Campaign of the Month: December 2018
Aorthe - The Fading Lie
Wilkommen, to Drier Stra. Its high walls have protected us for generations, and stand as a bulwark against the untamed wilderness that surrounds us. I am your lord, Freiherr Braun Radzig, and it is my duty to ensure that the village remains a place of peace and safety for the people of Selvania. This is no small task, and that is why I must rely on many people, including each of you, do to their part.
The lands of Echecarythrae suffer some horrible curse. We have persevered through this and have lived to see the sun again. Many more cannot say the same. 183 years ago, the sun set and did not rise again. For 100 years after that it came only sporadically. Those were our worst times. Many perished. The nobility were forced to abandon their lands and wealth. Farms were left fallow and abandoned. Soon, monsters were not the only troubles. Unrest, famine, and disease of the body and mind followed. Still, we fared better than the underground folk. The dwarves, we believe, were entirely wiped out as creatures from beneath the surface of our world brazenly emerged into the darkness. Our cities now are cramped, but diverse, as all the races of the world were forced together.
83 years ago the Dark Age seemed to end. We hope, that is. The sun returned. A little, at first. An hour or two a day. Now it returns 5-7 hours a day. Enough to grant my people a brief respite from the night. As I have heard from my own family, we once held lands in the countryside. My grandfather told me that in those days Drier Stra was a small fishing village with nothing to claim except a baker that made the best pretzels in Selvania. Now it is our life raft, owed to the aging Sonnenanbeter Lighthouse. It is tended by the Zietnehmer. They are sometimes called sun worshipers, but they are a group that is less religious order and more scientific. They are charged with maintenance of the lighthouse, the keeping of time, and the examination of the sky to predict patterns in the sun. If you hear their bell toll, seek shelter with others. It is your only hope of survival.
This is especially true if you find yourself in our other enclaves. Drier Stra could not survive without some local resources. Metal, timber… The Bay of Boule here has also become unsuitable for fishing after the decades, so we were forced to set up an enclave to the north. My men keep the peace on the short roads to Klunes Berg, Ostrez Bauholz, or Pfeist Angeln, and I have assigned a sizable contingent to protect the people and resources there. Still, best not to stray too far off the road or travel elsewhere without your own protection.
Order in the city is kept by my Reeve, Gyzel Surwin. She is charged with keeping the peace. For this, you can rely on my own men, who reside is the Freiherr Garrison and Barracks. However, given our situation you can expect every able-bodied person to have had some combat training to defend themselves, and everyone is expected to join my men in the militia in times of need. In addition to this, I must mention the Company of Free Swords. A guild of mercenaries often charged with protection and salvage. My men are often occupied with keeping order, so patrons will often hire them. They also have outposts in the wilderness, and seek employees of various skills. There is much of the old world still to be rediscovered, and for those with the need and means the Free Swords are willing to recover it. I must begrudgingly admit this gives their leaders nearly as much power as I have, and in Drier Stra their chapter is run by two Battlelords – Randwulf Hader and Erich Briker. They can be found in their Guild Hall, but Free Swords can be found in the public square if they seek hire.
Be sure to abide by my laws. They are here to ensure we all get a long and that Drier Stra remains protected and peaceful. Failing to do will result in punishment at mine or Gyzel’s discression. Punishments vary from public shaming for minor crimes, branding for serious crimes, and exile for capital crimes. Know that there are so few of us left, and so murder is considered the most grave of crimes. Each life is precious, and we must continue to work together and compromise to see us all through. Drier Stra hold only 532 souls. Our lowest population to date. Every sentence of death or exile I pass weighs heavily on my conscience. Shaming is a very effective penalty. With so few of us in this community, your reputation is everything. Guard it well. Theft is particularly frowned upon.
The docks are our lifeline in Drier Stra. I have many trade agreements with other settlements in Echecarythrae. You are free to leave Drier Stra for another settlement if you wish, though I hope you do not expect things to be any better elsewhere. Take it from me, I am as reasonable a lord as you’ll find. As a Freiherr, I am beholding to no one. If you travel to the north you will find the remnants of the old nobility, and they tend to take for themselves before giving back to their people. If you wish to leave these lands entirely, you may, but know that foreign visitors here are extremely rare. Passage will be extremely expensive. It is a path that many of the higher nobles have taken before us – and every bit of wealth they take leaves the rest of us that remain worse off.
If you have coin to spend, you can do so near the docks at the Mince Market. They will sell items off the ships, and occasionally unclaimed cargo from the warehouses. If you need a skilled craft, Freeholder Row hold the shops and guild house for trades. Except of course for the Guild Smith – you’ll need a Free Sword license to patronize them, as he only makes arms for my own men and the Free Swords. Toil and Pane is our local physician and apothecary, and it’s run by a half-orc called Norûk Melancon. Her husband, Golm, runs the tavern next door, Grounds and Mugs. Or, if you prefer, the public haus Erst Sohn is run by a Tiefling called Balthazar Bliss.
