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D&D 5E 5th Edition and Cormyr: Flexing My Idea Muscle and Thinking Out Loud

Jeremy E Grenemyer

What Was Old Ostra Up To?

Ostramagarus the merchant has retired to Waymoot, in Cormyr.

1. How did he make his coins?

By anticipating shortages of goods and being first to market to end the shortage.

Later in his merchant career he began to engineer short-term shortages of goods, then swooped in with his own carts full of the hard-to-find item, which was sold at a premium.

2. How was he first to market?

He used trade agents ("factors") to find and hire adventurers, rangers, and explorers to plumb the wilds on either side of a major trade road within a few days ride from a settlement, in order to find abandoned towers, farmsteads, simple "four square" keeps and other ruins.

3. How did he use these locations?

Ostra's factors paid handsomely for the ruins to be thoroughly explored, cleared out of dangers and mapped.

The factors hired sellswords to work as guards at these locations and paid them to keep safe goods that Ostra anticipated the nearby settlement would soon run short of (and later, goods that he caused a settlement to run out of by buying up all the goods himself).

4. Did the guards stay after the goods they watched over were picked up and sold?

No. The guards were paid to haul the goods to the trade road, load them onto waiting wagons and for escort to the nearby settlement. Once in town their term of service was complete.

5. What did Ostra sell?

Anything and everything, including monsters.

6. Where did he find monsters to sell?

Most of them were bred by followers of Malar in Cormyr, where such breeding is allowed (and strictly regulated by the Crown).

7. Did Ostra keep monsters himself?

Yes and no. Ostramagarus never kept monsters as pets or as guardians of his personal residences (he called more than one location home, having purchased rooms in Cormyr and Sembia, and in the free city of Elversult south of the Dragon Coast), but he did instruct his factors to release recently-purchased monsters into the ruins he used to temporarily hold goods.

8. How were the beasts kept from slaying the guards of Ostra's goods?

For a stiff fee, Malarite breeders can train certain lair-dwelling monsters to obey a few one-word commands.

Ostra's sellswords needed only to deliver the goods to the now monster-guarded ruin, and the beast (or beasts) living their did the work of guarding the goods while the sellswords camped nearby.

9. Were the monsters left behind?

Yes, to act as guardians of the ruin when it wasn't being used.

10. So now that Ostra is retired...

Ostra chose to retire abruptly. He gave no warning to his factors, though many of them had served him for a decade and more. When word arrived, some factors chose to retire as well (after selling Ostra's goods and property under their control, keeping the coins paid for it all) while others chose to take over Ostra's business in whatever city they were based. Ostra had renounced his claim to all that he owned save for what resided in Cormyr, and he left the factors beyond Cormyr's borders to sort things out among themselves.

Ostra's operation had grown such that he had wagons, horses, proper warehouses filled with stored goods waiting to go to market, and numerous hideaways (his word for the monster guarded ruins). Only a handful of hideaways were in Cormyr proper. He kept at least eight hideaways in Sembia, and at least a score of hideaways near the Trader's Road (in the space stretching from Teziir in the east to Iriaebor in the west).

Of the sellswords, some chose to abandon the goods they'd been hired to watch over when no one came to fetch them from the nearby trade road. Others chose to open the goods-filled crates in order to take whatever they could as additional payment, then discovered too late that the "watch beasts" were trained to ignore commands to hold in place when a crate was opened, and to attack and slay crate-openers. Some sellswords tried to turn the hideaways into forts for their own use. A few have succeeded, while others fell prey to traps put in place by Ostra's factors (the valuables protected by those traps left untouched).
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Jeremy E Grenemyer

So, Who Spied On Ostramagarus? Who Were His Rivals? Who Betrayed Him? Some Ideas...

