The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt.   Posted by DM BadCatMan.Group: archive 7
DM BadCatMan
 GM, 1985 posts
 Windy autumn
 Noon, 3rd Tarsakh 1376
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 09:31
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Vespermouth Harbour, Calaunt
Date: Noon, 3rd Tarsakh 1376 DR, the Year of the Bent Blade
Weather: Autumn, windy

http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Calaunt

They'd smelled the city long before ever laying sight on it.

The old sea captain had tried to warn them of this, saying that any Inner Sea sailor worth their salt could sniff out Calaunt in even the thickest fog, that the stench was better than any lighthouse or foghorn. But these wild claims could be too easily dismissed as a sailor's tall stories. No, one simply had to smell it for themselves. The thick and violently noxious stink hit them like a wall, making the unprepared traveller reel and even succumb to sea-sickness. With every wayward breeze, one could got a fresh smell, a fresh assault on the senses.

It was the tanneries, mostly; few wanted to know, but leather, no matter how fine, was produced through the most disgusting processes, with the most foul-smelling results. There was the rot of flesh, blood, and fat scraped from the hide. There was the smell of old urine, used to loosen and remove the hair. There was the smell of dung, from all kinds of beasts, used to ferment and soften the hide. The adventurous tanner could use lime in place of urine, or brains in place of dung, but this did nothing to lessen the stench.

But, not to be seen to be slacking after winning the prize for smelliest city, Calaunt also boasted the smells of river mud, discarded seafood, and garbage left in the streets.  There was something else, too, less certain in identity, less natural in origin. A smell of good magic gone sour, a smell of dark magic grown old and entrenched, and a smell of death, decay, and corruption.

So this was the city the Thultyrl of Procampur had sent them too. Something worrying had happened in Calaunt. The sons and daughters of the city's rulers (corrupt tyrants all, it was said) had disappeared, and the rival rulers were suspecting each other of involvement. Seeking an unbiased and politically impartial third party, Duke Haldyn Stormkin had called to allies in Procampur for aid in finding his son. Eager to keep peace in the northern Vast and rescue the noble scions (a better hope for the future than their parents), the government in Procampur had accepted, and sent the best adventurers they knew of to investigate.

Aerin and Quinlan were away, but the chain-wielding rogue Arrazin, the elf duskblade Orophear Mithrandir, and the mage Kaijn Tur'kin would be a good start. Then there was Maelarra Hlartrym, one of Procampur's own noble daughters and a priestess of Waukeen (though she insisted she was a freelance cleric of any faith she was hired to represent), there to provide healing and put an official face on the mission with a sideline of checking on the local shrine. An unofficial aspect of the mission would be ensuring the noblewoman returned alive, intact, and unrobbed. She was accompanied by a patient if long-suffering valet Tamae. They'd all taken berths on the merchant vessel the Nimble Naiad under Captain Betha Rantally and sailed north up the Dragon Reach to Calaunt.

Then there was Slove, a wandering elf archer, already on board. He'd inadvertently teleported aboard the ship after enjoying the Thulbanian Games in Mordulkin, Chessenta. It was too late to drop him off at the nearest port and tossing him overboard seemed a bit impolite for a Procampan crew.

As much as they dreaded it, they slowly got used to the smell as they sailed into the city, though it was probably actually getting worse around them. Once their eyes stopped watering, they could see Calaunt properly now. The city lay on both sides of the mouth of the Vesper River. The harbour water was polluted with waste from the tanneries, and the odd floating carcass. The water didn't so much as lap against the muddy river banks as creep up and merge with it. On the shore, the buildings were largely built of grey stone, unremarkable and mostly dilapidated. They huddled close together, with no parks or trees or other greenery and few landmarks of note to disrupt the monotony, bar the twin spires of some dark temple and the grim fortress some way inland, surrounded by palatial houses that contrasted meanly with the slums.

'You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.' Captain Rantally warned them as they docked, throwing ropes to the mooring posts. 'Watch yourselves and don't flash about much money or magic if you don't want to lose either.'

