Hi, I’m Baltazar the Conqueror. Well, I’m not really a conqueror; things haven’t worked out quite as I’d planned. But it’s cool, I just had to adapt a little, you know find some new friends. You see, I was hanging with the wrong crowd. My crowd all drowned. On the voyage over from the Old World. I’ve never been one to jump off a bridge just because all my friends were doing it, nor go down with the ship. Not that I had many friends. I didn’t get along well with the Old World humans because of my pointy ears and so forth, and the elves wouldn’t have me because I was too human-y, so when my folks died I signed on with the royal navy. Then my ship sank on a reef and I was basically stranded, a stranger in a strange land. At least folks here didn’t care so much how pointy your ears were.
So yes, I came to the New World a couple of years ago, on a royal charter to explore the territory and discover (read: dominate) new civilizations. Since my ship sunk though, I’ve made a meager living for myself in the island shanty-town, where a rugged port serves as the only haven for the rare passing ship from the Old World, and the few brave merchants who’ve set up shop here. I’ve tried to make good on the spirit of my charter, making several expeditions to the mainland to map the terrain and meet the natives. There is a race of indigenous elves here far off to the West past the mountains, who were more accepting of me than they were of my hirelings, owing to my half-elven heritage and to my facility with learning their language. There are also some savage human tribes, who are capable of trade but hopelessly backward, culturally speaking. Mostly though, there are brutish heathen goblinoids, unfit even for trade and worthy only of extermination. But there are many wondrous ruins, treasures, and vistas for the brave adventurer to seek out, and many heathens for our church to convert. There are isolationist dwarves in the mountains. There are loads of pirates in the smaller islands, who prey on merchant ships. It’s quite an exciting place all told.
Anyhoo, let me get on with my tale. Drinking at the tavern one day, as I was wont to do, I observed a dwarven bardess running in. She spotted me, and related that a group of unlikely sorts was looking for a tracker to take them on an expedition. They were preparing to head back to town, but were staying the night in a farm house. Always happy to find a bit of work, I sent for my paladin buddy Galen (a missionary from my royal charter) for “muscle”. Our copper purses were feeling a bit light these days, after all. So he showed up and we decided to accept the gig. We finished up our drinks, grabbed our gear, left the dwarf and headed out to the farmhouse.
“What ho adventurers!” I shouted in greeting as we approached the farmhouse. There was a huge gladiator named Eli, Fiameta a mage and cleric of Mystra, another cleric named Umbra who worshipped the god of death, an indigenous elf druidess/rogue named Faun, Contemplak the tobacco-addled archer, and Nameless the halfling thief. It seems they had just recently arrived in the New World themselves, but had been shanghaied and relieved of their possessions, and then beset by a goblin raiding party. Pretty standard sob story for new immigrants in these parts, but they seemed a decent sort.
They explained that they wanted to track this party of goblin raiders back to their village, to wipe them out for good and make this countryside safer for other migrants. I informed them of what I knew: that this “village” was a rather large city, with a king and hundreds of warriors, and probably many raiding parties. To track them, we’d have to get from this colonial island across to the mainland… where there are ruins of the first settler city, called Startertown.
We decided to book passage with a guy I knew with a boat. Meanwhile, Fiameta was fiddling with a wand and ring she had, and somehow they snapped together and started glowing… was it some kind of diving rod? She had a scroll that indicated there could be more parts that add on to become some kind of… key? It was hard to make out the ancient manuscript. But it sounded like the divining rod would lead us to the other parts needed for the key, and then ultimately lead us to the ruins where the ultimate treasure was… perhaps that would help us exterminate the goblins in the big city. So based on this line of conjecture, we decided to hold off on the city invasion until we had explored a bit and found some treasure to better equip ourselves.
The rod guided us West, so we went back to town where the dwarf was camped outside the armorer waiting for some chainmail to be fashioned. I found my boatman friend in the tavern, and he agreed for 10 gold to sail across the channel with us. That’s a lot, but given the pirates and other dangers, fair enough. We all pooled our funds and barely covered his charge.
He took us on an uneventful trip across the channel to the mainland, and when we landed on a sandy beach south of Startertown’s ruins at mid-day, the divining rod directed us North by Northwest off into the tropical jungle. I know there were a lot of roving goblin bands around there, because the reason Startertown was now a ruin rather than a bustling port was that the constant raids were too much for the settlers to handle and they had abandoned it and retreated to the nearby islands. That was about 20 years ago now, but still was on high alert: time to earn my keep as a guide. I lead us off into the jungle.