Episode 28 : Gorennibad

The city of Gorennibad is fully enclosed. The city has three levels, the rooftop, the ground level and the underground area. The ground area is in complete shadow, there are few if any breaks in the ceiling. The building around stand five stories tall and are linked to and support the roof level above. The air is hot and pungent with the smell of camel and camel dung. We walk into the main walkway, light streams from above illuminating the street below.

Brother Hameth looks about him and sees just ahead an official looking post where a cleric is busily scribing away. He approaches and enquires about the whereabouts of the Temples to Nestor, God of the Night and Seeker of Knowledge, and the Temple of Synvaarna, Greater Goddess of the Underworld and Death. It turns out that both Temples are in the same street, close by. He further asks about how one goes about changing currency. The cleric indicates that money can only be changed at an official money changer. The official currency is dinars and this is only valid if it bears the imprint of the current Horselord or the last two Horselords. We thank him and head on, from a passer-by Brother Hameth inquires about the street of the forgers. He is told that it is just nearby.

We move on through the throng of people, off the main street into the little dark alleyways that make up the rest of Gorennibad. We weave our way through and come to an area where the scripts, signs and symbols of Synvaarna and Nestor are visible on the buildings. Entering the street of night we move along to the end and find the two Temples, virtually side by side. The Temple of Nestor stands above ground, the entrance way of the Temple of Synvaarna stands two doors down, the rest of the complex is situated underground.

As we move along this street Sven Strong-Arm is approached by a man in robes. He points to the Wartroll and says in West Haarnic, "How much for it, I give you six gold dinars.". Sven Strong-Arm looks perplexed and just points to Serra Ibin Raaviat and Brother Hameth. The man ignores Serra Ibin Raaviat and speaks to Brother Hameth, again he repeats his offer. Brother Hameth nods his head, the man says, "Seven gold dinars, that is my final offer. This creature would be a good gladiator, good competition for my men.". He waves his hand towards the two big burly eastern men standing at the doorway of a building.

The man continues, "I buy this creature, you come inside, we make a deal.". Brother Hameth says, "He is not for sale.". Serra Ibin Raaviat says, "Yet.". The man continues, "You come inside, we have a cup of tea and make our deal, yes.". Brother Hameth said, "No, I must first go see my brethren. We will talk about this later.". The man said, "Yes, later, we will talk later. If you need anything you come and see Achmed, the trusty camel salesman. You need something Achmed gets. You need papers, passes, Achmed get for you. You not from around here. Achmed look out for you. Where you come from?". Vernon Zarck said, "We are from Middleburg.". Achmed replies, "Yes, yes, Middleburg. I have been there once long time ago. Hey, you look funny man.", as he tries to peer under Vernon Zarck's hooded cloak. Achmed continues, "See these.", he waves at the buildings, "These are all my houses. I like to live next to the Dark Lady. All my family have passed this way. I see you later when you come outside Temple.".

We head toward the Temple of Synvaarna and knock at the door. A boy opens the door, looks us over. Brother Hameth says, "I am a Priest of Synvaarna from Middleburg. I wish to see the Priests here. We are admitted into the foyer and then a large second chamber. Stairs run down into the main temple proper. The boy disappears down these stairs. Later, three priests in black turbans arrived and they spoke with Brother Hameth. "I bid you welcome, I am Father Farouk, how can I help?". "Greetings in the name of Synvaarna. We have journeyed from Middleburg and have just arrived in the city of Gorennibad. We however had to bribe our way in as we do not have papers.". A priest replies, "You are not a normal group of travellers.", motioning to the Wartroll. Brother Hameth spoke, "Yes, that is correct. The creature you see before is a beast of the underground, a troll.". The priest gestures to the chairs that have just been brought in and motions to the tea, dates and raisins that are in the process of being served. The Wartroll sits on the floor.

The priest continues, "I see. As you are from Middleburg you may not know that the Grand Visor restricts movement and access through his provinces. For travel in each of the three provinces, north, south and central, papers are required. Further there are restricted areas where special permission is needed to just be there. These areas are the Falls of Wisdom and the Swamp to the north east. Papers to travel can be acquired relatively easily from the streets of the forgers, except those papers for the forbidden areas, these will be expensive. Even if you did have papers for the restricted areas only one of you has any chance of using them and then by default she would not be believed. Foreigners would simply not be allowed access.".

