Netheril : Age of Magic

In Character => Public Notices => Topic started by: Fiverine on July 26, 2021, 12:02:58 am

Title: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on July 26, 2021, 12:02:58 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always

The Adventurer: Hero or Menace?
Greetings people of Conch and thank you kindly for reading my first editorial.  Firstly I should introduce myself.  I am Giona Morton, the new editor of the esteemed Conch Champion.  I have recently moved here from the far town of Hadrian and welcome the opportunity to bring you more of the fearless investigative journalism, hard-hitting editorials and above all a focus on the truth for which the Conch Champion is renowned.

I departed the town of Hadrian after the resolution of a very specific problem with that otherwise fair city.  For too long Hadrian had relied heavily upon the services of people of a certain profession.  This profession, if one could truly call it that, is infested with some of the worst examples of humanity and other races imaginable.  Opportunists, mercenaries, tax evaders and anarchists make up the most of their ranks.  At best they are deluded bleeding heart do-gooders who actually cause more harm than good.  At worst they are thieves and murderers.  The actions of Hadrian's irresponsible and incompetent adventuring community eventually caused the death of my son and others of the town's children.  Therefore we as parents joined together to finally drive out that blight upon Hadrian that called itself "The Adventurer's Society".  With that done I resolved to move somewhere new and put my grief behind me.  But to my dismay I find the seeds of the same problem here in Conch!

Like any city Conch often struggles with problems of oversized vermin, thieves, feral humanoids and other threats.  But we already have three fine institutions here to resolve such matters.  I draw attention of course to the fine folk of West Netheril Trading Company, The Nebular University, and Diiri's Boys.  They are the rightful upholders of law and order in their respective districts, and in my opinion it is both reckless and illegal to circumvent them and use the services of that dangerously unqualified specimen, the adventurer.

The adventurer shirks their rightfully owed taxes.  The adventurer antagonises dangerous races and beings.  The adventurer inspires untrained youths to risk their lives in imitation of them.  The adventurer always complains about how much they are paid for a job.  The adventurer disrespects the rule of law.  The adventurer and his cronies gang up on some poor overgrown lizard, bloodily murder it then call themselves heroes!  The adventurer indignantly squawks about the price he pays for goods and for which he sells his stolen trinkets.  The adventurer is a lawbreaker, a vigilante, a thief, a poor example and a bully.  But above all, the adventurer is a MENACE.

G.Morton, Editor.

Grymtol and Diiri's Boys Revive West Conch
In good news for West Conch Diiri's Boys and their leader Grymtol have brought a new regime of prosperity and order in the district.  I recently visited West Conch to take a look for myself at the changes Diiri's Boys have brought.

Though they are a rustic bunch in comparison to their decadent predecessors it cannot be denied that the Boys have brought a crude order back to the streets.  West Conch will only rise to the wealth of the rest of the city if it has some semblance of predictability for commerce and whatever their quirks Diiri's Boys have brought that.

This reporter's only concern is Diiri's Boys' questionable decision to take on an embedded journalist from another publication.  But we assure Mr Grymtol that the Conch Champion would never begrudge a district authority's choices in such matters.  Nor would we ever allow such a petty thing to affect our commitment to honest reporting and commentary.

-S. Hellsworth, Reporter.


A Plague of Crows Descends on Conch
Farmers, merchants and householders alike have been shocked and suffered financial loss at the beaks and talons of flocks of crows.  The Conch Champion has received many disturbing reports in the past weeks of crows destroying crops, defecating upon crowds and even attacking citizens.  Clearly this situation is both frightening and dangerous and citizens are hoping that the district authorities can find a cause and solution to this plague of crows.  This newspaper has found no evidence to support conspiracy theories that these crows are in fact "spybirds" for a greater power.

-A. Nutt, Reporter.

Nebular Accuses WNTC of Price Gouging
Students from the Nebular University have complained to this publication that WNTC merchants are vastly overcharging them for academic supplies.  This reporter performed a simple undercover operation by dressing in a borrowed Nebular student's robe and found that this simple identifier of Nebular membership raised prices charged to me by 150%.  One can only speculate at the reasons for this.  A spokesperson from WNTC has vehemently denied any official policy to charge Nebular students at a higher rate than other customers. 

-P. Krellin, Reporter.

Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on July 31, 2021, 02:23:40 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always

Conch Beset by Threats:  But Who Benefits?
Conch already had its hands full with the flocks of crows destroying crops, despoiling the markets and even attacking people.  But reports indicate that despite some time of peace the Rengarth are once again on the warpath.  Less surprising but still problematic is a recent goblin attack on Denvar's Bridge.  I assure you it has not escaped my attention that, amongst others, some freebooting adventurers were on hand to defend the bridge.

