The report for the discerning adventurer
Taking Stock: The Untold Stories of 5132.
As 5132 comes to a close, we here at the Quarterly would like to take a moment to look back on our year. As many of our long-time readers will know, we here at the Quarterly like to use our cover story for our “Life of” series. To any of our newer readers, this is probably news. (Also, to those newer readers, hello! Come stop by my office in Asuren sometime, I make a mean macaroon and I love meeting our newcomers!) While some might call them “fluff” pieces, we think the interviews and bios bring a much needed connection to our often dispersed family – after all, this publication is made by you, for you. News to nobody, this last year didn’t let us do a single one of these pieces. Swinging in right after the rash of diseases the year before, Niv Mizzet and the Ebon Hand gave us all a one-two punch we won’t be forgetting for some time, and our cover story served an admittedly more vital role during those tumultuous times. Fortunately, Creed seems to be calming down to normal levels of insanity for the moment, so, today, we’re going to touch on some stories we didn’t get to cover during the last year.
(The section occupies a solid three pages, discussing over a dozen different stories from across the year, spending a paragraph or two on each. Many of the stories are interesting, if frustratingly brief, but mean nothing to the party. A handful of the stories clearly came from rumors posted to the Questboard, and The Strange Company gets mentioned in a story discussing new research started on phasing magic. )
It’s been another crazy year, Keepers. We here at the Quarterly wish you all a happy Festival of Lights and hope you’re enjoying good food, good company, and some good adventures in these winter months, wherever you might be!
Weathering Winter with Researcher Malkuda
While winter may be my favorite season, it’s easy to understand why so many hate the hoarfrost. Harvests run low, travel becomes difficult, and the sun sleeps through most of the day. Worse yet, as our civilizations bundle up, many predatory creatures stretch out far beyond their normal homes. Whether hungry, horny, or simply opportunists, these creatures can pose a far more dangerous threat in the dark snowy nights than they normally would on a bright spring day.
(This section discusses useful tips, tricks, and tools for surviving Creed’s winters, looking at common shifts in monstrous behavior during the winter as well as common environmental hazards that come with the snows. It additionally discusses prudent winter gear, such as snowshoes and frostbite salve, and useful spells such as Snowshoes, Endure Elements, and even Know Direction for the nastier blizzards.)
Hot off the Forge with Dweomersmith Slagston
For magicians and adventurers alike, one bit of advice has stood the test of time: always have a trick up your sleeve; ideally, more than one. While we Keepers might excel in our scholarly pursuits and think ourselves ready for anything, it’s vital to recognize that everyone has their shortcomings. Fortunately, with the right tools and trinkets, we can be a little bit more prepared for where we would normally fall short. These trinkets go by dozens of names in hundreds of forms – potions, scrolls, tokens, buttons, scarabs, you name it – but whatever the box it comes in, these mystical doodads are all designed to save your skin. Today, we’re going to talk about these magical lifesavers – your ace in the hole, your widget of wonder, your unexpected edge for when you’re backed against a ledge.
(This section discusses some classic single-use magic items and some of their more modern innovations. While potions, wands, and scrolls have their obvious advantages, many modern innovators are turning to tokens, dusts, and ointments. These newer forms of magic items may be more expensive, but their ease of use makes them popular choices. The section concludes with a list outlining a number of unusual but decidedly recommended single-use magical items, such as the Feather Tokens, Dust of Appearance, and the Elemental Gems.)
As for our discount items this season, we’ve got a good haul of treasures to dish out, so be sure to contact your handler if anything we’ve got raises your interest. As always, resales are prohibited and discounts of course vary by department and contract. Continuing to show their appreciation for our researchers, senior partners are giving us another month of increased reductions – just as last season, everything this round is now at a minimum of 15% below standard market rates. Happy Festival of Lights, everyone!
- 1x Ring of Djinni Calling connected to Dabria, a rare female Black Djinn native to Creed but currently living in the Shadow Lands (roughly 250,000 gp market value). Dabria is a lovely djinn (literally and figuratively), more than capable with her power despite her age, and is happily awaiting a new master. Research leftovers.
- 1x Cloak of Spell Resistance (90,000 gp market value). Beautiful leather cloak made of cerulean drake hide. Origins confidential.
- 1x Belt of Stoneskin (60,000 gp market value). A simple belt made of stone plates woven onto a thick auroch hide, originally made for the thick girth of a stone giant. Purchase comes with a free resizing. Retrieved from stone giant kidnappers (that is, stone giants that were kidnapping people – seriously) in western Alabastra by Keeper agents.
