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  #1  
Old 05-22-2019, 11:46 PM
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Prologue: Along the Triboar Trail

They had kept up a brisk pace for the past few days on their way towards this secret cavern Sildar had told them about. The road is well travelled and has generally been safe. Wooded areas have been visible to their left throughout the trip, and on occasion the road had gone through them for short patches. Yesterday morning the range of hills to their South first became visible, and they have grown closer as the group makes their approach.

Sildar draws his horse to a halt and turns his furrowed brow to the ragtag group he had recruited in Neverwinter. "Another day or so and we will be there. But we must take the Triboar Trail. Not as safe as the main road, so keep your eyes pealed."

Sildar Hallwinter is as stiff as a board, and has been poor company, to say the least, these past few days. Still, if what he said at the Inn is true, there is a good chance they are on the verge of making the haul of their lifetime...

At the Inn...
"Thank you all for responding to my request. I want to take a few minutes to fill you in on the details before we set off in the morning. Your meals and lodgings tonight are on me. I'll even toss in one drink, but no more than that, because we must leave early in the morning."

A stiff dry chap if there ever was one. He has assembled this group in a private room at the Inn to avoid any prying eyes. That alone is enough to mark him as a man of some means or authority. The kind of person who it's worth listening to even if he is tedious. There's money to be made here.

"As you all know, orcs and dwarves have had a history of not getting along well together. Maybe some of them have done better recently, but we all know how it used to be. One of the great wars between these two peoples left a magical mine vacated, a story I'm sure some of you have heard about. Well, as it turns out, I know the location of this magical mine and would like to hire you to investigate it for me."

He looks about the room to take stock of the situation, see if everyone is still interested.

"Is there danger in this? Yes, of course. I don't know how great, but I'm sure you are all quite confident in your abilities. The Rockseeker brothers have a claim on it, but they have all gone missing. I am partially seeking you out to fulfill an obligation to them. I believe one or more of them might be in the mine already and perhaps in desperate need of help."

At this point, his mood darkens a bit.

"But I would be remiss if I did not tell you the rest of the details that I know. We have reason to believe there is a malevolent force already in those mines. Someone calling themselves only "The Spider." Whoever this person is, they have enormous reach. They have recruited both ruffians and goblins to cover their trail. And it is on behalf of the people of Phandelver that I come, for this "Spider" has caused great trouble to our town. That trouble is past now, but if they are not dealt with, I'm sure it will come again."

"I know much of this because others like you have done quite a bit for our town already. But then they've gone and gotten themselves killed. So here I am looking for more help. So what say you adventurers? Will you accept my quest?"


He turns a weary face towards the few gathered in the room hoping for the best.


ooc
This is an introductory thread you can RP in while getting your characters finished. Feel free to respond with any of the following things:
-what your character is doing at the inn either before or after this speech.
-what your character is doing on the road as they travel for the first few days.
-what brought your character to Neverwinter in the first place.

I'd prefer to see RPing amongst yourselves. Have you been traveling together for awhile, or did this quest bring you together? Either is somewhat fine, though it would be good if there were some commonalities in your backgrounds prior to this event. If nothing else, use the few days of travel to establish some sort of comfort with each other before we get to the dungeon.

We'll start the game with the first encounter inside the cave, so if there's anything you want to have happen via RP before that, this is the thread to do it in. If people are interested, we could even have a random encounter along the way to get some experience with this group using the quick combat methods before it actually matters.
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2019, 10:46 AM
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Braum Jorim

Braum smiled at Sildar ahead of him on the road. It had been a tiring few days travelling alongside the human and his companions, but Braum had to admit the man had grown on him. He was laconic, and grim as the day is long, but growing up among mercenaries, it suited the Paladin.