Why is Conch seeing this sudden increase in dangers to it and its citizens?  I believe I have an answer to this.  One of my tutors in journalism, one Douglas Parr, often reminded me of this nugget of wisdom: "when things are happening for reasons you cannot fathom, simply ask yourself this- who benefits from this situation?  Identify that party, and almost invariably you will have your perpetrator".  I thought back on Mr Parr's words carefully while considering this rash of activity around Conch and have come up with an answer.

So who is it that benefits when vermin, barbarians and goblins attack or endanger Conch?  Simply put, the people we hire to solve the attacks!  I do not speak of Carsen Sable's stolid and honest warriors, nor of Nebular's eager students.  I speak of those unlicenced vigilantes that we lump under the term "adventurer".  They have the most to gain if the city needs extra warriors and wizards to fight threats.  Surely it is not too much to consider that perhaps it is the adventurers themselves who are deliberately drawing these attackers?

-G.Morton, Editor.


Diiri's Boys Turn West Conch into Dystopian Wasteland
Residents and visitors to West Conch alike have complained of a rise in robberies, assault and murders in West Conch (which the less charitable call "The Slums").  This rise has coincided with the rise to supremacy of the dangerous gang known as Diiri's Boys.  Victims of their predations have told the newspaper that this rise in violence is not simply the Boys "settling old scores" now that they are the authorities in West Conch, but is likely to be an ongoing policy. 

- S. Hellsworth, Reporter.


Judge Caught Skinny-Dipping
A certain long-serving and respected judge of Conch's court was allegedly sighted swimming nude in the creek outside Conch yesterday.  Our concept artist sketched a recreation based on witness accounts but our editor has decided it is simply too shocking for publication.  We will not name the judge in question to avoid litigation but will take careful note of this person's future rulings in public indecency cases.

- A. Nutt, Reporter.


New Community Group Forming
The Conch Champion can exclusively reveal that a Master of the Nebular University will be soon founding an organisation dedicated to the admirable goals of reducing violence in Conch and generally making it a more pleasant and harmonious place in which to live.  We have only been provided with the vaguest of details so far, but the Master stated "this will be a group for all of the people of Conch".  Other than noting the Master's emphasis on the word "people" we can only speculate upon what this group will be like.

- P. Krellin, Reporter.
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on August 07, 2021, 12:57:12 pm
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always

The Man-Bat of Conch:  Monster, Urban Legend, or Sheer Fabrication?
One of the stranger stories one hears whilst walking the streets of Conch is that of "the Man-Bat".  Depending on the source, one will hear that the Man-Bat is a monster, a mad-man, or a practical joker.  What is clear is that these stories are confined to a narrow stretch of the Market District and always revolve around the Man-Bat making his lair in some unfortunate's basement.  Some poor deluded souls even become fans or acolytes of this legendary creature. 

The usual question discussed when locals speak of the Man-Bat is simple- is he real, or simply folklore?  I however, postulate a different origin to this creature.  An unnamed source has told me that the Man-Bat is a sick practical joke created by the more deranged adventurers of this town.  This source told me that adventurers have been capturing some bats and turning them loose in basements, then having one of their own dress up like a humanoid bat to scare the owner.  Then, the adventurer's cronies arrive and drive off the Man-Bat and claim a fee for their service. 

While no physical evidence was provided for this shocking claim it seems all too plausible to me.  It causes me to wonder too if adventurers are responsible for other nuisance problems we find in Conch, such as livestock mysteriously getting free and swarms of insects infesting homes.  Naturally, these problems also require a "generous adventurer" to resolve them!  People of Conch, next time you find yourself faced with some irritating or recurring problem ask yourselves "could an adventurer have caused this?"

-G. Morton, Editor


Nebular Students Go Wild!
It is apparent that this year's class of Nebular students is the wildest yet.  The Conch Champion has received numerous reports, tipoffs and complaints about new Nebular students indulging in all sorts of misbehaviour.  Grievances this newspaper have heard include street fights in the slums, roughing up a member of House Mistari, stirring up racial tensions and even stealing credit for each other's work.  Clearly the Masters of Nebular will have a harder semester than usual keeping their more unruly students in check. 

