May 24, 2017

A Sword for Pontus

On the morning of the 22nd Day of Flocktime, each of the party members decided they had their own business to do within the City of Greyhawk, and went their separate ways (this was in between sessions, so some players wanted to chat about what they were doing online). Sarril went to join the Guild of Wizardry and do some research in their fantastic library. Pontus went in search of a magical two-handed sword.

Now, normally, a Fruztii barbarian loose in the big city trying to figure out where to buy a magic sword would be a challenge, but Pontus was pointed in the right direction by the other party
members. He knew that the High Market was where the finest merchant sold their wares to the wealthy elite, and if anyone was going to have magic weapons for sale, it would likely be there. So off Pontus went in search of a sword.

DM's Note: Magic swords are somewhat rare, though finding a basic enchanted sword (+1) is reasonable if you are visiting the right merchant, but they are very expensive, and not usually the kind of thing simply on display in an open-market. But I figured it would be reasonable that some of the higher-end merchants may have one or two enchanted swords carefully displayed as a showpiece to attract customers. I decided that if Pontus spent a few hours visiting all of the weapon vendors, I would roll a d10 and that would be how many magical two-handed swords would be found across all vendors in the entire market. I rolled a 10. Today was a good day for Pontus to shop for a sword. I then rolled on the Unearthed Arcana treasure tables to see what kind of magical swords these would be. Most were +1, or +1 with a minor specialty (like bonus vs. reptiles, etc.), but a couple of very rare +2 swords appeared as well. The way the UA tables work is that you first roll percentile dice to determine which table to use. 95% and below uses Table I, which has some average to very good magical weapons on it. 96% and above uses Table II, which has a chance to get some of the most amazing non-artifact swords, like Sun Blades and the like. On the 10th roll, I rolled a 96% to go to Table II. I then rolled a percentage again to see what sword from Table II it would be, and landed something nearly impossible. While I don't like the idea of making a sword like this so easily available, I have a general rule that if this is a legitimate roll of the dice, I find a way to make it happen. There is no way any merchant would simply be selling a weapon like this at a market, or even within a well guarded shop. Weapons of this magnitude would handled very carefully through a private transaction. And so I decided this one would need to be played out.

Pontus spent a lot of time speaking to various merchants and looking at some of the finest enchanted greatswords ever to make their way into the city. But despite their fantastic quality, none could ever equal the sword wielded by his father - the family heirloom that had been handed down for generations pre-dating the migration of his people from the Suel Empire. That sword was his birthright, and now it was gone. None of these other swords could possibly be its equal. When a disappointing Pontus was speaking to the last merchant, he said "If money were no object, what kind of sword could you sell me?" This resulted in some back and forth conversation, wherein the merchant was trying to gauge the seriousness of the inquiry, and finally, after swearing Pontus to secrecy, looked around to see if anyone was watching, then reached under the table and pulled out the "Sword of Arcane Destruction" (a sword with a bonus vs. magic users - perfect for a barbarian). Pontus thanked the merchant, told him what a fine sword it was, but said he was looking for something even better, and that money really was no object. Finally, the merchant told him that he had something better and that Pontus should come by his shop in the Foreign Quarter at 8:00 pm that evening to get a private showing. Pontus agreed to the appointment and went back to the Silver Dragon Inn.

While at the inn, Pontus asked Olaf what a barbarian like himself could do to earn money. Olaf informed in, secretly, that he wouldn't normally recommend it, but he may be able to earn some money by fighting in the Pit. If Pontus was interested, Olaf could provide him with that evening's password to get-in, but he would need to be sworn to secrecy as the Pit is technically illegal in Greyhawk (despite that just about everyone in the Foreign Quarter knows about it). This excited Pontus greatly and he wanted to know what time the fights start. They start at 8:00 pm. Pontus immediately ran back to the High Market to find the merchant he was just speaking with to change the appointment time. This made the merchant nervous and Pontus had to talk him off the ledge a bit. The merchant finally agreed to an earlier meeting only if Pontus would come back at 5 pm and help him pack-up. He also had to pay for dinner. Pontus agreed to the terms and ran back to the inn, wherein he saw Sir Gerard, having just come back from a meeting with a cleric at the Sanctum of Heironeous. Pontus told Sir Gerard about the arrangement for the sword and Sir Gerard insisted that something sounded fishy, and he should come along to the meeting. Pontus reluctantly agreed.

