General News

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General News

Postby Ian » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:00 pm

I'll be making this a general thread for In-Character news about things important to me and my various goings-on. Some of it might be worth looking into, some of it's for background, some of it's just fluff.

Some of it shows up in the printed broadsheets, some of it is word-of-mouth; the medium of distribution is as vague as it is irrelevant. Consider all of this common knowledge regardless of how it's spread.

If you want to look into something posted here, put it in a separate thread, FPM me, or find me in chat.
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Re: General News

Postby Ian » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:01 pm

For centuries, scholars have written off-and-on, here and there, about a minor curiosity in Selune's Tears, the trail of cosmic dust, ash, and rocks that follow Selune (the moon, not the goddess) in her orbit around Toril. Amidst the stream of dust and rocks, there's been one object that occasionally glitters, like a gemstone catching the light just so.

Because astronomy isn't much of a science in Faerun yet beyond course-plotting for ships, it's mostly been a matter of idle speculation, as scholars dubbed it the Glittering Teardrop or the Crystal Teardrop (depending on translation).

That speculation has gotten slightly more frequent over the last couple of rides, as the phenomenon has changed; now, rather than reflecting light like a twinkling star, the object now glows constantly, like a true crimson star. Or, as the scholars have taken to calling it now, the Bloody Teardrop.
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Re: General News

Postby Ian » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:34 pm

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Re: General News

Postby Ian » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:38 am

Some News From Further North...

Merchants from the Silver Marches have had some interesting gossip in recent months.

Brant Daleforth, head of the Blacksteel Merchantile Alliance, appealed for calm from his constituent merchants after a third raid in as many rides on a BMA caravan in the Upper Rauvin Vale.

While the BMA has installed portals in the towns of Lhuvenhead, Hilltop, and Jalanthar to greatly increase shipping speed and security, the hamlets and outlying settlements of the Vale still rely on small caravans to transport material from these "hub" towns--and some group has apparently decided to start taking advantage of this need.

In the first two cases, nonlethal means were used to subdue the caravans. In this most recent attack, similar means were mostly used, but a BMA guardsman was slain. Both merchants and Rauvin Vale residents are unnerved by the attacks, as these are the first such attacks on a caravan operating under the BMA aegis in over two years. (The BMA response to previous attacks is still controversial in its brutality, but none question its effectiveness.)

Daleforth has been quick to point out that the security of the BMA portals themselves is still unchallenged, but nonetheless has sworn to find the attackers and subject them to the same fate as befell the last group of bandits who dared to steal from the BMA. Given the BMA's continued stranglehold on trade in the Marches, there's reason for confidence that they will find the source of the attacks.

Meanwhile, merchants in Silverymoon continue to suffer competitively from lacking access to the BMA's portal network, and chafe openly at the unwillingness of Taern and Alustriel to negotiate access with the BMA. This chafing is exacerbated by increased bandit attacks on their own caravans, particularly on the Fork Road, and a rise in giant activity from the Evermoors spilling over onto the Evermoor Way. There are also rumors that a merchant consortium in Silverymoon might be looking to negotiate with the BMA separately from Alustriel, which would represent a massive loss of face for the High Lady.

Alustriel's sister Laeral is said to be monitoring the situation intently.
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Re: General News

Postby Ian » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:13 pm

News From Further Afield

Merchants on a caravan arriving from Cormyr were telling stories in a tavern off Virgin's Square about how they were lucky to have gotten to Waterdeep alive!

The stories get muddled and distorted as they're passed along, but there's definitely something about unnatural storms on the Trader's Road (south of the Sunset Mountains) and giants falling right out of the sky...and while tall tales get spread all the time, one of the men telling this story supposedly wasn't even drunk!

The caravan is hanging out in Waterdeep for a while before taking back to the road, for those who like gathering crazy story fuel for their bard songs and the like.
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Re: General News

Postby Ian » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:43 pm

In Local News...

The price of grain (and all foods based on it) in the city is going up, pressing those who aren't so lucky to be adventurers or among the city's merchant/political classes.

The trouble with marauding orcs in the foothills near Goldenfields has been bad enough, though they started after the fall harvest, so the effect on prices was limited. If those problems continue into spring, though, or if the passage of caravans on the Amphail Road is affected, the effects could be much more pronounced.

Added to that now, there are rumors of problems with the winter wheat crop at Secomber. The rumors are nonspecific, but there is talk that they're serious enough to potentially threaten Secomber's entire winter harvest. That could be disastrous for Waterdeep's grain supplies.
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Re: General News

Postby Ian » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:02 am

By popular demand (or demand from one player, anyway)...

The below is known to anyone with 2 or more ranks in Knowledge (local) [Silver Marches/The North]. Anyone else might discover it through discussion with others from that realm. (OOCly, this is a storyline that had started before this game relocated from Silverymoon to Waterdeep, and has continued advancing in my mind ever since. A player pointed out that those who migrated from that earlier setting might be interested in how it's turning out.)

It's been the better part of a decade since a number of adventurers emigrated from Silverymoon to the City of Splendors in the wake of two successfully-concluded wars: one against an invading army of well-equipped goblinkin from the Spine that ravaged the Lower Rauvin Vale, and a shadow conflict waged alongside the Evereskans to raze Hellgate Keep. A fluke of demographics this exodus might have been, but one could argue it left the Gem of the North surprisingly ill-prepared to handle the challenges that followed.