Not that I would ever encourage anyone to go looking, but if you do come across items of intrinsic historical or extrinsic monetary value, they can be dealt with in three ways – Peddle Pawn will buy most items. It’s run by an elf that claim ties to old royalty named Ahvain Othronus. A nice enough fellow, but rather big on respect. The Academy will accept items of historical significance, with a standing bounty. They often cannot offer much, but I assure you those items go to good use and their work is, I feel, essential to our future. Finally, I extend a personal invitation to you. Anything you feel might be worthwhile can be brought to the clerk at the Vasslahaus. Her name is Enna Rothenel.
I do ask that you at least offer me first choice before seeking to sell to Edelfrei Gerach. I suspect that Gerach is seeking to amass wealth. For what purpose, I cannot say, but I will tell you that it is critical to maintain the balance of power in the city. Evidence of that can be seen in the area of the city known as Royal Blood Road. The name is ironic, you see. A few years after the Dark Age began unrest in the city led to an uprising against the original lords of these lands. The former palace was ransacked, destroyed, and used to construct the ramshackle houses on that path. A reminder to Gerach and I of how important it is to maintain peace. For some this may seem too rigid. Many have expressed a feeling as if they are stuck as servants. Hence the somewhat derisively named Sorting Row, where newcomers through the West Gate are faced with the choice of paths to the harbor/free swords, academy/freeholders, or quarry.
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to dwell on such unpleasant matters. Physically demanding it may be, but the quarry is a terribly important job. Our walls require constant maintenance, and it is critical that everyone that can contribute does so in whatever way they are able. That includes you – and me, for that matter. I should return to my duties. Best of luck to you!
Since the wilderness is truly wild, travel is very difficult. There are only a few roads to smaller settlements where critical resources are gathered. These roads are constantly patrolled, and the resources are under heavy guard. This means the two most common jobs for people are military service, or alternatively mercenary service. This means that leaders most critical concern is the protection of the people, and the strongest influential guild is the Free Swords. This also means that there is a cottage industry among skilled craftsman to create items that can withstand attacks, and that the making of weapons and armor is a common trade.
Since the majority of wealth and knowledge was lost around 200 years ago, there is also a common industry of adventuring. The poor scrape together groups brave enough to salvage, the rich bankroll expeditions, and the educated class seeks to preserve the lost knowledge of the past.
Drier Stra was founded about 300 years Dusk, or 483 years ago. Around 100 years Dusk a noble family, the Hartliebs were granted governance by the King of Grenia, Severin Von Verblassteslicht. They ruled to and after the Dark Age, overseeing the refugees that came, but were too stuck in the old ways. After 57 years of darkness, the people rose up. The Hartlieb patriarch, Burgmann Tyes Hartlieb IV was killed along with his eldest son Tyes V. His wife, Margreta, and two younger children, Jakob and Otto, escaped by ship to Pleu Swuim. In the power vacuum two remaining noble houses vied for control of the city – the Radzig and Gerach. Gerach were a conservative faction, wishing to remain loyal to the old crown. Radzig favored cutting ties and founding an independent city-state. Radzig won out, and has ruled Drier Stra for four generations.
483 years ago – City founded by royal charter for the purpose of acting as a sea port and colony for the purpose of mining and timber in the southern region. Over the next 300 years the city becomes less important as larger cities are built on the northern coasts and larger settlements spring up inland.
283 years ago – The charter is granted to the Hartlieb noble house.
183 years ago – The Dark Age. Drier Stra becomes a haven for people inland.
126 years ago – The Dark Age seemingly has no end and the Hartlieb struggle to maintain control of the cramped village. They react with draconian measures to keep the population in line. The people rise up and depose the Burgmann. Readiz and Gerach houses fight for control. Radzig wins and declares himself a Freiherr.
126 to 107 years ago – Reign of Braun I. 19 year reign, ending with the death of Braun I in battle with marauders from the North.
107 to 73 years ago – Reign of Braun II. 34 year reign, ending with the death of Braun II by disease.
73 to 36 years ago – Reign of Braun III. 37 year reign, ending with the dead of Braun III from old age.
36 to Present. Reign of Braun IV. 36+ year reign.
Time before the darkness is known as the Dusk. Most is lost from this time. Counting of years began with the start of the Dark Age – 183 years ago. The Dark Age ended 81 years ago.
Since resources are scarce, most folk barely have enough to scrape by. Banditry is common, making the world even more dangerous. Very few people in the world means theft must be kept secret, but is shockingly common. Those found stealing are punished harshly. There is simply too little to go around and taking something from someone can literally be a death sentence for them.