-S. Hellsworth, Reporter


Rampant Misuse of Magical Proclamations
Proclaimer Jason has directly complained to the Conch Champion about his services being misused by residents of Conch.  "Magical proclaimers are a vital and respected profession in the lands of Netheril," he said.  "It insults me and my trade when my skills are used to send nonsensical gibberish, threats and trash-talk after street brawls!"  Jason's suggestion is that offenders take their squabbles to the arena and settle their differences there.  Nevertheless, he assures the Champion that he is a professional and will continue (if sometimes grudgingly) to send any proclamation if hired to do so. 

- A.Nutt, Reporter


United in Death
The Solemn Mourners of Conch, a funeral service in West Conch, have welcomed calls for a more grand and secure temple to Jergal to be established in our city.  Mortician Kurt Totenstarre said "my organisation feels a deep connection to the Church of Jergal.  We share many of the same duties and my employees and I make regular contributions, both financial and volunteer work, to the Church."  While death is rarely a welcome visitor to most households, we in Conch are blessed to have two fine organisations working so well together in this grim industry. 

- P. Krellin, Reporter
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on August 14, 2021, 02:02:50 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always

Stop, Thief!
A wave of the most cowardly form of theft, pickpocketing, has fallen upon West Conch.  This should come as no surprise since this area is by far the roughest and most lawless part of Conch.  There were pickpockets under the administration of the Kolumbo Gang and no one should be surprised that Diiri's Boys are equally as lackadaisical in preventing them.  But as far as I am concerned, how Grymtol runs things in West Conch is Grymtol's business, not mine.

What concerns me far more is that the West Netheril Trading Company has not made a strong statement about this situation.  I have received complaints that people have even had their purses lifted in the markets.  This is utterly unacceptable!  This plague of wallet-lightening must not spread outside West Conch to the Market District, or gods forbid to Uptown either.  I call for Governor Every Hastings to immediately declare that pickpockets in the Market District will be hunted down and prosecuted for disrupting trade!

Finally, the pickpocket is rarely a dedicated specialist.  They invariably have other talents, whether it be thuggery, panhandling, burglary or murder.  Some perhaps even masquerade as legitimate professionals in conventional trades.  But most sinister of all is the link I have noticed between pickpocketing and adventuring!  Yes dear reader, many adventurers are skilled pickpockets.  They use these skills to illegally fund their deluded expeditions, rob innocent monsters and engage in various immoral sleights of hand.  Until proven otherwise, every adventurer should be considered a potential pickpocket.  Keep your coins tight when in their company, or better still avoid them entirely. 

-G.Morton, Editor.


Disappearances in Conch
District Authorities have experienced a sharp rise in reports of people going missing in Conch.  This phenomenon seems to be city-wide but no pattern or explanation has been defined as yet.  The Conch Champion has received dozens reports of people who are searching for missing loved ones (a full list of these names is printed in the classifieds section).  Most disturbing of all a few of these accounts involved people literally vanishing before the eyes of witnesses.  In one of these cases, the shaken witness claimed "poor Abdul was eaten alive by some invisible monster!"

-S.Hellsworth, Reporter.


Minotaur Goes Berserk in Markets
In a shocking incident this week a minotaur lost control and began attacking unfortunate passers-by in the fringes of the Market District.  Thankfully the District Authorities of both West Conch and the Markets swiftly dealt with the frenzied monster but not before it caused several deaths.  This horrifying event has caused some to question the wisdom and safety of allowing large and potentially dangerous humanoids to live within the walls of Conch. 

-A.Nutt, Reporter.


Lusus Naturae Regula Founded
Master Kliment of the Nebular University has officially announced the formation of Lusus Naturae Regula.  He states that this organisation will study and investigate incidences of violence and other anti-social behaviour committed by monstrous humanoids within Conch.  "This will not be some secretive clubhouse of narrow-minded racists," Master Kliment stated.  "We will have some of the sharpest minds of Conch working on this project.  I expect our work will improve lives of all people in Conch, and actually many of the monsters too."

-P.Krellin, Reporter 
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on August 21, 2021, 08:26:35 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always

A Hidden Menace?
I am pleased to say that the insidious wave of theft which swept across Conch recently seems to have receded.  While I would never exaggerate my own achievements, I know that my scathing editorial last week played some role in unnerving criminals and rousing our District Authorities into action. 

One criticism I have received of late is that Conch's patron goddess, Tyche, is one who favours adventurers.  I have the deepest respect for the Tychean faith and church and would never unfairly criticise either.  Therefore I must clarify my position to some extent.  Adventurers are a topic I have studied and also possess great life experience of.  Those that do embrace the true spirit of Tyche (and indeed some other deities) are invariably the best people of what I consider a normally bad breed.  But there is one particular faith that seems to breed the worst behaved and most dangerous adventurers. 