- 1x Staff of Traps (roughly 57,000 gp market value). A large and heavily knotted blanchwood staff, originally sized for a stone giant. If desired, a Crafter on-staff can transfer the magics to a different non-magical staff in your possession for a 1,000 gp fee, though such a buyer must of course be sufficiently skilled with using magical devices (testing for such is available). Retrieved from stone giant kidnappers in western Alabastra by Keeper agents.
- 2x Rod of Negation (37,000 gp market value). Simple bronze rod. Research leftovers.
- 1x Scarab Robes (roughly 28,200 gp market value). A mage’s robe made of burlap and carefully overlaid with ornate beetle chitin, appearing much like scale mail. Retrieved from a vermin lord in Erathell by Keeper agents.
- 1x Trident of Fish Command (roughly 22,650 gp market value). A well-made saprazzan steel trident, decorated with black coral. Reclaimed from debt collection.
- 4x Rings of Minor Energy Resistance (12,000 gp market value). Silver rings with an etched drake scale pattern and set with frost agates. Origins confidential.
- 1x Iron Cobra Gauntlet (8,000 gp market value). Iron gauntlet of good make, if somewhat older design. Reclaimed from an inactive account.
- 1x Insect Scarab (7,800 gp market value). Wooden statuette inlaid with amber, rough condition but perfectly functional. Retrieved from a vermin lord in Erathell by Keeper agents.
- 3x Immovable Rods (5,000 gp market value). Simple iron rods, poor design but perfectly functional. Retrieved from stone giant kidnappers in western Alabastra by Keeper agents.
- 4x Explorer’s Helmets (3,200 gp market value). Simple small sized helmets made of pressed fibers with a wide brim, suitable if poor craftsmanship. Retrieved from kobolds working for a vermin lord in Erathell by Keeper agents.
- 1x Deathwatch Eyes (2,000 gp market value) Simple obsidian lensed goggles, ill-advised to purchase if you cannot see well in poor light conditions. Research leftovers
- 8x Rings of Arcane Signets (1,000 gp market value). Simple gold rings set with quartz. Research leftovers.
- Large stock size small weaponry (daggers, sickles, spears, and tail attachments for the most part) along with leather and hide armor of universally poor construction. Retrieved from kobolds working for a vermin lord in Erathell by Keeper agents. Anticipate sizable additional discounts.
While your handlers are of course doing their damnedest to keep food on your plate, we always have rumors come in that fall outside of department purview. If any of these rumors turn out to be appropriate for Keeper involvement, all rumors listed below have been approved for due compensation according to sections 32.A of the on-staff field researcher’s contract or 8.B of the mercenary field researcher’s contract. See your handler soon about any interests – first come, first serve.Alabastra
- One of our agents among the nishoba caught word of what I’m certain are vinebred hunting out east in the Wild North. Apparently they were seen hauling a couple of dire polar bears with them, heading up into the foothills of the Twilights. Might be nothing, might be something. Any rangers or biomancers familiar with the Wild North, this might be a good one for you.
- Fishermen in Keld have been reporting a number of oddities far off the south-eastern coast: large birds, particularly aggressive marine life, and unusually inclement weather, even for this time of the year. Maybe connected to that creepy fucking warship sitting out there? Maybe a dead elsewhale floating in the waters? You tell us!
- Serenading Serine. Word’s floating around Serine, a small town in Celanthiral, that some of the inhabitants have been hearing music come in with the ocean waves. While this sounds like a harpy, there’s a lot that doesn’t add up here (mostly the lack of men flinging themselves into the oceans to hunt down some of that feathered rump). Any marine-friendly mercenaries in the area wanna take a look at this one? Bring some earplugs.
- This is an odd one. One of our mercenaries passing through Starfork, a small port in Sunset Fields, a couple months ago noticed a Universal mystical aura lingering over nearly all of the town’s inhabitants. Not necessarily weird in and of itself, plenty of powerful spells can affect towns like that, though no one’s reported anything even remotely odd in the area. Stranger yet, he could only see it with Greater Arcane Sight and the aura lingered for over a week! That’s some powerful stuff that someone wanted to keep hidden right there folks. Any expert auramancers out there, this might be a good puzzle for you.