'End of the line, Mister Slove!' Captain Rantally called to the lost elf. After this point, he'd switch from passenger to stowaway, and being tossed overboard would be back on the table.

They were free to disembark as customs clerks came to check the Nimble Naiad's cargo; this mostly involved some money changing hands between Rantally and the lead clerk.


OOC: Enter Arrazin, Orophear, Kaijn, and Slove. I'll get to Tseran with a later post.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:10, Fri 24 Mar 2017.

Maelarra Hlartrym
 NPC, 0 posts
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 10:51
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
At last, Lady Maelarra Hlartrym deigned to join them on deck. She was a tall and slender woman of regal beauty, and every inch the noble breed. Flowing golden tresses spilled down around her long neck, past golden chains and fine amulets, including the gold coin of Waukeen. She had sharp green-gold eyes and a proud and haughty demeanour. She'd dressed to impress, perhaps Duke Stormkin, or the world at large, in a fine green-and-gold dress, with billowing skirts and puffy sleeves, covered in laces and silks. It was perfect for a noble's ball, not so good for manoeuvring around close objects.

On meeting, she'd given her card to the others. It read:
quote:
Lady Maelarra Hortensia Celaci Sunflower Aurellia Efficiency Hlartrym of Procampur

Freelance Cleric, Priestess of Waukeen, Theologist and Sage,
General Merchant, Madam of the Dryad's Delight, Adventuress

Available for births, deaths, weddings and sundry other rituals. Conversions handled,
confessions taken, absolutions given. Ruined temples investigated. Negotiable rates.

And permitted them to call her "Mae" for short.

Maelarra wilfully took a deep breath of the Calauntan miasma. 'Ah, bracing!' she insisted, with the determined politeness and optimism of the truly entitled. 'The kind of atmosphere that makes one glad to be alive anywhere else.' This was immediately before the frail priestess fell into rasping wheezing and hacking coughs.

'Milady!' her valet Tamae, a small and mousy girl, exclaimed, first placing the luggage with care before rushing to her mistress's side. She produced a flask and helped Mae to drink before she massaged her back to help her to breathe. 'Calaunt's gonna be hard to be hard on your lungs, ma'am.'

'Yes, quite.' Mae gasped, recovering her breath.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:03, Fri 24 Mar 2017.

DM BadCatMan
 GM, 1987 posts
 Windy autumn
 Noon, 3rd Tarsakh 1376
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 10:49
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
OOC: Tseran, you can skim the "Exit the Dragon" thread:
link to a message in this game
Post #49 onward to see the battles and ruins whose aftermath you walked through. The portal itself is described in #408 and #412 while the Mystran shrine is in #415 and #417. The swamp is described in #453.

You'll recall there are worse ways I could have transported you via portal. ;)


Streets of Calaunt

Angel hadn't followed Tseran into the portal. That wasn't really surprising. She might even have pushed him, but her touch was too light to be certain. In any case, Tseran emerged alone in a cave housing an old shrine to the goddess Mystra, and no doubt only the goddess knew where he was. And the portal was only one-way. He waited a few days, living off a healing moss that grew in the cave, but Angel didn't appear, apparently deciding that if he hadn't returned, she wasn't following. There was no other way of returning, and he had no choice but to leave and make his own way.

Outside, he found himself in the middled of forested marshland, and had a hell of a time crossing it alone, scaring of various swamp-beasts with liberal applications of fire. A trail left by a large troop some time ago was the only indication he had of a safe way out.

