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Borderland - Dancing Cauldron

JochenL

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This is the in-game/in-character thread for our Grenzland/Borderland Game.

The corresponding LFP thread is Grenzland (Borderland) - An Open Table West Marches-style Game.

Consider this the taproom of the Dancing Cauldron - the inn where player characters usually stay and gather when in town.

If you like, take your time and introduce your character to the other adventurers.

 
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JochenL

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End of March 1021 NL, spring is coming.

A trapper drinking his share in a local tavern tells his listeners: "A friend of a friend hunting in the east is finding less and less deer at the end of this winter. This surely is related to pillars of smoke rising at the southern fringes of the Black Fang Knolls."

A halfling boater at the docks while unloading his barge reports: "Two days ago while going past Freiholt, my nephew saw eerie lights in the woods surrounding that lost town. These are the dead that are coming back to claim their village!"

A merchant warning another on the market: "Better not go up near Twilight Forest! A friend of mine told me that this Shrovetide's Mummery never ended there. Lunatics painted red and white hunt the locals!"
 

Rardian

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Nichuan
It is early afternoon in the Dancing Cauldron and only a few patrons turn their heads towards the young Riksharr girl with ginger fur who enters the taproom. Her golden eyes roam curiously over the patrons present, as well as the young waiter and the graying bartender. A thick strand of bleached hair covers half her face. Her face itself is peppered with lots of piercings that are interconnected with delicate gold and silver chains. Most prominent is a heart-shaped charm that is pierced through the skin of her forehead. On her arms and legs she wears half a dozen different bracelets and rings that make a soft jingling sound when she moves. All over her body the ginger fur is interspersed with darker stripes that give her a tiger-like appearance. She wears plain linen clothing, little more than rags that cover her skinny body decently but just barely.

Under the startled gaze of the young waiter, she crosses the room. As three more female Riksharr enter the taproom, the murmuring increases. Only the bartender looks calmly at the newcomers, while he puts a cleaned glass aside and leans forward on the counter expectantly.
"We need room," the girl says in a heavy accent.
The innkeeper nods.
"If you can pay, you can have as many rooms as you want," he replies in an indifferent tone.
A man in plates, a mercenary with a Spartanese helmet on his head, steps up to the counter, the last to enter the taproom.
"I'll take care of that," he says, as he drops a few silver coins on the counter.
 
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Stephan Hornick

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Eremis
The wooden floor boards sqeak under strain as the huge man enters the room. He inhales deeply as if to take in a free drink with the smell of ale hanging in the air. He actually taps the dust of the road off his heavy leather boots, before he walks over to the counter, a slight sweaty smell accompanying his full armored attire,

"I'll take care of that," he says, as he drops a few silver coins on the counter. His deep booming voice easily heard in the entire room and his leather purse still burstingly full with coins. The purse might be tempting to pickpocket, but his bulging muscles under the heavy brown leather armor and sand colored plate armor sets the risk to a very high level.

As he takes off the Spartanese helm and the thick leather gountlets, it is evident that he is still a young man.
His well-shaven beard and self-confident gaze hint to his background as much as the extremely expensive, but worn armor. Strangely enough though, his armor and weaponry is unadorned by any decorations. Some ladies on the other hand might argue that Eremis' insanely muscular body is decoration enough and the numerous scratches in his armor speak of endless battles.
No fancy Rapier or trickery dagger adorns his belt, but a straightforward shield and simple mace make up his weaponry. A single silver pin in the form of a sword over a shield adorns his figure and holds a crimson colored half cloak of status or allegiance fast attached to his attire, a cloak unscathed by the ravages of the road or carefully cared for.
Alas, his beautiful face is tarnished. An ugly scar runs across his left cheek badly tended for at that time and now threading his cheek like a gorge. Nevertheless, he wears it with pride, knowing for what he made this sacrifice.

"I'm Eremis and this is Nichuan, Karlach, Nisalach, and Echawan," he introduces the group. "A room for the four Riksharr and a room for myself, if you please. And a bath. And ale to begin with. Or wait, let's make this a payment for the week including meals and baths and lodging." He looks at Nichuan and continues in a friendly manner: "You will need at least a week, Nichuan, before you can make any money of your own as a wizard. And you're poor. Let me share my spoils of war for a week. Until then, we should probably both find more of those coins or they will run out."

Eremis will probably start to haggle a little bit about the price with the old innkeep, just enough to show his interest in the person and hear about the advantages of this tavern in contrast to other places. But in the end, he will align several small towers of coins to pay for their lodging and put his strongly deflated purse back to his belt.

