard the latest and most lavish Lyrandar airship, the Liralen, as well as new companions, perhaps even friends, and a bright, vibrant city that loves his singing, dancing and spellcasting.
He lingers in the main hall at the end of his routine, soaking up compliments like a sponge and making pleasant small talk with patrons and staff alike, both noble and common. Flitting from one conversation to the next with natural ease, he cultivates his audience to encourage them to seek out his next performance. Some of the gathered here may be boarding the Liralen in a few weeks after all!
When he finally does retire he makes his way down to the basement, navigating amidst a warren of orphans the Vidaris have generously housed at their inn with the bulk of their profits. An increasingly crowded and confined warren, Ruel decides. He doubts that many more could be housed here comfortably. Thankfully the Vidaris, the proprietors of the Hospice, have given him a comfortable private room and board so long as he performs for them a few hours every night. However, when he opens the door he does not find himself alone.
“Nice performance Olerude. I hear you’re out to do your family proud now.”
An old friend of an old enemy, Paramyx Vathirae, is just about the most unwelcome sight the entertainer could see. Ruel had personally experienced his ruthless torments as a lad, and he was not at all sad the day Paramyx had moved out of his home city.
"Paramyx," Ruel manages to answer the greeting casually with an effort. He conceals his flinch at the use of his own full name, knowing it would only encourage the elf before him. The only people who use Ruel’s full name are members of his family, as he never gives it to any of his many acquaintances.
“If I had known you were coming I would have tidied up the place for you. You know, swept the floor, fluffed the pillows, put a better lock on the door. I am glad you enjoyed the dance, but I assume that you did not break into my room to compliment me.”
"Break in!" Paramyx laughs, "The security around here is reserved for guests. They could have more I suppose, but the Vidari's tend to throw their profits to the orphans maws. And no I haven't come to compliment you, just to . . . rekindle . . . family ties. We've come a long ways since childhood, you have your skills and I have mine.
I thought you might want some information I have about those that you will be competing against tomorrow?"
“What sort of information are you talking about?” Ruel asks cautiously.
“Let’s just say that I want to see a member of our family to make it to certain… heights.” Paramyx grins and leans forward. “The performers you are competing against have been around – some of them for a few days – some of them for a month. I know who they are and can give you a good idea of what you’re up against.”
“I do appreciate the gesture Paramyx, it is a wonderful opportunity is it not? Can any of these performers boast enough skill to best me?”
Paramyx’s grin grows slowly as he watches Ruel, as if remembering certain childhood tortures that he participated in. His gaze and oily sweet tone is not lost on the entertainer, who stiffens uncomfortably under it while the elf describes a succession of acts competing for the prized posts aboard the Liralen. None of them strike the entertainer as a particular threat to beat him out, until Paramyx comes to the last one.
“Kashandi Navoestra. She’s the one you’re going to watch out for. She’s got a better voice than you, plays her instruments well and uses magic. Sometimes she just summons a flute to finish off her folk songs elegantly. She dances and does well at that. Less athletic than you, but more graceful. She’s a threat Olerude. But there are ways to get around threats if you know enough.”
Paramyx holds out a sheaf of parchment titled “The March of the White Arch Brigade,” a popular Aundarian war ballad and dance. Ruel is familiar with it and he sees notations in a flowing script written on the margins of the piece as he takes the parchment. His eyes catch the words “Ghost Sound” in those margins before Paramyx starts talking again.
“It’s her capstone performance. The one she’s been holding back for tomorrow night. . . .” He grins conspiratorially, “ But you go first. ”
Sunday, 12th December, 2004, 10:31 AM #11
Ahh yes, Paramyx.
heh he - you gotta wonder about an NPC that was named after a disease that rats get.
Last edited by Micah; Sunday, 12th December, 2004 at 10:33 AM.
Monday, 13th December, 2004, 08:00 PM #12
Novice (Lvl 1)
Interlude Part 2
Ruel considers the implications for a moment. If he performs the piece he holds in his hands before Kashandi does, it will spoil her act completely, but he quickly dismisses the idea. Stealing Kashandi’s act would be quite rude, but more important; it would deny him the challenge of outperforming this talented bard. After all, as good as she may be, she cannot have the disciplined, lifelong training that he has. Silently, he resolves to craft a performance that all of Stormhome will never forget.
