Expeditionary dispatch 4: Sul, 23 Sypheros, 998 YK
From: Carnaby Goebb, Expedition Leader, Mournland Silvercloud Team
To: Professor Ingrim Jarell, Library of Korranberg
archival reference code 4923-D: delivered ink-on-vellum, scroll case seal intact, item teleported directly to the office of Prof. Ingrim Jarell, courier unknown
Dearest Ingrim --
Greetings from lovely Gatherhold! I trust you will forgive my familiarity in addressing you by first name, but since your betrayal has come fully to light, I feel we can dispense with the formalities. You're very clever, Ingrim, but -- as you can plainly see -- so am I. We are in possession of the Ulieth Valley schema and currently are enjoying the hospitality of House Ghallanda here in the heart of the Talenta Plains. The House chefs do the most remarkable things with dinosaur eggs, wouldn't you agree? Ah, but I imagine you've little time for such frippery at present. I've heard sobering things regarding the displeasure of your Korranberg superiors. As for your other, more unforgiving superiors, I can only imagine ...
In any case, I suppose you want to know the final details of the Mournland Silvercloud expedition. Had you dealt squarely with myself and my team, I believe we could have both profited from the venture. As it stands, we will surely profit, and you'll need luck to simply survive.
In our last correspondence, the team was preparing to descend into the Cannith compound within Ulieth's Valley. Breaching the Cannith defenses was no easy task, you may be assured. But, of course, you knew that would be the case when you assembled our team. Ashford is one of the few rogues in all of Khorvaire with knowledge of vintage Cyran mechanical locks. Gantry's proficiency with arcane perimeter wards is unrivaled, and Keleena's Mark of Passage was required to pass the final portal
After dealing with several still-sentient Cannith guard constructs, we penetrated the final sanctum and retrieved the schema. This is when the full genius of your plan became apparent. Throughout the exploration, I had been puzzled -- why choose me to lead the team? You, apparently, know more of my ancestry than I do, for I recognized in that final sanctum chamber some very distinctive stonework. My forefathers dug these tunnels for Cannith hundreds of years ago, and none but a true Goebb clan member could have located the secret egress behind the fourth column. As I often tell Ashford, Goebb blood comes in handy all the time.
Upon resurfacing in the Mournland, we were surrounded by a band of vicious-looking warforged -- a former Cyran reconnaissance unit, by the cast of their plating -- the very same band of warforged you paid off outside Varithon to ambush us and steal the schema.
Unfortunately for you, I had also made previous arrangements. You remember my business partner, a fellow by the name of Tok? Tallish lad, metal skin? After initially agreeing to our bargain in Sharn, I dispatched him to reconnoiter our proposed route from Vathiron into the Mournland. Tok served a solo scout in the War and operates most efficiently in this capacity. It is fortunate indeed that I did so. I hope you will forgive me for this departure from our agreed-upon protocol, but one can never be too careful in these hard days.
You see, dear Ingrim, both Tok and I fought with Cyre in the final days of the Last War, alongside these very warforged soldiers you hired. The 'forged of the Mournland are not all vicious savages to be tricked, cajoled, and bought off. Some are simply war veterans, like Tok and myself. And old war companions tend to stick together.
So with Tok and our new escort leading the way, we traveled east out of the Mournland and into the wild but welcoming lands of the Talenta. We have friends here, too.
You were clever but ultimately unwise to have crossed me in this matter. When you first assembled our team to recover the Cannith artifact, I thought it odd that the assignment was not coming through the usual, proper channels. The Library of Korranberg is notoriously bureaucratic, and your negotiations had an unusual air of secrecy about them. Upon our arrival here in Gatherkeep, I sent word to an associate of mine in Zilargo, a changeling by the name of -- well, she goes by many names, doesn't she? She has since reported back to me a most interesting detail -- that funding for the Mournland Silvercloud expedition did not come from the Library at all.
Oh, Ingrim. You always were ambitious. Surely even you must know that it is unhealthy to traffic with the Lords of Dust.
The schema is safe now, well-hidden and secured. I can't imagine, however, that you'll ever lay eyes upon it. Surely you're aware that other interested parties are in play.
We still may have business to conduct, however. For now, your dealings with the Lords of Dust remain our secret. If you'd care to keep it that way, send word to my associates in Sharn, via the usual channels.
Always a pleasure, madam.