He passed ruins built by elven, dwarven, human, and even orcish hands, and came at last to a town on the coast, burned and blasted, with a few survivors and stubborn hangers-on living on in the ashes. This was Ylraphon, destroyed by crazed dragons a few years before. It was a town in the north of the Vast; at least he wasn't on the side of the continent, or worse.
http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Ylraphon

Eventually he'd caught a ride on a passing ship coming down from the Moonsea, but it only took him as far as the stinking city of Calaunt. Here Tseran was marooned once more. He soon learned not to display magic openly; civic authorities had a habit of confiscating spells, spellbooks, and magic items "for the good of the city", whether by official means or unofficial means. A hedge-wizard had whispered a warning to him early on, and turned up robbed and dead a few days later, apparently by those unofficial means. So the Invisible Art turned out to be well-named and an effective means of protecting himself against muggers. Cheap crystals and weird tattoos weren't on the average magic-thief's list, and unseen powers drew no attention and left no trace. Unfortunately, gate guards were very thorough about checking the possessions of those who came and went by road, but they cared less about those who came and went by ship. Still, he might have made it out. At least until the sons and daughters of each one of the despotic, so-called Merchant Dukes had gone and vanished, leaving the whole city in a tizzy and looking for someone to blame. An elf mind mage might just fit the bill.

Now, wandering the winding streets, with filth amidst the cobbles or dropped from high windows, and avoiding the gutter-sewers when it rained, Tseran searched for a way out of this accursed city. He returned toward the docks; a new ship was coming in. Perhaps a new arrival could help him out.


OOC: And enter Tseran. Let me know what you're doing. I'll unite with the others soon.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:30, Mon 27 Mar 2017.

Tseran Tal'chiar
 player, 3 posts
 +3, 16/13/15
 27/27, 2/5/9
Thu 23 Mar 2017
at 22:14
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt

 Of all the members of the former group he was a part of suited by neither disposition nor skillset to be abandoned in a cave in the woods in a swamp, Tseran probably heads the list but his arm-flailing dive through the portal (for which he will duly thank Angel at the first opportunity he has to prestidigitate her travel rations into tasting like Kossuth's Regret peppers) and the couple of days he spent living off moss tea, moss soup, moss stew and moss bread (an experiment that was attempted primarily out of desperation rather than any real expectation of success) before he managed to get his travel cloak repaired and working didn't do much for his temper...

 ...there are some smarter members of the swamp population that will be a long time healing their burns or forgetting the howled and vengeful elvish cries that rang through the trees as spheres of fire and searing lashes of sun-bright flame followed them.

 Occasionally he chased an extremely confused predator who, under normal circumstances would have made a meal of him before running out of breath and setting fire to a tree out of sheer exasperation.

 Truth be told, his arrival in Ylraphon was as much the saving of anything flammable in his vicinity as it was the gaunt, hungry and much put-upon elf who spent several days lying in a warm room in a cheap inn, bathing daily and generally revelling in not having to chase newts out of his shoes each morning.

 It couldn't last of course.

 Arriving in Calaunt was a brutal and rather nasty series of shocks involving alarm, murder and outright terror when the poor hedge-mage turned up dead, although for once Tseran's idiosyncratic spellbook of puzzle-wrought ivory was to his advantage since it left him with less of the tangible clues to his true nature that would normally have given him away and although it's been a long time since his mothers arms-master taught him the blade he's just about good enough with his rapier to fend off the average street tough (with a little surreptitious aid from his hard-earned invisible gifts) without resorting to anything that would give him away to the natives. Hopefully.

 Early on he sought to purchase less obvious clothes, seeking out simple street leathers that he wouldn't mind discarding readily once out of this pestilential rathole and so it's with a grim lack of expectation that Tseran puts optimism ahead of experience and heads on down to the waterfront as the ships come in, looking for the sort of out-of-place and exotic sorts who might be worth disappearing into an alley to cast detect magic for - reasoning that that's just about the best way he has to identify... uuuughhh... adventurers.

 It's probably worth noting in passing however, that he has all the natural talent for espionage of a giraffe in dark glasses trying to get into a polar bears only gold club.
Kaijn Tur'kin
 player, 55 posts
Sun 26 Mar 2017
at 05:20
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Kaijn didnt at first believe his eyes when he saw Lady Mae board the ship but as soon as he heard her voice and then spotted Tamae running around doing her bidding he was sure. This was the cleric he had met and travelled with on the Sword Coast, in what seemed many aeons ago, yet it could only have been half a dozen months or maybe a few years?