His companions struck quite the image, as seen in the shocked faces of passing farmers and tradespeople. A Dragonborn, a Dwarf, a Deep Gnome and an Aarakocra walk into a bar... A grin split the dragonborn's face and he smiled a toothy grin at an awestruck human farmer. He'd come to trust Vesper and Nurion, largely through the bonds of battle. Of course, their manner and kindness had stuck with Braum, but it was their willingness to stand alongside each other and fight that made them companions. Kinship forged in battle-- it was irreplaceable in Braum's life, and Torm's gifts augmenting his combat prowess seemed all the affirmation he needed to continue adventuring.
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On the road, Braum had walked slowly but solidly, holding his greatsword on his shoulder, with his plate armor resting on its thick blade and large pommel. Vesper's song passed the time wonderfully, and Braum let his mind wander through each song. At the campfires of the Free Guard, his old mercenary company, song and stories were traded like coin, and the Dragonborn's appreciation of music ran deep. Nurion seemed to drink in the surrounding woods with those keen eyes of his, always mapping and studying. It was a reassuring trait of the dwarf's, one that Braum knew would save their skin time and again.

Peep was his usual, inscrutable self. Darting in and among the trees, walking watching the sky. The paladin smiled at his boon-companion, shaking his head at memories of daring clashes and adventures alongside the Deep Gnome. Where you go, I follow, old friend. He smiled at the old sentiment, and said a prayer of thanks to Torm for guiding him to Peep's liberation back when. A dangerous, changing path they were on-- but it was a path nonetheless. Along that path, Braum would find leaders, and laws, and peoples. Among them, he hoped to find one to serve. One to guide his blade for more than coin. One to please Torm and the ache for justice he so desperately sought.
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Braum Jorim in Wave Echo Cave
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Last edited by Smokefire12; 05-24-2019 at 10:48 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-25-2019, 05:43 AM
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Nurion VelvethammerNurion Velvethammer (of the Guild of Cartographers, Surveyors, and Mapmakers, though to a Dwarf the surname identifies him as such already) perches atop a craggy boulder around which the road bends. His stance is unusual: feet gripping the stone like a vise despite the polished leather boots; dark, velvet cloak swaddled neatly out of the way into a thin, buckled belt; and an unlikely assortment of ink, parchment, and quill balanced. Despite the wind, Nurion deftly keeps his accoutrement in firm control.

Balance in all, all in balance.

His head swivels one final revolution. Satisfied, he stows his custom cartographer's kit into the pack slung across his back; a clever eye may see spindly, stabilizing arms fold neatly against the partially-completed map of the region. Nurion glances at his party, legs tensing to spring. He blinks. "By the Ink and Compass, they REALLY have not made progress?!"

Nurion - a Hill Dwarf equipped with a Rope of Climbing - can be perhaps forgiven for thinking of his seat as a boulder. In reality, the landmark known as Karsus's Knuckle is a massive, red sandstone behemoth around which the road wends for nearly a mile in deference. High above the ground, with plain behind and hills ahead (for the Knuckle marks the traditional beginning of the range in these parts), Nurion relaxes for a moment, contemplating his companions.

At SeaVesper, the unusual Aarakocra, flies above the waves despite her bound and broken wings. "A more melancholy tale never untold," he intones into the rising wind. Nurion groans as his aching muscles protest against the rough, hempen rope tearing at his palms.

Strength in sacrifice, sacrifice in strength.

Vesper favors him with a rare almost-smile, assisting Nurion with the tricky penultimate loop of the sailor's knot. "A thousand gratitudes, my lady." The word "gratitudes" is punctuated by a final HEAVE! as Nurion sets the knot himself.

The Aarakocra's eyes betray a hint of mirth. "Come." she says, pointing upward.

"This is what you came for man, pull yourself together!" Knees trembling, Nurion blindly accepts her helping hand. Not daring to look anywhere but straight into the mast, an interminable time passes. Vesper kept a stream of encouragement, though Nurion only remembered her soothing tone afterward.

Finally! Nurion feels for the steady wall of the crow's nest, sea legs taxed by the swaying of the mast high in the air. His eyes squeeze tight, unwilling to open. A gentle pressure on his hand nearly sends him leaping into the aether! Yet, after a moment, strength flows through his veins. "I am not alone..."

The view! The sea, tumbling away as if off the edge of the world. The mountains, so crisp and close he could touch them! And the coastline, already perfectly to scale, ready to sketch, to chart...He turns to the savior beside him.

"You...I... ...thank you." Eloquence cannot convey all emotions.