Peace is kept by Reeves, who are charged with maintaining order, but they do not have a police force of their own. Instead, the presence of the military means they have the power to arrest, and bring those accused of the crime before the Reeve, who will keep them held until trial. When the Reeve does require additional force, he will typical hire them from the Free Swords Guild for short engagements. All places also follow the rule of hue and cry – where any victim is expected to raise hell, and any able bodied person is expected to respond and apprehend the criminal to be brought before the Reeve. Most crimes do not have a trial. The Reeve simply investigates and decides an appropriate punishment. The only crimes that require a trial are those that involve a punishment of death or exile. For civil matters, an ad hoc court is convened known as the Manorial Court, where the Reeve will oversee the appointment of twelve jurors to heard the case and decide on the outcome.
Imprisonment is reserved only for smaller crimes of short-term duration. Mortal crimes are punished with death or exile. Exile, to most estimations, is the same as death. For crimes between minor and major, particularly theft, the punishment is branding. Any mortal crimes requiring a trial are heard in the Vassalhaus in a court overseen by the local ruling lord.
Crime / Court / Punishment
Minor crimes (Disorderly conduct, telling falsehoods, gossip, etc.) / Reeve / Shaming (stocks), incarceration, labor
Serious crimes (Theft, piracy, usury, assault, etc.) / Reeve, Vassal Court for cases requesting exile. / Branding, labor, and in extreme cases exile.
Mortal Crimes (Murder, treason, witchcraft, etc.) / Vassal Court, heard by the ruling lord.) / Death, exile
Civil Torts / Manorial Court / Compensation
Since the people live in terror of the sun never returning, each night is filled with anxiety. Common people seek shelter and pray for the sun to return. However, the people do not have a pantheon. Most are not religious. If they worship anything, it’s the sun or time. The priestly class are the time keepers, the Zietnehmer. Each large settlement has an ancient lighthouse. A relic form the time of the Dusk. The Zietnehmer are tasked with maintaining and running the lighthouse at night, and for reading the signs of darkness. They sound a bell atop the lighthouse an hour before when they estimate the sun will set. They then monitor the movement of the sky to estimate the arrival of the sun. When it is dawn and all is safe to resume the day, they toll another bell to signal the morning sun has vanquished the horrible night.
Smaller settlements always have at least two representatives of the Zietnehmer, which similarly monitor the days cycle, and sound a smaller bell before sunset and at dawn.
As mentioned, this isn’t really a religion, per se. It’s more of a daily part of life, much the way we modern people consider electricity as an essential, but mundane, part of our lives. When we are without it we desperately await its return. The only difference is that we know electricity to be man-made, where the Zietnehmers are merely observes to a power they cannot influence.
People are exceedingly superstitious and distrust all magic. They have lived long enough in a low magic world to know. Well but they also thing magic could grant them respite form the brutal world and might seek them out and try to force them to fix their lives.
Nobility entirely collapsed in the Dark Age. All people crammed into the few strongholds that could be defended. Wealth did not guarantee survival in those dark times, but it helped. However, over a hundred years of darkness, with many being forced to abandon their treasures and suddenly move, scarcity of resources, the disease and danger of living in masses, all had an affect of attrition on the ruling elite. There is one other factor as well – expatriation. Those that could find passage off Echecarythrae did. The journey is difficult, dangerous, and extremely expensive, but many of the wealthiest did just that, and took their resources with them, leaving other survivors with even less. The rulers that remain do so either out of loyalty to their people, a lack of resources to leave themselves, or a sense of duty to their position. This means nobles are rare, but can generally be trusted to keep their word. Their reputation is critical to maintaining their position. While they sometimes fight among each other for power, the displacement of the royal order means the connection of nobles to lands, vassals, titles, etc. Is completely broken. They, too, are mostly refugees. So, for the most part, they act as unelected leaders and government officials.
Most civil work is done in the Vassalhaus or Rathaus. The former is a courthouse, meeting place, and civil offices. The latter is the Reeve quarters, office, and jail.
Burghermeister – Titles of the ruling person in the city, typically also the highest ranking noble, but does not have to be.
Reeve – Chief law officers, in charge of keeping the peace.
Herzog – Top noble title, ruler of all.
Margrave – A high title, denoting someone charged with the defense of an entire duchy or island.
Burgmann – A lord or baron. Technically reports to the Margrave, but the political situation is not always enforced. This title does is officially conferred and implies fealty to the noble order, though.
Freiherr – Free lord, or a baron of a small parcel of land. Denotes independence from the noble chain, and likely act on their own as the head of state.
Ritter – A knight, or someone in service to a higher noble with their own land and usually serfs or soldiers under their control/command. Rare in this time.
Edler / Edle – A generic term for Noble, but specifically one that still resides in their city of origin (their family history can be traced to before the Dark Age.
