The_Shackled_City

Fun in Chult with Sael'Faen
(and the murderous voice in her head)

Dear Diary,

Oh my goodness! Brianna was right! I had to get out of that city anyway, and seeing the world is already much, much more exciting than I ever thought possible! As for the captain’s notion that the world would be safer if I stayed hidden…well, I think I showed him today: I saved, like, four people’s lives! And I only had to kill seven people to do it!

(You saved them?)

Fine. Okay. WE saved them. But now they’re my friends! At least, I think they’re my friends. There’s a big lizardy guy who spits acid into people’s faces…

(That’s pretty cool.)

I know, right? Anyway, his name is Phract. He talks to me, and he has these magical phrases and stuff he can say that heal wounds, speed my movements up, and everything. It was super-sweet. Gonna stick with him, I think, since I don’t know anybody else really well. There’s this skinny guy with marks all over his face – Brion, maybe? He can move stuff around with his mind. He talks some too. There’s another girl, but she doesn’t say much. I bet she’s got a spooky history. She seems all harrowed and cool like that. There’s also a huge, hairy half-orc…

(Nice alliteration.)

Thank you! He smashes faces into walls and grunts a lot. I like him, too. We’ve pretty much formed a team – forged in the fiery fires of battle and all that. It’s kind of uncanny how we came together. We were all sort of just on these carts going through the jungle, and it was really boring for, like, the first week or so. Sure, we lost a few guards: one got bit by a reticulated fang-adder that he thought was a branch or something, and the other got sucked up by quickening sand when he tried to relieve himself out in the jungle. It’s totally his fault. I mean, the jungles of Chult are so dangerous, they even have an expression for it: “Better to go in your pants than out in the plants.”

(Classy.)

I thought so, yes. It’s too bad he died, too, because we could’ve used an extra guard a few days later…we were ambushed! A thick mist rolled in, and creeping out of it were a band of lizardfolk, armed with clubs, spears, and vicious magicks.

(You mean magic?)

Nah. It’s the -ks that gives it that arcany feel. May I continue?

(Proceed.)

Thank you. So at first I wasn’t sure if they were friendly or not, but they helpfully cleared that up right quick by almost killing Brion. Well, Diary, you know me…any excuse to let her come out and play is fine by me, and sister, did she want to play! Before I knew it, there wasn’t a single lizardfolk left, unless you count Phract. I took a moment to breathe in the shredded and tattered vapors of their living souls before the essence dissipated completely, and then we were off again. Oh, yeah, and BONUS! It turns out that just by killing all those lizardy people, we saved a priestess of Kelemvor. She kindly paid our way into the Cauldron for us, which was a load off my shoulders, since I was going to have to sneak or lie my way in otherwise.

Once we got there, we bid adieu…

(Adieu?)

Yeah, adieu. It’s primordial for goodbye, I think. So we bid adieu to the other people in the caravan and asked around for where we might stay. The Drunken Hippogriff came highly recommended, so we started making our way there. Notice a theme? Yeah, me too. Any time we “make our way” somewhere, stuff goes down.

(Not that we mind “stuff”.)

Nope! More kills for us! This time, another guy with a holy symbol was being attacked. That’s another theme. This time, he was a Tormy.

(I believe adherents to the tenets of Torm are called Tormtars.)

Yeah, like I said, a Tormy. He was getting beat up by creepy mimes. My half-orc friend, Sar-apostrophe-Vol, who I shall henceforth refer to as Trophy, took offense to this – I’m assuming because he hates mimes. Trophy started a fight, and then an entire gang of mimes showed up. That’s right. Backup mimes. Phract melted a few faces off, we killed all the mimes (primaries and backups), and we found out that they were members of the Last Laugh gang. That’s appropriate, because the last time anyone laughed at a mime was a long, long time ago indeed.

(You’re reaching).