- Rabid thallid salad. Do any of you eat thallid? First off, I’m so sorry. But, if you do, odds are that some of it came from Calleon Yaavan, a thallid farm up the river north-east of Thalore. I noticed recently that they’ve had an odd pattern of insurance claims put through for missing thallids this last year. It’s not drastically more than they normally have, but it seems to come and go in waves. Maybe a band of surprisingly sneaky thallid wranglers? Maybe a nest of sentient shocker lizards are stealing thallids for their eventual uprising? Maybe I’m just reading too much into this? I’m personally hoping for the thallid wranglers.
- Wilds gone weird? It seems like something strange is happening down in the Talruums. A mix of solid reports and wild rumors makes it hard to know exactly what’s happening, but it seems like a mess of wild magic has settled into the Talgroven valley. Reports of unpredictable weather, strange creatures, melting trees, and straight up broken mana have come in over the last month, though the oddities seem to all be passing – even the broken mana. I’d say we might be seeing the effects of a Wild Storm pouring through breach to Limbo, but for a full month? Unlikely. I think we’ve got a few wild mages on staff – any of you have some spare some time to check this out?
- Well this is a sad one. Two kitsune families were murdered in Kura on the 13th of Winterdusk, the south-eastern port in Ikari, and three kitsune children are currently missing. Early investigation points to a barbarian, or possibly a group of barbarians, being responsible, and it seems likely they’ve already fled back into the Ashridge. The champions from Kardsken, the nearest barbarian tribe, have condemned the murders and a handful of barbarians have already started the hunt for those responsible. Maybe I’m being a bit negative here, but the barbarians are likely out of there depth here. If we’ve got any rangers or inquisitors in the area that’re friendly with the barbarians, I’d love to see one of us help nail the bastards that did this.
- We’ve heard rumor that an aven member of the Stygian Order recently caught a glimpse of bright light emanate from within the near center of the Clinging Mists. If anyone’s heard any more news related to this or might have some proof as to what that was, let us know.
- The wastelands – the fucked up gift that never stops giving. It looks like another one of the long-slumbering titans of the old northern forests just woke up – an elderscale wurm. It’s been spotted on the northern coast and reports say it looks confused, hungry, and pissed. To any of our mercs that hunt the wastes, consider this a warning. Though, if any druids manage to make contact with this thing, maybe see if we can slap a “return to sender” on it and ship it down to Rhyza Varis?
- Birds of a feather. About 5 months back, a group of kenku set up a temple to the Raven Queen in Srakis. Unfortunately, many view this as little more than an attempt to legally protect a thief’s guild, particularly the more hard-nosed Twin Kingdom troops that move through the port. I’d call hard racism on this crap…but it looks like there might be some truth to it? A rash of thefts in the last couple months have pointed evidence at the temple and has left the kenku scrambling to prove it wasn’t them, but it doesn’t look like they’re getting much support. Look, I’m no expert, but I say something stinks here. Any investigators or espionage experts among our number interested in helping some feathered friends out?
- Reports have come in of a strange white mushroom growing in some isolated pockets on the eastern coast of the Takenuma. Reports are mixed among those that’ve eaten it (because obviously people have eaten the mysterious new mushrooms…), though it mostly seems to be a horribly potent laxative. But, for some very few it instead acts an incredibly powerful hallucinogenic, the high reportedly lasting for days, and seems to leave their bowels perfectly intact. If this is some nezumi’s twisted take on biomancy, then all I can say is, bravo, you magnificent bastard. That said, we might want to get someone looking into it, just in case it’s some sort of demonic egg or mind controlling fungus or some other totally normal thing like that.
- A report just recently came in of an emberstorm dozens of miles wide that kicked up on the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Ash. Our agent there got out fast, so we’re not sure what’s caused it or why. However, looking back through our records, agents have on numerous occasions brought back mystical artifacts and other items of considerable power after massive storms like this have blown through. To any of our planar travelers, this might be a great haul just waiting for you.
Keepers in the World
Every season we like to end our newsletter with the accomplishments of our many field researchers, and take time to mention those we’ve lost. This season we’d like to honor the special success enjoyed by Elia Lorellia, a young necromancer among our ranks. Elia’s research and investigation into the disappearing undead in the wetlands quickly revealed the invasive quilled basilisks at the heart of the issue…
(The report carries on talking about the scattered accomplishments of a number of individuals over the last few months and a few names that sound like adventuring groups, none of which you recognize. The section ends with a pleasant note that no Keepers have passed or gone missing since the last quarterly report.)
Until next time, my friends – stay sharp, stay safe.