Sage of Shadowdale has something to say about pretty much everything.
Despite having pages in Dragon Magazine, Dungeon Adventures, and Polyhedron
Newszine, the Old Mage still has more to speak of the Realms. Not wanting
to anger an archmage, we decided it would be best to give him a weekly
column from which to discuss the finer points.
well, young one...
and the Law
openly hated for his heavy-handed extortion of property and money from
both locals and any passing caravans he judged lightly defended, Buorstag
(through Zhent suggestion) has recently become far fairer
and subtler. He no longer openly seizes goods or demands protection money,
though he does levy a fee for armed escorts requested by anyone, and holds
to a far more consistent interpretation of justice. Elminster believes
this good behavior is rooted in Zhent desires (particularly in their time
of weakness, following the destruction of Zhentil Keep) to give Maalthiir
of Hillsfar no acceptable-to-Sembia pretext for seizing Voonlar. High
taxes yield higher prices, as much as 30% higher than the norm elsewhere,
which have replaced random acts of extortion. This higher take has made
Buorstag see the wisdom of the gentle gauntlet approach.
in Voonlar is whatever the Bron says it is, but visitors and citizens
alike can take comfort in the fact that the underlying principle of Voonlarran
justice is now based on profits. In practice, the clergy of Cyric, Zhentarim,
the Bron and his deputies are above the law and can act as they like in
Voonlarran territory with complete impunity. All others are safe as long
as they are careful and avoid being seen as public enemies.
levies high taxes on both citizens and visitors, but in return keeps Voonlar
safe. He dispenses harsh but fair justice to citizens and travelers alike
so as not to harm the flow of trade. Red Plumes in uniform and anyone
suspected of being a Harper or agent of Hillsfar are deemed a public enemy
and can expect to be attacked on sight. The guards work to take such enemies
alive, though many might wind up seriously injured or disabled during
an attempt to resist. Once captured and sent through "attentive questioning"
(torture), many public enemies are executed. In cases of mistaken identity,
only Zhentarim able to call on immediate magical aid are released; all
others are slain, with the bodies hidden to prevent repercussions.
are performed at the Throat, usually by slow dismemberment; a limb an
hour. The miscreant is strapped to an X-shaped frame of logs that spreads
the arms and legs, and left to bleed to death with the torso and head
intact and facing Shadowdale, as a warning to travelers on the road.
wizards are beheaded, and this is done for public safety. Buorstag maintains
several scrolls of impressive false charges that he can read aloud to
justify any slayings he pleases. Adventurers who do battle with a deputy
can expect to be deemed Harpers and slaughtered forthwith.
and property of an executed criminal are forfeit to the Bron, who maintains
the public purse. He claims to spend such monies for patrols, road repairs,
and the cleansing of public wells. An honest Voonlarran, speaking in private,
admits that not much in the way of repairs or well-tending gets done.
Adventure of a Lifetime: A group of adventurers arrived from Shadowdale
and were arrested for spying for Hillsfar. The mage was beheaded for casting
a sleep spell during a bar fight, since she was obviously a Harper
spy. The priest of the group, a devout servant of Tymora, was executed
by slow dismemberment. The remaining party members are being held in the
Locktower, and its unsure what the Bron plans to do with them.
the Zhentarim: A Zhentarim agent visited town a few weeks ago, taking
great delight in having the Bron jump at his every utterance. After a
particularly wild night of wine, women, and song, the Zhentling disappeared.
While the official story is that he left town, many of the citizens believe
that the Bron and his deputies visited him. The popular tale is that the
Bron had him tied, gagged, and buried alive somewhere outside the city.
Strikes: The dating habits of Marsara Storntil, one of the Brons
deputies, have been the hushed speculation of many of the town gossipers.
Every few weeks, a Zhent wizard by the name of Tamelia (NE hf W7) visits
Voonlar and spends a great deal of time with Marsara. A drunken suitor
once accosted the deputy when the issue arose, and Marsara so soundly
trounced the farmhand that no one has ever broached the issue in public