But first he must deal with Paramyx.
“I trust this is a copy and Kashandi will not miss this parchment, Paramyx? Ravien is already... somewhat suspicious of our family and he would be quick to act on those suspicions of foul play, to our disadvantage.
But what can you tell me about the guests tomorrow, do you know anything about the crew of the Deline, who will be attending? What their particular interests might be when it comes to performance?
And where can I find a Disguise Self scroll in town? If I wish to best her performance, I may have need of it.”
Paramyx’s grin fades at the response. His eyes bore into the half-elf, suspicion written across his features.
“Ravien is suspicious of everyone. He’s not a trustworthy man and will play others to his own advantage. The Deline is a freighter out of Otharaunt carrying a cargo of Orla-un wine. It’s headed to Thaliost or Flamekeep where they can charge a premium for the wine. Ravien wants to talk them out of their cargo. He’ll be able to sell it for much more in Scarn. Captain Emris is known to drive a hard bargain. Some have said he has more merchant’s blood than seaman’s coursing through his veins. As to their particular interests – they’re normal seamen on their first layover in two months - I wouldn’t suggest catering to their interests, besides Kashandi is female and you aren’t. Ravien has already scratched most performances with that type of overtone anyways. Outside of that I doubt you’ll find music that caters to their superstitions and wild sea stories.
Your best chance is to upstage Kashandi – throw her off by performing her own number. She’ll have to scrap up something else unpracticed. What do you want the scroll for anyways?”
Ruel leans against the doorframe as he responds, “If I am to upstage Kashandi, I will need to use every resource to best her performance. While I certainly am not going to try and make myself into a sex object, there is certain... costuming that I think will be important.
Besides I can cast more spells than she, do you not agree that I should take advantage of this fact?”
Ruel shrugs nonchalantly and plucks the parchment in one hand, studying it a bit further and musing almost to himself, keeping his voice just loud enough for Paramyx to hear. “Of course, I can always ask someone at the inn, it is no trouble if you do not know of anyone.”
Paramyx’s eyes widen and then narrow into tight slits. Any self-respecting elf of their family prides themselves on their ability to know their location in and out. Ruel knew his barb would be enough to distract Paramyx from his argument, at least for the moment.
“You can get them best price in town at the Shard Shop – 25gp.” He grinds out, “If you can wait till noon tomorrow I can get it to you for even less.”
“I am short on liquid assets at the moment, perhaps you could make a trade for me?” Ruel reaches into his pack and retrieve a vial of a black liquid of acidic fire, handing it to the elf. “Noon tomorrow would be fine, of course. If you can get a good deal and come out with some extra gold, we can split the profits.
But I must prepare for tomorrow Paramyx, if you do not mind...”
Paramyx glares steadily at him for several moments before slowly rising and walking out of his room. Ruel slams the door behind him and lets out a long held breath.
The next day both Ruel and Kashandi performed different pieces, and while it is still hotly debated whose performance was better, by most accounts Ruel’s was the most exceptional out of the pair. Both of them, were accepted as entertainers onboard the Liralen, a third performer eschewed given their talent. Every training exercise the pair were involved in resulted in escalating attempts to outshine the other and their rivalry flared to a head again a week later, when Kashandi’s act was widely considered to be better at a benefit concert held by the Vidari’s to build a new orphanage. The competition had not ceased with the Liralen’s departure from Stormhome, as of course he aided in the defense of the ship last night and now…
…And now, Kashandi is once again trying to top him by defeating a handful of skeletons. Ironic that their relationship had soured when he had not even used the advantage Paramyx tried to give him. Ruel’s smile is unreadable as he answers Alexandre’s question.
“Oh, just a friendly rivalry, that is all.”
Saturday, 18th December, 2004, 07:44 AM #13
heh heh ahem ah yes well, I'll let that one lie for the time being.