"Let's take the big round table under the stairs. I like the view." He hauls his big backpack over and is confident that the cat-people will follow and that the ale will arrive shortly. "Do you know, by the way, where Gram si Alachmes and his caravan is going to stay?"
 

knoppi

Member
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Adventure Master
A young man enters the tavern. In the beginning you do not really take notice of him, as he stays in the shadows. His moves are smooth and he seems quite athletic. He has a bunch of things hanging over his shoulder: they are wrapped in some cloth, there is a bow sticking out at the top. The man directly heads to the counter and pulls two apples out of his bag. As he hands them over to the bartender the latter one accepts with some apparent surprise but soon gently smiles. The young man puts some coins on the counter, then leans over it and whispers to the bartender.
This is the moment when his hood completely slips and uncovers his head. You could already see that the guy has quite dark skin but now you also perceive at least a hint of green. His hair is thin and stringy and cannot hide the large frayed ears.

The bartender calmly takes the coins and fetches a jar from somewhere behind filling it with beer. When handing over the drink he addresses the guy: "But Bausum, I'm not the one to ask, there are plenty of people here. Just today the group over there arrived and they seem to be staying for a while." Bausum winces and with the beer in its hand he turns around and examines the room. His eyes are wandering through the room and during each pass there is a noteable delay when his eyes meet the catfolk.

After some initial hesitation and assessing he approaches the table, takes a deep breath and speaks to Eremis: "Bartender said you keep staying with here for long. Tell me if you need guiding. I am good for passing through the woods and perhaps there is a loot to share." Then he exhales and looks nervously for a free table nearby.

Bausum has a long face with a crooked nose. His teeth are uneven and you can see them quite often when he does something that resembles grinning. His lips have the same brown-greenish color as the rest of his skin, maybe slightly more red. Some scars decorate the visible skin. His clothes are quite ragged, at least the cloth parts, the upper layer mainly consists of leather -- again quite worn down but still functional and stable. There are several pockets. At his back he has a sheathed weapon and a small shield next to the bunch with the bow.
 

Stephan Hornick

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A few days later...

It is still morning in Holt-Lindeck and the rising sun sends its golden rays through the open wooden door and the colorful leadlight windows of the Dancing Cauldron. The young waiter sweeps the floor while some guests of the old inn start their day with an early breakfast.

"Hmm... fresh bread...," purrs Nichuan, the Riksharr, smelling the air as she yawns and stretches while lightly walking down the wooden stairs. "This will be a wonderful day."

"Wait until you see this, my friend,"
the young warrior Eremis greets her from below. Sitting at his usual place beside the stairs, Eremis is having a splendid breakfast including fresh baked bread, molten cheese and some leftover venison. A white medieval shirt covers his muscles this morning as he smiles at her. "Good morning, Nichuan. Come. Join me for breakfast."

She notices a big square package bound in leather leaning against the wall beside him. "It arrived? Can I see?" she inquires curiously.
"Yes, indeed. Came this morning. No, let's first eat breakfast and hang it up together afterwards. After all, it was our joint idea and should be celebrated. Speaking of which: How was your meeting with the Master of Magic yesterday?"

During her upbringing she had learned not to decline a friendly offer of free food, so she eagerly digs in. He had even ordered again a jug of goat milk for himself. The first time she had tried, she had been very surprised by the bitter taste. Now she had come to like it. He had been born in the mountains, he had said, and drank it ever since he was a kid. That's probably why he had become so strong, he would end laughingly.

"Master of Magic? Magister Gernwald Berling, headmaster of the Free College of Holt-Lindeck," she says slowly as if she had had to learn the title by heart. "The neighbors call it Ramshackle Tower, but please show respect."
After a moment of pretended hurtness, she tells her story: "It went well. He was pleased that someone 'of my kind' travel from south to Holt-Lindeck to study the arcane arts. Then he said 'fees for arcane priviledges'. I hadn't thought about that. I had to give him the Tome of Elemental Mastery. I had wanted to learn from it, but he said no. It was my first grimoire and I carried it all the way from the Golden South."

Having learned to read her tail movements, Eremis instantly notices how hurt she must be. He knows well how many hopes have been connected with this one tome that she had protected on their long journey to the north.
"With this, I will become a magician. So that my family has food and shelter. And my mother doesn't worry anymore," she had said. Now, she had lost it for the word of a man she hardly knew.

"Have patience. You have arrived at your destination. You don't need to worry for food and shelter for the next couple of days. And although you have given away the tome that was precious to you, it was a fitting price for the arcane doctrina that is about to follow. I was devastated when I had to give away my first wooden sword and wait for our smith to form a gladius fitting to my arm's length. But after all, it was worth the wait. And it will be with you. Did he tell you, when to come back?"