Shaking his head, Nurion lifts his arms and spins, letting the currents of the sky envelop him. Smiling, he begins leaping down one outcropping at a time; his training has advanced since that day, but abilities were not the conqueror of his fear. Nurion thinks about Braum and Peep - "Good folk, once you get to know them. An unlikelier pair was never seen, even if you count my ma and pappy!"

Peep is, of course, unseen at the moment. "Would make a good subterranean Surveyor, though any cretin could tell you that." The Deep Gnome never volunteers much about his past, though Nurion is used to such reticence in his travels. His adept control of the flow of battle has impressed Nurion deeply.

Braum, on the other hand, could not be more conspicuous if he tried! The gruff, blue Dragonborn marches steadily, implacably. An exemplar of law and order - "Exactly as it should be! More should follow Braum's example." While normally Nurion would think Braum terse, compared to Peep the Dragonborn is downright garrulous! Nurion lands beside the road a few feet from the man, hailing him with a friendly greeting.

"Salutations, Braum! Good news, those storm clouds have moved to the West - we shall sleep dry tonight! Oh, and a caravan approaches, some four and a quarter miles distant. Twelve wagons, with outriders. We should let Peep know - if he does not already!" Nurion laughs deeply, falling in step, ignoring the faint strain tightening the corners of Braum's eyes. Seems to happen whenever Nurion chooses a conversation partner - been happening all his life, probably means nothing...
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:00 PM
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Peep made himself scarce while they were on the move. By this point, his companions were well used to his disappearing acts and had come to see it as just the gnome's way. It was not uncommon to be in mid-conversation with Papillius and turn to find that he was no longer listening or, indeed, present at all. When possible he moved through the brush that ran parallel to the convoy.

It was just his way. The world of the surface and sky was as fascinating to him as the day he first ascended with Braum and with his freedom. He had been to the surface many times while in service to the Lilac, but he failed to appreciate the smell of flowers while he remained a thrall.

When he notices that the others have stopped, he emerges from the bush in time to hear Nurion's report. "I...have seen no convoy approaching," the gnome says curiously, his airy voice lacking any challenge.

The dragonborn was rarely out of his sight, and when Peep saw anything unusual he signaled the paladin first. Mostly out of habit, as the gnome had found both Vesper and Nurion to be trustworthy and skilled companions. Papillius was much less skittish around the two now than he had been when they first met. When Vesper played on her reed instrument, Peep was never hard to find lingering nearby, listening in silence. They both had suffered at the hands of the drow and had shared as such. There was an...understanding of sorts between them now and Peep felt some tranquility in the aarakocra's presence.

As for Nurion, the cartographer seemed surprised and pleased every time Peep quietly asked about his maps. The horizon of the world was wider than Papillius had ever imagined and there was a worldliness to the dwarf that was impressive to the gnome. It was largely Nurion who had convinced them to delve into the Wave Echo caves, but the name the Spider...an ally of the Lilac, a name that Papillius had heard before.

They were nearing their destination either way.


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Last edited by Vislands; 05-26-2019 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:10 PM
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Vesper-Song
"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people
with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart."
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

The night before they left Neverwinter, Vesper couldn't sleep for trembling. The window was open but there was no breeze. Her things were piled on the bed and she lay in one corner, the day's events playing in her mind over and over, first one conversation, then another, like tunes from a roomful of different music boxes all tinkling together.

She heard again Nurion expressing with eloquent warmth his pledge to get to the bottom of the Rockseeker brothers' disappearance, charting the road between here and there as it ought to have been done the first time and as only a son of the Guild of Cartographers, Surveyors, and Mapmakers could do (had he said "son"?). She felt the eagerness radiating from Braum Jorim as clearly as one can sense the lightning in the air before its bolts are loosed, a cool, clean, taut anticipation she could almost smell. Thirsts he for something, she had thought then; and now, with a curious sort of realization: And he knows of the thirsting.

She stirred from her huddle, abandoning the latest attempt at evening rest. Braum and Peep. That was a pair, to be sure. As close as brothers and with a bond even stronger than the circumstances of its forming could explain, as sometimes happens with deep friendships. Braum Jorim the mercenary turned pilgrim, and Peep, who had experienced drow cruelty so personally, so penetratingly...