Edelfrei – Free noble, same as above, but denotes their family was forced to migrate in the Dark Age.
Meister – Former serfs granted rights and responsibilities based upon merit (or graft.)
The Freiherr has authorized a standing bounty on certain creatures of particular danger to the village, or are particularly useful to survival. Any citizen that brings the items listed below is entitled to a reward. However, they must be brought in Harvesting Check DC = 10 + monster CR (not lower than 10 and not higher than 30)
Type of Ability Check
Creature Type Ability Check
Beast, Dragon, Giant, Monstrosity, Plant Nature
Celestial, Fiend, Undead Religion
Aberration, Construct, Elemental, Fey, Ooze Arcana
Animal Hide – 8gp. Bear, horse, giant badger, etc. Suitable for leather. Lasts 3 days without preservation.
Basilisk Eye (5gp) or Gullet (65gp) – Lasts 2 days without preservation.
Beetle Blood (Blister or Fire) – 2gp per gallon. Lasts 1 day without preservation.
Bulette Claws (150gp) or Plate (200gp). Does not spoil.
Carrion Crawler Mucus – 45gp per pint. DC 20 or 2d4 Poison and paralyzed. Lasts 5 days.
Centipede Poison – Giant variety only, 10gp per pint. DC 16 or 3d6 Poison. Lasts 5 days.
Cloaker Larynx – 390 gp. Lasts 2 days with preservation.
Cockatrice Beak – 10gp. Does not spoil.
Darkmantle Hide – 10 gp. Lasts 2 days without preservation.
Ettercap Gland – 45gp, Lasts 15 days without preservation.
Feathers, Mundane – 1gp per sack, does not spoil.
Grick Beak – 45gp, Does not spoil.
Grimlock Ears – 5gp per pair. Lasts 2 days without preservation.
Hook Horror Hook – 70gp. Does not spoil.
Quaggoth Ears (1gp / pair), or Liver (30gp) – Lasts 2 days without preservation.
Drier Stra has 532 people in it. Around 30 are Meisters – full citizens with the right to private property. This is all of the skilled tradesmen, the Reeve, and shop owners. Each had two apprentices working for them (60). 2 are nobility – Edelfrei gerach and Freiherr Radzig.
60 are Free swords, who come and go regularly.
100 Are soldiers who protect the roads and town.
20 are Zietnehmers who tend the lighthouse.
20 are members of the academy, studying the sun, cartography, science, and history.
20 are hunters, who forage for game and wild edibles daily.
30 work the quarry to harvest stone to keep the wall built.
60 serfs are farmers
30 work the docks, and another 100 serve on ships trading goods
Since the sailors, free swords, soldiers, and hunters are typically not in the village during the days or for long periods of time, the daytime hours in Drier Stra are fairly barren, but full of life. Everyone gets as much work done as they can while the light shines.
There isn’t much of it. Frier Stra gets most of it is meat from fishing and wild game. The granger keeps pigs and sheep for meat and milk, but does not have nearly enough to feed everyone. Pork, mutton, and milk are feasts of the wealthy. They farm crops that tolerate the little light – potatoes, cabbage, etc. They farm rye, but it tends to have low yield. Food is traded with other settlements and is the primary source of aggression between groups.
There is no dedicated bard’s college, but entertainment is done by several who have an affinity for performance. The people have much time on their hands with so much darkness.
Human/Half-Elf Age 58. Male. Voice is deep, authoritative. Born and raised in Drier Stra. Inherited the title of Freiherr from his father, Braun Radzig III who died when Braun IV was 22 years old at 67 years of age. Braun III, also born and raised in Drier Stra succeeded Braun II when he was 30, born during the Dark Age in Drier Stra. Braun II succeeded Braun I. Braun II when he was 16 and lived to 50. Braun I, who assumed the title after civil unrest in the city led to the deaths of the ruling nobles of Drier Stra the Hertlieb family then ruled by Burgmann Tyes Hartlieb. Braun I was 24 years old when he assumed the title of Freiherr, and lived to 43 years. Prior to this the Radzig family owned an estate in the countryside in the foothills of Corc Rise, northwest of Hexenwacht. They were forced to Drier Stra by the Dark Age.
Braun IV married at 15 to Julia Kettlin Staÿmerin, also 15 in 140. She died in childbirth in 156. He did not remarry. Radzig has no other heirs as all of his children died as infants. His siblings Kettlin (disease), Tönies (battle), and Wesner (disease) have all passed. He is terrified of dying.
He wears a padded gambeson and a medallion that is a sign of his office daily. He is attended everywhere by his servant, Anithren Cromelon, and his bodyguard, Uricis Usk. Short wavy golden//grey hair. Brown eyes. Slightly pointed ears due to elvish heritage from the marriage of Braun II, missing a piece of the right lobe. Pale skin, light beard, slightly scruffy appearance. Walks with a staff due to injuries in battle. Does not believe in surrender, but willing to compromise. Fair, believes in destiny, but can be paranoid due to the position he is in.