"My friend, I suggest that you stay away from the Falls of Wisdom. Also avoid the swamp, in the summer it dries out and it is via this area that the armies use to cross between this land and West Haarn.". Brother Hameth said, "Can you direct us to places where we can get at least an honest deal in the changing of monies.". "That I can, I will give you the names of two brothers who are friendly to us. They are Wamaq and his brother Akraam. Wamaq is a dealer in magic, he has greater sources than his brother Akraam who is a moneychanger and magic dealer. Akraam is more trustworthy than Wamaq.". "What about Achmed? We met him outside.". "I would not trust the likes of Achmed, he may own part of this street but he is as trustworthy as a jackal. He sold his own grandmother! But on more pleasant matters, will you be joining with us in the celebrations tomorrow?". "Yes, I will indeed.".

Brother Hameth said, "Is it possible for me to stay here while I am in Gorennibad?". "Yes, that is not a problem. Your friends however will have to make other arrangements.". Grimwold Mindbreaker whispered to Harry Mata, "Its a dying religion.". Harry Mata whispered back, "Ya, people are dying to get in.". Brother Hameth said, "Where then is a good place for my friends to lodge, while we are here?". "There is the Beggar's Palace, that is where all the foreigners stay.". Brother Hameth said, "I will be back for the festival tomorrow, at the full moon.". We left the Temple and went to the next one two doors down.

The sign over the Temple of Nestor doorway read, "Nestorians do not diminish the rights of women.". Here Serra Ibin Raaviat was warmly received by the priest in charge. We are taken through the ground floor which comprises the residences up to the next floor. This floor is domed and we are seated and served tea whilst Serra Ibin Raaviat speaks to the priest. The priest asks, "What has brought you here?". "The search for knowledge.". "I see you have a little man from the islands and a troll.". "Yes, we are a mixed group. We came here via magic and so we have no papers. How do we obtain papers to these lands and the protected areas?". "Well I recommend the street of the forgers. The better quality the greater the price.".

"Where would we be able to exchange diamonds for rubies and emeralds? Who would you recommend?". "I recommend Harkim a Jeweller of note in the Street of the Jewellers on the rooftop, a brother of Wamiq seller of unique items.". "Thank you. Here is something for your library.", she hands over a scroll, "It is a unique spelllist, to add to your library here.". "I thank you, you are welcome to stay if you wish. The others will have to make other arrangements though. If you wish you may use the library, it is quite extensive.". "Thank you.". "I am curious about your interesting friend.", nodding at Vernon Zarck. "He has a close association with Mahaaran, and it is beginning to show.". "I see.". "We must move on now, I will return for the festivities.". We exit the Temple and enter the alley where the sailors are waiting.

One of the sailors piped up, "I still haven't seen any fucking ship yet. That's what we are paid to sail!". The halfling chirps up, "That's why you haven't been paid.". Grimwold Mindbreaker took this quite moment to use transference to move into the Wartroll. We headed back down the street to the main thoroughfare. Immediately Achmed appears and comes over to the group. His pace slows as he realizes that the Wartroll is free. Achmed says, "I pay six gold, no seven gold for him.", and gestures to the Wartroll. The Wartroll looks down at him and replies, "No! Now go away little man.". Achmed scoots away into his buildings.

We make our way through the narrow alleys to the main thoroughfare and into the Grand Bazaar. Moving through we pass all manner of food outlets. The halfling stomach rumbles. We head for the stairs that will lead to the underground marketplace. As we move down the narrow streets a young boy approaches, "You need interpreter, I speak good Tradetalk.". Grimwold Mindbreaker said, "A local might not be a bad idea.". "Yes, yes. I local. Know where you find what you look for.". He looks at the halfling and the troll. The halfling wanders across to a kebab stall. The stall owner comes up, "I am Forook, you buy kebab? Yes fine kebab.". He looks at the woman, "You want sell woman? I give good price.". Serra Ibin Raaviat replies, "You want loose hand!". He looks back at the halfling. "Come closer, come, come, I have feast for you.". The halfling steps closer to the barrels set out in front of the stall but then feels light headed with the smell coming off them. He steps back. Farook offers three kebabs, "For you, try, try, is good.". The halfling eyes them with suspicion. The Wartroll takes the kebabs, "Ta.", with that we walk on.