Moander, you ask?  Khozar?  Targus?  No, none of these.  The faith which produces the most unhinged adventurers is undoubtedly that of Selūne! Time and time again I have seen her lawless followers do as they please and ignore the rules of society the rest of us dutifully follow.  Many Selūnite adventurers are quite insane due to the well-established influence of the lunar cycle upon madness.  Selūnite adventurers act without thinking and do so with the pompous arrogance of the misguided do-gooder.  Once, these lands were even preyed upon by a deranged order of knights sworn to Selūne whom (I believe) were known as the Swords of Five Lunacies.  Fortunately all vestiges of those madmen and madwomen are long gone and they will never trouble us again. 

This leaves us to be watchful in the present day.  I urge you all to consider the followers of Selūne in this city.  Some are our friends and co-workers, and likely good folk.  But how many of them could secretly be current or aspiring adventurers or their sympathisers, and what problems could they cause us in the future?

-G.Morton, Editor.


A Fiendishly Good Day
The Mistress of House Mistari caused hearts to flutter and spouses' eyes to wander in the Markets this week by doing a shopping trip in the company of a succubus.  Some shoppers were appalled at the scantily-clad creature's presence, while others appreciated the visibly pleasing diversion.  The guards were all of the latter opinion and declined to take any action.  Notary Victoria Hastings of WNTC said that the day's takings were excellent indeed as many shoppers had flocked to the markets upon hearing rumours of the succubus' presence. 

-S. Hellsworth, Reporter.


Census Chaos
The council's preparations for the triennial census of Conch are in turmoil.  In recent months an increasing number of humans with extraplanar lineage have come to Conch or been born here.  Much debate has occurred about whether these residents should be considered humans, demi-humans or be assigned their own category (or categories).  Some also expressed concern that some sort of planar influence is drawing these people here. 

Furthermore an anonymous witness to these debates states that some administrators believe that many of the monstrous humanoids of West Conch will be unwilling or incapable of filling out the census form.  This would skew the data unless some means of ensuring their participation is imposed. 

-A.Nutt, Reporter.


No Relief From Crow Plague
The flocks of crows despoiling crops and harassing citizens of Conch are yet to migrate from the area and it appears they are here to stay.  Some tentative extermination efforts by independent operatives and district authorities are understood to have occurred but farmers and traders have reported no easing of the crow menace.  Farmers in particular are facing severe crop and income losses this season.  Head farmer Joy Lambton of the Creek Farms is leading bands of farmers to chase off crows which retreat to the marshes then swiftly return.  "We're doing the best we can," she grunted, "but this needs to end or we'll struggle to feed the city come winter."

-P. Krellin, Reporter. 
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Winterhawk99 on August 21, 2021, 09:14:28 am
Lauriella quietly reads the newspaper while on deck and the editorials thereof while smocking her pipe and drinking her whiskey. When she reads about the followers of Selune and in her eyes (the followers of Sehanine) she abruptly stops. Looking up at the stars and Selune almost in her glory she states, " This editor knows nothing. I will Find G. Morton and have a discussion with him and if that does not do, a belaying pin will! She goes down to her cabin to write a letter to the newspaper.
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on August 28, 2021, 12:55:46 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always

Plights & Pirates
My recent editorial about Selunite adventurers was replied to by a frankly alarming letter of complaint accompanied with threats to my person and outrageous accusations about the cleanliness of my desk.  I have much sympathy for the plight of the insane.  My own wife tragically suffers from incurable insanity and along with the death of my son it is the greatest grief in my life to date.  So I will not name and shame this offender for their madness is not truly their own.  Instead, it is a tragic plight instilled upon them by Selune, the Mad Goddess of the Moon, who seeks to transform the serene and quiet darkness of night into something mystical and fearful.  I do take comfort from the many letters of support I received from the silent majority of good citizens of Conch who naturally all pleaded not to be named in fear of Selunite reprisals.

Reports from Sullivan's port say a new orcish pirate fleet is prowling the sea.  I advise all sane mariners to ensure they sail in convoys and be prepared to repel boarders.  This news caused me to ponder the nature of piracy.  Most pirates are what I would call "honest scoundrels", that is, nasty and cruel men and women who are under no delusions that they are anything but nasty and cruel men and women.  They are deserving of a noose certainly, but are simple criminals and no more.  Were they not so dangerous one could almost respect their pragmatic honesty. 