Elf, Age 230. Female. Voice is depressed, soft. Born in a place once called Alavara on the island of Bre Rei. Fled to Dreier Stra in the Dark Age. Has no family here, nor is aware of what became of them, but assumes they are dead after all this time. Does not lie to speak of the past. Head shaved bald, green eyes. Slim, sickly, weak. Tan gold skin. Wears humble robes but tattoos are visible on her arms when the sleeves fall up. A dour, sad demeanor. Quiet. Assists the Frieherr with daily matters as his personal assistant and attendant. Seems satisfied with the work, but overall very unhappy with life. Who could blame her?
Dragonborn. Age 29. Female. Voice is quick, to the point, no-nonsense. Dark frill, gold eyes, rugged blue scales. Tall, large build. Values the Freiherr greatly. Calm, serene demeanor but quickly reacts with violence when called for. Laughs at inappropriate jokes to the dismay of Anithren, who does not care for them. Cannot stand laziness.
Edelfrei Franz Gerach
Human Age 55. Male. Voice is aristocratic. Born and raised in Drier Stra. Inherited the title of Edelfrei from his father. His family was forced to accept the rule of the Radzigs 126 years ago, and has been raised to resent this. His family once owned coastal lands to the west of Zerstorestadt, and were wealthy. They very reluctantly abandoned this in the Dark Age.
Long braided brown/grey hair. Smooth dark skin. Ugly, deaf in his left ear. Shrewed, but entitled. Can be hot headed but does not believe in using force to get what he wants. He WANTS you to WANT what he wants. Believes he should be the ruler, but terribly short on resources to depose Radzig and little popular support because of his attitude, but is actually an important member of the community as his wealth employs a large number of people.
Reeve Gyzel Surwin
Goliath, Age 36, Female. Voice is authoritative but will yield to gentle. Bald with abstract tattoos all over her body. Pink pale skin, tall and well built. Ver competitive, takes her job very seriously, follows the Freiherrs orders perfectly. Loves people but can be very obstinate and shows no mercy to criminals. Believes in the law.
Clerk Enna Rothenel
Halfling. Age 41. Female. Voice is friendly. Short curly auburn hair and green eyes. Ruddy skin. Incredibly colorful tattoo on her back that no one has ever seen except her late husband, Norne. Very patient, shy, kind, but materialistic and loves gift. She idolizes the Freiherr but really respects Meister Giering for his intelligence. Has a pet rabbit called Peanut.
Free Swords are commonly referred to as mercenaries, taking jobs that the local forces can’t handle. Mercenaries may be the only hope of villages looking for defenders against raiders, overextended sheriffs chasing powerful fugitives, and small merchants traveling dangerous byroads. Larger mercenary companies win wars on behalf of cities and kings. They fight for coin above all else, exacting little honor from the contracts they accept. You can find mercenary and adventuring jobs only available to Free Sword license-holders. These jobs typically pay more than a standard contract of their type. Free Sword guilds take a 5% cut as a guild fee.
Elsbeth Hader (alive)
Age 26. Gerhardt’s Sister. Works for the Free Swords as an attendant as a way of trying to look out for her brother.
Randwulf Hader (alive)
Age 32. Gerhardt’s Brother in Law. Works as Battlelord for the local Free Swords faction and is a friend of the Hartwig family. He is older than Gerhardt and has always thought of him as a younger brother. He married Elsbeth when he was a regular free sword but soon after the Einhardts disgrace he pushed hard to become a leader within the Free Swords in order to help the family. He originally wanted to bring on Einhardt but was turned down. He’s given Gerhardt a new direction in life since the military was taken from him as an option.
Human/Half-Dwarf. Age 44. Male. Voice is gregarious, chatty, loud. Free sword smith who claims dwarven blood. He doesn’t look it. He is tall, with a big bushy red beard and scraggly long red hair. He is handy at the forge, though, making advanced and mundane weapons and armor for the Freiherr’s men and the Company of Free Swords.
Free Sword Smith
Only works for the Freiherr and Free Swords. To shop there you must show a license or a writ of authority from the Freiherr. That will give you access to his stock, and allow you to contract special repairs or requests. He may still need materials for completion.
Free Sword Jobs
• Meister Hans Coaler hereby offers a reward of 1gp to anyone able to locate the beloved pet of his son, Gerke Coaler. The animal is a dog, approximately five hands high, with thick coat of long fur. It is called Puddles, but is unlikely to answer to its name, for it is unruly and undisciplined.