He himself had stayed mostly under deck during their sea voyage to Calaunt, but he had emerged once the shipped had docked.

"Lady Mae, is has been too long. I see your beauty has not faded since we last travelled together." the wizard said set foot on the deck.

For some reason during their travels he had not seen Slove.


OOC: Making up a little to play out a good reunion of old adventuring buddies.
Orophear Mithrandir
 player, 39 posts
 Init:+4AC:22/ff18/t15
 HP:60/61 SAVES:7/6/5
Mon 27 Mar 2017
at 01:59
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Orophear was happy to get the call to action, his wanderlust beginning to get the better of him even though he had thoroughly enjoyed his time studying under the blade magicians. Once on the ocean the quiet elf spent most of his time in meditaion, his hand almost constantly resting on a strange dagger that seemed to be carved from a strange blueish crystal.

As the smell hit them the Dusk blade simply pulled the blue scarf he wore up and over his nose and mouth and watched as the city came in to view, absently fiddling with the small white crane pendant that now hung from the clasp that held his fine cloak shut, a badge of sorts which marked him as a member of the Duskbkades.

Once docked the quiet elf offered to help Mae with her bags as they debarked.
Slove
 player, 5 posts
Mon 27 Mar 2017
at 08:03
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Slove had sorted out the situation with Captain Rantally and did his best explain it was not slove fault he was on the ship.  He then kept himself to him self and gave no reason for the captain to complain about him being on the ship.  Talking to others usually resulted in trouble so it was best for slove to keep out the way.

As headed out to get of the ship Slove spotted and heard two people he new very well.
All that time being quite resulted in Slove just having to speak.

Well I do declare.  I recognize that firm round bump anywhere.  It still has graceful and magnificence as when I last saw it.  Maelarra it is good to know you got out of that dungeon after my sudden and untimely disappearance.

He then turns to mage.
Even though I still have good reason keep as far away from you as possible.  It is good to see you Kaijn Tur'kin and see your are your doing well.

Slove smiles at mage.

I just found out I can teleport using a wand of magic missiles.

At which point he pulls out item rapped in cloth and looking very chard.  He hands it to Kaijn Tur'kin.


OOC:
I will leave it to GM to decide if any of magic left in item (most likely not).

Maelarra Hlartrym
 NPC, 1 post
Mon 27 Mar 2017
at 12:14
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Once close to bowing over the rail, Mae rose her head and turned to face Kaijn, contriving to remain as elegant as ever. 'Indeed not, and I see your fine words remain undimmed.' she returned with courtesy and charm, though her delicate voice was still raspy. 'Well again, Master Kaijn.' she bowed her head slightly. She caught her breath, then went on 'The Hamayarch, Solinor, informed you were being considered for this mission. I gave him my recommendation I am pleased to see were you accepted.' Solinor, a former adventuring wizard and acquaintance of Arrazin, had recently been elected as the Hamayarch, serving as mage advisor to the Thultyrl and overseer of the city's spellcasters.

Then she heard another familiar voice, and saw a familiar face. 'Slove.' she greeted flatly. 'I should have expected you'd have followed Kaijn. I am pleased to see a little of his courtesy has rubbed off on you. Your tone has improved markedly, but your subject matter has not. As for my bump, as you put it, you would better spend your time surveying the statues back in the Temple District.'


*

Stepping in, Tamae gladly accepted Orophear's offer to help with the bags. Only one held any real valuables, an enchanted handy haversack; the rest were just decoys or for appearances. But of course, between then, they somehow managed to make even the extra-dimensional handy haversack heavy. 'Oh, thanks, mister.' Tamae said, gratefully offloading onto the elf.

This message was last edited by the player at 12:18, Mon 27 Mar 2017.

