Original game date: October 21, 2017
The game resumes in Nashkel as the caravan arrives at the next major stop on the Silver Loop.
The caravan arrives in the town of Nashkel, a tiered town built into the high hills, wih the Cloud Peaks looming in the near distance. It is a bustling, industrial mining town that sits at the outskirts of the nation of Amn, and their military is a notable presence.
As they arrive at the inn, Roark gives Aesar a quick lesson on selling news of the road, making a profit spinning the news of the stolen bridal dowry and potential problems between the dwarf kingdoms of the north. He then invites Aesar to join him later, he has a firend in town he’d like Aesar to meet.
The Toffolo Test
Having arrived at his destination, Ander is eager to deliver his package; inquiring with a guard about the wizard Toffolo. The unexpected reply is, could you be more specific?
There are in fact three wizards named Toffalo residing in Nashkel – Toffolo the Bald, councilor to the Governor; Toffolo the Merciless, a city judge; and Toffolo the Toymaker, a toymaker.
Toffolo the Toymaker
While being taunted by his two obnoxious employees, Ander must solve a series of riddles to get through several doors at the back of the shop.
The beginning of eternity,
The end of time and space,
The beginning of every end, and
The end of every place.
Pronounced as one letter,
And written with three,
Two letters there are,
And two only in me.
What does man love more than life?
Hate more than death or mortal strife?
What do contented men desire?
The poor have, the rich require,
The miser spends, the spendthrift saves,
And all men carry to their graves?
Toffolo the Bald
The Bald can be found in the Gardens (a small hedge maze); he is expecting a tailor to take his measurements and appears to mistake Ander for the tailor.
Ander can estimate his arm length, leg length and eventually asked to measure his waist (while he is very clearly sucking in his gut). Ander must decide to play along and give him a measure of 38 inches, the exact truth (40 inches) or a properly comfortable measure of 42 inches.
Toffolo the Merciless
Hard to get an audience unless you commit a crime, but he does play wizard’s chess in the public park once per week and happens to be there now. Suitably impressed with Ander’s skill, Toffolo the Merciless congratulates him despite his loss, and invites him to step through a portal with him.
Inside the Star Chamber
Having gained the favour of all three, Ander is brought to a secret chamber by teleportation where all three Toffolos, as well as Thaddeus Greymane of Baldur’s Gate, are all present wearing Robes of Stars and Medallions of Thoughts. The cube package that Ander was given to deliver is placed on an altar under a dome of stars; the stone disolves to reveal a Medallion for Ander. They explain that they are The Star Chamber, an organization of seers who try to protect the Sword Coast. Their main instrument is to guide their creation, The Lord’s Alliance, as advisors to many rulers. Events are moving quickly, and they need eyes on the ground. Now, tell us all you know of Valentin Cormarose…
They explain that Valentin Cormarose is the true name of Kubrick Dragonstone. He is a high ranking member of the Cult of the Dragon. The cult has been unusually aggressive and expansive in their recent operations and The Chamber is gravely concerned. They have learned of dissention in the cultist ranks, an apparent schism with an ‘old guard’, of which Cormarose is believed to sympathize. He was most recently in the Misty Forest, where he met with someone referred to simply as The Green. Many factions are interested in speaking with Cormarose; and Ander is to ensure that if a conversation takes place that he’s in the room.
The Barber Shoppe
Vorai checks in with the local Zhentarim clandestine office, this time in a barber shop. He receives new orders: You have observed your prey, now it is time to show us you can kill. Sylla Belfal must die before she reaches Elturel.
Paelias the Luthier
Roark brings Aesar to see an old friend and retired Harper agent, Paelias Liadon, an ancient Wood Elf who spends his retirement crafting instruments, including the occasional masterwork Instruments of the Bards. As they arrive the garden is untended and growing wild, leading Roark to surmise that Paelias‘ wife must have passed away.
Paelias welcomes them warmly, surprised to see Roark after many years. Inside, the tidy cottage has been taken over by Paelias‘ workshop, with tools and fine woods everywhere. A number of remarkable instruments and crafted animals sit on the mantel. He reports that it has been a hard year in the area, with an uptick in attacks on caravans and reports of strangely masked men.
Roark convinces Paelias to take on one last grand commision and craft an Instrument of the Bards for Aesar (assuming Aesar will pay with the gemstone he won in their wager). He agrees and he and Aesar agree on the spells that will be custom to a new fiddle. It will take some time to craft but it should be waiting for him in Baldur’s Gate upon his return with the caravan.
There is a knock at the door and it is Loch Dundarrion, another old friend of Paelias, come to exchange information between the Harpers and the Order of the Gauntlet, with which Loch is affiliated. They both have reports of likely Cult of the Dragon activiity attacking not just caravans but even towns. This is very much out of character for the Cult.
Paelias notices Loch‘s distress and draws out of him more details about the loss of his young traveling companions to a stone giant attack that Loch blames on his own hubris. He returns to Elturel with a caravan at Birch Willowstep‘s insistence, where he will rest at the Temple of Milil and remember his friends in song.
Leavetakings & Newcomers
The Woodlark family departs, thanking the team one last time for rescuing their children. The caravan is thrilled to learn that Ander will be remaining with the caravan.
Joining the caravan are Rudolfo “The Burgundy” Berenz, an Amnian merchant shipping weapons to Elturel. He has three large carts and a private escort of 10 guards. Carlotta Forilla, an Amnian merchant trading in tobacco and cigars; traveling with her two sons, Carlos and Jacobo. Noober Carver, the village idiot of Nashkel, traveling to Greenest for unknown reasons. Yondalla Greenleaf Parochial School, returning from a school trip and heading back to Greenest (10 halfling children along with teachers Marigold Tettoler and Begonia Bottomseed).