Archive for July, 2005

A Lunch-Time Consideration of Circumstance

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

Well, I must say, we have had an adventurous morning.  After our little encounter with the crazed, feral monkeys from underground, we were quick to move.  After all, if these were minions of the drow we sought, they would certainly be, uh, missed?  Missed seems like the wrong choice of words, a bit more sentimental than I find it believable to think anyone could be about them, but you take my point.

Rock and Katarina and Katarina’s “pet” moved ahead of the party about a mile and a half to the top of a small hill.  On the other side they beheld a small, shallow valley and, on its other side, another small hill of similar height as their own.  Rock spotted a cave on the far side of the valley with what was clearly the path of the evil monkeys coming out of it.  Badl was in bird form, overhead, and between the four of them they were able to spot that the small campsite – complete with roasting pig – off to one side of the valley floor was an elaborate illusion designed, without doubt, to snare any unwary adventurers who happened past.  Fortunately, they also saw the drow lookout perched in a tree, wrapped in a cloak and keeping an eye on the illusory campsite. 

Katarina, Badl and Rock were quick to take him down, and soon they were slipping away from the valley with a bound and grumpy drow in their possession.  Upon returning to us, we all questioned him and learned that there were 64 other drow in the cave, a dozen slaves (all elves, he claimed) and that they were here purely to collect slaves.  I asked pointedly if they had any halflings and he got wary of us – and confessed that they had three.  He also told us that there was, among the forces of the drow, a priestess of Beshaba.  I have a number of reasons to dislike Beshabans, not least of which is the time some very bad people tried to slander Tel by claiming he was a “brood” of Beshaba. 

I wrote a song about it.  I have to say, it was one of my best. 

After finishing our discussion with him, Badl asked him one more question:  bunny, squirrel or chipmunk?  The guy knitted his brow and said, “Bunny?”  Badl accomodated him by turning him into a bunny and he shortly was off running through the woods eating various wild lettuces.  Delightful!

The rest of us agreed that now we had taken a scout we would have to move quickly.  I made myself appear to be a drow and everyone else hid.  En masse, we took position in the woods outside the cave and I perched in the scout’s former post.  Katarina’s shadow explored the cave for us and came back wounded – I am very bothered by the sort of talk going around about what it takes to “heal” a shadow, but we’ll
just save that one for some other time – with a report that inside there were countless dead bodies, one very large crab and a woman in armor perched in a tree atop the hill.  We agreed to take out the
priestess at the top of the hill first – the giant crab was, we hoped, unintelligent and, in a situation where one of them got away, the crab would at least be easier to track.

I have to say, you know you’re a seasoned adventurer when you’re sitting up a tree in the middle of the Cormanthor pretending to be a drow, a shadow appears out of the ground and tells you a “giant crab”
is in the cave ahead of you, and it’s just business as usual.  Adventuring is a very strange profession.

We gathered our various means of sneaking up on her and then flew up to take care of what seemed to be the most immediate threat.  Katarina, Shadow and Bonzo went into the cave to cover the priestess’
exit and the rest of us gathered together the frontal assault.  Between the five of us up top, it was a quick matter to take the Beshaban priestess down a peg or two, knock her unconscious and bind her in her treetop turret.  However, I should note, spells seem… slippery around these drow.  It’s like our ability to reach into the guts of the universe and make things simply happen just sort of slides around
them.  It’s very disturbing.

Memo to self:  Nigel has expressed the opinion that there must be a balance between all things, good and evil, law and chaos.  If this were true, would it also be true of a balance between random events and controlled?  After all, magic seems to slide off these drow like water off a duck, but it also seems to feel like the same sort of “random” event I can nudge in one direction or another like so many other apparently random events.  Are there, in fact, laws that govern chaos?  If so, are they true laws or merely an impotent effort to recognize the slow creep of chaos into all events and, in their recognition, subsume them into a larger but ultimately hollow framework that seeks but fails to fully describe the structure of the world?  Is it all a matter of perspective?  Is the world utterly chaotic and, in the wide spread of truly random outcomes, is it possible to pick and choose interpretations such that any belief in laws or other preordained structures and rules can be amply but ultimately falsely supported?  Or is it quite the opposite:  that there are vast and near-immutable rules of operation but that the Powers That Be have the capacity to twist and shape the rules to their own advantage, and do so with such frequency that the appearance of chaos is merely a smokescreen for their backstage machinations in the lives of such mere
mortals as we?