Carnaby and Tok's Wondrous Emporium
In the heart of the Cyran refugee community of Sharn's Lower Tavick's Landing sits a sprawling, ramshackle tavern and used goods store with a rather incongruous name -- Carnaby and Tok's Wondrous Emporium. Proprietors Carnaby Goebb (NG male dwarf fighter 5) and Tok (NG male warforged ranger 4) operate a legitimate business here, an informal 'town hall' and flea market for downtrodden Cyrans in Sharn.
Unbeknownst to most, however, Carnaby and Tok are experienced adventurers who use the storefront as a base of operations for gray-market expeditions and espionage. Still fiercely loyal to the people of the lost nation of Cyre, Carnaby Goebb is well-connected within Sharn and has many allies and contacts across the Five Nations and beyond. Tok, in turn, is extremely loyal to Carnaby, his closest friend and former superior officer in the Last War. The duo specialize in assembling teams of adventurers to undertake covert missions for various, sometimes competing, interests, and they often invest the profits from these ventures back into the Cyran community of Sharn. Their activities are unofficially sanctioned by the Cyran ambassador, Lord Jairan ir'Dain, and his spymaster Tyrala. (See p. 117 of Sharn: City of Towers).
Player characters in Sharn may run across these two, particularly when dealing with the Cyran refugee community. Carnaby often recruits outside adventurers for special missions and is known to deal squarely with those he hires. Or, adventurers may appeal to Carnaby for help when dealing with the legitimate and/or criminal authorities of the City of Towers. If nothing else, characters in Tavick's Landing looking for a cheap place to drink or a bargain on used equipment will always find the lights on at Carnaby and Tok's Wondrous Emporium.
Male dwarf fighter 5; CR 5; Small humanoid; HD 5d10; hp 37; Init +5; Speed 20 ft.; AC 17, touch 11; flat-footed 16; Base Atk +5; Grp +3; Atk +8 (1d10+2/19-20; dwarven waraxe +1); SQ dwarf traits; AL NG; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +4, Str 13, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 17, Cha 10.
Skills and Feats: Craft (armorsmithing) +6, Craft (weaponsmithing) +9, Forgery +2; Gather Information +4; Heal +3, Intimidate +6, Search +4; Weapon Focus (dwarven waraxe), Toughness, Combat Expertise, Improved Initiative, Investigator
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Goblin
Possessions: +1 breastplate, +1 dwarven waraxe, identification papers, various letters of introduction and passage in Sharn
Still to some degree a reluctant warrior, Carnaby was conscripted to fight for Cyre just as he was about to enter monastery to become a scholar and cleric. Carnaby's exceptional wisdom and intelligence quickly earned him a leadership position, and he spent most of the war organizing reconnaissance missions. He is a superior strategist who prefers careful, behind-the-scenes maneuvering to direct confrontation. His hair and beard are black streaked with grey, and he tends to wear rough, military-style field clothing.
Male personality warforged ranger 4; CR 4; Medium humanoid; HD 4d8+12; hp 38; Init +0; Speed 30 ft; AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +4; Grp +7; Atk +8 (1d8+6/x3; +2 composite longbow) or +7 (1d10+3/19-20; masterwork bastard sword); SQ warforged traits; AL NG; SV Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +3, Str 16, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 11.
Skills and Feats: Hide +7, Knowledge (geography) +7, Listen +9, Move Silently +7, Search +7, Survival +9; Endurance, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Track, Weapon Focus (longbow)
Possessions: combat gear plus +2 composite longbow, +2 composite plating, masterwork bastard sword, Minor Circlet of Blasting quiver with 40 arrows, potion of bull's strength, identification papers
The warforged construct known as Tok takes his name from the metallic thudding sound he makes when speaking. (The sound is involuntary, the result of a manufacturing error.) Forged to fight for Cyre in the Last War, Tok served as a solo reconnaissance unit. He still relies on stealth and positioning tactics in combat. When overt hostilities ended, Tok decided that his mission is still to serve the people of Cyre in any way he can. Tok's composite plating is covered with a brown-and-green enamel coating for wilderness camouflage.
About the Author
Glenn McDonald is a freelance writer and game designer in lovely Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He writes about games, film, technology, pop culture, shady characters, conflicted heroes, strange and terrible magic, and shadowy fantasy noir intrigue. Not all at the same time.