Soon, it was time to go, and both Pontus and Sir Gerard went to see the merchant. Sir Gerard introduced himself, and the merchant stated his name as Waldo Parstiche, and his assistant, Elbrak. Gerard and Pontus helped break-down the merchant tent and load up the crates into a wagon as promised, and escorted Waldo and Elbrak back to his warehouse in the Foreign Quarter, where they secured the goods before heading to dinner at the Red Serpent Restaurant, where Waldo had made a reservation. Waldo, Gerard and Pontus had a very fine multi-course meal in a private room where they were able to discuss business without being disturbed. After the main meal, the door opened and two men walked in. The first man, dressed in a leather tunic, was introduced by Waldo as a business associate by the name of Dorian Gallamar. Dorian has brought the sword for viewing. The second man, dressed in a long black cloak with a hood covering his face, was Zynthar, whom Dorian said was there for his protection. Zynthar didn't speak, but just moved to the corner. Sir Gerard immediately focused his Detect Evil ability on both of the new men. Dorian emoted clear evil, but when he tried to focus on Zynthar, he received a shock in his head that disrupted his senses.

Sir Gerard immediately stood up and declared that Pontus should not go through with the deal as these men were clearly evil and not to be trusted. With his hand on the hilt of his sword, he moved to face Zynthar.

Dorian says "you think ill of me, Sir Gerard, and yet I have done nothing to slight you. This does not seem to be noble behavior. I am only here to conduct business. If your god allows you to see if I speak the truth, call upon him now. See that I mean what I say."

Pontus then went into a rage, saying "Waldo, this is a nice place." He slams his meat filled hand down on the table , hard. "It won't stay that way unless I see this ducking sword right now!!"

Dorian says, "Waldo, I am sorry. I do not know where you found these two, but I don't think we can don business." He then gets up to leave.

Sir Gerard calmed down and said "Pontus? There is no need for that." He nodded a salutary gesture with his hand on the hilt of his sword. Eyeing Zynthar.

Pontus calmed down and said "How about we just stop this back and forth and get down to business. I don't know who your friends are Waldo, but Dorian, if you are the guy let me know. What do you say Dorian? We all sit down, and act like the civil southerners we are?"

Sir Gerard responded "I will remain to stand in judgement Only! I do not condone any of this!"

Waldo then attempted his own diplomacy, saying "Dorian, please, stay. I think we can do this. Is everyone cool?"

With everyone somewhat calm, but now hyper-aware and trigger happy, Dorian removed a bag of holding from his cloak and set it on the table. He then pulled out a 6 ft long flat wooden box from the bag on to the table. After looking around the room and ensuring they were still alone and everyone was calm, he opened the box to reveal the sword.

The sword was truly magnificent, made of a strange metal that did not seem of this world. Unknown runes were etched along the blade. It may have been the most extraordinary sword Pontus or Gerard had ever seen. Waldo began to explain the sword and its backstory when Sir Gerard was filled with an overwhelming urge to pick it up.

Shaking off the urge, he turned to Zynthar, drew his blade and yelled "Show yourself fiend. NOW!" as he attacked Zynthar and missed. A confused Pontus lept over the table and drew his sword while
Dorian closed the box with the sword and started stuffing into the bag while yelling "THIEF! I'm being robbed!" Shortly thereafter, everyone into the room was stunned in place and couldn't move. Zynthar removed his hood to reveal a purplish alien looking face with squid-like tentacles over his mouth. An Illithid, also known as a Mind Flayer.

Pontus and Gerard could do nothing but watch the horror unfold as the creature moved behind Waldo, placed his tentacled mouth over his head, and began to feast on his brains. Waldo's eyes rolled back into his head, and then he slumped forward on to the table. Next, Zynthar moved to Pontus and started to do the same. After a few seconds of this, the doors burst open and in came four guards from the Nightwatchmen's Guild. Zynthar turned to the guards and made another mind-blast attack, stunning three out of four of them. By now, Dorian had the sword packed up and yelled to Zynthar "let's go!" and the two ran out of the restaurant.

Soon the owner, Cevin Estri came into the room to investigate while his wife was attempting to calm customers who were rubbing their heads, confused about what just went down. Cevin closed the door and he and the guards questioned Pontus and Sir Gerard about what happened. Sir Gerard felt confident in stating the an evil creature attacked him, and that Cevin is responsible for allowing an evil creature into his restaurant to begin with, even going so far as to demand reparations. The interrogation did not go well from that point, especially given that Waldo was a well-renowned merchant, and the guards did not much like Sir Gerard's righteous attitude. While they did not fully trust that Sir Gerard was innocent from provoking the incident, it was clear the mind-flayer was the one who killed Waldo and they had nothing to hold Pontus or Gerard on. They demanded they leave the restaurant and not come back. Sir Gerard offered his assistance in tracking down the mind-flayer, which the guards outright rejected, saying they would find the perpetrator and bring him to justice on their own. "Not if I find him first" replied Gerard, as he led a babbling, drooling Pontus out of the restaurant and back to the inn.

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