Who cares? I’m still funnier than a mime. And at any rate, these mimes, who, by the way, totally cheated by talking throughout the battle, were beating on the Tormy because he was putting up fliers looking for three missing kids. I hope the kids weren’t lizardfolk or mimes, because if they were, I think I know what happened to them…

Now we’re escorting the Tormy back to his temple, just in case he’s attacked by any other street performers. I hear Cauldron has vicious acrobats and magicians.

(Let me guess…they go straight for the juggler?)

Hey! You’re getting the hang of it, murderous voice inside my head! That’s why we’re besties.

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The Road to Cauldron
The Practical Application of Force

Phract Fourthson

The jungles of Chult are no more, and no less, dangerous as ever. We had only lost two guards, and it seemed mostly their own fault. The guard captain seemed pretty sure of herself, and had what I assumed to be a green baby lieutenant in tow. Some high official sat in a covered carriage at the end of the line.

I was in the caravan version of stowage. As a paying customer, I got to ride, but not much else. The company wasn’t terrible. I could tell the mostly knew how to carry themselves. You don’t end up in this area by accident, and you don’t live long if you are a fool.

Not even in the city yet, and I already started assessing the group for possible recruits. We had a young drow woman. Not the usual mopey, brooding type we see so much of. Bore you to death if they don’t stab you first. Probably yelling something about spiders, or poetry, or some thing about their mothers. This one put up running commentary about everything. I can only assume that if she stops talking, bad things happen. The act had me fooled for a bit, but one could tell there was something going on back there. A half orc, who didn’t carry any visible weapons, but looked like he really didn;t need any. I noted him down for later. Then a godsdammed harper. Couldn’t be anything else. No one else would wear one of those pins in public. He kept flashing what I could only assume were some kind of mind powers. I’ve seen wizards, and this didnt have the smell of magic.Knew another dragonborn with lightning in his veins, did that same sort of crap. Last I heard he had a haberdashery somewhere. Last was what looked to be a human, carrying a damned big sword. She;d bear watching.

We made it almost without incident. The lizard folk don’t usually attack this close to the city.The guards were doing their damnedest to protect the horses and wagons. Leave the paying customers to themselves, eh? Well, wouldn’t be the first time. They already got their fees from us.

I took charge of the defenses. The other showed that they had at least some expirence following orders. The drow seemed all to happy to run into battle at my command. The rest of us managed to take out the rest of the lizards. This may shape up to a decent crew.

In the aftermath, I found myself patching up my comrades A bit of battlefeild medicine is a nice way to make some friends. And I’ll likely need them in the coming weeks. The caravan guards mostly made it through. The horses and supplies too.

The high muckymuck decided to pay us a visit. I noted her down in my journal. Always pays to know a patron or two of the city. We cleaned ourselves up as best we could, and got moving again. No telling if the lizards had more friends waiting. In my experience, there are always more.

Cauldron. I haven’t been here in… too long. I doubt any of my old contact were still here. Still remembered that lake. Pretty hard to miss. More of that wizard crap. One of these days some underdark thing will make its way up from the depths and show how bad an idea it is.

The rest of my companions were also new to the city. By common concensus, we all decided to make our way to one of the inns.

We didn’t even make it down the road before getting involved with some local drama. Some local gang, doing what local gangs do. The half orc decided that we were getting involved. I’m not sure I agreed at the time, but I’m also not one to back down from a fight. More wizards. I hate wizards. The group waded in. We made short work of most of the gang. Some guy with a flail though he was a lot more dangerous than he was. He got a short, but lethal, lesson..

The whole thing kinda stank. I don’t believe in coincidences. Hopefully we;ll make it to the inn without meeting any more of the local talent.

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On the Road Again

Brion Brissenden Chult Entry 1

I have arrived in Chult and made my way to the city of Cauldron, and while I have no mission here from the Harpers, it is always the duty of a Harper to keep careful notes of information and knowledge they have observed – especially in a place as unknown as Chult.