  1. A dragon or two. Mayhap a dragon directed its human servants to use Ostra's hideaways for its own purposes. Perhaps these hideaways were enhanced with yet more monsters teleported in by the dragon. Or maybe a dragon left clues for Ostra's factors to find, so that a potential hideaway could be discovered, when in fact the place had already been cleared of dangers and otherwise "tamed" by the dragon's servants, with the idea of using Ostra's monsters and minions to help secure things the dragon wanted kept secret--such things likely secured below ground and accessible via secret entrances or by short range linked teleportation (such paltry magics have been mastered by many dragons of the Realms).
  2. Ostra's own factors. The hideaways were great places to hide things and people. Maybe one or two of his factors used the hideaways for safekeeping of their own valuables. As well the evidence of their misdeeds.
  3. The Cult of the Dragon. That bunch has always been trouble in Elversult/Teziir. Perhaps the sellswords used by Ostra's factors to haul goods and guard them at hideaways ended up revealing the location of a couple of hideaways to the Cult after the sellswords became converts.
  4. The Crown of Cormyr. I don't know if Ostramagarus was Cormyrean, but I'm sure he would have helped the Crown out if it needed a bolthole for a spy to lay low in somewhere beyond Cormyr's borders (offering one of his hideaways as a place for a spy to disappear to in exchange for a favor to be named later).
  5. Nobles, be they Sembian or Cormyrean. Ostra was not afraid to hurl insults at Cormyrean nobles (see "Elminster Must Die," page 68 [softcover] for an example). No doubt he had his friends and his foes among the nobility. Ostra could have offered his services to enable a noble to punish a merchant or a master of a merchant coster by using Ostra to effect a market shortage and hamper the merchant's business.
  6. Anyone he might have sold a hideaway to. Perhaps Ostra rebuilt one of the foursquare keep ruins, stocked it with obedient guardian monsters, and sold the whole thing off to a wizard or mercenary captain, or to an exiled noble as "a safe place from which to rebuild."

Jeremy E Grenemyer

If you are a player or Dungeon Master in need of Cormyrean surnames for a character or NPC, or if you are a DM in need of a War Wizard name to give to an NPC, I've started a list of such things on the EN World wiki.

The list content is drawn from official sources. I will update these lists from my Excel spreadsheets as time permits.

I hope to add lists of different courtier names (and court titles), highknight names, and so on to the wiki, time permitting.

Roster of War Wizards

Cormyrean Surnames

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Hello EN Worlders,

The pandemic has hit everyone hard. It's certainly hit me in the wallet--I've noticed my DMs Guild sales have gone down this year.

Pretty sure other people's wallets are a little thinner, too.

So, I've decided to make all of my Cormyr products on the DMs Guild free.

We might not have as much money to spend, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have fun.


Jeremy E Grenemyer

No doubt some of you are aware of the village of Wormtower, in Cormyr. A place so named for a ruin in the village center, one comprised of the bones of a long dead dragon, the bones of an equally long dead wizard, the cracked and broken remnants of stone pillars and rubble, and magical treasures that lay exposed to the elements.

Potent wards guard the ruin. Wards of the sort that blast you with lightning if you get too close. So powerful are these bolts that shutters rattle in their frames throughout the village each time the wards obliterate a would-be treasure seeker.

An even more sinister protection lays in wait. The villagers have observed treasure seekers transformed into a creature or plant that disappears in a flash of magic a moment later, the instant a seeker steps past the boundary ward.

Most bards of the Heartlands can tell you something about every piece of visible treasure that lay within the Wormtower ruin thanks to Alassra Bowhunt, Bard Wayward of Scornubel, who penned a ballad titled "Once Around The Dragon's Bones" in the Year of the Turret (1360 DR).

A sample of her lyrics follows:

There a dagger and there a sword.
A pair together matched.
Who can say where or when
The plot to forge them hatched?

A shattered wing of the dragon
Gives the blades some shade.
In return the blades tell stories;
Taking lives their stock and trade.

Should a warrior take them up
What would the blade eyes think?
For a pair of eyes rides the blades;

They look but never blink.

More lyrics accompanied by magic item descriptions and game mechanics can be found in Issue #5 of Eye on Cormyr (on the DMs Guild website), which I'm working away at and hope to release this year.

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Some years ago I had an idea for a ballad about the death of Lord Woodbrand, once a King's Lord of Waymoot in Cormyr. He was beloved by his people, kept the peace by means of his wisdom and his prodigious strength. His death brought the place low and Waymoot hasn't really recovered since.

(See post #94 in this thread for a bit more about Waymoot in Woodbrand's absence.)

Here's a snippet of song I wrote up, edited and changed a bit.

The trolls are green
The trolls are blue.
They all bleed
The same.

The trolls are red
The trolls are white.
They have
Tiny brains.

The trolls were black
That flew the tower.
Lord Woodbrand
Racked with pain.

They took his head
From his shoulders.
Left his body
engulfed in flame.

Never did the Dragons find
The head of their King’s Lord.
Never did a King appoint
A leader so adored.

The trolls they howled
into the wood.
Their trophy
dripping blood.

The Dragons chased
through the night.
In the dark and
In the mud.

In Waymoot town
the people mourned.
Seeds of sadness
in hearts were sown.

It’s strength renewed, the
Troll King roared.
Woodbrand’s head
Adorned it's throne.

Never did the Dragons find
The head of their King’s Lord.
Never did a King appoint
A leader so adored.
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