The street urchin remains at our side, "Where you want to go, I take.". Serra Ibin Raaviat says, "Take us to Akraam the magic dealers. He is a friend of ours.". "A friend, yes, I take. I am Fez, I born in Gorennibad.", he spits on the ground, "I know here like back of hand. Follow.". He puts his hand on the halfling's shoulder and pats him. The halfling rapidly moves his purse. Fez leads us through the winding streets and past a snake charmers. A merchant rushes out holding a leg of lamb, "For you, finest quality.", the Wartroll snatches it and takes a bite, "Good.", "Only two silver dinars.". The Wartroll looks down, "Free!". The merchant pauses, "For you, free.", and heads back unhappily to his stall. Harry Mata pauses at the snake charmers.

The snake charmer comes over to Harry Mata, "You want snake, yes, I have best snake for you.". He pulls forth a cobra. "Only one silver dinar.". Harry Mata has a look at it, "Its a friendly snake, no teeth. Not what I want.". "Ah, you want poisonous, yes. Come to right place. You want venom, poison maybe. Ah yes, I show you lots of poisons.". He reaches under the stall and pulls out a box containing a variety of small glass jars holding a variety of coloured liquids, he also motions to two vipers sitting at the back. "Poisons I have, see.". Harry Mata looks them over, he rubs his fingers together, "How much?". "For you special price, fifteen silver dinars.". "How much for all, including them pointing at the two vipers?". "Price we conduct over tea.". The halfling pulls out a small diamond, "Will this do.". "Yes, yes, you can have all this.". He calls his assistant and tea is served, they sip and conclude the deal. Harry Mata takes the box, stuffs the vipers into a sack and the stall keeper passes the halfling some local currency as well.

Harry Mata looks at Vernon Zarck, "Here stick this down your pants.". We turn and go on heading down the stairs into the underground marketplace. There are no food stalls here. A vast marketplace stands before us. There are massive pillars supporting the roof high above. We wear through the alleys, guided by Fez, and eventually come a shop. The shop has the sign "Akraam's Dealership in Unique Products.", above the doorway. As we are about to enter, Fez goes, "I am poor, I am an orphan, I have no parents.". Harry Mata whispers to him, "Then nobody will miss you.". Fez continues, "One silver dinar, I guide you. You are rich, you will not miss.". Brother Hameth considers for a moment, "Here take a copper, we will be back soon.", indicating the sailors, "The rest of you stay outside.". They sit in the street, making it look untidy.

We enter the Akraam's. It is a large room, with one man sitting behind a desk. The walls are lined with shelves which have objects on that are covered in cloth. He looks up and says, "I am Akraam. A poor but honest dealer in unique items. How can I assist you.". Brother Hameth looks at him and says, "You were recommended to us by Father Farook of the Temple of Synvaarna. My name is Brother Hameth. We want to change monies and to buy magic items, what do you have.". "You look like special customers to me. I will show you some of my most unique items. They are well worth their cost.". Grimwold Mindbreaker said, "Do you sell spelllists?". "Yes, I do. I buy as well.". Grimwold Mindbreaker smiles, "In that case how must are these 21 spell lists worth, will you take them in trade.". "Yes, no problem, I will take all you wish to sell.". Akraam showed us through his wears. We traded the ring from the Temple of Wendinni and Grimwold Mindbreaker's spelllists for the following,

Ham Kinslayer's Hand Axe which killed most of his family (+30%)

Brother Hameth

Gloves (+15%)

Blue Bigfoot

A pair of Condor feathers, that strap to each arm


Viking Shield (+25%)