But there is a rare and deluded breed of pirate who claims to be acting for the greater good, to be liberating goods from the undeserving rich, to be avenging past slights and so forth.  You can imagine which goddess of navigators and mariners this specimen typically follows.  This type of pirate is reminiscent of the adventurer, who invariably claims the same motivations.  They share their tendencies to evade taxes, rob and murder men and beasts and wildly exaggerate their exploits.  Dear reader, you would simply not believe how many adventurers have written to me claiming they have slain the Man-Bat of Conch!  Dozens!  How can more than one of them (if even that!) possibly be telling the truth?  I tell you readers, the altruistic pirate is just as much a myth as is the altruistic adventurer. 

-G.Morton, Editor.


Rats and Rumours Engulf West Conch
West Conch was invaded this week by a horde of rats who boiled up from the sewers and threatened to overwhelm Diiri's Boys defenders.  Though the rodents were eventually put down rumours have swirled about their origins.  Some accounts claim that humanoid rats were seen directing the swarm.  This rumour has been given some credence by Nebular requests for any "intelligent rodents" to be captured and delivered to them for interrogation.  Another rumour claims that the rats are being directed by a breed of telepathic two-headed albino "rat queens".  The one person seemingly not worried is street vendor Nathal who buys rat tails and suddenly has more supplies than he ever dreamed of. 

-S. Hellsworth, Reporter.


Nebular Takes on Crows
Students from the Nebular University have formed a task force to investigate the crows decimating the Creek Farms area.  Though their first expedition failed to resolve the problem, Head Farmer Joy Lambert was grateful for the help.  "This is what we been crying out for- folk from inside the walls taking this problem seriously."  The farmers hope that Nebular will continue to investigate this matter and determine the cause behind the crows overstaying their welcome. 

-A. Nutt, Reporter.


Drama in Court
Justice Oswald Schenker has caused a stir in the Market Districts with one of his recent court rulings.  He convicted baker Darrell Peetevins of lacing his bread with sawdust, ignoring the man's pleas that the growing shortage of grain due to crows had left him no choice but to use a filler ingredient.  Peetevins' claims that sawdust is actually very nutritious were also dismissed.  Justice Schenker decreed that Peetevins' bakery will be closed and the baker himself kept in the watch house until he completely consumes a foot-long plank of fresh timber.  So far Peetevins has made minimal progress.   

-P. Krellin, Reporter.
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on August 31, 2021, 02:12:30 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

APOLOGIES AND CORRECTIONS
While at all times the Conch Champion strives to report events with scrupulous good faith and accuracy, journalism is not a precise art and errors of content or judgement do occasionally occur.  Therefore I would like to issue the following statements regarding previous stories (one of which was published under previous editor Perrina Layne, but as current editor I must take responsibility). 

Apology to Hobgoblins
Last year, former reporter Acton Peers wrote an article discussing racial traits of hobgoblins.  We now acknowledge this article was in poor taste and inadequately researched and we apologise to all hobgoblin residents of Conch for its publication.  Specifically the Conch Champion withdraws the allegation that all hobgoblins are ravenously addicted to a traditional brewed drink called "hobnoggin".  Also, no future Conch Champion article will use the offensive abbreviation "hoblin" to refer to a hobgoblin.

Apology to Religions
I personally and profusely apologise to the churches and worshippers of Moander, Khozah and Targus.  In a recent editorial I implied that they were of comparable wickedness to another deity.  I understand and accept the hurt I have caused those parties with this association and promise to do better in future. 

-G. Morton, Editor
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on September 06, 2021, 04:33:44 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

Editor on Leave
Our respected editor Giona Morton has been on personal leave this weekend. He has taken a brief vacation to visit his ailing wife and their son's grave.  Therefore there will be no editorial this week but we can offer something almost as good: an exclusive interview by gun reporter Soppira Hellsworth!

Kerrar and the Scales
Below is the transcript of my recent interview with the half-dragon Kerrar, leader of "the Scales", a minor gang of West Conch composed mostly of kobolds, lizardfolk and a few humans.  This is the first time Kerrar has ever spoken to the press.  During the interview we were served refreshments by Kerrar's kobold servants and he was flanked at all times by lizardfolk bodyguards.  A beautiful female yuan-ti pureblood sat beside him, cuddling Kerrar and patting his hand soothingly when his temper shortened.   As for Kerrar himself, he is a towering winged creature with ice-blue scales and a spiny dewlap beneath his chin.  He comes across as emotional, self-absorbed but in possession of a magnetic personality and a remarkable voice.
-S.Hellsworth, reporter.

