Making Friends

8 Mirtul 1368

There are a lot of NPC mods in this install, and most of them are in Beregost. So we are going to be looking at a lot of new characters over the next few chapters.

We have been searching for a bard known as Garrick so we can deliver one of Bartleby’s letters to him. The letter is addressed to the Burning Wizard in Beregost. Will Scarlet O’Hara, our local guide, has shown us the way to the inn, and we are fortunate to find the man we are looking for outside.

Aegon: Before we speak of that… I’ve a letter for you, lad.

He gasps.

Garrick: A letter from the Lady in Red!

She noticed how I changed the music to match the mood when the fight broke out! When she threw that berserker through the window and jumped after shouting that she’d make us pay, she’d make us all pay, I thought I’d never see her again, nossir.

I’m glad she’s well.

What’s this about a ring?

Aegon: Here you go, buddy.

Garrick: Gosh, it sure is pretty. Like a drop of heart’s blood. I’ll just tuck it away somewhere safe…

So how about my proposal? Protecting my mistress!

Aegon: We’re always on the lookout for money. Tell us more.

Garrick: I’m Garrick, and I work for Silke Rosena. She’s the most skilled musician and actor along the Sword Coast. In fact, she’s to play at the Ducal Palace before the month’s done. However, she’s been having some problems of late. Some thugs have been hired by Feldepost to hurt her bad because she didn’t perform at his inn when she was supposed to. You can’t blame her for not showing up, what with a villain like Feldepost running the place. She needs mercenaries to protect her until she’s ready to go to Baldur’s Gate. She’s willing to pay about 300 gold. What do you say?

Aegon: That sounds fair. Why don’t you show us to this mistress of yours?

Garrick: I think you’ve made a good decision. Now just meet me outside of the Red Sheaf Inn.

He takes us around the corner to the Red Sheaf. It turns out the person we need to meet is the thespian we talked to before.

Imoen: Garrick is not little! Good thing ya’re an actress, not a painter; would have been a problem bein’ blind, huh. ‘Cause if ya don’t see for yourself how tall he is, ya sure are blind!

Garrick: I offered them 300 gold, just like you told me.

Silke: Well then, I assume that Garrick explained what your duties are. You must simply dispose of the ruffians when they come to threaten me. They shouldn’t be too hard to deal with, but I would advise you to strike fast. Whatever you do, don’t speak with them. One of them is a mage whose mystic words can sway even the most wise of men.

We wait for a short while, when we are approached by three men. They look like they could be thugs, but none of them seem like a powerful mage…

Faltis: Greeting Silke. We’re here as you’ve asked, and we have the…

Silke: Don’t try to threaten me! I won’t be easy prey for you to beat on, I’ve brought friends!

Faltis: What are you talking about? We’re here with the gems that…

Silke: Shut up! There’ll be no weaseling out of this one. STRIKE NOW! Kill them all!

Aegon: Stop this madness. We won’t murder those who are obviously innocent men.

Silke: Our deal is off! In any case, you’re probably too cowardly to be any good in a fight. I’ll deal with them myself, after I deal with you!

She tries to cast a spell, but is interrupted by one of Vienxay’s arrows. I guess there is a mage here, after all. I try to close in before she can start another spell, but she hits me hard with her quarterstaff.

I call on The Protector to heal my wounds.

She’s a pretty good fighter for an actor, however, and manages to hurt me again.

An arrow flies over my shoulder and strikes Silke in the face. Imoen has taken her life.

Now that we’ve dealt with Silke, I talk to Faltis to find out what that was about. Was he really a powerful mage that managed to manipulate me?

Not much of an explanation, but he gives us a Potion of Defense and the three so-called “ruffians” leave us to clean up the mess.

This would have been useful for deflecting Silke’s blows. I need to consider getting better protection before my next fight.

I turn to Garrick. I want to know what his explanation for all this is.

Imoen: Of course!

I mean, Aegon, he can join us, right?

She giggles.

He is cute, and he is a real bard! Someone’s gotta write ballads about my beauty and bravery, ya know?

Garrick: You… you truly think that I am… er… cute?

Aegon: No problem.

I wonder if Imoen realises that she had just insinuated Will wasn’t a real bard…

I’m not sure Garrick can be trusted, but Imoen seems to have taken a liking to him. Perhaps he hopes he will write about her epic adventures.

He isn’t so much of a bard, but rather a gallant.

This is a bard class that is actually a Fighter/Mage that can use bard songs. So Garrick actually has no access to any thieving skills, not even pickpocketing, unlike Will Scarlet O’Hara, who can use all thieving skills.

Garrick can conjure Burning Hands, Command, and Vocalize. All spells I have come across before. He can also grant himself a True Strike.

With a piercing weapon like his short sword, this spell can help Garrick hit often, and with an increased critical chance could potentially do a lot more damage.

