Qalimbaq was ever a warm place, but Cedrick regretted coming there in the height of the hot season. A time the locals called 'the burning.' He had unfastened his jack, and hung his bright brass morion on his belt to deal with the heat. He looked back at his companion, and winced to see how miserable Korynn looked. While he could alleviate some of the heat of his gear, she looked sweaty and miserable in her plate.So we begin our adventure with Cedrick and Lady Korynn of Mennatyre attempting to reach one of Cedrick's shady contacts within the port of Qalimbaq. I roll a story cube at this point, and get a key. I already had determined that the gates being closed during the day was an ominous sign, so maybe instead of just being shut, the city is well and truly closed. I roll a 4 on the d6, meaning an enemy takes aggressive action against unsuspecting victims...
"Buck up Rynn!" he called back to her, "my friend Deviss will have some cool drinks and a shady spot for us once we're past the gates!" Lady Korynn looked unconvinced, and delicately scratched under her eye patch with one long, dainty finger. He didn't say anything, because he knew she was self conscious about it, but he always had to work not to laugh at that.
She inclined her head toward the towering gates which drew close even now. "Do we have a way in?" she asked. "I was under the impression Qalimbaq was not a free city."
"Don't worry Rynn," he replied, then more quietly "I'll think of something."
As they drew closer, a guard with a helmet wrapped in wet fabric called down to them "The City is closed! None may enter!"Cedrick is desperate to get inside the city, not only for his contact, but for the delights only a city with a thriving theives guild and black market can provide, and decides to take the guard up on his offer. I roll d12 against his explorer skill to back-track the monsters which have been attacking the caravans. I roll a twelve, off to a good start. The duo find tracks and follow them back to the source. Since I figure this fulfills Q1, I roll a second story cube, and get a person with a shadow that is a monster. I take this to mean that the 'monsters' attacking the caravans are not all that they seem. I roll a 6 on the d6, indicating combat.
"We just spent three days crossing the desert, we need provisions if we are to move along!" Cedrick called back in what he thought of as his reasonable voice.
The Guard replied "There are monsters in the desert which have been attacking caravans, and the city will remain closed until the King's army arrives to clear them out!" The guard paused and looked meaningfully at the two heavily armed travelers. "Of course, if someone else were to resolve the situation before then, the Vizier might reconsider."
Rynn noticed Cedrick's concern as they followed the trail. "What's wrong?"
He frowned, Rynn was finally getting used to dealing with people on something other than a military basis, but he wasn't sure if that was good or meant she was more dangerous than before. "These are owl bear tracks. Certainly owl bears could attack a caravan, but they are heavy beasts, and these tracks aren't deep enough for a creature of this size."
She scratched daintily at the patch again. "So, someone who wishes owl bears to be blamed?"
At this last comment, the trail ended, and they saw the tunnel entrance. What's more, the tunnel's occupants saw them, and a handful of highwaymen rushed out, swords and spears in hand.
Cedrick anticipated the attack, and had his matchlock ready. Fizzle. The first highwayman rushed him, and Cedrick only avoided fisticuffs with the man as Rynn stepped in and smashed the man aside with her morning-star. Blades slithered past her glinting plate armor, and all of a sudden carrying the load of metal through the desert seemed like a smarter choice.Korynn moved to attack the first of 4 highwaymen, rolling her d12, she hits and scores enough damage to kill him. Cedrick fires his pistol, but even though I roll high enough to hit, it's an odd number, indicating a miss. the highwaymen attack, and two score hits on Rynn, but her armor negates the damage from both attacks. Close one! The next turns see Cedrick and Rynn despatch the remaining highwaymen with morning-star and dirk.
After the battle, Cedrick and Rynn moved into the cave to rest out of the sun and explore. Within there was a pile of caravan goods. Rynn insists that they be returned to their rightful owners: the merchants of Qalimbaq. Cedrick acquiesces, but slips a small bag of gold coin she didn't notice into his jack pocket. What harm in a small finder's fee? he thinks to himself.Back at the city, the guards relate the tale of the band of thieves, and the Vizier unseals the city. Cedrick and Korynn enter the marketplace in search of Cedrick's contact. I figure this is a fin time to roll for my third Q, and I get an arrow. I also roll a 5 "revelation." I'm still a little tentative at this juncture as to how all this works, so I decide that the discovery will be a minor one, but still impact their goals.
The pair wandered the city, looking for Cedrick's guild contact Deviss. "Did your friend tell you what exactly he had found?"That's it for our first installment. I was trying hard to not make this too ambitious, and it ran fairly long anyhow, so I might move to two questions per post for the future. I guess we'll see.
"No," Cedrick answered, then after a pause,"but Deviss specialized in 'secured antiquities' which means he disarmed traps in old tombs, mines, and such. Must have something to do with the tombs in the desert around here."
Cedrick nodded towards a small agitated looking crowd near the periphery of the marketplace. His instinct told him something was going on there he wanted to see. "Come" he gestured to Rynn.
As they approached, it became clear that there was a body on the ground, and the guardsmen were trying to flip it over, a task complicated by the fact that a thick, black fletched arrow protruded from between the shoulder blades. Finally they rolled the corpse over. Cedrick sighed.
"What?" asked Rynn, noting his concern.
"Things just got harder for us here." replied Cedrick as he slowly shook his head. "That's Deviss"
Let me know what you think!