I had a nice, cushy gig going in Aundair covering the culinary scene for the rest of Khorvaire, and what happens? My editor pulls me from this plush assignment to travel all the way to backwater Xen’drik! Seems the green reporter he’d sent there, Longshotist, hasn’t sent a story in over a year. His last report covered a string of kidnappings in Korthos Village, a tropical island where he’d crash landed on his way to Stormreach. Earlier reports said something about a white dragon attacking the airship he was on, The Heart of the Wind. But seeing as how that’s the same ship the Chronicle booked my passage on, it’s more likely he skipped out on his assignment and is currently living it up on the resort island. So now, it’s up to this veteran reporter – @Longshotist Twitterhandle – to cover his beat. And wouldn’t you know it? The travel agency from the mysterious continent has some rule about nonstandard characters in their registry, so they have me booked as ALongshotist.
So here i am on the same airship he took that was “attacked by a dragon” and left him as “the only survivor of the Heart of Wind.” The trip was smooth as could be. One of the other passengers, Thealeh Auryath, yakked my ear off the entire time, prodding me with questions about my past. She seemed overly enthusiastic to hear all about my training as an artificer, and all the skills and tricks I’ve picked up that help in my job as a reporter and yadda yadda yadda. What is she, my biographer?
Finally, i couldn’t take it anymore and checked with Captain Korvyn d’Lyrandar, who thankfully announced we were almost arrived. He suggested I make contact with his friend Bellweather Bill once I disembarked. Bill, it seems, could point me in the right direction. Except all he did was offer me a choice of confiscated weapons they had on board and bid me good luck. At least there were enough spare parts around the ship to cobble together an iron defender. It’s my understanding that Stormreach can be a dangerous place, and a mechanical mutt with sharp metal teeth that never needs to sleep will come in handy to watch my back.
So this is my new beat, huh? Stormreach, a frontier city once home to pirates and smugglers, now an important trade hub ran by a Harbor Lord and four Coin Lords. First impression? A dump.
What they call a “marketplace” looks like the raggedy remains of a refugee camp, with tattered tarpaulins streaming over a few random vendor booths surrounded by cracked masonry and a pit leading down into some abyssal dungeon. At the base of Falconer’s Spire, the airship dock, two dusty drow argue over religious politics while a nearby warforged offers transport to the remote desert refuge the pair arrived from. A couple of mercenaries around the corner try to entice me with the opportunity to act as cannon fodder for some scheme of theirs. And in a shadowy alcove another creepy drow offers to trade some magical doodads for bits of blood and bone.
However, a warforged named Vertigo provides a little taste of home, standing on the street handing out Cannith crafting bags courtesy of the Fabricator’s Guild. Usually, these folks are pretty exclusionary but it seems their numbers here in Stormreach are quite low and they’ve opened their doors to independent types – like me. I know I may look the part, but I never quite fit in with those dragonmarked houses. Nope, I picked up my artificer skills by trial-and-error (and a few blackmarket correspondence courses smuggled out of the enclave in Fairhaven). Vertigo directs me to the crafting hall located in the House Kundarak Enclave for further instruction.
On the way over to the hall, a scuzzy dwarf panhandler named Barrigan Turaen stops me to let me know “we deserved this.” Pressed to elaborate, he mutters something about the glory of the marketplace tent and a great conflagration. He believes those responsible must be brought to justice, but refuses to provide further details. Instead, he only continues with his cryptic babbling.
“We should have seen it coming,” Turaen said. Seen what coming? This bears further investigation at a later time.
The Crafting Hall is easy enough to locate, and just inside, another warforged named Maker offers new recruits guidance through the magical crafting process. The first step, it said, is acquiring the magical essences that are combined to add various effects to items. It instructs me to visit a vendor and purchase Lorinda’s Ultimate Remover and Dust of Disjunction, and then return for further guidance. The remover, as Maker explained, removes a magical effect from an item and turns it into essences while the dust prepares an item to receive a new effect.
Fortunately, the hall has a bank kiosk inside, where my editor has set up an account for me to receive my stipend. Checking the account, I am surprised to find there’s a balance of 1 million platinum as well as a cache of artifacts giving off a serious magical aura. Looks like my employers finally recognized I’m a world class reporter! [editor’s note: find out who’s responsible for this banking error and fire them!] It probably wouldn’t be too wise to walk around this den of thieves with that kind of loot, so I withdraw a paltry 5,000 plat and head to the hall’s vendor for the required tools. With the extra pocket money I ought to be able to live pretty comfortably in this town for a while at least.
Maker next directs me to the Item Deconstruction Device to use the remover on an item. It generously provides an item to deconstruct, in my case a weak quarterstaff of lesser halfling bane. Hey, wait a minute – is this some kind of cruel joke? Who would even make such a thing? I am more than happy to break this vile staff down to its components and the device spits out two lesser fire essences.
Next, the essences are combined into a shard. Maker again provides the supplies for this task, three more fire essences and a Siberys dragonshard fragment to use at the Bound Shard Crafting Device. Finally, Maker teacher how to apply a shard using the Dust of Disjunction, this time on a heavy mace he hands me for the task. The shard and the item are combined at the Bound Items Device and viola!
The Fabricator’s Guild must be really hard up for members, doling out all these free essences and items, and even offering a reward for taking the course. Maker offers several items to choose from including a trinket that speeds up travel around the city and a couple of things to help with future crafting endeavors. The experience is overall positive, although nothing new to me. I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to whipping up minor magical items, and heck I even built my own robot dog on the way over here. But if these rubes want to hand out free stuff, who am I to argue? If this is indicative of what Stormreach has to offer, I think I’m going to like it here.
Heading back to the marketplace proper, I head down to The Rusty Nail, which I hear is a great watering hole. Great by Stormreach standards, maybe, as this place looks like they serve the swill that Aundair’s restaurants toss out as leftover at the end of the business week. That’s the last time I take accommodation advice from a half-orc. If any readers know of better places to stay, please let me know via lightning post. In the meantime, I’ll be lodging at this one-star establishment for the foreseeable future, as my assignment in Stormreach is indefinite. At least they allow pets, mechanical, undead or otherwise.
* * * * *
Boy, ALongshotist Twitterhandle sure seems like a crass fella. i’m not sure if he’ll make too many friends in Stormreach with his attitude but we’ll see. Like his predecessor Longshotist, this reporter plans to avoid questing unless it in required to access new areas. Instead, he’ll be covering his beat by exploring what all those NPCs milling around town have to say. It is actually pretty interesting to read their dialogue and gives a much different experience that simply running from quest to quest.
If you do find yourself in a group with ALongshotist, please be advised that he will continue the Free Agent reporter’s rule of no killing. As an objective reporter, he has no interest in fighting monsters and saving the day but will be happy to support you and cover your victories. Keep an eye out for this little guy around town if you’re on the Sarlona server, and throw him an invite if you’d like your adventures covered here at The Long Shot. As an artificer, he’ll be happy to handle your traps and locks as well as buff you up and let his iron companion fight at your side.
Speaking of the mechanical mutt, ALongshotist isn’t the sentimental type and as such his companion has no name. So how about a contest? Share your ideas for this pooch’s name in the comments, and I’ll use the best one to name his Iron Companion! Bonus points for elaboration, stories and explanations for your suggestion.