Midmark Information for New Players
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Things to Know about Midmark
- When the party first arrived in Midmark, they became involved in a rivalry between two members of the Tinkerers Guild, Desric Threehorn the dwarf and Talessin. Desric hired the party to investigate a disturbance at Talessin’s workshop and retrieve schematics to automata based on ancient designs. Talessin, in turn, hired the party to stop some out-of-control automata that had driven him from his tower without damaging the machines. Once inside, the party found that a Dalek-like machine with a floating brain in its clear dome (Overseer) was directing some small monkey automata to create an army of machines. The party recovered the circlet this overseer was using to control the other machines and took extra payment from Talessin in exchange for not bringing Desric the schematics. Desric was still happy with the party, though, and offered them more work.
- Having proven themselves at Talessin’s shop, Desric explained that he needed a key (stone disk) recovered from an Ancient Dwarven tomb hidden below the city. This key, meant to open something hidden in the ruins of Xen’Khel, was a replacement for another that disappeared with a different adventuring party. After a few intervening adventures (see below), the party recovered the key from the sarcophagus of the matron of an ancient dwarven clan in a tomb crawling with various automata and trapped. Desric then sent the party to explore Xen’Khel and see what the key opens.
- When searching for the tomb below the city, the party found a ruined dwarven bathhouse that had been the lair of a goblin tribe. The goblins, though, had been displaced by Bullywugs serving a Devil Fish master. The party made a deal with the goblins, agreeing to clear the bathhouse in return for permission to access the tunnel leading to the dwarven tomb (see above). The party defeated the Bullywugs and freed most of their prisoners, including a young girl named Em who would become entangled in the Grell saga. The party did not fight the Devil Fish, though, instead helping it remove its ancestor statue from the bathhouse in return for the large gem that decorated it. This gem turned out to be from Baldric Evenkeel’s missing crown, lost when the admiral defeated the Imperial armada and apotheosized. This made the party famous in Midmark and earned them the nickname “Baldric’s Boys.”
- In between their explorations of the bathhouse and tomb, the party became familiar with tensions in the city between the ruling class (descended from colonials) and the native islanders who mostly lived in a slum called “New Town”. During a celebration in their honor after recovering Baldric’s gem (see above), the party recommended that the Lord Mayor visit New Town to see the conditions. He was assassinated during this visit, leading to riots targeting native islanders who were accused of conspiring with imperial agents. In reality, Talessin the tinkerer was an imperial spy (working with imperial agents) who used “Undying” technology recovered by the party to enact the assassination. The party uncovered this plot with help from the Devil Fish they met in the bathhouse (trading the destruction of a scroll describing the location of a sonic weapon for underwater use for evidence leading to Talessin).<ref name="ftn1"> The party actually destroyed a different manuscript. Lord Thornton (see below) switched the scrolls and had the real one secreted in the library of the Temple of Merendur. The Devil Fish couldn’t read this in the party’s minds because they only discovered it afterwards.</ref> Throughout all of this, the party was aided by Lord Ardwine Thornton, head of the secret police (the Greycloaks) and adversary of Chief Magistrate Arden Grell (uncle of Alaine) who used his position to hurt native islanders. While Talessin and his dervish helper died, an imperial inquisitor (Jardin, who had pretended to be Talessin’s student) who masterminded the plot escaped the city.
- After the party left the city, Chief Magistrate Arden Grell decided to run for the open position of Lord Mayor and seemed poised to defeat the candidate backed by Lord Thornton. This was when the party broke up the slavery ring in Vargen, revealing that Grell was using his position to enslave native islanders (nicknamed Grell’s Lambs) – including the young Em from the bathhouse. When this information reached Midmark, Arden Grell committed suicide (or was killed) while his nephew fled to become a pirate and pursue vengeance on the party. Lord Thornton’s candidate won the Lord Mayor election and Thornton himself became the new Chief Magistrate. Another member of the secret police who actually adventured with the party in the tomb and helped them break up the slavery ring, named Perette, took over as leader of the Grey Cloaks. Once again, the party became heroes in Midmark.
- The real story of Lady Em and Commander Talon: when leaving Midmark for Vargen and Xen’Khel, the party hired several mercenaries who had served in the militia with their current hirelings, Sturloc and Kottar. One of these mercenaries was Talon, a former commander in the militia who had helped save native villagers from a gnoll attack. The party encountered this same gnoll pack and Talon sacrificed himself, becoming their prisoner so the party could escape. Em, meanwhile, was kidnapped by Alaine Grell and shipped to Vargen where a young Bargeman named Aubrey Grotecop fell in love with her and tried to fee her. He failed, and they both ended up at a mining camp run by the Silver Throne Company in the jungle. Aubrey died there when power-armored dwarves massacred the camp, but Em (now pregnant) escaped into the jungle where she met up with Talon, who had escaped the gnolls. Together, they made their way to Midmark together. Em is still pregnant in Midmark; Talon rejoined the party and died in Xen’Khel. They are now the protagonists of a very popular series of penny dreadfuls.