Not long before these wars, a group called the Blacksteel Merchantile Alliance had begun rising to prominence in the North. Their initial reputation was that of a cutthroat band, though one that traded entirely above-board; under the leadership of Brant Daleforth, the BMA used its surprising level of resources to strongarm many merchants in the Marches into favorable trade agreements. Some whispers suggested they had ties to criminal groups or brigands, but those allegations never escaped the realm of rumors.

After the Steel Goblin War, the BMA's reputation too a staggering turn to the positive, as they poured money into rebuilding razed settlements, farms, and trading routes in the Lower Rauvin Vale. A terrible bit of timing had left the treasury of the Marches bereft of resources to aid this reconstruction--and when the BMA stepped in to fill that void, it also replaced Alustriel in the hearts of many.

This terrible timing was caused when Alustriel diverted many of the resources of the Marches and the Argent Legion to assisting Evereska in retaking Hellgate Keep, a shadow conflict not launched with the support of the full confederation. This knowledge came out eventually, and the response was not as predictable as one might have thought: among other rulers of the Marches, the predictable battle lines were drawn, with Alustriel's allies supporting a move to eliminate a threat to the North forever and her foes in the Dwarven citadels ranting yet again about resources sent to aid those outside the signatory cities. However, the people of the Lower Rauvin Vale surprisingly turned against her as well. Though Alustriel had traditionally been the greatest supporter of the smallest cities in the North, when they most needed the aid of the Marches, it wasn't there...and the BMA was.

The BMA parlayed this goodwill into increasing influence and business, and Daleforth even managed to make inroads between the Lower Vale and the dwarven citadels by finding common cause in opposition to Alustriel's policies. This left both sides receptive when the BMA proposed a truly audacious plan: linking the Lower Vale to the citadels via portal network for instantaneous merchant traffic.

The portal network earned an enthusiastic response, albeit only after an immense upfront investment by the BMA. Citadels Adbar and Felbarr, Mithral Hall, and the little dock city of Lhuvenhead were chosen to host the first four portals, the latter's proximity to Everlund seen both as a carrot and stick for the larger city. The BMA's portal fees are extremely high (to help recoup their investment, they say), but as the legacy of war in the North left the roads unsafe for merchant traffic, many took advantage of the portals for safety.

Alustriel and her allies (Taern Hornblade, Helm Dwarf-Friend, and Kayl Moorwalker) came to oppose the BMA, seeing ill intent in their actions and refusing its entreaties to do business. To the High Lady's eyes, a surprisingly well-equipped and well-timed invasion created the conditions for the BMA's rise to prominence, the deprivations of the highwaymen after the war seemed much too severe (and the brigands equipped with much better intelligence than expected) to be pure coincidence, and certain other factors left the High Lady convinced there was more to the BMA than Brant Daleforth was letting on. She could prove nothing, however, and the Harpers of the North were in little position to help her--having just been decimated themselves in the Bone Fiend Assassinations.

Eventually, an unspoken trade war developed. Outwardly Daleforth was on the best of terms with all of the rulers in the Marches, but behind the scenes he was quickly gaining the power to make or break the economies of the confederation's signatories, and sides were being taken.

In the midst of this, a scandal erupted. While the BMA had little to worry about from brigands--branch routes from caravan cities had suffered some attacks, but the BMA was spectacularly brutal in its responses--they soon faced a more direct threat. Merchants using the BMA portal network began to be intermittently diverted in extra-dimensional transit by magic and robbed at their new destination, casting doubt on the safety of the network. A group of BMA-sponsored adventurers investigated, and produced a link between the attackers and Alustriel's consort Larlake. Alustriel was forced to publicly repudiate and cast out her consort, and her reputation was tainted in the eyes of many, though no one has ever suggested she was involved herself.

The BMA's influence peaked about a year ago. Kayl Moorwalker was deposed as the First Elder of Everlund (though he retained his command of its armies), with Daleforth's ally Borun Fendelben (the Master of Guilds) taking over the role. Lhuvenhead's prominence as a portal site allowed them to accede to the League as a full signatory, its ruler Helena Tiebolt taking the accompanying position as a Peer of the League. This tilted the balance of power among the Peers, and when Alustriel's term as High Lady ended, her supported successor--her son, Methrammar Aerasume--was passed over in favor of the High Herald Old Night. While Old Night has pleasant relations with Alustriel, it was still a final humiliation for the Chosen of Mystra.

Present Day: Alustriel has resumed her rulership of Silverymoon from Taern Hornblade, but it is a diminished rulership she comes back to. Still the largest and most powerful city in the North, the Gem of the North's influence is now as one among many, and the economic pressures on it are high. Everlund and Jalanthar have added portals to the BMA network. Old Night rules the Silver Marches, but while she is a powerful intellect, she lacks Alustriel's charisma; as such, the bonds between the Peers are weakening, and little of note is being accomplished. The Harpers of the North are still weak, though they are being rebuilt with the assistance of the elf Jiriki Moonshadow. It is entirely possible that the Blacksteel Merchantile Alliance, with Brant Daleforth at its head, is the most politically powerful organization in the Marches.

New threats arise, however, and the BMA is ill-equipped to assist in dealing with military challenges. The Trollmoors grow ever more dangerous, and rumors suggest the frost giants of the Spine have begun to gather there. King Obould has nursed his wounds at the Citadel of Many Arrows long enough and gathers strength once more, hoping to make one last push into the Marches in his dotage to secure a legacy for his sons. And recently, even the magic of the Silvaeren mythal was challenged, as an attack was staged on the Conclave of Silverymoon by a group equipped with dragons and fire-magic. It's a dangerous time in the Silver Marches, and an uncertain hand to guide it...
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