Harry Mata

Sandy Brown cloak, AC 3, +15% DB

Vernon Zarck

Silver robe, that stops missiles and has bladeturn on it

Serra Ibin Raaviat

Bracelets of stun relief

Harry Mata

Necklace that automatically negates head strikes

Grimwold Mindbreaker

Pendant that stops blood loss at 5/round

Vernon Zarck

Ring of unstunning - stun relief x2

Vernon Zarck

Ring with extensions - twice spell duration

Grimwold Mindbreaker

Boots of leaping - 3x a day

Harry Mata

Spell lists - Delving ways 1-20

Grimwold Mindbreaker

Spell lists - Mind Destruction 1-25

Grimwold Mindbreaker

Grimwold Mindbreaker asked if there were any more spell lists. Akraam said that the only other ones that he knew of were with an illicit trader that had recently arrived back into town. Reports indicated that he had discovered a hidden library with lots of magic items, there should be spell lists amongst his hoard. Grimwold Mindbreaker asked about curses on the items. Akraam responded that he was a member of the traders association and that all his items were guaranteed uncursed. Brother Hameth spoke in an aside to Vernon Zarck, "Are you sure you want to get these gloves for the halfling?". Vernon Zarck responded, "Yes, we had better. You haven't seen how bad he is!".

We went next door to Wamiq's Emporium. We went through what he had on offer and decided to take the following items with us before we left for the gem exchange.

Dagger (+25%) + A Impact

Blue Bigfoot

Earing of Understanding

Grimwold Mindbreaker

Ring of Luck (+15%)

Serra Ibin Raaviat

Ring of Spell Storage (3 spells)

Grimwold Mindbreaker

Spell lists - Fire Law 1-20 (magical)

Vernon Zarck

Spell lists - Guises (Illusionist) 1-20

Serra Ibin Raaviat

Spell lists - Ice Law 1-20

Vernon Zarck

We now wanted to go up to the rooftop markets and exchange the diamonds and jewellery for stones that are commoner in Gorennibad than they are in Middleburg and so do some trading. We left Akraam's and entered the street outside. Opposite us was a Inn in which all the sailors and our assorted hangers on were. They were raising a storm. The songs coming from the Inn were various renditions of songs that went along the lines of,

"What do you do with a drunken sailor,
what do you do with a drunken sailor,
what do you do with a drunken sailor early in the morning,
put him in charge of an Exxon tanker,
put him in charge of an Exxon tanker,
put him in charge of an Exxon tanker early in the morning,
heave ho, heave ho, up she rises,
heave ho, heave ho, up she rises,
heave ho, heave ho, up she rises early in the morning.".

The halfling went across to check out things, and was received with open arms and a Hurrah! He was directed to the Inn keeper, who said, "I understand your paying.". "Yes, I will cover their costs.". "Well they are up to three silver dinars so far.". "Here you go, here is five silver dinars.". The Inn keeper looked happier. Bern Bloodeyes said to the halfling, "A song, a song.". The halfling thought about it and then recited a verse with a nautical theme,

"The boy stood on the burning deck,
his pockets full of crackers,
suddenly one went off,
and blew off both his knackers.".

The halfling now went back outside. The sailors started up another tune,

"Fifteen men on a dead man's chest,
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil have done for the rest,
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!".

Looking down the street, we could see that at each end there were two shifty looking characters, even by Gorennibad's standard, watching us. We concluded that they were Achmed's men. It is now that we heard, "Psst, psst.", coming from one of the empty houses two doors down. Vernon Zarck walked closer and peered into the darkened house. He cast light and illuminated the interior. Inside were three cloaked men.

Serra Ibin Raaviat walked into the room, a hand up her sleeve, she enquires, "Do you have something to sell?". She was ignored. The rest of us entered the room. Brother spoke up and said "You have something to sell?". The men looked up and one spoke, "Are you interested in strong and powerful magic? We have a proposition for you.". Vernon Zarck said, "Why don't you sell them the halfling?". Grimwold Mindbreaker said, "Why don't we sell you. Excellent snake venom and the skin would make some fine boots and wallets!". The man continued, "I take it that none of you are friends of Lumina, are you?". Grimwold Mindbreaker spits. "So none would be scared to set foot inside the Temple of Lumina. There is nodding. "Let us discuss this over tea.". At which tea is served and hashish now permeates the room.

