The Infernal Machine: A Dungeons & Dragons PBEM Campaign
Hundreds lay dead at his feet, but what did he care as the dead cost nothing!
The Withered Hand Thieves Guild had many masters in the past, and will in the future, but in the here and now there was only Jared Iraeus!
Unlike the fools of the past, Jared had grander ambitions, greater plans for the guild, which up to this point had just been one of many secret societies in Northgate City- counted among others such as the League of Vengeance, The Obsidians, Wizard Council, and the like.
Yes, the Withered Hand would be grander than them all!
"I want that artifact, regardless of the cost!" began Jared Iraeus as he sat back addressing his chosen of the Withered Hand...
To his right sat the psychotic and temperamental dwarf Garrett Rotgut who was little more than wild beast in a dwarf's body. Banished from his clan in the Northgate mountains, he was Jared's butcher when the guild needed some butchering to be done.
On his left side was Gavin Swordhand, ruthless with an air of cold calculation, Gavin had prided himself on being a great duelist and was a welcome compliment to Garrett's hot headed temper.
Then there was Dylonius Magnus, a gifted thief, machinist and escape artist, friend of the previous guild master who met an untimely end before Jared- Jared didn't fully trust Magnus, but his talents were much needed in the guild for now...
And finally, Jared half-brother Raziel Iraeus, who was brooding and silent as ever.
"Magnus, tell me that you have located the artifact and that we can send in a group to retrieve it." asked Jared.
"Yes guildmaster, I have located the artifact, locked away in a vault hidden beneath the Drachen Fire Inn south of Northgate. The present owners of the inn don't know of its existence, no doubt a hold over when the inn served another function, perhaps from the time of the dragons."
"Access from the inn is impossible, but there is another way. Not far from the inn is a group of ruins, which will give us access to the passageways under the inn, and from there we can access the vault- of course opening it will take some time and a good amount of arcane resources." Finished Dylonius as he waited for Jared's next step.
"Excellent, this is how you will proceed..." continued Jared with a self-satisfied smile.
"Garrett, you will take as many tappers as you need, and begin clearing out the ruins to the vault. Take one of our new `beasts' and use it to keep the ruins clean of any strangers and adventuring types looking for some quick coin..."
"...meanwhile, Magnus will secure the inn itself and keep an eye out for any problems. Gavin, you will be at the ready, but for now I need here to deal with Naysa and her elven bitches..." +++ Seeking fame and fortune you have left your homeland in the south and journeyed north to the frontier land known as "The Northernalnds". Finding passage among one of the dwarven caravans that travels to the city of Northgate in the region you have heard your fill of strange and wondrous tales during the long journey across the great stone roadway leading to the city.
Of course most of those tales involved the innovative and superior workmanship of the dwarves who build the road, along with tales of goblins and orcs that infest the surrounding woods, ruins of a long lost castle once ruled by a warrior-prince, and of course stories of the great dragon Dracus and how it was the dwarves who defeated him and cast his bones in the biggest lake of the Rune Mountains at the top of the world.
"This is where you all get off!" barks the caravan master at dawn of the third day or travel, signaling to a large three story building set to the side of the road next to an expansive forest. Built out of cut stone and matching red bricks, along with a curious mixture or glass and stained windows, winding chimneys and a stable around back, the smell of burning cherry wood and roasted meat fills the air.
"Ya'all will find work, adventure, or even perhaps some mercenary coin there, just what your type is looking for. You may have been a saint back home, or even a bandit, but here in the north you can go on to become your own legend!" finishes the dwarf as his companions unceremoniously dump your travel gear and bedroll on the ground before pushing the caravan ahead.
"Drachen Fire Inn -Adventurers Welcome" reads a weather worn and moss covered wooden sign near the door as you climb the steps and enter the warmth of the common room...
...which is filled with a surprising amount patrons for such an early hour- adventurers like yourself, farmers, and common folk from the surrounding area all busy eating, drinking, and talking as a bard plays his lute in the corner near a long polished hardwood bar and a set of doors leading to the kitchen and upper floors of the inn.
Among the crowd two men instantly catch your eye- the first is a tall man dressed in black wizard's robes with golden runes down its arms sitting in the corner opposite the bard, as he leans on a crystal tipped iron staff and reads from a small book in his hand seemingly oblivious to the other patrons in the room, while second man a few tables over yells loudly to a group of men-at-arms and mercenaries as they untangle an assortment of nets, ropes, and hooks spread out on the table.
"I tell you the best will be killed this day!" boasts the man as he raises a filled mug and quickly drains it's content...
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