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Elminster Speaks - Part 1
By Ed Greenwood
This is a quiet, law-abiding trading and farm-market town of almost 2,000 citizens in the southern Moonsea lands. Its situated on the northern edge of Greentree, the local name for the northwestern arm of the great forest of Cormanthor, which separates Voonlar and the southern Moonsea from the Dales. Shadowdale, Voonlars main trading rival and closest village, lies to the west and south and is seen by most Voonlarrans as a small, pig-stinking village of rustic, untrustworthy simpletons.
The Northride (linking Shadowdale with Teshwave) and Shind Road (linking the west with Yulash and the Moonsea) meet in Voonlar, forming an intersection known as the Throat. This intersection was so named after a long-vanished, raucous and ramshackle wooden tavern, the Dusty Throat. The Dusty Throat stood at the intersection for many years before burning downor, as local lore insists, being burnt down by mysterious persons to murder drunken guests sleeping inside. The intersection is now a popular, though muddy or dusty, meeting-place and the center of local open-air public commerce (through stalls, wagonload tailboard selling, and a farmers market held once a tenday) and gossip mongering.
This road is the reason for Voonlars six-centuries-old existence, though it was very different in its early days than the old stone-and-slate human town of today. Prosperous, stable, and strategically important, Voonlar has always served as a military base of sorts. It has survived the worst fires and raids from brigands and goblinkin (small bands of bugbears and orcs are the chief goblinkin problem surrounding Voonlar).
Nominally independent, Voonlar (as all in the Dales and southern Moonsea know) has in fact been under Zhentarim dominance for most of the last two decades. The Bron (the sheriff) is elected annually in a counting so openly corrupt that few dare to challenge the incumbent. The Bron is currently a former mercenary by the name of Buorstag Hlammythyl, widely believed to be a Zhent agent.
The True Rulers Of The Town
Voonlarrans all know their real masters are the Zhentarim, but no one dares speak out against such deadly folk. Spies are everywhere, and things in Voonlar arent all that bad.
Zhentarim agents known to watch over Voonlar include the merchants Thardregh Droon, a fat, goateed dealer in gems, chains, and finework metal goods (such as ornate, silver-plated coffers, plates, cutlery, lockets, bolts, hasps, and hinges). Mortuth Baldreth is a dealer of picks and other tools, wagons, cartwheels, and lanterns. The envoy Olmaer Naxrin is soft-spoken and catlike, normally arriving to watch over Zhentarim investments and trading in the cities of Sembia. He is known to slay without hesitation or mercy when the need arises, sometimes using poisoned weapons and small hand-crossbow dart guns.
Besides these three, at least a dozen other agents are known to Buorstag; all of whom command his instant, obsequious obedience. Buorstag knows that he can be readily replaced at any moment, but hes still loyal to the Zhentarim, dreaming of bigger and better things.
The Bron, Buorstag Hlammythyl:
4th-level human fighter; AL NE, AC 4 (chain mail +1 & shield); hp 35; THAC0 15 (+1 Strength, magical weapon, specialization); #AT 3/2; Dmg 1d8+4 (long sword +1, Strength, specialization); S 17, D 13, C 16, I 11, W 12, Ch 13.
5th-level human thief; AL NE; AC 5 (leather armor +2); hp 22; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg 1d8 (long sword), S 12, D 15, C 15, I 13, W 14, Ch 11.
3rd-level human fighter; AL CE, AC 3 (splint mail & shield); hp 35; THAC0 16; #AT 3/2, Dmg 1d8+5 (long sword, Strength, specialization), S 18/65 (+2/+3), D 9, C 17; I 12, W 10, Ch 13.
Olmaer Naxrin: 7th-level human fighter; AL LE, AC 2 (bracers of defense AC 4, ring of protection +2, Dexterity); hp 58; #AT 2, Dmg 1d8+5 (long sword +2, Strength, specialization), S 17, D 16, C 15, I 13, W 11, Ch 12.
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