"I will begin. About a week ago a very popular and famous trader named Ak'zar, the most conceited and selfish bastard in the continent, returned to Gorennibad. It is he who only trades with very significant dignities and Temples. He has made a number of gifts to the Temple of Lumina to show his loyalty to Gorennibad. These items are now on public display at the Temple of Lumina. Now it would be advantageous if they were to disappear. Would you mighty adventures be interested in doing this task. Do you want the job?".

Serra Ibin Raaviat spoke up, "What do we get out of it?". The man continued, "You may keep two of the three items that are on display. We can provide you with very good contacts within the Sultanate and introduce you to the brotherhood of traders. The items on display are, a dozen eggs which when hatched produce baby demons, a dancing dagger, these items you may keep. The last is a sapphire the size of a human head.". Grimwold Mindbreaker had heard of these sapphires, they came from the planes of heaven and could be used to communicate with deities and could provide increased protection from them. "While the Temple of Lumina has these items, it has undue influence here. What we are seeking is a return to what we had before. Now we will be able to assist you in entry to the Temple of Lumina. Entry will be in the evening. Are you interested?".

The halfling spoke up, "I don't know if I am, I haven't heard the sound of money yet.". Grimwold Mindbreaker spoke up, "We will think on it. We have plans at the moment. Some of us have orgies to go to.". "Do not think too long, we will be here tomorrow and the next evening, but not after that.". Grimwold Mindbreaker steps outside, the rest of our group follows. The halfling goes across to the Inn. The Inn keeper looks over, "It will be another silver dinar, for the damage.". The halfling sights two broken chairs and a table, he coughs up the coin. Some of the sailors are looking the worse for wear, they challenged Fez to a drinking competition, only to find that he is used to the local liquor. We rounded up the sailors, headed into the street and made our way through the throngs up onto the rooftop area where we could find the street of the jewellers.

While going on our travels, Brother Hameth discovered that his holy weapon was, err, missing. He got really upset, swearing away to himself, cursing the thief. We came to a food market. The aroma hit like a wall. A trader offered some kebabs, the halfling took them but then on sniffing them felt woozy. The Wartroll snatched them up and as we walked on handed them out to three people. Serra Ibin Raaviat looked about and bought us her favourite food. The halfling coughed up the money to pay. We move on. The four men we had spotted earlier were still following us.

Fez said, "You want a jeweller, I have cousin.". Grimwold Mindbreaker said, "Yes, but we want Harkim.". "Which Harkim? Do you want fat Harkim or thin Harkim?". "We want Harkim who is Wamaq's brother.". "Ah, fat Harkim, this way.". Fez leads us through the throng to Harkim's Shop of Fine Jewellery. We enter the establishment, the sailors, Vernon Zarck and Harry Mata wait outside. The sailors call out to the halfling that they are thirsty, he tosses them one of the full water skins containing the Eastern wine. They all sit in the street outside the shop as we enter.

At this moment outside one the Achmed's men walks past the shop and glances inside. He passes close to Harry Mata, who lashes out with his shortsword, bloody fist. Harry Mata's hand buries itself deep inside the mans chest, he slumps, Harry Mata catches him and lowers him to the ground. Harry Mata puts him in sitting position against the wall of the shop and sits beside him. He grabs the waterskin as it goes past and splashes some of the liquid on the man.

Quietly Harry Mata searches the body and finds a few dinars and Brother Hameth's morning star. Taking this he gets up opens the door to the shop, "Brother Hameth, you lose I find.". He passes the morning star inside, Brother Hameth says, "Bless you my son.", he whispers, "Save his head, ok.". Sven Strong-Arm offers the slumped body a drink from the wineskin, while Bern Bloodeyes offers the man a drink. At this time a second man comes closer to find out what happened to the first. Again this one steps too close to Harry Mata, who with a quick thrust shoves bloody fist into his arm socket and through the shoulder, effectively severing the arm. The man falls and Harry Mata puts him beside the first. Sven Strong-Arm asks, "What's your friends name?", indication the second man. Harry Mata said "Just call him john, john doe, that's his name.". Sven Strong-Arm offers the man a drink.