Kashandi is one of the few NPC's that I've actually drafted a backstory for. She's rather . . . complex . . . .
competitive . . . .
beautiful. . . .
moody. . . .
oh yeah I can think of a whole string of adjectives to describe Shandi.
A visual of the Liralen's bard. The picture is painted by Jonathan Earl Bowser, who has some very nice pieces.
This is Kashandi in the middle of one of her performances. Recently, she has taken more and more to blending magic into her acts. It seems there is another performer aboard the Liralen using such trivialities to enhance his natural abilities.
Did someone mention a "friendly rivalry"?
(I think the bubbles in the picture are originally meant to represent worlds, however for my purposes I'd probably place it as the effect of a dancing lights spell.)
Sunday, 19th December, 2004, 02:29 PM #14
Novice (Lvl 1)
Update #7: Descent into Ruin or Ruins...
Fortunato glances back towards the Liralen as they fly out in a small pinnace, air elemental-powered airboats, towards the ruins below. Some of the passengers cheer, some wave, and some shout encouragements. Looking at the four crewmen and the pilot in the boat with him, he can almost imagine this as an assault from The Last War.
He represses an odd sensation he feels must be akin to a shudder.
Fortunato inspects his borrowed warhammer, a reassuring weight in his hands. Beside him, Loki checks the bladed edges of his great axe. No other weapon onboard is large enough to suit the half-giant, and Loki is quite certain of the weapons effectiveness, even against the skeletons below. Both of the day-shift guards have maces and shield at the ready, shifting anxiously, while Kashandi at the rear of the craft is looking downright pale. The pilot is fixed on the controls, maneuvering the craft so they are covered from the skeleton’s missile fire by the cliffs as they fly towards the ruins.
Fortunato raises his shield and moves out of the small craft as soon as it lands, running forward as quickly as he can over the rubble. He is certain that he is best suited to receiving the brunt of the attacks from the skeletons bows, and two arrows do indeed break harmlessly against his tower shield. The pilot had maneuvered the craft perfectly to avoid attack as they descended, and he is now ducked behind the controls as the small party moves to confront the group of undead.
Both guards leap out of the craft and move up beside him, at the base of a ruined set of stairs. More arrows fly out and one pierces the armor of the guard to his right, a half-elf by the name of Kyrjet, staining the Lyrandar crest on his tunic with his own blood.
Loki moves in behind the three of them, while Kashandi runs up against one of the ancient stone walls of the structure. Swallowing a lump in her throat, she begins to sing. An inspiring ballad, Fortunato feels himself bolstered by the music. Moving up the half-dozen steps, he whirls his warhammer and bashes the lead skeleton’s skull, shattering it as the skeleton collapses before him. Kyrjet and Tamblyn, the other guardswoman, move in to attack but fail to cause any harm as arrows pepper them. One skeleton nocks an arrow that bursts into flames, sailing into Kyrjet and searing the warrior who staggers under the assault. Tamblyn too has an arrow lodged into her leg and the wound is bleeding freely as she limps in to attack the undead archer.
Loki moves in and bones fly in all directions as his great axe cleaves into the closest skeleton, destroying it utterly. Kashandi keeps behind an outer wall, but maintains her singing as she steals quick glances at the fight above.
As he engages more skeletons, Kyrjet moves to try and cut down the skeleton with the flaming arrows, and a dangerous game of cat and mouse ensues as the skeleton backs away from the guardsman while nocking another arrow, and the guardsman flails desperately with his mace. Tamblyn takes another arrow in her shoulder and also struggles to connect with the skeleton, but Loki has no trouble, moving in and overpowering it with a solid blow.
A sharp cry catches Fortunato’s attention. Kyrjet has dropped his weapon. He keels over with an arrow lodged in his chest. Fortunato stares at the featureless face of the last skeleton, and for a moment neither makes a move. A bony hand shifts to pluck a feathered arrow as an adamantine foot crunches forward against broken flagstone.