DM BadCatMan
 GM, 1990 posts
 Windy autumn
 Noon, 3rd Tarsakh 1376
Mon 27 Mar 2017
at 12:14
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Tseran slunk down to the waterfront as best he was able having learned a little something of slinking by observing the Calauntans go about their daily lives (slinking, sneaking, creeping, and lurking all being distinct cultural habits here). Here he could smell the fetid river mud, its odour criss-crossed by the smells of fish both fresh and foul. As always, ever-opportunistic Calauntans were selling nosegays and sachets to sailors, travellers, and other outsiders (the locals claimed to be quite used to the stink, which seemed rather disturbing). The little bundles of herbs, potpourri, or aromatic alchemy didn't quite succeed in making a pleasant scent, but almost blocked the existing stench. A few extreme cases had chemicals so intense they seemed to burn out the ability to smell at all.

As he approached the wharf, a flock of seagulls creatures that would attack a grown man for a chip took to the wing and flew away squawking. This was a sure sign Tseran  had already been living in Calaunt too long. Magic here was corrupted or polluted, to something even animals found unnatural and would flee from or howl if a wizard was about.

There was a new ship at the dock, The Nimble Naiad hope at last, it was flying Procampan colours. It was a highly sensible and civilised city, for a human settlement anyway. He could drop some names and try to get a berth out.

But then his keen elven ears picked up on the breeze some muttered and suspicious words. 'That's the ship they're on.' He spied a group of warriors, in studded leathers, with shields and clubs, lurking expertly behind a stack of barrels, their leader cocking a head toward the Naiad.
Kaijn Tur'kin
 player, 56 posts
Mon 27 Mar 2017
at 14:53
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Kaijn returns Mae's bow with one of his own. "Well thank you very much for the recommendation, so it you who is responsible for me ending up in this place?" he says with a smile and a wink to the cleric.


Just then Slove appears and hands him the wand.

"Ohh my. Well met Slove. Looks like the gods brought us all together again. How have you been my friend?" he asks and accepts the bundle of cloth. He glances down and gentle unwraps it.
Tseran Tal'chiar
 player, 4 posts
 +3, 16/13/15
 27/27, 2/5/9
Mon 27 Mar 2017
at 19:17
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt

 Living is not the word that Tseran would choose. Even in the ugly, ungainly languages of humanity and its mayfly ilk, the word means more than mere existence and in the fetid, decaying slums of Calaunt existence is the best anyone could hope for.

 Well, existence and perhaps, if one is lucky a hard-boiled egg.

 That considered, it isn't the fact that the wing-rats flee from him that's a sign to Tseran that he's been existing here too long, it's that for the first time in an age he's not overcome by the fierce desire to shear them out of the air with beams of white-hot light and is instead simply seeing them as a loud, squawking, filthy, disease-ridden, pestilential, chip-stealing nuisance*.

 This of course is a line of thinking that's both depressing and unsettling, so it's perhaps fortunate that a band of waterfront thugs are present to distract him by preparing to assault what looks to him to be the only group of likely adventurers that have come through all morning...

 ...and if there were ever a better example of just how thoroughly vicious his stay in the swamp has left the slim, pale elf it's that his first thought isn't to set them on fire and it isn't to flay them with... It's to step back and look for a chip vendor.

 ---

 * I am a native of Cornwall. I know Seagulls. Bastards. ^_^

[Private to GM:  Tserans Plan: Step back, buy chips from a vendor along with any old oil, soggy crap and dead fish they might have. Trade chips to street rats for the throwing of seagull-bait onto the thugs from a rooftop. Cast detect thoughts and eavesdrop while the street rats are getting into position. Attempt to relocate adventurers in the confusion. Hope some seagulls are killed. ^_^]
Slove
 player, 6 posts
Mon 27 Mar 2017
at 19:38
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Slove take in a deep breath.  The hard rasping sound of metal on metal could be hurt.
You mean they made a statues of your bump and put it in the Temple District.  This I must see.

He turns back to Kaijn.
I have been well in my self.  Spent a pointless number of months stuck in Chessenta.  It was the big games.  Tried to upset local Drow but that failed.  Help stop plot to kill high priest of the games.  So I may been some use.

OOC:
Kaijn looks at what should been normal magic missile wand.
It is blacked as scared.
If a wand could have emotional trauma.  Be fearful.
It seems happy it no longer close to Slove.