I hitched a ride with some locals from the port to the main city of Cauldron – I offered my services if needed, which seemed to entertain some of the guards. It seems that everyone in Chult either needs to take care of themselves or pay others enough to do so. The wagon train was fairly simple, and I found myself seated with a local merchant, a bard of some sort, and a rather quiet woman who goes by the name ‘Nyx’. She speaks little and carries a giant sword (And is rather effective with it, as I will note later). The journey through the jungle was interesting, but the attack of the lizardmen was certainly the most… memorable part of the journey.

A few hours out from Cauldron a group of lizardmen sprung an ambush. They had multiple magic users – at least one some sort of shaman or mage, accompanied by bruisers and other skirmishers. Most of these creatures fit the typical abilities that we would see in lizardmen, though the caster showed some significant competency in attacking multiple targets before being put down. I sustained some fairly significant wounds in the fight, but my fellow travelers lent me a hand and we survived.

Here is a quick rundown of those travelers I fought with, as I believe I may continue working with them while I am in Chult:

Nyx – as mentioned before, quiet and carries a big sword. She seems to use the shadows to her advantage, both in the practical and mystical sense. I am not sure what sort of training she has, but she certainly seems dangerous.

Phract – A dragonborn warrior of some sort – he has a mind for battlefield tactics, so I would assume he has seem some training as an officer or warleader. He was very effective in organizing us during both fights we have been together for, though he does seem to have glanced at me with disdain a few times. I am not sure yet if this has to do with my race, my powers, or my pin…. perhaps it is nothing at all. I have been rendered a bit paranoid in the last couple of years.

Sar’Vol – A large man, half-orc I believe. A merc as happy in an arena or a bar room, he seems to be quite strong and well versed in grappling and striking. While he seems rough around the edges, he was quick to protect both himself and those he was traveling with, which indicates to me more than just a survival instinct. He reminds me of my half-orc friend Ukratar, who moved into Mielikki’s embrace recently.

Sael’Faen – The most curious member of the entourage, we have a drow (on the surface) who has recently retired from her upkeep of a flower shop to adventure. She seems to share her mind with a possessing entity that channels both power and knowledge through her, but she seems to also give up some physical control to the entity while fighting. Who or What she has in her head is probably quite important, as a controlling force can be a significant liability while working with someone, but I certainly cannot just ask, not at this point. She is quite effective in combat, summoning shadowy aspects of the jungle itself to whip, ensnare and consume the life energies of those we fight against.

I will not recount the full battle, but I was able to use my telekinetic prowess to good effect. Specifically seizing the shaman and tossing him bodily into his companions. I still feel that I need to work harder to perfect my fine manipulation, but my training continues every day. Each of the people mentioned above was a significant help in the battle, and we decided to stick together within the city. A priestess of Kelemvor thanked us for helping defend the caravan, and paid our entry fee to the city for us – Kelemvor is an honorable god, and I hope that I may be able to aid her again while in the city.

On arriving and making our way to a local inn to arrange for a bed, my companions and I came across a gang called the “Last Laugh” harassing a man wearing the holy symbol of Torm. We rushed to his aid, as that was simply not something we could abide. After a veritable horde of gang members appeared, we had a rather spectacular fight (I dropped someone off a roof, it was quite effective). Once again, we worked well together and found a competent combat rhythm. Each gang member was wearing the same face paint, shown below:
LastLaughSketch.png

I only hope that this does not indicate that religious folk are regularly harassed in this city, as that is often the death knell for a city in modern times. I will attempt to figure out more of what is going on in Chult, but so far, this wild land has continued to surprise.

- Harper Brion Brissenden

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Fun in Chult with Sael'Faen, Part 2

Dear Diary,

So they’re not mimes. I think that’s camouflage or something, because who would willingly approach a mime about anything? See a mime robbing a store, and you’re like, “I could try to stop him, but then I’d have to actually interact with a mime.” It’s basically the perfect cover.