Fortunato’s charge shatters the final skeleton before arrow touched bow. He yanks his warhammer free from the broken remains of its ribcage. Bending down, he picks up the skeleton’s quiver and his bow, examining both briefly. Prizes to be taken back to the ship and identified there. Behind him, Loki and Kashandi are already tending to the two guards’ injuries.
“You both got a hundred gold pieces! Those arrows are worth that much? Why did Kashandi get a share, she did not do anything!”
Fortunato is not sure why Ruel is yelling at him, but he hopesthat it has something to do with his rivalry with Kashandi, not displeasure at him personally. All of them have retired to their quarters.
“That’s not true, she did sing. It was… inspiring.” Loki booms from his bunk, while scraping a whetstone lovingly across the blade of his axe.
“Oh, it was inspiring was it? Well, perhaps next time when orcs or skeletons or whatever attack the ship you all can defend her and I will stay in my quarters and sing! Inspiring my ***!”
Ruel kicks his locker and storms out of the crew quarters with a noticeable limp.
Fortunato, Dox, Loki, Alexandre and Elisa watch each other for a few moments. Dox chortles then starts laughing, and soon they all are at the wizard’s expense.
Alexandre is the first to recover, grinning as he lies back on his bunk. “Friendly rivalry my ***.”
For what it is worth, it should be noted the rivalry between Kashandi and Ruel was born not only from the unswerving dedication of Micah to the task, but also the cooperation of the dice.
Our first session our DMs set up several 'training exercises', obstacle courses for some, cooking contests for another, and a performance for one other. I believe the die result after modifiers for Ruel was 30, and for Kashandi it was 29.
Naturally, Ruel had to gloat just a bit, and thus a friendly rivalry was born.
Last edited by PhoenixAsh; Sunday, 19th December, 2004 at 02:39 PM.
Tuesday, 21st December, 2004, 02:58 PM #15
I remember those die rolls. . . .
I also remember the performances - someday PhoenixAsh'll have to post the description of what Ruel pulled off. Needless to say his players "creativity" certainly came into play.
I also remember the last training exercise - having the group clear out rats from the lower levels of Lyrandar castle. Ruel and Kashandi both cast sleep spells on a roomfull of the vermin. After a quick tally of the results I believe Ruel's comment was "My magics better, just like my dancing."
Poor Ruel, the situation got more interesting as at the end of the exercise he tried to hit on the bard. But I shan't spoil the reaction - I'll leave it to PhoenixAsh to write-up sometime. I'm enjoying the posts!
Last edited by Micah; Tuesday, 21st December, 2004 at 03:43 PM.
Tuesday, 21st December, 2004, 04:37 PM #16
Novice (Lvl 1)
Update #8: An Unwelcome Stowaway
Last update until the New Year... Happy Holidays and thanks to everyone reading.
And yeah well... let's just say it takes a lot of 20+ diplomacy rolls to make up for putting your foot in your mouth as a first impression. I still haven't rolled enough for Ruel to really recover with Kashandi. Life lesson there I'm sure...
Zem rests on the sacks of dried fruit. He can feel the dampness on his forehead as sweat melts into the burlap. The heady scent of apricots, raisins, bananas, and dates swim around him as he lets his breathing calm. This last venture into the populated areas of the ship had cost him. He lies unmoving, listening intently for the sounds of a search.
It had been a gamble; he'd known interaction with the crew would be, but he thought he should chance it. The scorpedes are so close to hatching now. If the Prince of Aundair is going to the performance at the Keep, he could use the time to sneak the hatchlings into the room and hide there and the only way to find out had been to ask.
He feels good about his many guises. He had studied a red bearded sailor and the bo’sun, now crewmen onboard, at the contests on the docks, as well as while they were working. The Warforged cook had not suspected a thing when he got extra helpings of food to supplement what he pilfered from the hold, and the half-giant had assumed him merely to be drunkard when he found him earlier in the cargo bay.
Even the night-shift guard woman had not suspected him when he scouted out the royal deck outside Prince Adal’s quarters, posing as the guard captain. He smiles, reflecting on the many vulnerable points of entry. The quarters obviously are built for lavishness and comfort, not security. When he discovered the off-ship performance, he decided the best way to confirm whether or not the prince would attend was to approach the half-elf performer in the guise of the bard. He had watched her perform several times in Stormhome so he could impersonate her movements.
