Chapter 1, Part II: The Safest City in the World

Moments earlier, a wood elf ranger named Drez dusted himself off, standing up from the streets of Platinum City, his snack forgotten on the curb of the walkway.

You are shaking off the strange experience you just had-- the weirdest reaction to indigestion you've ever experienced-- when a stage coach with the a unique insignia pulls up beside you, flanked on all four sides by paladins in shining silver armor. You have seen this stage coach before, and you know it to be the personal transport of the Chancellor. One of the paladins, who you have learned through your time here are members of the Chancellor's special guard called the Platinum Watch, opens the door for you and gestures for you to get in. The Chancellor is sitting inside and he beckons you to join him in the seat opposite him. He seems to look as confused and harried as maybe you feel.

Drez had met the Chancellor a month or so prior to this moment in the aftermath of the strangest battle of his life. Going toe-to-toe with his favored enemy off to the side of a road a few miles out from Platinum City, Drez was suddenly ambushed by a pack of them lying in wait. He was knocked unconscious, but was not out for longer before he was back on his feet, stronger than ever.

A member of the Platinum Watch had been halfway between the stage coach on the road and a fallen Drez, rushing in to assist, when the wood elf had handily dispatched the surrounding enemies without lifting a finger.

Having witnessed this display of psychic fortitude, the Chancellor, who had watched in shock from his coach, offered Drez employment within his court and to help him better understand the powers that the ranger had only just learned he had.

And it was again that Drez found himself in patient conversation with his new friend and employer.

The chancellor requested Drez's assistance with a special task:

"There are five adventurers who arrived in Platinum City today. They've just won the first round of tournaments at the colosseum. I believe there is a link between them and those… strange abilities you have recently had awakened in you. I would ask you to extend a formal invitation to them to meet me in the Citadel tomorrow. But until then, I want to make sure they are trustworthy. And I trust you, Drez. Please, spend the day with them, enjoy the festival together. And then, let me know how you find them… If I should be concerned. Before they arrive to meet me."

Drez agreed to help, and the chancellor gave him a letter of entrance to provide to the group that would allow them into the Citadel grounds the next day. He also let him know that he had reserved five rooms at a luxury inn just outside the Citadel for them.

The stage coach dropped Drez off near the colosseum as the victorious combatants emerged from the exit.

As you leave the colosseum [with your four other companions], you step out into the hustle and bustle of a city in the throes of celebration. You see children running along the streets with long, multicolored streamers flying behind them and people in elaborate costumes acting out scenes to a collection of on-lookers. The city is massive and large stone archways break it into sections, creating pockets of crowds as far as you can see. There are shops with bright banners and sign, beckoning customers in, and competitions and games being advertised everywhere you look. And throughout the city you see, again, the large metal sentinels standing stoically at attention.

The team made plans to visit some shops first, sussing out the best area to visit in order to buy the supplies they needed with their generous winnings from the tournament.

Drez approached the team and introduced himself as acting on behalf of the chancellor to invite them to his home tomorrow, and to be their guide around the city for the rest of the day. At first a bit suspicious, the team of five questioned him and attempted to learn if he is being genuine and forthcoming with them about what he knows. Xerxes and Vance determined that Drez was, in fact, giving them all of the information that he knows, and they began to talk a bit about the strange occurrence in the colosseum. They learned that when they fainted during the tournament that Drez had experienced something similar outside of the arena's walls in the same moment. They revealed a bit about the strange powers that had manifested and Drez confided that he has had a similar experience about a month ago.

Some of the members of the team felt a bond with this new character, through their shared experience, and are okay with him joining them on their shopping trip.

On their way between sectors of the city, two of the intimidating Sentinels stopped their momentum to ask "Have you committed any crimes today?" Compelled, the team informed the guards that no, they haven't committed any crimes, and the Sentinels allowed them passage into the merchant district of the city.

Sensing the confusion throughout the crew, Drez explained the reasoning behind what had just happened: There is a city-wide "Zone of Truth" spell in effect, and the Sentinels monitor for crime throughout the city to ensure that no one is breaking the law. Vance asked how that was possible, and Drez explained that any magic that is done in the city is 'taxed,' with a small portion being taken and siphoned into the dome up overhead to power the group magic that sustained the spell. This measure and the work of the Sentinels are what make Platinum City "the safest city in the world."

In the shops, the team bought a collections of weapons, armors, potions, and poisons. On their visit to the Ironfist Clangery, the owner, Talune Ironfist told the team that they needed to visit "A Feat of Grandeur," a bookstore that specializes in very unique books that would help them improve their abilities, skills, and powers. And he pointed Bartholomew toward his "cousin," Ironfingers, a man who operated an establishment that would be most beneficial to rogues.

The party split, with Bart and Vance heading off to find Ironfingers's shop. Bart was able to intuit the location due to a scribble of Thieves' Cant on the wall of an alleyway that indicated a safe place for rogues and ne'er-do-wells: Bowman Ken.

There, Ironfingers provided her with a special dagger with the ability to take on the essence of any viscous substance, such as poisons, elemental essences, and the like.

The rest of the team went to the bookstore recommended by Talune, a small and well-loved store run by a Tortle proprietor. The Tortle, who spoke in slow, careful words, introduced himself as Toobert Sheelos, and explained what made his books so special: reading specific books would allow them to build the skills necessary to master a new 'feat.'

By the time the slow, deliberate Tortle had finished introducing himself, Bart and Vance had caught up with the party again in time to hear the explanation.

The party dropped as much money as they could afford on the sale price of the books, knowing that they would be full price on their next visit to the city.

Nohki headed off to a Druid specialty store and wound up being admitted into an underground Druid Fight Club while the rest of the team found themselves swept away into a maze filled with games, magic, and secrets. The games in the maze would allow them to win special festival tickets, and one lucky maze-goer who managed to catch the 'Spark of Life' floating around the maze would win the 'grand prize.'

Inside the maze, they stumbled upon a few games, including "Solana Toss" and "Ride the Boar" which tested their dexterity and strength respectively.

Making his way purposefully through the maze, his eye on the prize, Drez snatched up the 'Spark of Life,' claiming the single Platinum Ticket prize and causing the hedges of the maze to disappear. If they wanted, anyone could continue to play the games throughout the week long festival to earn more tickets to trade in for unique magical items.

Nohki met up with the rest of the team at the prize booth at the end of the maze, having won his own tickets through secret druid means.

Completed: March 2023