Nichuan had come to like Eremis' unconditional support and friendship. Although she hardly knows of his former life in the mountains, his words seem to echo within her.
"Tonight. He shows me the art of illumination, he said. A specialty of college. Many people in town don't like Fire Lane Square. There are soot marks on buildings. A magic fire burned down buildings there. Then Magister Berling 'reshaped his own magic'. Now he makes light, not fire. Only Ramshackle Tower survived the magic fire that night. Now, he walks down the street every Starday and the disciples follow him. He illuminates the town in magical lights of many colors. Without fire. You need see this. They said it look magnificantly and people come to town, just to see it!"

Eremis pushes back his plate and beams at her. She is excited where she was depressed a moment ago. She even took out her small brush and begins to brush her fur, an indication of her relaxation.
"I definitely will, new disciple. A reason to celebrate, I would think." As she looks at him, he knows that she already knows him too well and that 'celebration' always means 'ale' in his dictionary. "Don't make a face. Here, let me show you. We have two reasons to celebrate and still a lot of work today." Eremis moves the dishes and cups away, takes the big leather-bound package from the wall and opens it on the table. She sees that her idea of a name has been finely engraved on the bronze nameplate and the wooden board is nicely done.

"I talked to magistrate Willert Moosball. For a fee of just 50 copper we can create a guild of adventurers and be listed in the town archive. Of course I paid already. Now, we only need 3 more adventurers to start and 3 confirmations of the 6 guild masters in town. Once the rules of conduct are set and taken to writing, we can look for more permanent housing. But first things first, we need to acquire missions and adventurers. That's what this bundle of paper is for."

Under the scrupulous gaze of Merryweather Limbeck, the old innkeeper, the two adventurers hang the large message board onto the wooden wall of the stairs, just above the big round table. "I hope you're right, young fellaw, and this will bring customers who pay for ale and room."

"I expect, it does, Master Limbeck. And we thank you very much, that we are allowed to set up temporary quarters in your inn. Please point any people asking about it to me. Also, thank you for letting Echawan try as a brewmaiden in the Cauldron. It means a lot to us."


Eremis pins the very first letters to the message board. Emotionally moved, he breathes in and out in a vigorating way and takes his things. On their way out of the Cauldron, he passes Nichuan half of the announcement letters that they plan to hand out to possible adventurers, people with problems and guilds for support.

After the two would-be adventurers have left, Merryweather looks at the bronze nameplate above the new message board:

Message-Board-V02-0408.jpg

BORDERLAND EXPLORERS

He shrugs and turns to a new customer. If it won't work out he can always throw them out. But if it works ...? He starts smiling while filling up another ale.
 

Morvar

Member
Faster Combatant
The heavy oak door opened with a loud creak and with the wind still cold, carrying within it the scents of the emerging spring, a small group of three men entered the inn.
The leading one, a giant of more than 2 steps dressed in plate and chain, his face almost completely enclosed by a chain hood, was the first to enter the inn room. A richly decorated battle axe dangled from his left hip, and on his broad back a backpack, shield, and 2 throwing axes shared space.

"No! You will NOT do this, Jacob! Father is in a bad way as it is, and your antics will surely rob him of the last of his strength!"

The voice of the giant, despite the sharp words, was of a surprising gentleness.
The addressed, a man almost 1 1/2 heads short, obviously blood young, perhaps 17 or 18 winters old, smiled broadly at the giant despite the admonition. He was dressed in leather, with various pouches hanging from his belt and, most importantly, 2 long knives. His blond short hair framed a handsome face, in which 2 green eyes flashed full of lust for life and mischievousness.

"Dear brother! You should care less about protecting our father's dignity and strength and more about thinking about how to save the last of our possessions. First comes the food, then the morals! Has any of those philosophers and couch potatoes said that Hogar reveres so much!"
He let out a grunt as the last of the group poked him between the shoulders from behind with a long stick.

"Ey, don't do that! Or I'll di...!"

The youth addressed as Jacob swallowed the rest of his words as he looked into the cold eyes of the third arrival.
This one was about half a head taller but much slimmer, his clothes were well cut, with many pockets. The Staff in his left was made of black stone oak wood and dozens of runes confused the eye of an observer. At the tip, a red ruby flashed in the light of the incoming sun. The man's hair was shoulder-length and flea-white, though he had the face of a young man. The cold looking eyes were the color of emerald.

"Even though you are my brother, you should pay a little attention to your manners toward me and my masters. Or have you forgotten what I did to your hunting dog last winter?"

hissed the white-haired one in an unpleasant scratchy voice.
Before Jacob could retort anything, the giant's voice cut through the argument.

"Hold it, BEI GOTT! We're in public!"

he pointed to a table in a corner.

