Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess
Part One - Chapter One: Tears at the Orphanage & the Wine Harvest
It was a warm and pleasant evening on Starday, the 1st day of Richfeast, in the Common Year of 580, when a young man of seventeen years, with a thin frame and long black hair, entered the Green Dragon Inn on Blue Boar Street. Despite it being the beginning of the week, the Green Dragon was filled with the usual rough and tough assortment of patrons, from adventurers, to riverfolk and Rhennee, and even to small groups of students out for a night on the town. It was because of such people that the young man, known as Zeke, chose to enter the inn on this night, as he had, not long before, made the decision to try and find a few individuals who might be interested in joining with him to form an adventuring band. So, with this thought in mind, Zeke picked out a few faces in the crowd, which seemed to fit his idea of what he was looking for in fellow adventurers, and struck up a few conversations. Zeke, while certainly not to be counted among the wisest of souls, more than made up for his inability to effectively judge others around him, with a charm and charisma that was sure to win just about anyone over. The first person he spoke to, a half-orc named Minsc, seemed interested in joining up with Zeke. But it did not take long for Zeke to realize that Minsc was probably just a bit too violent to suit his tastes. So, Zeke decided to try another approach and ask the proprietor of the inn, Ricard Damaris, if he knew of anyone who might be looking to become part of an adventuring band. However, as Zeke was on his way to the bar to speak with Damaris, he was approached by another young man who had apparently overheard him talking to Minsc. This young man, who was about a year younger than Zeke, had a face that was badly scarred from an apparent fire, which, no doubt, scarred him mentally as well, leaving him somewhat quiet and introverted. Still, despite his handicap, the young man introduced himself as Brom and offered to join up with him, indicating he had some skill with the stealthier arts. Zeke, seeing Brom as a potential candidate, told him to stay close as he then went and asked Damaris about other possible candidates for his band. Damaris, after questioning Zeke and learning a bit about his complete lack of experience as an adventurer, pointed out about half a dozen patrons that he was not familiar with, but which seemed to be in the same situation. Zeke picked out one of them, a man wearing a very nice suit of half-plate armor, and approached him. After Zeke introduced himself once again, the young man in the half-plate armor, who was a couple of years older than Zeke, proudly announced that he went by the name of Valen Rowendale and acted as if his sir name should be recognized. Clearly an Oeridian and most likely from a wealthy family of Furyondy, Valen appeared boastful if not vain, and when asked about joining up with an adventuring band he seemed very eager and willing to, in his words, “fight for honor and justice, and to combat all evil wherever it rears its ugly head”. In fact, he may have been just a bit too eager for the liking of Zeke, who, although he too believed in doing good deeds, was not exactly hell-bent on ridding the world of all evils. As it so happened, Zeke was not the only one within ear-shot of the proud Oeridian, who did not care for his cocky attitude. At a nearby table sat another young man, perhaps a year older than Zeke, though taller than him and far more muscular than even Valen. Having overheard the bragging of the Oeridian, whose voice carried considerably, this other young man began to ridicule him. Clearly angered by the larger young man in scale mail armor, and too proud to back down, Valen eventually challenged him to a duel and it was agreed that the two would promptly meet outside in front of the inn to settle their dispute. Valen then headed out the front door of the inn, but the larger man did not move. Instead, he introduced himself to Zeke as Corvyn and inquired about his search for people to join his band. Zeke apparently took a liking to Corvyn, his gruff demeanor and his bold, no-nonsense approach, and extended an offer for him to join the band as well. A short while later though, Valen returned and approached the table, wondering why Corvyn had not met him outside and calling him a coward. Corvyn then stood up and tried to waylay him, but Valen proved to be quicker and punched Corvyn first. A fist-fight then broke out between the two and while Corvyn definitely hit harder, Valen, at least in this instance, proved to be more accurate with his punches. As a result, the fight was almost a draw, but Valen somehow managed to lay Corvyn out on the floor before he too staggered back to a chair with a bloody lip and nearly unconscious. Meanwhile, the other patrons of the inn looked on with amusement, as fist-fights were not uncommon at the Green Dragon. When it was over though, the crowd returned to their conversations or listened to a local bard who then struck up a tune on a mandolin. One patron however, who likewise witnessed the fight, apparently thought he could offer the two combatants some help and strolled over to them. This particular patron was a dwarf dressed in scale male armor and while perhaps young for a dwarf, was already in his mid-sixties. He took a look at the two young men, one sprawled out on the taproom floor, and began channeling healing energy through them. Corvyn was first, and when he regained consciousness, he saw the dwarf kneeling over him with a bemused grin on his face. The dwarf then healed up Valen a bit, and turned to walk away without waiting for a thank you or anything. Zeke however, realizing that a healer would be a nice addition to his group, introduced himself and asked the dwarf if he would be interested in joining an adventuring band. The dwarf then apologized for not introducing himself, and promptly did so by stating his name as Kelgor Thromm, the Wanderer, and went on to list several generations and titles of his family line. While it appeared that the thought of joining an adventuring band had not really crossed his mind, it seems that the idea at that point in time, did indeed strike his fancy. So he accepted the offer. At about that same time, when the