The stars seemed to press their cold faces down, right to the window. Another tremor ran through Vesper and she hurriedly pulled the window closed, rocking the ancient casement such that it creaked. She peered out into the dark. The stars, friendly again and remote, had receded to their proper celestial seats. She wondered at her fancies.

"H'rit, voistinu pelkokeer," she said softly. "I may never be ready. Yet grateful am I for such companions – bright their souls are, and no fear is in them. Autta hr'reen! May they rest better than me this eve."

She was proud of the wholehearted way they had accepted Sildar Hallwinter's almost hesitant offer of a quest. The man's every expression, every word, was guarded, and clearly he had many responsibilities. He had admitted that others died earning his coin: perhaps wariness of refusal was one of those burdens. It probably didn't help Sildar's impression of them, Vesper admitted, that she had begun flicking raisins and other dainties from her pottage toward Peep (it was a game she had delighted in playing many times on the road, watching the nimble gnome dart out a hand or utensil to catch whatever prize she sent slinging his way) as soon as they were seated in the inn's private room.

She smiled at the memory. What an odd destiny, to suffer so much and then uncover the wound to one who had been there – and Peep too, in that ever-calm voice he had, both airy and solemn, had shared much when they met, surprising her. And now they played peep-bo with candies, and she played music for him, pouring her love into it so that they all might share and be nourished, just as she was nourished by the presence of each friend in turn.

Stretching gingerly, mindful of her left wing brushing the wall, Vesper regarded her baggage on the bed. She still feared the quest, or rather feared dying in a cave, pierced by whatever fell weapons this Spider possessed. But her fortitude was strengthened by the knowledge that she was not alone anymore, and that whatever happened in the next days, she would face it with gleaming eyes and a heart filled with song.

"'To spite death, to laugh with the wind,'" she murmured, running a finger along the black feathers attached to her harness. You said all things happen for a reason...

Suddenly weary, Vesper nestled back in the corner, head against her good wing, and slept. In her dreams, a laughing dwarf with shining eyes painted a map of the glorious wide green world all over her walls, and it spilled over into white clouds that streamed under her, and glowed in the sunlight.
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Last edited by Feldring; 05-27-2019 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 04:03 AM
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Johanna Agamalk
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An adventure. An honest to the gods adventure, and a rescue mission at that! The young acolyte had been taken aback by the request the high priest had made of her, to abandon the cathedral and the cloister she'd known her whole life and set into the outside world, all for the sake of the Rockseeker brothers in their hour of need. Ilmater, I am not unwilling, but am I the right one for such a task? She had dared ask the suffering god as she kneeled before the doors of the temple, not knowing where she would return, if at all. Still, the bright-eyed girl could feel her heart pumping as she moved eagerly towards the lands that extended under the sky, muttering the name of the human she was to follow in this endeavor.

"Sildar? I am afraid you've just missed him lass, he and a handful of mercenaries left town at the break of dawn, gods know where to." After weeks of journey from her temple, lost and alone in the strange lands of the softer races, this was the answer Johanna had found. No. No, no, no, gods no! I am late? How? Did he not know I was coming? What do I do? Think Johanna, this is the time to act. What would an adventurer do? Mere seconds later, she had already rushed towards the road, willing to suffer the long trek into the beaten path on foot if need be, if it meant saving the Rockseeker brothers from their fate, which the pale-faced cleric feared could only grow darker with each passing day she failed to reach them.

But it seemed Ilmater had a different penance in mind for her, as Johanna's feet were spared by a passing caravan which accepted to take her close to the Wave Echo cave in exchange for a blessing and a little coin. These humans likely wouldn't know a god from another, but their intentions seem to align with my path. Even in their short-sighted ignorance, they fulfill their divine role, and thus have earned their blessings already. In the end it had taken several days to catch up with Sildar's party, but just when Johanna's companions were starting to regret taking such a long detour for the dwarf's sake, the uneven troupe did come in sight. As they approached to inspect their unexpected followers, the pendant hanging from the dwarf's neck shined brightly of its own accord, which brought a smile and a sigh to relief to her as she said: "My name is Johanna Agamalk, and I am a servant of the Broken god. By mercy of the high priest, I've come to aid the Rockseeker brothers, and thus help you too if you would take me. In any case, I have no intention of going back until my fellow dwarves have been found, even if only to return their bones to the stone."
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