Meanwhile inside Grimwold Mindbreaker said, "Good morning, we have come to trade gems and jewellery.". Harkim stands up, "Yes, for you I give good deal. Harkim is good man, gives honest deals.". "We have these diamonds, this jewellery, these bejewelled boxes. What we want in exchange is rubies.". Harkim smiles, he spends the next fifteen minutes going through the diamonds we showed him and counts out the rubies. We get 70 largish rubies, valued at about 107 gold dinars each.

Outside Vernon Zarck and Harry Mata see that at one end of the street of jewellers there are now six of Achmed's men, and they are not looking happy. They are unfortunately grouped. Vernon Zarck smiles and says "Yessss.". Harry Mata knows that gleam in Vernon Zarck's eye, he opens the door to the shop and says, "Fire in the hold!". As he says that a "Bang.", resounds outside. It is followed moments later by another "Bang.". Down the street all six of Achmed's men are on the floor, as well as two bystanders, they are burnt amidst a steaming circle that is surrounded by snow. The populous flees. This is our queue to flee. We grab the rubies and rush out the door. Grimwold Mindbreaker says, "That alley.", and races down it. Most people follow.

Brother Hameth looks at the body on the ground and uses his new hand axe to begin hacking off its head. Vernon Zarck casts an audible illusion and has the Demon Humzaar being heard taking a sacrifice on the rooves above. There follows demonic laughter. Grimwold Mindbreaker opens a portal with the Elvish words, "Middleburg sewers Ashee.". The portal flares open and he races through closely followed by the others. Bringing up the rear is Brother Hameth, a severed head in one hand and bloody axe in the other. He calls out, "Wait for me, wait for me.". The severed head swinging wildly in his hand as he races along, then through the portal. The portal snaps shut.

We are standing in one of the sewers of Middleburg. We move along the sewer until we come to a room with a ladder leading up. A quick count reveals an extra passenger, Fez is still with us. Sven Strong-Arm takes him under his wing. We find out later that we are in District Dragon and fairly close to the Pitt. One sailor looks at the sewer and thinks to himself, that's seawater running through there, now what city has sewers with the sea running through? In his drunken haze he does not remember that only Middleburg has this.

Brother Hameth goes off quietly with his head and soon removes the brain which he stores, the rest goes into the sewer. Looking out of the grating we think that is must be about 3 am in the morning in Middleburg. We rest for a couple of hours before, Blue Bigfoot, Serra Ibin Raaviat and Vernon Zarck go over to District A to Wingo Cidermaker's Jewellery shop. A rap on the door in the predawn light has us ushered inside. Wingo Cidermaker says, "I'm surprised to see your like here Red.". "I'm back for just a short while. I have some rubies that I want to change to diamonds, as many as you have got. Now tell me what's the latest gossip?". "Well everything has quietened down since you left. The militia and the city guard have been replaced by the regular East Rose army now. There is a curfew in place, midnight to dawn. Everyone thinks that you have all left.". He looks over the rubies. "I don't have enough diamonds to cover all these but I will give you what I have.". Serra Ibin Raaviat said, "Do you have any really hot item you want to get rid of, we will take it off your hands.".

Wingo Cidermaker brings out his wears. "For the rubies I will give you, 60 100 gold diamonds, this 5000 gold crown, err, recently of Tornburg, so don't go there. To make up the remainder here is a small amount of gold and a few gems.". Blue Bigfoot said, "Tell me what is the price on our heads?". "1,200 gold for your capture.". "Who is posting it?". "It is actually the Temple of Agastar and the Temple of Wendinni but I think there are others interested as well.". "Do you know where Dram Wirmson the Alchemist has gone to?". "I have no idea. His shop is burnt to the ground as are many others here.". "Thanks, see ya.". We left the shop and returned to the sewers to convey the news.


(c) 1997 One Night in Middleburg Rolemaster Campaign Journal by Ross Stopford  
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