Expeditionary Dispatch12/04/2006

Dispatch 12: Sharn Citydark 3
Wir, 18 Aryth, 998 YK

In our last dispatch, gentleman rogue Ashford Terra uncovered a grim mystery in the Depths below Sharn's Dura Quarter. Evidence suggested that Cyran refugees were being imprisoned in a secret network of tunnels beneath the City of Towers. Ashford reported back to his sponsor, the politically connected Provost Tal d'Archer of Morgrave University, and stated his intention to investigate further -- political considerations be damned.

Wir, 18 Aryth, 998 YK
From: Ashford Terra
To: Provost Tal d'Archer, Morgrave University
archival reference code 1026-E: delivered ink-on-vellum, magically sealed and encoded

Greetings Provost d'Archer;

You requested a detailed report of our investigations into the Dura Quarter situation, and that you shall have -- in the trust that some sort of justice shall be served in this foul matter. If you are reading this, then my worthy companions O'bo and Jabber have successfully located you. Along with this report, then, I deliver O'bo and Jabber to your service and their three prisoners into your custody. You crave elucidation, I suspect. Details follow.

Three days ago, after our initial foray into the well mouth chambers, Cairn and I returned to the Dura Quarter surface. Having consulted with Carnaby and Tok at the Emporium, I made a few immediate discoveries that connected the events we have so far uncovered. We know that captives are being detained in the depths beneath Sharn's Dura Quarter, and evidence indicates the prisoners are Cyran refugees. Carnaby informed me that there has been a rash of disappearances from the Cyran community in Sharn -- and not just in the Dura Quarter. More than three dozen Cyrans, mostly workers employed in the Cogs, have been abducted in recent weeks. Carnaby had rallied a local militia to investigate but to no avail.

After some canvassing, we were lucky to find a witness to the latest abduction -- a young elfin street urchin known as Lilypad. She'd watched from the shadows as a group of black-clad warforged led by two humans ambushed a trio of laborers returning to the local Cyran shantytown. The attackers bound their victims and disappeared back into the tunnels.

My first thought was that perhaps my old associates in the Boromar Clan were involved. The Boromars are known to occasionally branch into kidnappings for hire or for ransom, but they are not known to employ warforged. In any case, the Cyran community has little to offer by way of ransom.

It was then that we made another interesting discovery. Carnaby, well-loved within and knowledgeable of the refugee community, ascertained a common thread among the abductees -- all were former member of the Cyran military during the Last War.

We decided to return immediately to the tunnel section and investigate further. As I reported earlier, the tunnels had been deliberately collapsed to discourage pursuit. Our druid friend Cairn offered an inventive, if somewhat terrifying, solution. Carnaby, Tok and I, along with O'bo and Jabber, waited by the collapsed tunnel until Cairn arrived. You can imagine our surprise when we spied the enormous ankheg at his heels. The fearsome beast proceeded to burrow through the debris as Cairn commanded. Quite remarkable. Cairn dismissed the beast, and we crawled through the newly excavated passage.

As we suspected, the tunnels are part of a larger network. We stood in a dank, partially flooded drainage chamber, likely a long-abandoned section of the municipal sewer system. We'd barely managed to clear the tunnel when four figures dressed in Brelish military uniforms appeared to investigate the disturbance. They were evidently as surprised to see us, as we they. Appraising the situation, I decided it best to subdue and detain these worthies before they could retreat. You know the premium I put on discretion in these matters.

Three of the four were easily overcome. In fact, they surrendered within a few heartbeats. The fourth, however, was a puissant foe. He fought hard, smart, and silently. This tall and muscular human was well trained in martial tactics and nearly felled Carnaby with a blow from his magicked heavy pick. It was O'bo, startlingly, who landed the decisive stroke, having managed to flank our adversary to deliver his dagger blade between the shoulders. In retreat, the wounded fighter swallowed a potion and escaped in gaseous form through a small grate in the ceiling of the chamber.

To make a long tale brief (too late, I know), we interrogated our remaining prisoners. They told us, rather frankly, that they are paying members of an organization called the Citydark Hunting Guild. Simply put, wealthy Sharn dilettantes pay for the privilege of reliving the Last War by dressing in vintage Brelish outfits, hunting, and killing former Cyran soldiers in a quarantined system of tunnels beneath the City. The Cyrans are kidnapped, held captive, then released into the hunting grounds to be stalked and killed. Furthermore, the Cyrans are also dressed in period military garb, though equipped with no weapons, and they are given no quarter. Dozens have been slaughtered already in this fashion, with dozens more still imprisoned.

Barbaric. Ghastly. Sickening. I've come to believe, friend Tal, that the greatest evils under Siberys reside not in the wastes of Kyber or the wilds of Xen'drik, but in the dark corners of men's souls.

Our captives confessed their identities and those of other hunting guild members. I regret to inform you that many are administrators within city offices, some affiliated with elite branches of the Sharn Watch: the Redcloaks, Goldwings, Blackened Book, even the King's Citadel. Our cowardly prisoners also readily named their leader, the one who escaped us. He is a fallen paladin of the Sovereign Host, a blackguard by the name of Lantana Jorgens. I believe I recall the name. Was Jorgens not a former Brelish commander? Did he not lead that lost regiment against the Cyrans at the Battle of Gehan's Valley?