SH: I thank you for agreeing to speak with me today, Kerrar. 
K: As well you should.  It is not often I, Kerrar, lower myself to speak with you smooth-skins.
SH: You have been in Conch for a few months now, but very little is actually known about you.  Would you care to tell us about your background?
K: Ugh.  What's to tell?  I am the product of a broken home.  My mother was a dear but my father is a grotesque bully who beat us both.  The only thing I learned from him was an intense hatred of all bullies.  I truly loathe them.  My mother died from one of his beatings, so I ran away from him and ended up here
SH: And then you founded a minor gang
K: [bellows] MINOR?!  How dare you!
SH: Look, all I'm saying is that the Scales lack the numbers and territory that, say,  Diiri's Boys have.
K: Bah!  Posers!  Hacks!  And so distressingly  lacking in scales!
SH: Can you please explain that last remark?  Why is whether they have scales or not so important?
K: [sighs] I can't believe I need to explain this.
SH: Please, the readers want to know.
K: Fine.  You see, scales are the most beautiful adornment that one could ever possibly wear upon one's skin!  Velvet, silk, satin... these are mere pitiful attempts at bettering the divine perfection of scales.  Naturally my own scales would surely be the most glorious in this entire city.  I look at you dear, and see you are quite pretty for a human... and yet all I can think is that you would be utterly breathtaking if you had scales.
SH: Well thank you, Kerrar.  Unfortunately it's extremely rare for humans to have scales, except due to curses or disease. 
K: Ah but you're wrong there!  I have several human members in my new family here.  And thanks to their frankly unsurprising devotion to my glorious self, they have branded, tattooed or cut scales into their own skin.  It makes me so proud!

[Kerrar wipes a tear from his eye and sighs happily as he contemplates his new family.  His kobold servants take the opportunity to refill our drinks.  One overfills Kerrar's drink and it spills it on the table.  Kerrar brutally backhands the kobold and sends it flying into a wall.  There is a sickening crunch of bone.  The kobold lays there whimpering as the interview continues]

SH: Ah... well... personally I'd rather not do that to myself.
K: A shame.  I am looking for another bride  for my harem so my family can have another mother.  I am finding that one simply isn't enough for my rowdy children.  But you just blew your one chance I'm afraid.
[the yuan-ti glares at me first with jealousy, then smug superiority]
SH: A sadness that will stay with me forever, I assure you.  You keep saying the word "family".  That's how you see your gang?
K: Yes!  They are my family, and I am their adoptive father.  I protect them from the other gangs who, believe me, are all run by HORRIBLE BULLIES who abuse their followers.  I'm not like that.  I offer those with scales and those willing to gain them a fresh start in a supportive environment.  Kobolds, lizardfolk, yuan-ti, troglodytes, marked smooth-skins... all are welcome here.
SH: Finally Kerrar, what are your plans for the future?
K: Oh, I'm sure Grymtol would love to see that in print.  How stupid do you think I am? [bellows and snorts cold mist from his nostrils].  HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK I AM?
SH: Perhaps we should conclude our interview here.  I thank you for speaking with me today, Kerrar.
K: As well you should, smooth-skin.

END

Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on September 11, 2021, 03:40:02 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always. 

A Brief Pilgrimage Completed
Hello again dear readers!  I apologise for my absence last week.  The newspaper owner advised me to take a short trip back to my hometown to "recharge and remember why you do this work".  I took the time to visit my ill wife, my son's grave, the temple and some general sites about Hadrian.  Pleasingly, the owner's advice was astute and I have returned with more zeal than ever.  I am grateful to return to Conch for it is a lively town.  It is said that Hadrian was equally lively once, but alas that was over a century ago, before Lunatics began to drag it down.

Many citizens send me tipoffs about various things unscrupulous people have done in the region, and I found quite a few new ones upon my desk on my first day back at work.  Several related to a dangerous place: the ruins of the fallen Valstiir enclave.  It seems that various adventuring parties have once more begun delving into that area and bringing back trinkets to sell in the Market District.  While this would seem dangerous only to the adventurers themselves, a few were allegedly boasting about indiscriminately jumping around planes using the still operational portals there.  This is the sort of tomfoolery that brought down the enclave and exactly the dangerous nonsense I would expect adventurers to be up to their necks in.

I also noticed upon my return that one other issue has not left the bars, alleys and other gossip venues of Conch.  Despite my assurances that the Man-Bat of Conch is a scam perpetrated by adventurers I see that reports of his existence stubbornly continue.  Therefore I appeal to readers: bring me pictures of Man-Bat!  I encourage all to send their concept art, sketches and eyewitness accounts to my editorial desk.  Let us all see how consistent this evidence truly is.  I look forward to seeing your submissions!

