Sep 21, 2020 3:43 PM
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The people (mostly locals, so mostly men) in this tavern are newly-wealthy and magically powerful and selected at least a little bit for recklessness, so many of them are showing off. There are priceless artifacts on tables, being exclaimed over; there's four people crowded around a crystal ball in the corner; there's an illusionist illustrating a story that his friend is telling; there's a bard playing a harp and a toad working diligently to spell something out on a board with letters on it. There's an arm-wrestling match both participants in which are drunk.

 

In a different corner four men are sitting and talking quietly and testing out a pair of goggles of Darkvision. 

 

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"We'll take it," one of them says to another. Gold changes hands. The fourth man leaves.

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A purplish-black foreigner with her own tinted goggles currently perched on her forehead under her hood stops hovering around the crystal ball hoping for a turn. "Scared of the dark?" she wonders in the direction of the folks who bought the goggles.

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"Why, got potions for that?"

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"Got eyes."

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He looks at her more closely. "Are you... a drow?"

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"Noooo, I had a tragic accident with paint. And bleach. And some kind of obscure vision curse."

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Snort. "Happens to the best of us. Mahdi here was cursed by a horrible troll to be hideous."

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"To be hideous to fools," Mahdi corrects him. "You can only see my handsome true form if you have an intelligence above that of the troll that cursed me."

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"Are you looking to travel?" 

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"Sure, I bop around all over the place."

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"We have a commission for a search and rescue. Clients were traders travelling through a passage under the Brazen Peaks when the passage entry on this side was sealed."

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"And by 'traders' we almost definitely mean they were slavers. Though they didn't admit that."

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"Lawful good party here," says Fazil. "Gonna get everyone out and file a report with law enforcement. If that's gonna be a problem you can sign on with someone else."

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"So you're only rescuing some of the missing persons?" she asks, raising an eyebrow. "I guess that's better than leaving them all to die."

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"The reason the passage was sealed is that smuggling slaves from Katapesh is illegal, they'll go free if we can find them. Or do you mean the slavers. They will probably be in some amount of legal trouble but I can't say this will haunt me."

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"Nah, I meant are we delivering a bunch of terrified halflings to somebody whose job does not involve unterrifying them. If they go free because somebody didn't mind their tax returns then I'm on board."

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"Great, what do you do?"

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"Arcane spellcasting. Buffs and utility mostly. Also see in the dark, I do that."

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"All right. We'll be a little deficient at slaughtering things but we're mostly hoping we won't need to. We carry a scroll of Teleport for emergencies, we aren't budgeted for resurrections, if you pick fights stupidly we'll tell you to go home on your own. The commission's 6800 gold, for the safe retrieval of the six free members of the caravan. Half for their bodies."

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"I have insurance," she says. "It's a nice local custom, insurance. Is that to share or for each of us if we don't add anybody?"

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"That's to split. We were also offered a split of the contents of the caravan but if they're what we suspect there'll be nothing to split there."

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"Eh, who knows, maybe somebody wedged a box of saffron under a loose board."

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"It is possible we are slandering some very upstanding spice traders whose rescuers just didn't want to specify that they were spice traders and in that case we will all have lots of spice on top of the money."

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"You ready to leave tonight?" asks Fazil. 

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"I can be."

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