But even though he'd studied her motions and the tenor of her voice, something went wrong. He'd thought that it would be easy to approach her fellow entertainer with his questions, but something had tipped him off. He recognized the uncertainty in the half-elf's eyes, the sudden questions about the ground excursion: something about skeletons they had encountered? Hastily he made up an answer about killing a half dozen of them and just as hastily he beat a retreat as the look in the performer's eyes deepened noticeably. He had heard him pursuing with some other crew, but he had lost them quickly before they could pick up his trail.
It had not been the first part of his plan to go wrong either. He had convinced Bash to make it onboard as one of the deckhands, where the orc could smuggle him onboard discreetly, and later he could impersonate Bash as he scouted the airship. Zem sighs as he thinks of all the time he had to endure the orc’s company as he got to know him, all wasted. He probably would have killed him and dumped his body overboard anyways, but Bash had faltered in even getting onboard, so he had improvised a simpler plan, attack the ship with a group Last War veterans, down on their luck. Such people are always easy to find, even in Stormhome, scraping for a living. There are always a few who can be persuaded to risk nearly any task, if it has a chance to make them rich. He has to admit, at the critical moment, it was probably Bash’s dumb rage that had inspired the group to fight so effectively while he slipped onboard, invisible.
Now, it is down to him. He is in a good position, as there is access to many different places in the ship from this hold, and it is less likely that he will be boxed in should someone find him. He may not be perched in the Prince’s quarters, but he also has potions of Invisibility and Fly. He holds the black leather bag closely, soon to be full of the hatched, poisonous scorpedes. It should only be a few hours more and then the Prince will be dead.
Tuesday, 21st December, 2004, 07:55 PM #17
Novice (Lvl 1)
Argh, that is one he-double-hockey-sticks of a way to leave things. I have to say, I am truly enjoying the Eberron storyhours that are being posted to the boards, with this one and the Schema stories being my absolute favorites. I look forward to reading more when you pick back up after the first.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you as well.
R. Scott "Boss" Roberts
Running World of Turinth - History Awakens
Wednesday, 22nd December, 2004, 09:40 PM #18
Airship Deck Plans
Well, I shan't do a thing to relieve that wonderful cliff-hanger, but I can post some game maps while PhoenixAsh is on vacation.
The inspiration for the ship came directly from the Eberron Campaign Setting on page 125. The picture by Mark Tedin also set the scale for our airship since there were human sized figures on the decks.
310 feet from stem to stern and roughly 9.5 levels gave us a lot of room to play with. I'll try to post a "deck a day"
The topview of the ship.
Wednesday, 22nd December, 2004, 11:13 PM #19
Novice (Lvl 1)
Yeah, I saw the full thing on the Dundjinni boards. I am going to nab it tomorrow when I get access to a fast connection (living in the wilds of Texas has it's disadvantages, like dial-up only). You did a magnificent job on the ship design, my hat is off to you!
R. Scott "Boss" Roberts
Running World of Turinth - History Awakens
Friday, 24th December, 2004, 01:13 AM #20
Thanks! I find mapping only slightly less addictive than gaming!
The helm and crows nest. - They do count as a level although not a whole lot of floorspace here. Directly under the helm is a low area with a cot for resting and a desk with various navigation tools (navigation room). The area is primarily used by the windwrights on duty, but can be used as a guard station to protect the helm if the ship were faced with an attack.
The elemental support is scalable, though not without some balance checks.
Under the navigation area is another low hall area which has several shelves of maps and scrolls. The hall exits to the aft battle deck which has a couple of light ballista and catapults.
The second tallest superstructure on the ship would be the tavern which is perched above the rest of the passenger areas. While the tavern is frequented by the Liralen's guests, the storage loft often plays host to crew members who enjoy a roll of dice or a couple hands of cards.
Last edited by Micah; Friday, 24th December, 2004 at 01:26 AM.