• Meistress Ursula Brewer would have it known she is in need of a cunning and brave hero. For the past fortnight a magpie has visited her at her home each time she has bathed. In addition to perversely spying upon her, it has each time taken an item from her. A few buttons and a small chain of great sentimental value. A reward of 1 gp is offered for the return of these items, and an additional 5sp for the corpse of the magpie.
• Meistrss Ro Fletcher would have it be known that her son, Hilmar, is quite naughty. She would also like it to be known that he has lost a prize trophy arrow, won by Ro in competition many years ago. It was taken from her without permission as Hilmar used it to practice his own archery. It was launched over the walls, and landed somewhere in the Schwarzwald. A reward of 5gp is offered for its return. Alternatively, Ro offers Hilmar as payment.
• An anonymous benefactor seeks brave and capable warrior to undertake a mission of extreme importance. A terrifying monster has been spotted wandering near the north beach in the darkness. Details will be provided anonymously to any that announce in the public square, “I sure could go for a swim!”
• We desperately seek the charity and goodwill of capable fighters. We four serfs are not happy in Drier Stra. We wish to emigrate to another settlement, but cannot afford to hire help along the journey. If any Free Swords have a kind heart, please escort us. We will go anywhere you are willing to take us, and in return we offer the entirety of our wealth – 2 gp and 1 week of food rations we have been saving for months.
• Meister Konrad Kannstatt, smith of the Free Swords, wishes to hire protection for a most dangerous journey to and from the outskirts Zerstortestadt. He wishes to lay his father’s ashes to rest in the graveyard there with the rest of his ancestors. His survival is of the utmost importance to the guild, and the pay is handsome.
• Traeliorn Holfina of the Academy extends an offer to anyone willing. She requires new strings for her violin and cannot use catgut. It is an antique of elvish origin, and insist it can only be strung with similar quality. Should anyone discover some, she would may well for the salvage at 8gp.
• Most esteemed member of the Academy, Qildor Helekas, master of alchemical sciences, seeks the deliberate assistance of gentlepeople most talented at punching people really hard. There is a thief in our midst. Several reagents and pieces of equipment essential to my work were recently stolen. I assume out of jealousy for my scientific prowess. I think I know who did it, and I will give you 1gp to beat them until they admit it and return the items. They should be branded a thief but the Reeve will not investigate.
• URGENT HELP NEEDED!! Drier Stra is in danger!! Freiherr and Reeve will not listen!! I am being pursued by a severed hand. I see it sometimes out of the corner of my eye when I am not looking, but I know it’s there. I once woke up with it on my chest but I screamed and it ran off. MONSTERS have invaded out safe city!! The Reeve has investigated but found NOTHING!! I do not have much but I will pay, and the safety of everyone is at stake! 5 sp is all I have! See Panamin Havenstride for details.
• Battlelord – Each guild hall has two battlelords, which are in charge of guild business within their area. They are expected to confer on important matters, but otherwise have authority over all beneath them.
o Honor Guard – The second highest rank is reserved for the most illustrious members outside f the Battlelords. They are responsible for protecting the Battlelords and the Company of Free Swords against all that would threaten it. They are granted a suit of platemail as a symbol of their office, emblazoned with the crest of the Free Swords.
o Witch Hammer – By this point, a Free Sword has earned their pick of contracts. Many retire here, but more due to the work expects of this rank than anything. The world is full of monsters that chew through lesser experienced men. To take them on, a soldier of true grit who has been tested is needed. This rank has choice of contract for creatures known or suspected to be found in the Schwarzwald.
• Sword Commander – Proven leaders of groups of men, and are trusted with the most sensitive of guild business.
o Shield Bearer – Are granted a shield as a symbol of their office, and are typically hired out as personal bodyguards for the wealthiest clients.
o Wrathmail – They are granted a mail coif with a Free Swords insignia as a symbol of their office. Generally hired out for protection contracts of the absolutely greatest sensitivity.
• Sellsword – Requested most by nobles for important jobs, and you are now entrusted to accept your own contracts, and you are expected to dole out contracts to Free Swords.
o Free Sword – The most common rank, making you a full dues-paying member of the guild, expected to take assignments as they see fit.
• Hireling – Provisional members who are officially brought in on a trial basis.
Fusilier – Musketeers
Hussars – Light Cavalry
Jaegers – Scouts
Dragoons – Mounted scouts / skirmishers
Ritter – Armored knight, heavy infantry
General – Final rank
Field Marshal – Eighth rank
Marshal – Seventh rank
Colonel – Sixth rank
Captain – Fifth rank
Lieutenant – Fourth Rank
Sergeant – Third rank.
Soldat – Second rank, corporal.
Cadet – First rank, private.
Men-at-Arms – Militia, unranked members.