I am, above all, a believer in fate.  The TTC clearly was, and continues to be, fated for greatness.  And yet, many of our best efforts have been, throughout our history, stymied by seemingly random events.  On the other hand, I have made it my specialty to have the ability to do some of that twisting myself.  If there are levers and pulleys in the machine of the universe that allow me to
do such things, then there must be structure to the chaos.  And yet, the structure itself allows chaos to be, well, chaotic.

I suppose these are the sorts of things I should think about when I’m not on the job.  After all, we have a door to open and this damp old cave is murder on my look..

After we’d taken her out, I asked Greebo to keep an eye out in the direction of what we suspect to be at least another drow scout if not another outpost – the priestess, as we approached, was using a giant mirror to signal some remote part of the forest.  Rock wanted to break the mirror, but I reminded him doing so is, quite frankly, terrible bad luck.  We’d just bested a priestess of the goddess of bad luck, and, you know, my whole deal is sort of actively working against the idea of luck altogether.  The two don’t really mix to
begin with, and I wasn’t terribly interested in poking Beshaba with yet another sharp stick and seeing what happened.

Anyway, we tucked our prisoner away with a gorilla and a shadow standing over her ready to beat her back unconscious if she came to (and a Tressym watching our backs), and went downstairs to examine the
wreckage of the drow caves.  We found a variety of interesting things – a badly burned boullette having seizures in a metal cage, a larger cage hanging open and a variety of corpses scattered about.  Perhaps most interestingly, we also found a door that read, in ancient dwarven runes, DO NOT ENTER.  Rock was kind enough to lend me his listening cup, but even with that I could only make out the clanging and banging of metalworks behind the door.  Our current theories run towards constructs being back there, but we
haven’t opened it yet.  More on that in a bit.

The time had come to find out what was up with this “giant crab,” and Katarina volunteered to scout out the room where it had been seen.  Inside she saw a bunch of metal boxes, a huge pile of dead bodies and, next to it, an umberhulk I find it hard to describe adequately with mere words.  To start with, it must have been twenty feet tall, and its claws were enormous.  Unfortunately, it had the ability to cause people to go temporarily mad, and in this regard it found Katarina an easy target.  She ran screaming toward
it, sword out, and the rest of us knew we needed to act quickly or our new friend would be remarkably dead.  Rock and Badl ran in, Nigel and Adric and I fired some spells at it, and although it did manage to very nearly kill Rock with a single hit, we managed to drop it (with quite a thud) in short order.  No sooner had we started to relax, though, than we spotted three drow hiding in a corner of the room.  They
tried to put up an effective defense but, really, they were no match for us.  I confess that there was some, um, collateral damage in terms of slaves, but they were all drugged so, well… at least they didn’t suffer.  Or, at least they weren’t alert for the suffering.  I guess.  I am yet again very, very glad for
Adric’s presence, for he has been specially blessed with the ability to ease the suffering and heal the wounds of others, gifts beyond the ken of any other cleric I have ever known.  (It doesn’t hurt that he seems to have an especially civilized air about him.)

At any rate, now we have another drow prisoner, the rest of the cave to explore and an ancient dwarven EMPLOYEES ONLY sign to go bust open.  As I sit here writing this and chewing on a trail ration, I
have to hope that what’s behind that door is, frankly, mind-bendingly dangerous.  Does that make me some kind of weirdo?

Diary Entry – Somewhere in the Cormanthor – 1373

Monday, July 11th, 2005

Well!  Two days ago I was tending the counter at the TTC store in
Elventree and here I am, deep in the Cormanthor Forest with Rock and
Nigel (!) and some new friends, hunting down drow slavers who’ve taken
hostage someone Berol feels is important to Fate.