We are making a temporary camp here in the depths as I scribble this report. I am sending O'bo and Jabber back to the surface to deliver this and the prisoners to you. We intend to uncover and confront the leadership of this vile consortium and to liberate any remaining Cyran captives. Should we fail in our endeavor, I trust you will … well, no more need be written here.

In the bright assumption that we meet again, I remain, your friend.

-- Ash

The Boromar Clan (from Chapter 5 of Sharn: City of Towers)

The Boromar Clan is the most powerful criminal organization in Sharn. From a humble start as a gang of smugglers and thieves, the Boromars have risen to become one of the most influential forces in the city. They have a stranglehold on the smuggling trade and own the majority of gambling halls in the city. Most of the fences and thieves in Sharn either work directly for the Boromars or pay tribute in exchange for independence. This clan controls a vast network of extortion, blackmail, and graft that extends from the slums of Lower Dura to the heights of Skyway, with its headquarters in the halfling district of Little Plains (in Middle Menthis).

Their influence reaches far beyond the criminal underworld. The early Boromar patriarchs invested wisely over the centuries, so that today the Boromars are one of the Sixty families of Sharn. The Boromar Clan owns many of the warehouses in Precarious and Cogsedge. It owns taverns and inns throughout the city and has a considerable interest in the shipping trade. A Boromar heir sits on the city council of Sharn, and the current patriarch is a member of the Gold Concord of the Aurum.

Spell: Weapon of the Deity (from Chapter 6 of Faiths of Eberron)

Weapon of the Deity
Level: Blackguard 3, cleric 3, paladin 3
Components: V, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: Weapon touched
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates (harmless, object)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless, object)

You utter a brief prayer, and your weapon transforms into an awesome expression of your god's power.

You must be holding your deity's favored weapon to cast this spell. You can use the weapon as if you had proficiency with it even if you normally do not. The weapon gains a +1 enhancement bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls and an additional special ability (see the list below). A double weapon gains this enhancement bonus and special ability for only one of its two ends, as chosen by you.

When you reach caster level 9, the enhancement bonus of the weapon increases to +2. At 12th level, the bonus rises to +3, at 15th level it is +4, and at 18th level it becomes +5.

The list below includes deities described in Faiths of Eberron along with the five alignment components. If a cleric worshiping a different deity casts this spell, the DM should assign an appropriate weapon special ability of the same power level as those given here.

Arawai: +1 thundering Morningstar
Aureon: +1 spell-storing quarterstaff
Balinor: +1 earthbound battleaxe
The Becoming God: +1 defending spiked gauntlet or battlefist
The Blood of Vol: +1 keen dagger
Cults of the Dragon Below: +1 vicious heavy pick
Boldrei: +1 defending spear
The Dark Six: +1 keen kama
The Devourer: +1 waterborn trident
Dol Arrah: +1 merciful halberd
Dol Dorn: +1 mighty cleaving longsword
The Fury: +1 vicious rapier
The Keeper: +1 frost scythe
Kol Korran: +1 defending heavy mace
The Lord of Blades: +1 shock greatsword
The Mockery: +1 keen kama
Olladra: +1 lucky sickle
Onatar: +1 flaming warhammer
The Path of Light: +1 flaming gauntlet (unarmed strike)
The Shadow: +1 spell storing quarterstaff
The Sovereign Host: +1 defending longsword
The Silver Flame: +1 seeking longbow
The Spirits of the Past: +1 keen double scimitar
The Traveler: +1 lucky scimitar
The Undying Court: +1 undead bane scimitar

Chaos: +1 shock battleaxe
Evil: +1 mighty cleaving light flail
Good: +1 frost warhammer
Law: +1 flaming longsword
Neutral: +1 defending heavy mace

The Sharn Watch (from Chapter 4 of Sharn: City of Towers)

The Sharn Watch is the overarching organization that enforces the laws of the city. The sentinels of the Watch patrol the streets of Sharn, ever vigilant for signs of unrest. Unfortunately, the Sharn Watch is riddled with corruption, from the commanding officers down to the patrols. A few dedicated guards truly want to protect the innocent, but bribery runs rampant, and the watch has a way of never showing up at the same time as Daask or the Boromar clan.

While the majority of the members of the Watch are simple street pounders, it includes a few elite divisions that have special duties. A few of these groups -- such as the Blackened Book and the Guardians of the Gate -- are described in Sharn: City of Towers. Other branches include the Wharf Watch, who oversee trade and taxation (despite the name, they operate throughout the city); the Cog Guards (who patrol the reservoirs and most critical areas of the sewer systems); and the Goldwings, an air cavalry unit that uses Vadalis-trained hippogriffs to scout for trouble and respond to mid-air crimes.

About the Author

Glenn McDonald is a freelance writer and game designer in lovely Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He writes about games, film, technology, pop culture, shady characters, conflicted heroes, strange and terrible magic, and shadowy fantasy noir intrigue. Not all at the same time.

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