He can also provide someone with Protection from Evil.

I believe this spell can also protect the target from being attacked by summoned demons.

Finally, he can protect himself with Armor of Faith.

A gallant is a kind of bard, and as such Garrick’s singing can inspire his allies with a Blessing.

He wears some simple leather armor, and is also equipped with a short sword and a light crossbow. He only has 20 bolts on him. We will have to make sure our party is better equipped before we move on to Nashkel.

We check Silke’s corpse for the gold she won’t be needing anymore. She has 400 coins, a potion, a scroll, and a book. Garrick tells me the potion is a Potion of Invulnerability.

We’re lucky she didn’t drink this. Imoen’s arrow would have bounced off her if she had.

The scroll contains the spell Musky Aura.

There seem to be some specific bard elements to this spell, so Garrick takes it and attempts to scribe it. Unfortunately he fails.

The book seems to be a magical tome. The bards can’t even figure out what this is, so I use magic to Identify it.

The new Identify spell is pretty cool. You cast it like a normal spell and then you can select which items to identify from a special menu.

This must be the way it supports identifying multiple items as you level up.

My spell tells me it’s a Tome of Leadership and Influence.

I know how to read it now, so I take what knowledge I can from the book.

I don’t feel like it’s taught me much…

I’m not sure why this is here. Either some modder decided Silke’s quest deserved a better reward, or it’s a result of the Item Randomiser mod.

Imoen shows Garrick the book she conjured. He manages to show her how to read it.

The description hasn’t changed, but it can be put in a item slot and used now. Using it increases Imoen’s Dexterity by 1 and doesn’t consume the book. I think it’s one use per day, but I have no idea how long it lasts.

I tell Garrick of our intent to deliver letters, and ask the bards if they happen to know where Firebead Elvenhair lives. Will tells us he lives opposite Feldepost’s and so we follow our guide again. Garrick sings us a song as we walk.

We walk past the town square, and I notice a gnome with purple hair who seems lost. One of our local bards may be able to help her, so I approach her.

Aegon: Yes, I am. I’ve only come to Beregost recently. My name’s Aegon.

Aura: Um… it’s nice to meet you. If you’re not from around her, I was wondering if I could ask… have you, by chance, seen a man? Tall, foreign and carrying a katana?

Aegon: No, I haven’t seen anyone of the sort. Are you looking for this person?

Aura: Yes. Well, no… actually, I don’t know. I just thought maybe you’d seen him, that’s all. I heard a rumor that someone like him was here. As in, in the Sword Coast.

I’m, um… Aura Glimmershine of Lantan. I’m sorry for being so rude as to not introduce myself. I’m an inventor and artificier.

Aegon: I see. And what brings a Lantanese here to the Sword Coast?

Aura: I… actually, I didn’t come from Lantan. It’s a complicated story, but I actually travelled here from Kozakura… that is, a nation in Kara-Tur in the east. The man I was looking for came from there as well, but… I’ve lost all trace of him.

Aegon: Kara-Tur’s a long way east of here. Why would you have come from there?

Aura: I… lived there, not long ago, for three years. As for why… it’s a long story. I was travelling the world a few years ago, and there… was a disaster that happened to me. I ended up in Kozakura as a result of that.

It was home to me, but I eventually had to leave. I travelled the Sword Coast after hearing a rumor that others from Kozakura were here, but… I haven’t heard anything in a long time. I’m not sure where to go.

Aegon: Perhaps you could join my party. I’ve a long journey ahead of me, and we might find these people you’re looking for along the way.

Aura: You… you’d really let me join you? I mean… I suppose that’d be a good idea. Maybe I could even find the person I’m looking for one day…

Alright, I’m in. If you’ll have me, then I’ll do my best for you as long as you need me, I promise.

And with that the gnome joins our adventuring troupe.

She tells me in great detail what an artificer is capable of.

Artificers can Set Snares, but can also Set Alchemical Snares.

They are also capable of crafting powerful runes.

I crafted an Igneus Blaze to try this out. It looks like a powerful version of Burning Hands. Perhaps I’ll try it out in the next fight.

They are also capable of brewing magical potions.

Using this ability opens a potion shop. I guess the cost is effectively the cost-of-materials. Unfortunately, thanks to a mod I have installed, the potions need identifying after buying. Since this clearly wasn’t intended by the mod, I broke my no-reload rule here to see what the potions are.

As an artificer, Aura is equipped with several inventions of her own design. She wears a cherry-tinted leather armor.

She wears protective goggles that can see through illusions and magic.

Around her neck hangs a protective charm.

Her bow is one of the most complicated items I’ve ever seen.

It can be switched to a more precise mode.

She also carries some arrows that can heal anyone they strike.

On her pack there is a mechanical squirrel.

