Dark Presence Rising

A Leader is Born

Play Session 1

In ages long past, the land of Faerûn was once a peaceful land. The goodly beings far outnumbered the likes of the evil ones. But something, a dark presence perhaps, has been ever so subtly dominating the land. Giants, demons, and monsters of the likes which have not been seen before have begun to plague the land and assault the settlements of the goodly beings. In the city of Baldur’s Gate, one being has taken it upon himself to rid the land of this plague. His name is Chen Lenarv and he is the magistrate of Baldur’s Gate. Baldur’s Gate is a medium sized city located on the western side of Faerûn along the sword coast. It is a largely income separated city with a sprawling populace of poor to common folks and an elite group of the richer inhabitants. One such person shines above them all and that is the magistrate himself.

Chen Lenarv is a fat, short, pasty, balding man who sees himself as above all others. He alone rules Baldur’s Gate and his word is law. Recently, he has taken it upon himself to seek out, or rather bring to him, capable adventurers to investigate and stop the threat that has been rising. All across the land he has posted the call for adventurers in every city, town, tavern, inn, and major establishment. It reads, “To all adventurers! Be it that you seek gold, fame, or adventure; the city of Baldur’s Gate requests your help. When arriving in Baldur’s Gate, seek out the Magistrate at his mansion for further details and be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams!” Hundreds of adventurers have responded to the summons but it is unclear if any have returned or fulfilled this quest.

Six remarkable adventurers have arrived in Baldur’s Gate and find themselves in one of the local taverns, The Drowning Wench. A cursory inspection would immediately determine that this tavern is one of the less reputable ones and just as dirty. It is filled with stale smoke, sweat, raucous laughter and the normal din to be heard in a tavern. Seated at the bar is Zanhorn, a half-elf warlord. Zanhorn is of medium build and above average height due to his human and elven heritage. It is plain to see that he has inherited more of the favorable features from both lines of lineage. His hair is average in length but is neither blonde nor brown as is common in elves and humans. Instead, his hair is more of a hazelnut complexion, something that most half-elves cannot boast about, including the short beard he wears. Zanhorn is quietly enjoying his ale and is calmly absorbing all of his surroundings without outwardly appearing to be wary of anything in particular. He gives off the impression that he is battle seasoned and is not one to be taken unaware.

Seated at the table by himself directly behind Zanhorn is Variel, a human born paladin of Bahamut. He is massively tall for a human and, as is Zanhorn, just reaching the prime of his adult years. Variel stands at just over two meters and it is plain to see that, compared to Zanhorn, he is quite a bit taller; more like two hands to be exact. He has short cropped blonde hair, blue eyes, and a vacant stare as if mentally absent. Variel is also quietly sitting at the bar with a pitcher of ale clutched in one fist but not a drop has been consumed. Pooling around the base of the pitcher is a ring of moisture from the condensation of the ale sitting out for as long as it has. He is deeply aware of everything but he is not as nonchalant as Zanhorn. Variel is almost paranoid of the situation and every patron has given him a wide berth.

Auris, a female human cleric of Pelor, is seated in the corner of the tavern at a table by herself keeping a wary eye on the patrons of the tavern. She is of average height for a female, busty, raven-haired, approaching her prime adult years, and fair of skin. She is clad in chain mail with a two handed mace normally strapped to her back but it is resting against the chair she occupies. It is easy to tell that she is intelligent yet something about her gives off an air of naiveté. The look in her eyes belies a wisdom granted by her god that one of her years should not have. It is at this moment that she notices another of her kind enter the tavern through the front door. Entering the tavern is a human male invoker by the name Kael. Kael is a divine spell-caster who calls upon the fury and might of his god, Avandra, to strike fear into his enemies. Kael is (enter description). Almost immediately, he makes his way toward the bar where Zanhorn is seated as if they know each other already.

As Kael is making his way toward the bar, an eladrin wizard enters the bar in a flurry of robes. Alas, it is Arkamydies, the eccentric wizard! As Arkamydies screams through the tavern, he bumps Kael to the side and he gives her this look of consternation as if to say, “Hey, I was walking here!” While Arkamydies is hurrying to the bar, a dragonborn ranger by the name of Castiel enters the tavern and quietly sits down at the table closest to the door. As he enters, the patrons all stop what they are doing to give him a once over. The people of this region are generally distrustful of non-human races and Castiel’s blue tinge gives them something out of the ordinary to stare at. The interesting thing about dragonborn is that the properties of their breath attack can be determined by the color of their skin. He quietly takes his seat and orders an ale when the serving girl approaches him.

As Arkamydies approaches the bar, Auris decides that now is the time for her to approach Variel, another divine warrior such as herself. She feels this pull from him as if she can’t help but be drawn to his presence. It is at this point that Arkamydies reaches the bar when Zanhorn shows his concern for his plight and asks, “What seems to be the matter wizard? The name is Zanhorn, maybe we can help you?” Arkamydies quickly exclaims, “I’ve lost my owl! Please help me find it?” Zanhorn can tell that this is going to be a long day. Variel and Auris approach the crowd forming at the bar around Zanhorn and Arkamydies. Variel notices that there is bird dung dribbled down the side of Arkamydies’ face but does not say anything yet. At a second glance, there seems to be something off about Arkamydies and Variel surreptitiously tries to assess what it could be. Arkamydies’ robes are extremely tattered but were once a deep, rich red and the gold scrollwork along the hems and sleeves is still richly embroidered. What could have happened to this wizard that is reflected by the clothing? Could it have been the result of long travel or something more dire?

Meanwhile, the adventurers are trying to figure out where Arkamydies’ familiar Vladmir has disappeared to when Variel calmly approaches the wizard and removes his hat. “Here is your owl” Variel intones lifelessly and without expression on his face. Arkamydies is clearly surprised that Vladmir could have hidden in his hat without his notice and lets out a surprised, “Oh!” Zanhorn realizes that if he doesn’t pull this group together now, then he may never find such a well-balanced group of adventurers and it is at this point that a true leader is born. Zanhorn raises his voice over the voices of the group and recommends that they make their way toward Castiel who appears to be a very capable adventurer. He leads the group over to Castiel’s table and introduces himself and the others. Castiel merely nods neither giving indication that he is interested or not. Zanhorn asks Castiel what brings him to Baldur’s Gate and Castiel replies curtly, “The same that brought you and the others”. Zanhorn can tell that Castiel is reserved in nature and may be untrusting of newcomers given the reaction that he usually receives this far north.

Castiel does warm up enough to Zanhorn and the others and agrees to accompany them to the Magistrate’s mansion but Auris decides to speak up at this point and tell them all, “Pelor has foreseen this fortuitous meeting and we were destined to meet; each and every one of us. We should band together for surely we will fare better together. I suggest we name our company so that foes may fear our name and allies rally to our cause.” The company decides to call themselves Vladmir’s Vanguard after Arkamydies familiar that was so effortlessly rescued by Variel.

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