The year is 1491. Neverwinter, also known as the City of Skilled Hands and Jewel of the North, is rising from the ashes. Lord Neverember’s efforts to restore Neverwinter’s glory are paying off, and she is slowly being reestablished as a center of civilization in the Sword Coast North. Neverwinter is a city full of opportunities, and as word spreads, merchants from both the North and the southern lands are becoming interested in trading with the city once again. The population count is rising in response.
Individuals of all races and backgrounds have begun to gather in Neverwinter. Some open shops, some encourage trade, some hide in the shadows and take what they want, and some are hired hands available to hunt monsters and rescue damsels in distress.
This morning, the climate is temperate, there is a pleasant hum of activity in the streets, and the smells of delicious meats being prepared for the noontime meal hang in the air. The usual prospect a new month generally brings is on everyone’s mind in the Brawling Bard, one of Neverwinter’s taverns. A trickle of patrons enter the perpetually warm, generally inviting building, acknowledging Tess, the barkeep’s, greeting. Tess is a blond-headed human woman with a pleasing figure: an ample bosom and wide hips. She’s dressed in green and brown today, her long hair tied back with a leather thong at her neck.
Among the patrons is a Brawling Bard regular, Gundren Rockseeker, a middle-aged dwarf of slightly-taller-than-average stature. He’s sitting alone at a table, a neglected mug by his elbow. He’s currently pouring over a map of the Sword Coast and a large pack rests nearby against the wall. Seeing Gundren study a map is not surprising since he is co-owner with his two brothers of the Three Picks Delving Co., a mining, salvage, and treasure finding operation.
Welcome to the campaign. Go ahead and introduce your characters.
Ian, a dark-skinned wood elf man, sneaks in a back door, unnoticed, snags a flagon of ale, and slips into a shadowy corner booth to watch and listen to the crowd to see if he can pick up anything useful. Ian is about 4 and a half feet tall, with dark features and (seemingly) perpetually wearing a hooded cloak. He knows that Tess is an honest hard working barkeep, and he will pay her for the ale (he keeps a running tally of the ales he has taken), but he likes to keep his skills sharp — plus, he is a little low on funds. After he finds a job worth taking, and gets paid, he will slip some money into the till for Tess.
As he sips his mug, and waits for his friend Glynquinal Witherwind to join him, Ian notices an acquaintance, Gundren, at a nearby table engrossed in some sort of map.
Glynquinal Witherwind, a male Eladrin a little over 6 feet tall with long flowing white hair enters the Brawling Bard. His Murky blue eyes adjust briefly to the darkness as he enters the tavern. Seeing one of his friends already sitting down at a table enjoying a flagon of ale. Low on funds, but thirsty, he pulls up a chair next to his friend and calls Tess over for a flagon of ale himself. Looking around he notices another one of his friends Gundren Rockseeker carefully inspecting a map. His thoughts wander to how he is going to earn some more coin, but for the moment he just tries to enjoy the fellowship of his friend.
Herr Doktor Professor Eldritch Jaeger enters the tavern, taking time to survey the early arrivals before choosing a seat by the fire. An ageless-looking male half-elf, he seems neither young nor old, but suspended between these two extremes. He wears a warm-looking greatcoat and a pair of sturdy leather boots. A sheathed rapier can be seen at his belt. He ignores the two elves sitting at a table, whom he suspects are broke (he told all the elven folktales in his repertoire the night before, and neither offered coin to pay for a meal or a drink). He signals to Tess for his usual -- a cup of steaming kaeth (coffee) from the lands of Maztica. Aside from water and magic potions, kaeth is the only other beverage that passes between his lips (though the Herr Doktor Professor is of the opinion that coffee must be magical in some way).
"Good mornin'," Tess greets Eldritch, but not quite as brightly as usual. "I didn't get a chance to talk to you last night before you headed out," she says, preparing the half-elf's coffee. "I know we had talked about you performing the whole week here at the Bard, but a friend of mine came into town last night, and I always let him perform here when he's available." She gives the Herr Doktor a bit of a pout. "I'm sorry. My customers really enjoy you. I'd love for you to pick back up after my friends moves on." She hands over the mug of steaming black liquid. "On the house, of course," she says consolingly.
A familiar face as of late enters the Brawling Bard. Gruxx is a human barbarian, standing at 6'3 and 240lbs of muscle it is clear that he is either a smith or a warrior. Gruxx has black hair customary of his Sky Pony Tribe tied back into ponytail. Alongside his ponytail is his trusted Glaive which unfortunately has not seen as much use as he would have hoped as of late.