-G. Morton, editor
(OOC: anyone interested can post Man-Bat art or stories in the letters to the editor thread)

The Uptown Rats
The Conch Champion has it on good authority that a home in Upper Conch has suffered such a serious infestation of rodents that the entire building was almost written off.  The owner of the home is not known though persistent rumours state it belongs to a local celebrity.  Rat infestations are a rare occurrence in Upper Conch and residents are deeply concerned that the rat plague of West Conch is spreading beyond control. 

-S. Hellsworth, reporter.


Blood Farming
Market District residents have told the Conch Champion that several corpses have been found in the docks of the Creek Farms.  While this is distressing enough, adding to the horror is the revelation that they all appeared to have been exsanguinated.  First term Nebular student Lady Anastasia Voust was one of the poor souls who claimed to have stumbled upon some of these bodies.  "I came here thinking Conch was a quiet place," Lady Voust said.  "I wouldn't have come here from Saharelgard to study if I knew things like this happened here too."  WNTC however said that it has investigated the matter and found no substance to any of these stories. 

-A.Nutt, reporter.


Hope Where Before There Was None
The Last Hope road is an infamously dangerous trek, but good news has arrived for travellers.  A new rest stop has been constructed at the request of the Council of Conch.  This will give caravans one more safe place to camp along the road and it is the most distant outpost along the road yet.  Although the facilities are currently simple but functional, they will be expanded as funds permit.  Currently caravan and airship stops, herb gardens and camp sites are the main services there, all protected by low but strong walls. 

-P. Krellin, reporter.
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on September 13, 2021, 02:03:44 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

Upcoming Interviews
Soppira Hellsworth's recent interview with Kerrar of the Scales was well-received by readers.  Therefore she has been assigned to a weekly interview column highlighting notable residents of Conch.  This week, her subject is local legend Sir Theodore Capstick.
-G. Morton, editor.

A Chat With Sir Theo
Below is a transcript of my recent interview with Sir Theodore Capstick.  We spoke in his usual haunt of the Whispering Tree inn, near the famous trophy which was named after him.  Sir Theo is still a burly and powerful man despite his age and twirled his legendary huge moustache compulsively throughout our conversation. 
-S. Hellsworth, reporter.

TC: Be a good girl and get me a drink, will you?  I've got that Hellsworth lad from the local rag coming any minute. 
SH: That's me, Sir Capstick.  I'm Soppira Hellsworth from the Conch Champion.
TC: Oh a working girl I see.  Good for you!  How did that happen?  You barren?  Ohhh... you don't like gents, right? [winks]
SH: We're actually here today to talk about you, not me Sir Capstick.
TC: [booming laugh] Well naturally!  Call me Sir Theo, dear.  What would you like to know?
SH: It's well known that you were bestowed a knighthood by the Empire for many years of hunting dangerous animals and monsters.  Why did you become a monster hunter?
TC: When I was just a scrub, my father tried to encourage my reading by giving me a set of books written by Mannfred Von Darkmoor.  He was a monster hunter over a century ago.  Very famous in his day.  He hunted giants and vampires around Hadrian and Hilltop.  Was never on the right side of the authorities, sadly.  But I found his books inspiring. 

[A serving girl brings a tray of drinks and Sir Theo takes a long swig of ale.  Somehow not a drop of foam clings to his immense moustache]

SH: So then you decided you wanted to hunt monsters when you grew up.
TC: Grew up?!  Gods no!  I got started right away.  I wrestled and pinned my first goblin when I was but a lad of five!  I was crotch-punching orcs before I hit eight.  Singlehandedly hunting down, slaying and skinning packs of wolves before twelve!  Escalation, dear.  To stay famous, one must constantly exceed one's own achievements in some manner. 
SH: You professionally hunted monsters for money and fame for forty years before you retired.  What was your greatest hunt?  And why did you retire?
TC: I simply can't pick just ONE hunt as my greatest.  How could I split such great moments as when I slew an adult hydra by bashings its heads together?  The time I defeated an entire ogre tribe by ritually arm-wrestling every single one of them in turn?  The time I thrashed a dragon to death using the severed tail of its juvenile as a whip?
SH: And your retirement?
TC: I didn't retire because I wanted to, I retired because I had to.  The hundreds of injuries and poisonings over so many hunts take a toll.  Some good comrades of mine had died over the years too.  I was slowing down, and didn't feel I could match my old feats anymore.  At that point, what's the bloody use of it all? [shrugs in apparent distress]
SH: But it wasn't the end of your fame.
TC: Not at all.  The Empire was sufficiently impressed by my body of work to award me an honorary knighthood.  The innkeeper here is one of my greatest fans and offered me free lodging and drink for life.  I get to sign autographs and regale fans with my tales every night.  But still, I miss the old days.  That's why I created the Capstick Cup.
SH: And what is the Capstick Cup?
TC: [seriously] Why it is the most prestigious award a resident of Conch could ever hope to receive.  I award it regularly to any with the bollocks to impress me by hunting down a seriously dangerous quarry.  The trophy carries a sort of inherent magic of its own, probably due to being designed by and depicting myself,  and will make the winner an even greater hunter.  I'd like to make it a regular monthly event, actually. 