OK, maybe I should back up and explain.

So there I was behind the counter, playing a little Sembia Hold ‘Em
with Greebo and generally humming a tune, and in walks this pale woman
dressed in a lot of black frippery.  She said she’d heard of me,
and heard of the Tinker Traders, and was going to be dancing at the pub
that night and wanted me to provide her musical accompaniment.  I
am, of course, never one to shy away from the stage, or from
new people, so I agreed.  After the show, she told me she sought
passage into the Cormanthor in search of a mantle that would increase
her skills in some regard.  To be honest, I thought she was being
a little shady about it, but whatever.  She seemed absolutely
disinterested in harming us, and we were headed to Sessuadra to meet up
with Berol anyway, so I invited her to teleport down there with us in
the morning.  We did, of course, run her through The
Question.  She assured us that she was not to her knowledge a
doppleganger and we assured her that they are generally aware of their
condition, so everyone was entirely satisfied.

Next morning, we were off to Sessuadra.  It’s always exciting to
teleport somewhere, especially somewhere dangerous!  When we got
there we were greeted with the usual grim and crumbling facades and a
wagon of relations all carrying their patriarch to Berol’s temple to
spend his final days with dignity before passing on.  (One of them
recognized me!  I was very pleased, despite the somber
circumstance.)  We escorted them into the city and about halfway
to the temple we met Berol and some others coming our way.  Before
we could greet each other, though, a hollow-eyed elven woman appeared
before Berol and demanded her “fair share” of the dead and dying. 
Rock and I could hear huge footsteps and with a few words I could see
what was making them – an enormous giant!  We called out
that an ambush was under way and moments later we were in the thick of
it!  All of Sessuadra’s worst were on hand to try to take out
Berol and anyone on his side.  We were being jumped by hill
giants, this other kind of huge monster thing, some nagas, even gargoyles
Katarina, the woman we’d brought with us from Elventree, started
stabbing the gargoyles and a shadow detached from one of the walls and
started attacking the big grey thing and then a tiger and an ape – I
know, odd! – were fighting everything and I was casting sonic fireballs
and arcs of flame were shooting back and forth and Rock was knee-deep
in enemies hacking them to pieces and this priest was waving his hands
around and casting spells and it was just crazy.  We took
everything out, though, and soon enough we were all standing in the
street (the mendicants we’d met at the gate were all fine – well,
except for the fact that their grandfather, or whoever, was on his
deathbed) meeting and greeting.  It turned out that the main naga
was their champion, and with her destruction we had managed to break
what remained of the monstrous resistance to the reoccupation of
Sessuadra.  Rock even saw the last hill giant pack up his few
belongings and leave the city the next morning.  With that, we
knew we had once and for all cleaned out Sessuadra.  How cool is that?

Back to getting to talk to Berol, though!  We made sure he was
okay (he was the main target of the attack, and kept getting knocked
around pretty bad) and then met his companions.  Nigel, from back
in the old days of the Flatliners, of all people, was with Berol –
apparently Berol freed him from enslavement by the Drow, which all
sounded very unpleasant – and then we got to meet the Tiger, named Badl
Ojingyrbir, who is actually a gnome druid, and we met his ape, and we
were also introduced to a priest of Lathander named Adric.  They
were all very nice, and if they’re friends of Berol’s then they’re
friends of ours, so we all went back to the temple and ate a big dinner
together and got to know one another.  Badl taught Rock the
traditional drinking dances of the gnomes while I played, and I got to
admire Adric’s very fashionable robes and civilized demeanor. 
Berol may not be much for the small-talk, but he certainly knows how to
put together a crew!