Orophear Mithrandir
 player, 40 posts
 Init:+4AC:22/ff18/t15
 HP:60/61 SAVES:7/6/5
Mon 27 Mar 2017
at 20:18
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
With as warm a smile as he could muster Orophear gladly accepted the bags from Tamae. The elf was no stranger to helping ladies and their things having been a page in the courts elven courts of the Moonwood while under the tutelage of Burilous. The wide elf always said it would teach him humility, which it did indeed. Once loaded to bear the elf simply stood and waited for the others to disembark.

Passive perception, perhaps :)
16:13, Today: Orophear Mithrandir rolled 22 using 1d20+4.  Spot check.

Maelarra Hlartrym
 NPC, 2 posts
Thu 30 Mar 2017
at 13:13
Re: The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Kaijn Tur'kin:
Kaijn returns Mae's bow with one of his own. "Well thank you very much for the recommendation, so it you who is responsible for me ending up in this place?" he says with a smile and a wink to the cleric.


'Oh, no, you were already on the Hamayarch's list.' Maelarra deflected, 'I only gave my advice and my preference to work with you again.'

Slove:
Slove take in a deep breath.  The hard rasping sound of metal on metal could be hurt.
You mean they made a statues of your bump and put it in the Temple District.  This I must see.


'Well, they made rather more than that, of course.'

*

Kaijn carefully examined Slove's wand. With his arcane expertise, he could tell it was in fact a wand of cure light wounds issued by the Mordulkin temple of Lathander for use in the Thulbanian Games. He could tell this because it was carved into the side, written in Common and Chessentan on both sides of the stick of bone. There was no way it could function as a wand of magic missiles, let alone teleportation. No wonder Slove had got it so disastrously wrong.

*

Taking up the bags, Orophear scanned the docks and filthy harbour-side streets. He could already make out several groups eyeing off the ship with profit in mind, whether to buy, sell, or make a transaction of a different kind. Many carried weapons, but this wasn't at all unusual in this cutthroat city.

He could also tell that their illustrious priestess was wearing enough gold and fineries to satisfy a whole street of muggers, thieves, gangsters, and ne'er-do-wells.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:14, Thu 30 Mar 2017.

DM BadCatMan
 GM, 1991 posts
 Windy autumn
 Noon, 3rd Tarsakh 1376
Thu 30 Mar 2017
at 13:13
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt
Tseran soon located a chip vendor. The charming fellow's name was, apparently, Stabbing-My-Own-Back Dibhler, and he shamelessly sold him a heap of half-cold crusted-over assorted fish and tubers, along with some squid rings that vaguely seemed to be looking at him, and an extra heaping of grease. This was all wrapped up in a reused newspaper that had once hinted at the heroism of adventurers in Procampur, but was now too blurry to give the full story.

Close by, he spied a gang of street urchins (so-called because they tended to pick urchins off the streets when in season), loitering like they were looking for something to be up to. Tseran was too aware that they were a lot like the regular street gangs, only smaller and cheaper.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:16, Thu 30 Mar 2017.

Tseran Tal'chiar
 player, 5 posts
 +3, 16/13/15
 27/27, 2/5/9
Sat 1 Apr 2017
at 04:59
The Vast: Welcome to Calaunt

 Carefully dodging the line of sight of the pair of city guardsmen (one large and jolly, one small and weaselly, as per specification) industriously and pro-actively securing local landmarks to ensure that no-one makes off with, for example, the famous Calaunt Bridge Tseran performs one swift mental checklist to affirm that yes indeed, the majority of his personal funds are indeed secured in the other-dimensional spaces that his gear provides rather than anywhere they might be casually lifted before approaching the youths, choosing out of his various options to try straight-up honesty as he states - in pretty fair Chondathan - "I want some street toughs pelted with offal from a rooftop and I'll pay one silver per roof-runner to see it done. Anyone interested?"

 Apparently, he doesn't believe in wasting anyones time!