Stormreach is a city of rumors and whispers, from the political intrigues of the Coin Lords to the power structure of the criminal underworld. There is talk of prophecies still to come to fruition, and of battles already fought. In the marketplace, folks talk of an invasion by devils from the plane of Shavarath, and how the former glory of the marketplace tent was devastated during the attack. But amidst the dark talk, a vibrant culture of performers continue to entertain crowds and help to liven spirits.
For one of Stormreach’s citizens, at least, the invasion hit too close to home. Nolan Gann, a nobleman of Stormreach, haunts the pawn exchange plaza each day hoping for news of his missing son Nat Gann.
Lost in the Invasion
The elder Gann explained that, even as a boy, his son was a natural acrobat, juggling and cartwheeling around Gann Manor. When Nat was older, he began performing in front of crowds in the marketplace – and Nolan was intolerable. Banishing his son from the family estate, Nolan has not seen his son since and fears he was killed in the attack from Shavarath several years ago.
“Oh, I was such a fool,” Gann confessed. “What I wouldn’t give to see Nat one more time. To tell him how proud I am of him.”
While the elder Gann continues to wait for news of his son’s fate, his other child – a daughter named Nelle Gann – took a more active role in discovering the truth behind her sibling’s disappearance. Nolan explained that an archaeologist claimed to have a means of finding Nat, and convinced Nelle to accompany him to an excavation where he’d discovered an artifact called the Chronoscope. For his part, Nolan promises to reward any capable bodyguards willing to accompany his daughter. He does not fully trust the archaeologist and believes him to be a charlatan. The archaeologist himself could not be reached for comment.
While Nat may be missing, another performer has taken his place in the pawn exchange. Tag Hardcastle is a skilled acrobat and, inspired by Nat’s example, carries on his legacy of entertaining the people of Stormreach. In addition to wowing crowds with his amazing feats of agility, Hardcastle offers something in return for the gold coins given by passersby for his efforts. For 50gp, Hardcastle will give anyone a quick lesson in tumbling, with an advanced course costing 100gp. Hardcastle’s respect for Nat Gann is evident in both his words and his tireless dedication to craft and showmanship.
“I don’t know what happened to Nat Gann,” admits Hardcastle. “One day he was just gone.”
One of the usual crowd of onlookers, Olpha Tallow can regularly be found watching Hardcastle’s show. Like the elder Gann, she hopes to find clues as to Nat’s disappearance. Her furrowed brow and the quaver in her voice has led to the belief that she and Nat were involved somehow, but she would not speak on the matter herself.
“I don’t know if he’s [Hardcastle] any better than Nat,” was Tallow’s only reply.
Whether or not Nat Gann’s fate will ever be discovered is unknown at this time. Adventurers who wish to join the investigation can speak with Nolan Gann at the pawn exchange. In the meantime, Stormreach adventurer Kasti believes hope is not lost.
“They’re pretty sure he hasn’t been killed,” said Kasti. “Or else he would have respawned at the taverns by now.”
Singers and Songwriters
Street performance in Stormreach isn’t limited to just Hardcastle though, even if his show involves more drama than most considering the circumstances surrounding Nat Gann.
Just around the corner, Martin Songsmith sings original material set to the beat of drums played by Helga Rocksmasher. The slow, sonorous rhythm of the drum is the perfect accompaniment to Songsmith’s bartione as he sings songs about the often lonely life of adventurers and their dark and dangerous quests. For her part, Rocksmasher is all to happy to celebrate the existence of adventurers who help to keep her city safe. Questing types may wish to heed the rumors she shares.
“Arzag-Khor hobgoblins are turning up around Stormreach,” warned Rocksmasher. “That can’t be good. First the giants, and now this!”
Away from the bustling streets, inside Phoenix Taven – the marketplace’s other rest stop – a nameless band keeps the atmosphere upbeat. The five piece ensemble features vocals by Toheas Songweaver, with Johann Lonnen on the lute, Rongi Starwatcher on drums, Lagira Marblefist on windpipes and the Warforged Strummer handling the zither.
One of the band’s fans, a collector named Mantakhan from House Jorasco, offers several suggestions for the band’s name.
“Duskbrood Trumpeters,” Mantakhan offered as a moniker, admitting his obsession with insects. “Or, how about Headsman Beetle! Executioner Beetle?”
Getting in on the Action
For more interactive entertainment, visitors to the Phoenix Tavern can speak with Jackson Laws, a fight promoter. Laws and his assistant, the hobgoblin Jhank, arrange fights inside the tavern for the entertainment of the crowd.
Laws offers two different types of arenas for the battles. One is a game of capture the flag, where a team must obtain their opponent’s flag and return it to their own base. If the flag carrier is killed, the flag returns to its home base.
“Lucky for you there are resurrection areas nearby,” Laws explained. This is good news for those who engage in the other type of bloodsport Laws manages – death matches. In these engagements, opponents literally fight each other to the death. However, thanks to the aforementioned services combatants are quickly brought back from Dolurrh. In addition to the arenas at Phoenix Tavern, Laws maintains venues at the Wayward Lobster in the harbor, the Open Palm Inn at the House Jorasco Enclave and Hammersmith’s Inn located within House Deneith’s ward.
Word on the Street
With citizens and street performers going about their business while adventurers run hither and yon, leads to more than a few quests lay scattered about the marketplace. For some, these adventures don’t even require any travel. Others will carry glory seekers far and wide.
Back at the Rusty Nail, Maude Coulter continues to make her rounds while parties of adventurers and solo questers come and go, seeking fame and fortune. Tales of devil assaults and the prophecies of giants await discovery, while rumors of stirrings at from the Necropolis – the city of the dead – and excursions to the ancient ruins of Threnal tease of treasure and power.
Will you heed their call?