Before bed, Berol called us all back together to discuss why we were
there.  He had a mission of the utmost importance, he told us, and
he needed to ask us to complete it for him.  Those of us who
weren’t immediately willing to accept by simple virtue of it being
Berol were at least interested, so we settled in while he explained
that his temple’s seers had determined that there was a time coming of
terrible death and destruction in the future and that a certain
halfling named Alec was important to these events somehow. 
However, this Alec had been taken captive by the Drow trying to invade
the Cormanthor.  We were all eager for an opportunity to mess with
the Drow, so we took the job of going and rescuing Alec and bringing
him to Berol, and Berol told us the Drow access from the underworld was
in a general area three days’ ride to the west.  The next morning
we had one of his priests scry us a likely spot and Nigel and I whisked
everyone away to the middle of the forest to begin our search for the
Drow and wherever they might be holding this Alec person.

Badl, being a druid, suggested we find a bear with whom he could talk
about where any drow might have been.  This sounded like a great
idea, and very shortly we came across a bear that was, in fact, running
full-speed in the opposite direction of where we were going.  Badl
caught up to it and found out that They were coming, the They being
something terrible that made “the sound of fear.”  We were all a
bit curious about that, and various of us went about our plentiful
means of concealing ourselves when one tiny – uh, well, it looked
monkeyish, to be honest, kind of halflingish with some monkey around
the edges – came gibbering out of the woods and tried to flail at Rock
before it was summarily cut down.

To be honest, diary, I wondered what it was about this one little
monkey that had the bear so worked up when more of these little monkey
things appeared – then more, then even more than that, then hundreds of
them.  Nigel and I started taking out as many as we could in a
single go while Badl worked to protect the wildlife from the horde of
little monkey things and Rock and Adric drew their attention to
themselves to try to get them gathered in as small a space as
possible.  With enough fireballs and sonic fireballs, and Rock’s
unbelievably fast blades and a huge column of fire called down by
Aldric and a hail of crossbow bolts from Katarina, we cut them all
down.  Admittedly, we sprayed ourselves in gore when Rock would
slice several of them in two and then Nigel would fry them and then I
would liquify what was left, but in the end we managed to best them and
calm back down (their mindless chitter had a deeply unsettling effect,
making it hard to concentrate on anything beyond a sort of rising
panic) and assess our situation.  All told, we had managed pretty
well, and now Badl’s gone to go make sure the bear we saw is still okay
and ask it what it knows. 

Whewf!  Day two of my return to an active adventuring career and
it is already every bit as exciting as I remember it being.

I love my job.

PS:  While we were in Sessuadra, Berol told us that his temple has
managed to free Snowdown from the restraints which kept her trapped
there and she can now travel freely.  He asked her to favor us
with her presence on our journey, and now she is able to assist us in a
number of ways.  It was very good to hear of the progress made in
setting her free, and Rock was very happy to see her.  She, in
turn, was not so happy to hear that he’s married now, but you know how
it is.  She’s an ancient elven ghost, he’s a half-elven ranger
with a wife and home… it wasn’t meant to be.

PPS:  I feel I should note that Badl’s ape wears a shirt like a
person.  It is, I have to admit, adorable in this regard.  It
somehow makes it easier to forget that his ape could snap our necks
with a gesture if it wanted. (more…)

Diary Entry – 1373 DR – Summer

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

ELVENTREE – The weather is unbelievable – summer in Elventree is ridiculously hot.  I know that sounds dumb given I just
spent a year camped on the shores of the Lake of Frickin’ Steam, but seriously, I think summer in Elventree is even worse than
summer at that spa.  I’d try to record the name of the town where
the spa is located, but the name changed eight times in one week during the winter and that’s the slow season in the coup d’etat leagues down there.  The Lake of Steam is certainly an exciting place!

In happier news, we’ve gotten word from Berol that he needs the
assistance of the TTC.  Admittedly, it’s just me and Rock these
days, but we’re nothing to sneeze at and it’s a chance to go try
(again) to spruce up his temple.  Every time we talk I try to get
him to adopt a more colorful scheme – maybe with a little red in it,
you know, just a nod to old friends and their goddesses – but I guess
he really does have more important things to think about. 