cobwebs cleared somewhat from Valen’s head he gradually began to realize that Zeke had offered a position in the band to Corvyn as well. Valen was dead set against joining any band that included Corvyn as a member and told Zeke it would be him or Corvyn. When Zeke refused to exclude Corvyn, Valen stormed off, mumbling something about forming a band of his own. And thus started the rivalry between Valen and Corvyn. By now, it seemed that Zeke had the beginnings of his band and he introduced Corvyn and Kelgor to Brom, who had been hanging back this whole time and observing the proceedings. It was at about this time, that the four of them were approached by a fifth young man who was close to Zeke in both build and age. He too had been observing what had been happening from another table and introduced himself as Tadwin Quilbee, a wizard specializing in divination and, until recently, a student at the local University of Magical Arts. Realizing that a wizard would help to complete the band, Tadwin offered his services and was gladly accepted. Thus it was that the Company of the Green Dragon came to be, though they had yet to decide on a name for themselves. More importantly perhaps, was to decide on the band’s first mission. All of the band’s members had heard some rumors and had an idea or two about what they might start out with for their first assignment. But because it was Zeke who brought the band together, and because of a flyer he had found at the entrance of the inn, which he used to recruit his fellow band members, it was Zeke’s idea that the band decided to go with first. The flyer stated that persons were needed to assist in the collection of items for Pelor’s Day celebrations, which was only three days away. So the band made arrangements to meet there at the Green Dragon on the following morning. As they did so they continued to listen to the bard, who also happened to be among the people pointed out by Damaris as a possible candidate for the band. The bard was known as Mannhorr, and, despite his inexperience as an adventurer, already had an impressive following of fans. At one point he put on a display of dagger twirling that was just as equally impressive if not more so. But this, as it turns out, may have been one reason why Mannhorr was not offered a position in the band, for Brom was also something of a specialist with daggers and he did not care for the competition. Upon leaving the inn, each member of the band returned to their homes for the night, though at this point, none of them bothered to tell the others where these homes were, as indeed there was very little that they did tell each other about themselves, for at this point, they were little more than strangers to one another. On the following morning, as agreed upon, the five members of the band met at the Green Dragon and walked down the street to the River Quarter’s Guildstation of Nightwatchmen, where the flyer had said to apply. There they met Sergeant Erkennis who agreed to hire them for 6 gp for a day’s work. Compared to missions that the band would later do, this of course seems like a very paltry sum. But to a group of broke and inexperienced adventurers, this sounded like decent pay. The band was handed a list of about 60 addresses, mostly artisans in the River Quarter and told to pick up various toys for the city’s orphanage. As it turned out, this ended up being a very time consuming task, fraught with many unexpected delays, though, of course, there did not appear to be any real danger involved. Still, it was often frustrating and menial work. Nevertheless, the band did get to see many parts of the city within the River Quarter that they had never seen before, and from this they learned of a few places that could be of some use to them in the future, or at least places for entertainment. One such place they heard about, which actually existed in the Foreign Quarter, just outside of the River Quarter, was called the Pit and was the scene of gladiatorial contests, where warriors could earn money in various forms of combat. The band heard about this from a young man they met on the street named Malagrym, who, by sheer coincidence, was also among the people pointed out by Damaris at the Green Dragon on the previous night. Malagrym told the band he would be competing at the Pit and encouraged Corvyn and others to give it a try some time. By the time the band finished gathering all the toys, it was after sundown. But they wanted to be done with the job, so they immediately headed over to the orphanage to deliver the toys. Unfortunately, they were mugged along the way by a rogue named Hubert Mazian and a band of hirelings, which included a wizard named Marina Torassen and a fighter named Griffen Arblaster. Hubert used a blowgun with drow paralyzing poison and Marina used a sleep spell to great effect. And while Tadwin managed to knock out two lesser rogues with a color spray spell, the band was outmatched and fell easy victims to their muggers. Fortunately, Hubert and his accomplices were not interested in killing anyone. So a short while later, all five members of the band, woke up in the street. The only things they were missing were the toys and Tadwin’s ring, which he used as an arcane bonded item. The band realized of course, that they would need to track down these muggers and recover the toys before Pelor’s Day. But first, they would need to report the incident to Sergeant Erkennis. While most of the band was doing this, Brom ran off to the Slum Quarter where he got in touch with his contacts in the Beggar’s Union. They could help the band track down the muggers. Tadwin likewise spoke to a close friend of his father’s, who was a Deputy Constable in the City Watch. Sergeant Erkennis was very upset about the mugging and reiterated the importance of recovering the stolen toys by Pelor’s Day. He also would use his men in the Nightwatchmen to help track down the muggers. But, other than that, there was little else the band could do on this night to locate the thieves. So, once again the band returned to their homes. The next day, however, Brom learned from his contacts at the Beggar’s Union, that people fitting the description of the muggers were spotted using an old abandoned warehouse in the River Quarter. Brom was guided to the warehouse and he used a messenger to summon the other