You know who’s terrible at cover, by the way? Tormies. I swear, we’re walking down the street – a huge half-orc, a half-dragon, a guy half again as tall as me covered in weird markings, a girl with a sword that could cut me in half, and regular old me, and it’s Rof that’s all twitchy and nervous, drawing everyone’s attention as he gathers up all his fliers. I offered to help pass more out, too, but he said he has to check with his fellow priests first. That’s fine, but if it were me, I’d be doing everything I could to find those kids. I know what it’s like to be kidnapped, and it’s terrifying.

(but we killed those who harmed us…)

Yes. We always do. I mean, couldn’t we have just flayed one of the Last Laugh people until he spilled his guts? And then made him talk?

(I see what you did there.)

Maybe I’ll suggest that next time we see one of them.

Once we get to the temple of Torm, we meet a whole mess of Tormies, including Lord Alek Turcival, Lady Jenya Urikas, and others. Add them to Rofael, and you’ve got a bunch of names I needed to write down just to remember. Can’t they spell their names more simply? What’s wrong with the classic spellings, anyway? Like Sael’Faen Dyrranor. Just try misspelling that.

Alek and Jenya, upon seeing Rof returned safely, are both grateful, but the two high-ranking Tormtars soon set to arguing over the wisdom of the fliers. Alek believes they’re the best way to root out who’s behind the kidnappings. Lady Jenya basically calls him Tormtarded; the Last Laugh are far too powerful to provoke like that. Alek’s all like, “To hell with the consequences! Thirty people have disappeared, and now children!”

I have to say, I admire his spirit. If I were missing, I’d want someone like Alek busting down doors and busting in heads to find me. Especially if I was an orphan.

(which you are)

Which I am.

After a night of calm meditation in The Drunken Hippogriff (point of clarification – that’s the name of an inn), we set out on the town to learn more of what we may about the missing people and the Last Laugh. I made my way to the orphanage, and it’s there that I met Agytha, the adorable orphan girl. I instantly felt a connection – I think we may be kindred spirits. She opened up to me about what she saw, and even though the others have dismissed her recounting as mere nightmares, I’m deeply inclined to believe her. Before departing, I promised her not only that I’d find her friends, but that I’d keep her safe, too. It’s good to have a purpose here in Cauldron.

little_girl_by_anoukr.jpg

As we leave the orphanage, the Last Laugh members we were looking for all day find us. Isn’t that just as helpful as anything? They even gave us a choice – leave Cauldron, or face the consequences. I’d like to state for the record that I had a few followup questions to their proposal. Turns out Sar’Vol doesn’t do followup questions. Or questions in general. Or, you know, words…

(I believe this is my cue to take over?)

Be my guest. I’ll see you on the other side. Just try not to get too much blood in my hair this time. It’ll scare Agytha.

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Cults And Chults
Making Friends

This city rankles me in weird ways. There is definitely something off about it. After an initial run in with the local enforcers for the gangs, we made it back to the inn orginally recommended by the caravan masters. We were able to talk to a local and find out a bit more about this place. The lay of the land, as it were.

It seems that the missing people out side of the city aren’t connected to those inside. But with the usual lethality of the jungles, its no surprise. One could disappear a lot of people out there without raising too much concern. As far as this guy knew, they were all ‘natural’. I’m not sure I believe him.

We spent the night without any trouble, and headed out to the city proper. We had heard a rumor about citizens going missing, and in particular, kids. I don’t have much use for kids, in general, but it makes me mad. Non-combatants are off limits.

Now, in my experience, missing kids almost always means cults. Cults are a nasty business. And once they go down the kidnapping, literally, path, they get even nastier. The local gang seems to be in on it. Not sure if they are actually part of the cult, or just in it for the money.

Hell, it may not be a cult at all, but that points toward nastier things.

And like expected, the gang came calling as we we started to make some progress. I’m not sure about these others yet. We certainly haven’t made any formal arrangements, but at least they seem to have my back. For now at least.

“Get the mage..” I said,.


I forgot that these others werent yet a cadre. We haven’t really learned how to fight together yet. And while we took down the mage fairly quickly, we somewhat scattered. I found myself pinned between two gang members. Getting stabbed hurts. A lot.

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