Gruxx looks around the Brawling Bard for his elderly tiefling companion Mrs. Brinarei as he has not seen her today. He has met many in the town but Mrs. Brinarei is Gruxx's closest friend as they met on the road together shortly after Gruxx had departed from the Spine of the World. Gruxx walks up to the table of elves, "Hey, y'all! You ain't seen Mrs. Brinarei around today have you?"
Glynquinal says "I wouldn't mind having extra muscle on a job as long as you can move quietly, but I'm looking for the next job myself that will be worth taking." Glynquinal shakes his head slightly, in disgust. "The last few jobs haven't paid enough to be worth taking."
Glynquinal turns to Ian and asks, "Any prospects on the horizon for you friend?"
Time to go back into the field, the Herr Doktor Professor tells himself philosophically as he sips his coffee. He eyes the two elves with renewed interest: they look like enterprising types, he thinks. They may be hard up now, but they won't likely stay that way for long. It might not be a bad idea to join up with them if it looks like they've got a profitable venture in the works.
Ian, lowering his voice, says "I hear a lot of things, rumblings here and there about a few jobs, but nothing that has panned out. There are a couple of cases I could investigate for my company, but they are trivial matters, and hardly worth my time."
Ian finishes his ale (but pretends he still has plenty left in his cup) and keeps an eye on Tess, planning his next move.
As Tess is distracted by another patron, Ian excuses himself from the table, and makes a pass around the room. As he walks, he notices many distracted patrons, and stealthily switches his empty mug for a relatively full one from a rather inebriated customer who is deep in conversation, (and wouldn't have noticed even if he had wanted to.) and snags a half finished bowl of stew off another nearby table that was waiting to be cleaned.
Bounty in hand, he makes his way back to the table, settles in to finish the stew, and asks Gruxx "Remind me of your name again? Grax? Gronks? Let me ask you this, Grox, did you bring anything besides muscle to this party?"
Ian knows Gruxx's name, but attempts to mask his intimidation at this man's rippling physique with humor...
Glynquinal peers around the room carefully looking for the obvious bulge of a coin purse to full for the owner to suffer the burden of all that weight. It might be only a quick score, but skills diminish quickly as well not used. Seeing Gundren still looking over his map just as intently as when he walked in he wonders to himself, I wonder what is so interesting on that map he doesn't seem to notice anyone else in the tavern.
Glynquinal leans from his chair in Gundren's direction and asks, "What are you thinking about so hard friend?"
Herr Doktor Professor walks up to the shady elves and the burly barbarian. His heels click together as he comes to attention, then bows slightly to them. "A good morning to you, friends," he says. "How does fortune find you on such a fine day?"
He gestures his head in the direction of the barkeep.
"It appears that my comfortable run in this tavern is about to come to an end. If my ears did not deceive me, I might have overheard word of a job being discussed. If such is the case, I am always ready to add the aid of spell and lore to a mutually profitable venture."
Gundren looks up from his map, his eyes first focusing on Glynquinal, and then the others. A smile of recognition spreads across his bearded dwarven face. "Ah, friends." He looks down at the map and rubs a hand across its surface.
"The map is of the Sword Coast, of course — specifically the north." He points a finger at a large dot. "Neverwinter." The finger slides toward him. "Leilon." It moves to his right. "Conyberry." It then moves about three quarters of the way back toward Leilon. "Phandalin." His finger taps twice on the tiny dot. "Phandalin," he says forlornly. He looks up again. "I'm headed there tomorrow. Nundro and Tharden are already there waiting for me," he says, speaking of his brothers, whom some of you know. "The problem is I wanted to leave this morning." He sighs, rolling up the map and carefully sliding it into a leather tube. "But the shipment I was supposed to deliver to the tiny town isn't going to be ready until the morning. Raph suggested I hire someone to transport the shipment for me so I could head off now, but I'm not used to using hired hands for this part of my business. Three days on the road, and they could take off with the goods at any point. I'd be out the money, and the Three Picks's reputation would be on the line as well."
Glynquinal stood up and smiled broadly and says to Gundren, "It seems then we have two problems that have an easy solution. Why hire hands you don't know when you can hire friends you can trust instead?" He studied the map carefully thinking about some of the dangers they might encounter along the way. At least 6 days on the road, assuming there were no problems found along the way. At least it would pass the time, and help a friend if Gundren accepted. That suited him well.
To Ian, and Her Doktor Professor Glynquinal offered an extended hand and tells them, "What about you two?"