band members. The band then came up with a plan, which involved a distraction provided by a friend of Brom’s, a streetwalker named Nancy. With her help, the band got the jump on the mugger’s lookout and was able to get into the warehouse before any alarm was raised. This allowed the band to take out the muggers, thanks in large part to a color spray spell from Tadwin that knocked out the wizard early on. All five of the muggers were captured alive, though most of them were beaten up badly and knocked unconscious. The band turned them over to the Nightwatchmen, delivered the toys to a bunch of very happy orphans, and got paid for a job well done. That night, at the Green Dragon Inn, the band celebrated the successful completion of their first mission as a band, and began planning for their second mission. The following day was Midsummer’s Day, and the Holy Day of Pelor, and despite the fact that it was a holiday for the citizens of Greyhawk, and the fact that nearly every business in town was closed because of this, the band chose to forgo any celebrations and begin their next adventure, which would take them outside the city. This particular mission was one that Corvyn had heard about and according to him, there was a wine merchant by the name of Burrbarr Drenn whose vineyard was about a day’s walk northeast of the city, in the Cairn Hills. Burrbarr had apparently been having problems with something that was destroying his vineyard and was looking for someone to put a stop to it. This morning, the band located the merchant and learned that the job had yet to be fulfilled. He offered each member of the band 50 gp to return with him to the vineyard and solve his dilemma. So, soon afterwards, the band and Burrbarr Drenn were leaving the city and headed into the Cairn Hills. It was late in the afternoon when they arrived at the vineyard where Burrbarr immediately took the band to the eastern edge of the vineyard and showed them the damage. In addition to trampled vineyards and a damaged boundary wall, the band also found unusual tracks leading from the nearby woods and small piles of grapes where someone had been collecting them. Burrbarr explained to the band about the strange noises that he and his men would hear at night, which included eerie music and frenzied screams, as well as the strange colored lights that darted about to and fro in the darkness. This apparently had been going on for more than a week now. Unsure of how to proceed, the band decided to stake out the area and wait to see what came along. There they waited until well after sundown and deep into the night. But eventually something did come along. The first thing they saw and heard was a giant wheel, about 6 feet in diameter and made of solid stone, rolling towards them out of the woods. This was closely followed by 16 screaming and very frantic goblins. The wheel rolled over the boundary wall and grazed Kelgor as he tried to dodge out of the way. Then it crashed into the vineyard and fell over. The goblins meanwhile, who appeared to be chasing after the wheel, came to a halt when they saw Kelgor jump out into the open. Seemingly confused by Kelgor’s sudden appearance, the goblins slowly began to approach. Kelgor, on the other hand, being just as confused as the goblins, just stood there and asked his friends still in hiding for advice on what to do. Then suddenly a huge ogre appeared at the edge of the woods and screamed ferociously at both the dwarf and the goblins. Kelgor turned immediately and fled in the direction of the farm, while goblins turned and fled away from the ogre and into the woods. But the rest of the band continued to stay in hiding. Just then, the ogre mysteriously vanished and some of the band members heard giggling coming from several directions. At about the same time, some of them caught glimpses of a tiny dragon with colorful wings, which turned invisible soon after. Finally, things began to make sense and they realized that all this time a faerie dragon had been playing tricks on the goblins. So Zeke used a little psychology and began announcing how funny he thought the tricks were. His plan worked, and soon the faerie dragon and his 8 leprechaun friends revealed themselves. The faerie dragon introduced himself as Tummbutt and encouraged the band to come up with other ideas for playing funny tricks. Zeke and the band of course, had to be careful and come up with a solution that would keep the goblins out of the vineyard, but would keep the faerie dragon from playing tricks on Burrbarr and his men, and most importantly, also keep the goblins from attacking anyone. They considered attacking the goblins themselves, but Tummbutt did not seem to want anyone to actually get hurt and would likely have interfered on behalf of the goblins. Perhaps more to the point, if the goblins were dead, the faerie dragon would have no one else to play tricks on, and would possibly turn its attention on Burrbarr and his men. While Zeke was talking to Tummbutt, Brom took the opportunity to search for the goblins lair in the woods, which was easy enough by following the tracks of the stone wheel. He found the lair but got no closer as he then heard the goblins returning. So he rejoined his companions. It was about that time when Tummbutt and the leprechauns got bored listening to the band talking and left. But on the following day, when the band once again revisited the eastern edge of the vineyard and once again considered attacking the goblins, they were greeted by what appeared to be a powerful lich who warned them not to enter the woods. Because of the absurdity of this, the band realized that it was Tummbutt once again playing one of his tricks. But it seemed to emphasize the thought that Tummbutt did not want to see anyone get hurt. Eventually, after some debate, the problem was apparently resolved, when Zeke managed to convince the faerie dragon to apologize to the goblins and return their sacred wheel of stone. He also made Tummbutt broker a deal with the goblins, to never harm the farmers or their vineyard and convinced Tummbutt to leave the farmers alone as well. The question then was would this deal actually work, and if so, for how long? Some members of the band were skeptical as were Burrbarr and his men. So the band offered to stay two more nights to make sure that nothing happened.