Gah – I’m all scatter-brained and making zero sense at the
moment.  Adventure!  Adventure is upon us!  We’ve gotten
a summons!  Sure, it’s to Sessuadra, but at least it’s to somewhere!

I have to go get Rock to pack.  We have to leave right
away.  I’m pretty sure there’s a nice, big rock about a half mile
from the eastern gate to the city where we used to camp on our way in
and our way out and I can probably just jump us straight there. 
If we pack a basket, we could be eating lunch in Sessuadra with Berol
and talking about old times today. (more…)

Diary Entry – 1373 DR – Spring

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

ELVENTREE – I’ve finally returned for good to Elventree.  I do confess that I
zapped back to Phlan first, just in case I’m still the mayor, and they
were all rather surprised to see me there.  One of my juniors –
oh, what’s-his-name, the one with the weak chin and the yappy dog – is
now the mayor, and more power to him.

I am quite sad, however, to find that none of our songs are still being
sung up here.  It’s only been five years, but I guess memories are
short when it comes to heroism.  Oh, Zhentil Keep is rebuilding,
they say, maybe it’s not nice to sing that clever song by that bard
fellow
.  Bah.  Zhentil Keep should be routinely flattened on
general principle.

Oh my.  I do believe I channeled Donth for just a moment.

At any rate, I’ve been hanging out in Elventree.  The heat around
the Lake of Steam seems to have triggered something in terms of
Greebo’s development, as he is newly winged.  At first I was
certain something was wrong, and he didn’t want to talk about it, and
everything was a little awkward, but then one day there they were. 
Wings.  Just like that.

I suspect this is something akin to human teenagers and zits, but honestly, I doubt he’d ever admit that. (more…)

Travel Journal – 1372 DR – Summer

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

LAKE OF STEAM – My time among the Durbari is done for now.  I finally was there
long enough to feel fairly certain I could return at a moment’s notice,
so I summoned up my will and went back to Elventree to check in. 
My prediction of G’dam’s fate has not been far off, as she is with a
traveling circus that tours the outer planes.  She says she
entertains djinn and stranger things for a living.  I assumed at
first, as Rock told me of her letter, that she was simply trashed when
she wrote it but the handwriting is steady and, well… it is what we all expected, isn’t it?  Sounds like she’s having the time of her life, to be honest.

Getting away from the Durbari has reminded me that this was supposed to
be a vacation, so on my return to their town – it has a remarkably
complicated name I simply haven’t the faintest idea how to spell – I
was off on the road again.  I did pay up on my apartment, though,
two full years of rent in advance with a promise that it be left
exactly where and as it was.  The landlady did arch an eyebrow at
the where part of that request, but honestly, teleporting around is hard enough without having to explain it to people.

I have since come here, to the Lake of Steam.  It is a corrupt and
barbarous place, chopped up into a dozen dozen tiny nation-states,
city-states, village-states – there are probably three competing kings
fighting to the death over each and every barn.  It makes the Moonsea look downright neighborly in comparison.  However, a kindly old priest has retired here to operate a spa and I have found it very relaxing. 

The water is very pleasant, despite the steam, but what lives in it is not:  giant leaches
the size of elephants that can squidge up the beaches and onto land on
rainy nights.  Let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve run
from giant leaches in pitch dark.  The sound they make just walking is enough to give me the willies even now.

The steam is very good for my complexion, though, and the waters are so mineral-rich that this is the place in the whole world for a mud-wrap. 

I intend to stay at least until Hogswatch and then it’s back to
Elventree for roast duck with Rock.  I’ll invite Berol, of course,
but he seems so stern these days that I don’t want to make him
uncomfortable by putting him in a situation that demands
small-talk.  It’s not like we can discuss work over dinner,
anyway.  Can’t you just imagine it?

Me:  So, the Lake of Steam was nice, what did you do this past year, Rock?
Rock:  Oh, you know, guarded the trees, tended the forests, defended the town.
Me:  How nice!  And you, Berol?
Berol:  I shepherded the souls of the dead into the land of
the dead where my grim master oversaw their disposal with the gods of
their choice or, lacking a faith, deposited them in the timeless land
of the wailing dead.  Also, I’m going to say The Dead a few more times.
Me:  …Be a dear and pass the dressing, would you?