It carries Aura’s family insignia inside its belly.

She also has an empty potion bag.

And an also-empty rune book.

This is Aura from The Artisan’s Corner. Aura has a lot of unique magic items and abilities. She seems pretty powerful for a level 1 character. Her low hit points make her an easy target, however.

I ask Aura if she, as an artificer, can help identify some of the magic items we have. It turns out she’s pretty knowledgeable. She tells me the robes I took from Gorion protect me from acid.

Gorion’s belt protects from cold, but it puts me at greater risk from fire.

The ring I found outside the Friendly Arm Inn was especially designed for mages.

She recognises that Will’s ring protects him from magic.

And it turns out these golden pantaloons we were supposed to clean have a rich history.

I don’t think we will ever have any reason to wear these pantaloons. Adventurers tend not to run in noble circles, and need their cognitive abilities intact. Though Vienxay may have wont to wear them if she ever gets back to her life before embarking on her quest for vengeance.

Garrick has an inquiry for me.

Aegon: Truly, you are a great bard, Garrick. You have songs and tales for every occasion.

Garrick: Thanks, it, uh, means a lot to hear that! When I write of you, I’ll be sure to mention your kindness and good nature.

Aegon: No problem.

It’s wise to stay on a bard’s good side, no matter what you think of them. You never know what they may end up writing about you.

Imoen decides she is tired of waiting and wants to go shopping at Feldepost’s. She says she will meet us at the Jovial Juggler when she is done.

I talk with Neera as we continue on to Firebead’s home.

Aegon: All the time. It’s the only home I’ve known… knowing I’ll probably never go back is a difficult reality to bear.

Neera: I know exactly what you mean.

If there’s one thing I miss about High Forest, it’s definitely the food. Well, that, and the beds. Oh! And the baths! Feels like I haven’t had a proper bath in *weeks*.

Aegon: We definitely need to find somewhere with baths soon, I’ll grant you that.

Neera: At least now that I’m travelling with you I can bathe with warm water every now and then. Before, I had to make do with whatever clean water I could find.

Have you ever tried bathing in a freezing lake? Ugh. On the other hand, my skin looked fantastic afterward. And it was kind of invigorating.

Aegon: I prefer bathing in cold water. Don’t know how anybody could stand hot water, myself.

Neera: Really? I find warm water comforting. It’s easier to clean my hair in, too, cold water gets it all frizzy and it goes everywhere and it sticks to *everything*.

When I first ran away, I waded into a river and tried heating up the water around me and accidentally surged. *I* was fine, apart from a bit of mild scalding, but the poor fish, not so much.

I ate a lot of boiled carp for a few days there. It was great until they started to smell. Now I can’t even look at the things without gagging.

Then again, I never was a fan of fish. Give me a good thick rabbit stew any day.

Aegon: I prefer chicken myself. Mmm, I’d kill for a good roast chicken right about now…

Neera: Mmm, with gravy and crispy potatoes and…

Hmm… Aegon?

Aegon: Yes?

Neera: Can we stay at an inn tonight?

We are close to Feldepost’s Inn. It might be nice to spend some of Silke’s money on a decent meal and a comfortable room for the night.

At Feldepost’s, we are approached by a well-dressed half-elf. The kind of well-dressed that might actually go with these golden pantaloons.

Emily: I heard my mother is there and I want to find her. I just need a company to go with, the roads aren’t safe with the iron crisis. I’m capable, but not foolish.

Aegon: I’m not headed to Baldur’s Gate right now.

Emily: Maybe you would later perhaps. I don’t mind sticking around for a while as long as we eventually go there. Ooh, it can be a trade of sorts, my skills for your company!

Aegon: You look rather well off to be an adventurer. Couldn’t you just hire guards of your own?

Emily: My name is Emily. I’m not with my family right now and don’t have access to our family’s vault to pay for standard guards. So I thought someone already looking like they were travelling might just want another skilled member.

Aegon: Say no more. If this is mutual beneficial as you suggest, you are welcome aboard.

Emily: Amazing! Wonderful. Thank you! Oh, uh. Right. Let’s get going.

Vienxay doesn’t seem too trusting of the half-elf. She says she would rather wait in Beregost for a while and let us carry on alone.

Emily is an archer skilled with many ranged weapons.

She can track creatures in the wild.

And she can move quickly when she needs to.

She wears studded leather armor, and carries both a long bow and a heavy crossbow. She wears a silver circlet on her head.

And has a magical necklace that can cure paralysis.

Will indicates one of the doors opposite Feldepost’s Inn to be Firebead’s home. I’m a little nervous. This will be the first time meeting one of the Keep’s visitors outside its walls. It’s been less than a tenday, but I am no errand boy anymore. We knock and there is no answer, so we try the door and find it is open.

Time to meet an old friend.

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