Human. Age 66. Male. Long curly white hair. Ghostly pale skin. Portly, always seems out of breath. Empathetic, but a bit arrogant. Lost many friends and it shows on his face and in his reluctance to get too close to people. Fascinated with history – particularly ancient religions of the Dusk. His office is cluttered with relics related to that. Curates the museum, which is really just a way to preserve historical items. Runs the Academy. Has a manor house in town because he is actually a noble, but renounced that in favor of mere Meister when he came to Drier Stra 22 years ago to run the Academy. In his home village of Pleu Swuim he would be considered an Edler. Radzig was prepare dot honor the title, but Giering wanted to send a message to the entirty of Drier Stra that he was merely there to contribute to learning and the welfare of the village. Came to Drier Stra against the orders of the nobility of his village and the advice of his colleagues there.
Erst Sohn Public Haus
Typically only hosts visiting sailors as there are very few overland travellers. Occasionally they will host visitors form the enclaves. They have seven private rooms with straw beds and a large attic space where they have hung hammocks for sailors – enough to sleep 30. A hammock is 1sp per night and a private room is 1gp per night and they cannot be shared without paying per person.
Teifling, Age 209. Male. Owner of the Erst Sohn. Originally not from these lands, but came from Brazas 107 years ago. He was fleeing the law there after he was accused of murder, but he does not admit this to anyone. If anyone asks he simply says he was setting out to make his fortune and came to Drier Stra out of curiosity for a brief stay on his was to other lands. When he stayed in the inn, it was then run by an older man named Allecke Fusch. He offered to work for Fusch to earn a couple coins. One day turned into two, then a week, then months. Eventually Fusch died and Gerach, landlord of the inn, struck a bargain with Bliss to run the place. He’s been here ever since. Balthazar is clever, talks with a slow deliberate pace, works hard at the inn but also has allusions to a greater destiny. He does plan on leaving Drier Stra someday, but honestly probably never will. He is always bizarrely calm – nothing rattles him. Judges people by their actions, not words. Secretly keeps his treasures stashed away.
Gaelle Hartwig (alive)
Human. Age 44. Female. Gerhardt’s Mother. Works as a bar wench for the local tavern. Pockmarked skin – lots of bruises and callouses. Signs of hard working. Long braided blonde hair, brown eyes. Had a dog as a child that she was extremely fond of and still thinks about named Buddy. Good at diffusing tense situations. Cares for her family a lot. Her husband was disgraced and has become an alcoholic, but she stays with him and tries to get him to clean up.
Human, age 15. Male. Cleans the rooms, empties the chamber pots, etc. Has a seashell collection from the wharf and sometimes sailors that come through will bring him specimens they find. Always eats like it’s a race, shoveling food into his mouth. Excitable. Hyper. Wants to be a Zietnehmer one day, but knows he will probably never get the chance.
Human. Age 60. Female. Meister and baker. Rather than have a shop of her own she works out of the kitchens in the public haus. Not doing well, health-wise. Bad back. Bad knees. Arthritis. Vision problems.
Halfling, Age 20. Female. Apprentice to Lyse. Eager to learn and loves to bake.
Dragonborn, 52. Male. Jaeger (hunter) – captured and forages for menu items. Quiet. Does not like to talk. Does not like people. Does not like the village. Would rather be outside.
Ghaallixirn Special – Wild game burger, wild fruits/veg. Comes with Dhossin Brew. (5sp)
Rye bread and whey cheese. Comes with a cup of Perry, Cider, or whatever else is available. (1cp)
Fish and Chips – Roasted fish and potato slices served with Dusk (2cp)
Porridge, mug of Perry, Cinder, or whatever else is available (5cp)
The Freiherr – Stewed pork with veg, fresh millet bread, a slice of ginger cake and a Dhossin Brew (1gp)
Boiled Mushrooms (3cp)
Ghaallixirn Salad – Wild greens with a dressing made from Perry or Cider (3cp)
Grounds and Mugs
Male Half-Orc. 35. Wife Norûk Melancon runs Toil and Pane. He serves exotic drinks, spirits, and brews from the Brewer. Respectful, but snobby. Believes in only the very best. Judges other people that like inferior things, but needs to make a living.
Dhossin Brew – From Dawn’s Light. A light golden pilsner. (5cp)
Dusk – From Dawn’s Light. A dark, bitter, black beer. (1cp)
Spiced Amber Dawn – From Dawn’s Light. A spiced amber beer of nutmeg and cinnamon. (3sp)
Elverquisst – Private reserve, elven wine salvaged from the wilderness. (4gp for pint, 20gp per bottle.)
Firewine – Private reserve, shipped from Staogua. Very spicy, high in ABV 9gp per bottle, 1gp per pint.
Feywine – Private reserve, salvaged from the wilderness. Very hard to come by 100g per bottle. 20gp per pint.
Wine – Private reserve, shipped from overseas. 25gp per bottle, 5gp per pint.
Grenian Wine – Not wine, but a spirit made of various things. Imported from Genia. 5gp per bottle, 1gp per glass.