I love him like a brother, but he’s really not the sort to sit around a roaring fire and sing old dwarf songs for New Year’s. (more…)

Travel Journal – 1371 DR – Two Weeks Later

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

GOLDEN BAY, DOLPHIN COAST – Shocking!  The Halruaans have a highly civilized society – they
have formal, public education for all! – and yet they have silly rules
against the use of magic by other than certified, book-carrying wizards.

I tried to explain that perhaps they should have invested in a sign to let the rest of us know  – nothing major, nothing expensive, perhaps something as simple as a pamphlet – and they did not like that at all.

Bribes – especially the ones made in escape – always seem so dirty in
hindsight no matter how necessary at the time of their execution. (more…)

Travel Journal – 1371 DR – Autumn

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

GOLDEN BAY, DOLPHIN COAST – I find myself in the south, among a very friendly people called the
Durpari.  I actually am given to understand that some small number
of them live in Mulhorand, of all places.  Apparently there would
be more of them if Mulhorand didn’t occasionally wipe out whole
communities of them there as a sort of ongoing policy of assholish behavior.  I knew it was a good idea to take our
business elsewhere.

The Durpari are master traders and diplomats and welcome foreigners –
and foreign religions – with open arms and, most especially, open
stores.  They are thrilled to lighten the pockets of anyone who
wanders by, but they have the odd distinction of doing so as fairly as
possible.  I have secured a small apartment at a reasonable rate
and have set about offering my services as a bard, a wizard, an
adventurer and an advisor.  I’ve tried to spread the word of Sune,
but they have an oddly… egalitarian outlook on religion here. 
They told me they are familiar with Sune and worship her already
I was quite astounded to hear so, given the utter absence of shrines,
temples, priests, holy symbols, beauty contests, foppish “knights”
lounging around the pools, all the usual signs of the goddess, but they
assured me in the genuinely friendliest manner that they are quite in
her favor.  So, I’ve stayed for a few weeks.

Next month it’s off to Halruaa, a neighboring land ruled by formal
magicians, for a tour by ship and what should be a frighteningly easy
gig.  A Durpari trader here
wants someone who can speak the language there and I have assured him, most
honestly, that I can do so for at least several short periods of time a day. (more…)

Travel Journal – 1371 DR – Summer

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

PHLAN – Well, I’ve had it with Phlan.  It’s just… oh, I hate to say it,
diary, but it’s dull.  The frippery and the Official Gloves of
Office and everything, they’re neat, but so dull.  Dull, dull,
dull.  I cannot contain myself in this wretched little
place.  The people are lovely but I’d give anything for a little
excitement.  Gerhard’s gone off to do whatever dwarves do to have
fun and Rock is all tied up helping oversee the defensive duties of
Elventree and such, so I’m off on a vacation of my own.  Greebo is
extremely glad to get out of the city and so am I.  Yikes! 
Phlan might need to get flattened a time or two every century just to keep it from dying of boredom.

I’m off to the lands of the south and what I understand is called the
Dolphin Coast.  I figure with a name like that it’s almost
certainly lovely to look at and I understand they speak good, normal
Chondathan there. (more…)

Mayoral Records – 1370 DR – Hogswatch

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

PHLAN – Still no orc hordes.  I tried to send a messanger up there with
Hogswatch greetings from the city of Phlan – even when an old friend of
yours finds himself King of the Orc Tribes, it pays to send a fruit
basket once in a while, perhaps especially in such
circumstances – but no one would take the job.  I tried explaining
that no, really, the leader of the tribes is a good and faithful Sunite
and an old friend, but everyone I asked to do it just quaked in their
boots and muttered about the last time they saw an orc and how far
their campfires reached into the dark night around the edges of the
city as they waited to seige it at dawn, et cetera, et cetera. 