"Let's take our seats there."

Jacob seemed to have already regained his composure.
"Oh yes ..of course oh Arthur! Always maintain decorum!"

he said, but not without moving quickly and nimbly out of his brothers' reach to the table.
The giant, called Arthur, sighed.
"Come on, Hogar. He's your brother. Stop threatening him with your...arts...all the time. We both know you'd never use them just like that."

A strange undertone crept in at the words "arts" and "never".

"No...you're absolutely right."

Hogar was smiling now, but a smile was not at all...mischievous.
Awkwardly, all three took their seats. Their conversations mingled with the din of the tavern....

(Excuse my poor English, I am not a native speaker, nor do I speak English in everyday life.)
 

JochenL

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Mid-April 1021 NL, after a week of late snow, temperatures are rising again.

Around New Moon in the evenings and mornings, the moon's whole face is burning bright red for everyone to see. A Hehl-worshipping weirdo is telling everyone willing to listen: "The End is Nigh! The Underworld's fires are burning brighter every day!"

A Gnome struck by fever entered Holt-Lindeck a few days ago. Gatekeepers report that he has been murmuring about "black snow falling on Auheim." Yesterday he died, having lost all the color in his hair, eyes, and skin.
 

Morvar

Member
Faster Combatant
Once again the door to the inn opened. The man who entered, throwing back his brown hood as he entered, had a friendly face and his tonsure revealed that he was a cleric of the One God. The silver sun symbol on his chest seemed to catch the light of the crackling fire and reflect it back in myriads of light reflections. His gaze roamed the room and stopped at the table of the 3 brothers. The already friendly face suddenly shone with a warmth that had to make even the most hardened warrior feel good.

"Jacob! Hogar! Arthur! GOTT SEI DANK! You have arrived safely. How are you my brothers?!"

echoed through the room in a warm baritone.

The cleric, slightly shorter than the tallest of the brothers, yet taller than the other two, was obviously the oldest of the four. His face was crisscrossed with laugh lines and also worry lines. His gray-blue eyes were filled with wisdom and compassion. He stormed toward his brothers with a liveliness that would have been more appropriate for a boy.

The three called men all rose from their chairs and even Magus Hogar flashed a warm smile.

"Benedict! How nice to see you, were you with mother? How is father? Have you heard anything from the scouts in the mountains? Why have you only come now? "

The three brothers spoke in confusion and embraced the newcomer one after the other.

The looks that Hogar and Benedict gave each other seemed to be marked by mutual acceptance, but also by an ongoing dispute.

Arthur seemed relieved to see his eldest brother and to be able to share some of his responsibility.
Jacob just seemed happy. His eyes literally chased back and forth between the elders.

Benedict sat down, put down his bundle and weapons, and looked around for the waitress.

"Dear lady, could you bring me and my brothers a round of mead or beer? GOTT weiß, all four of us could use a swig!"
 

cr90

New member
“Hey, look! Do you see that guy over there?”

“The tiny one with the ridiculous robes and the strand of red hair?”

“Yeah, that one.”

“What’s with him? He’s surely one of a kind. But it’s not like you don’t see strange figures in the dancing cauldron all the time.”

“Be careful my friend, this one means trouble. Indeed, many shady beings can be found here: The greedy, the broken, the fortune knights… But this one is different.”

“Haven’t seen him here. He’s a newbie?”

“Sure he is. Looking for fellow adventurers, they say. But have a closer look at him. Do you see how everyone watches their steps around him? He’s a walking disaster, they say. Just has to walk by your table and your beer becomes sour. Or he might just spill it over you accidentally.”

“So this guy’s a bit clumsy. What’s the problem?”

“Why don’t you ever listen to me? It might appear this way. But he’s a mage. Yes, a full-fledged mage. Form Halberstein, they say. Was expelled there, it seems. I bet he’s involved in all kind of bad stuff. Curses and the like. “

“You’re too superstitious. He looks rather naïve to me. And he seems friendly, too. Might not last a single day as an adventurer, though. See, he’s talking to the bartender. Man, does this guy ever STOP to talk? Even the bartender seems a bit annoyed right now.”

“Yeah, looking for fellow adventurers to join their group. Would not accept him as my teammate, however.”

“Come on. He’s a mage. Why not?”

“Don’t say this too loud. He’s always eager to give a demonstration of his arcane arts to unsuspecting bystanders. Last time he almost set the tavern on fire during one of his ‘shows’.”

“Well doesn’t matter anymore. He’s walking right towards the board. Will probably join this new guild everyone talks about. You see, he read it. He's walking right to them. What was his name, by the way?”

“He’s called Teo Litvak.“
 
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