Bitters, Perry, or Cider – Homemade, 3gp per barrel, 2 cp per pint.
Coffee – Private reserve, shipped from overseas, 7sp per cup.
Postum – Fake coffee sourced form local ingredients, 2cp per cup.
Tea – Sourced from local ingredients, but virtually no actual tea. 1cp per cup.
Zuerst Tea – Private reserve, shipped from Pleu Swuim, 2sp per cup.
Golm’s Elixir – An energy drink made form ginseng and various other roots and secret ingredients. 3sp per cup.
Strayv Spea Mead – Mead imported from Streyv Spea, 7sp per bottle.
Almondhoney Soda – A drink of Golm’s design. Take nuts of any kind and create a milk, then dissolve as much sugar as you can into it, then mix with water to thin it and pressurize with gas to add fizz. 1gp per bottle.
Toil and Pane
Female half-orc. 32. Her husband, Golm Melancon owns Grounds and Mugs. The alchemist is a log cabin, with a heather-thatched roof and dead hedges. Several battered shields hang on the walls. It contains some planter boxes on the walls and vines hanging from the ceiling. Noruk is a matronly person who seems very caring. Loves healing the sick, but doesn’t like the pressure that comes with it. Spends more time making powder than she cares for, but knows it’s an important job. Tries to make sure fortuneers are as prepared as possible for dangerous journeys, even selling items at a discount – much tto the chagrin of her husband Golm.
Acid, vial (25gp)
Alchemists Fire (50 gp)
Antitoxin (50 gp)
Blister Oil (15 gp) – Stabilized juice of the wild parsnip. Getting this oil on your skin result in painful blisters that last for 1d4-1 days.
Catstink (25 gp)
Darkoil (for blackening shiny surfaced temporarily) (25gp per vial)
Distilled water (1gp)
Flashpellet (50 gp)
Healer Kit (5 gp)
Healing potion (50gp)
Ironthorn Wax (for waterproofing cloth)
Liquid Salt (2gp) (just water with the maximum absorption of salt.)
Oil Flask (1sp)
Oil of Slipperiness (470gp)
Smoke Powder (35 gp for a 2lbs horn or 250 gp for a 20lbs keg.)
Sun Rod (2gp)
Suregrip (20 gp)
Vial / Bottle (1gp)
Grain and stabling are 5sp per horse per day.
Einhardt Hartwig (alive)
Human. Age 51. Male. Gerhardt’s Father. Works as a stablehand. Drunk. A Soldier who was knocked out while on his nightly guard duty. This resulted in a close assassination attempt that nearly killed the lord he was charged with protecting. His father was cast out and his station revoked. His father is still alive but lives at the bottom of a bottle. Gerhardt as a result was nicknamed the son of the twig and was constantly in trouble for beating up anyone who had the balls to call him that to his face. Having learned how to swing a sword at a young age and the military path blocked form him he is seeking to become a sellsword and make a name for himself and overwrite the shame of his father. Anyone who knows his family name in the military look down on him. Free Swords respect his brother in law and have accepted him with open arms because of it.
Male, Elf, 104 years old. Claims to be the decendant of elvish royalty, but was born here in Drier Stra. His parents told him they were royal courtiers in Tinuriel in the north past Hexewacht and were forced here in the Dark Age. No one has any idea if this is true.
Female Half-Elf, 44. Wife of Ahvain. Allergic to milk. Long wavy golden hair. Brown eyes. Runs the Peddle Pawn with her husband. Nice enough.
A plaster and sprawling single story building, with a blue tile roof and overgrown hedges. It contains a small bell over the door and a horned skull with a crystal ball embedded on it.
Ioun Stone, Intellect (dmg 176) (2,900 gp)
Folding Boat (dmg 170) (9,900 gp)
Lyse Baker – Freeholder
Alheit Baker – Apprentice
Brewer – Dawn’s Light
Joest Bewer – Husband
Ursula Brewer – Wife
Henning Carpenter – Wife
Johann Carpenter – Husband
Peter Cartwright – Husband
Diedrich Cartwright – Husband
Joseph Cooper – Single, looking.
Henn Coaler – Wife
Hans Coaler – Husband
Gerke Coaler – Child, 8.
Els Fletcher – Wife
Ro Fletcher – Wife
Hilmar Fletcher – Child, 11
Els Granger – Husband
Kathrin Granger – Wife
Rudolph Denkendorf – Single, not looking.
Margaret Mason – Wife
Franz Mason – Husband
Jurgen Roper – Husband
Marien Roper – Wife
Abelken Wright – Single, not looking.
Herman Wright – Apprentice, single, looking.
Johannes Wright – Apprentice, single, looking.
Werner Smith – Husband
Thorlein Smith – Wife
Cecilia Smith – Child, 17