I think these people find it very difficult to change with the
times.  I hope the new year finds Haktor well.  I bet he’s
bouncing a couple of little… orclings, or whatever they’re called, on
his knees even as we speak.

Word is that Tel has disappeared from Elventree after flipping a coin
and seeing it land on its side.  I can only assume this is some
sort of Tymoran tradition, some sort of spirit quest sort of
thing.  Or he got bored of watching Elventree fail to build
casinos.  Your call’s as good as anyone else’s on that score.

G’dam apparently went down into the larder for a jar of preserves one
morning, touched a portal, and disappeared.  She’ll doubtless turn
up a few months from now wearing foreign clothes and talking about a
visit to Faery.

Keth has announced his departure to go and unite the barbarians in his
mountain home.  Perhaps he’s gone to teach them the exotic ways of
pants.  He is to be commended for his earnest attempt at
civilization in his time among us, and given all his talk of “making
sons,” I do hope he makes more than a few.

The interns have finally gone their way from Elventree as well. 
It is my hope that they will return after they have attained some
measure of glory of their own…

…but perhaps not more than we have.

Berol, of course, keeps vigil over his new temple in Sessuadra. 
That dark knight, his holy book chained(!) to his revived chest… it’s
enough to make a Sunite blush.  I do wish a brighter god had seen
fit to inspire such heroism, but anything beats Cyric and the Zhentarim
and all the rest of the entourages of the old god of death.  Berol
(as Kelemvor’s voice) has certainly attracted followers and faithful, and
to live in such a place, so surrounded by the whispers of dead things,
dead people, dead peoples, dead religions and powers and all the many
manner of things antiquity can manage to abandon in the path it walks on
its way to the grave. 

Ugh.  It’s hard to even think about for long.

A dead city, a wild magic zone, its only inhabitants the gargoyles and the giants and whatever else hid behind doors even we left unopened…

Phlan may be dull, but it’s remarkably safe when compared to at least a few of the alternatives.

At any rate, I’m teleporting down to Elventree tomorrow to spend
Hogswatch with Rock and Gerhard.  I’ve been invited to be the
honorary host of a banquet for the city staff, but begged off. 
Hogswatch is for family. (more…)

Diary Entry – 1370 DR – Spring

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

PHLAN

Dear Diary,

I’m afraid your predecessor got dropped over the side of the boat
somewhere outside Mulmaster.  I guess I won’t be headed there
anytime soon to look for it!  Perhaps it’s busy keeping Umberlie someone else amused, somewhere.

Anyway.

Things are remarkably quiet here in Phlan.  For one thing, the
city’s been standing for two years without a horde of some weird-ass
critters with too many teeth flattening it for lack of anything better
to do.  Mayoral elections are next week, and so far I think I have
a pretty good shot at winning.  (To be honest, I’m the only
candidate.)  The only real question in anyone’s mind is whether
the city will be stormed by orcs or undead or gods-know-what in the
eight days between now and then.  Around here, I’ve discovered,
the population considers it a pretty good day if you wake up and manage
to avoid an invasion between the lavatory and breakfast. 

Here’s my mayoral platform & ultimate plan for Phlan:

  • Flood sewers every 3rd Monday
  • Preferably with holy water
  • Get Gerhard to invent a truck or cart that can be used to fight fire by dispensing water
  • Equip it for holy water
  • Expand the sewers so wandering zombies & whatnot have better odds
    of getting lost down there, or at least take longer enough finding a
    convenient exit that they’re still there on the 3rd Monday of any given
    month
  • Hose down the graveyards with holy water
  • Build army of adventurers to protect the city
  • Pay them excessively well!

OK, the last two aren’t exactly in the public version of my platform.

Ultimately I think the real power in town lies with the Tyrians, and they’re all just concerned with the mayor doing his job – you know, the whole duty thing they’re so big on.  I think the mayor should be able to relax, maybe set a good example for the other cities
up here on the Moonsea.  With Zhentil Keep out of the picture and
Phlan secure, maybe we can all just take a deep breath and have a beer
and just, you know, chill out. (more…)