[Sir Theo and I look upon the display version of this trophy which sits proudly at the inn.  It is quite an impressive sculpture depicting a shirtless Sir Theo in his prime battling a wyvern]

TC: That happened up on Patrician Peak.  Never saw so many bloody wyverns before or ever again.  We lost a few good adventurers on that hunt.  That reminds me... why does that blasted paper of yours hate adventurers so damn much?
SH: That's editorial policy, it really has nothing to do with me.  You'd have to take it up with Mr Morton. 
TC: I think I bloody will.  Tell me though lass... is having a long gander at that statue of me near stark nude making you reconsider your preferences?
SH: I think we'll end it there, Sir Theo.  Thank you for talking to the Conch Champion.

END
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on September 17, 2021, 03:27:13 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

Interview with a Tychean
Below is my transcript of an interview I conducted with the popular Priestess Kaylie of the Temple to Tyche in Upper Conch.  She is an attractive and diminutive half-elven woman with curly blonde hair and an infectiously cheery personality.  Even a few personal questions did not dent her happy resolve.
-S. Hellsworth, reporter.

SH: Good morning priestess, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. 
K: No, thank YOU!  What an absolute pleasure it is for me to have this blessed opportunity.
SH: Your mother is the famous soprano Mirella, who was decreed the Bard of Conch a record twelve consecutive years.  Did you feel any pressure to follow in her footsteps?
K: I did actually immerse myself in music for many years before I felt the call to study for the priesthood here.  But there was no pressure on me... why it was an  honour that Lady Fate chose to place me in such a blessed family situation. 
SH: Mirella was a single human mother when she had a fling with an elf noble who passed through town, a union which produced you.  What is it like to grow up with parents of two different races?
K:  It was a wondrous experience which I will be forever grateful for.  It was due to Fortune's Smile that my parents met, even if they were together ever so briefly.  My mother has always had such an overflowing abundance of love for me that the absence of my father was barely noticed by me.  Honestly, I was blessed from the start to be born into such a loving family situation.

[I pause to gather my thoughts for the next questions.  Kaylie gives me a patient yet dazzling smile]

SH: As I hinted earlier, Mirella already had a child from a previous relationship when she met your father.
K:  Yes, my half-sister Danica. 
SH: I've heard that this "loving family situation" is remembered rather differently by her.  Town gossip says that you and her have a ferocious rivalry.  Danica herself claims that you've just imitated her your whole life and even stole this job you have from her.  What do you have to say about these things?
K: I really feel for poor Danica.  It's not her fault she feels a little bitter or resentful towards me.  Yes, she pointed the way for me in a lot of areas, such as singing, dancing, and the Tychean faith.  It must be very hard for her that I've consistently proven so much better than her in every single one of them.  [Kaylie smiles pityingly a moment, before her dazzling grin returns]  But I didn't steal this job from her, the priests simply decided that I was the better candidate.
SH: I am told that Danica accused the priests of choosing you simply because you donated a large amount from your elven father's inheritance to the church and you physically appear more like some depictions of Tyche than her, not because of any spiritual merit.
K: Yes she did.  Amongst other less savoury accusations.  But even if that one claim is true, surely would that not be even more proof that I was Lady Fate's preferred choice?  For luck blessed me with features like hers and she blessed me again with the fortune of my father's money.  And luck is the currency of the goddess. 

[I move on to my next questions, noting that unlike many interviewees Kaylie has not been even slightly irked by "the bomb question"]

SH: Your personal interpretation of Tyche has been described as a little unorthodox but has proven wildly popular here in Upper Conch.  Can you explain it and the appeal it possesses?
K:  I don't find it unorthodox or controversial at all.  I preach that Tyche rewards effort and faith and often does so via material rewards.
SH: So all of the wealthy parishioners here in Upper Conch, whether they be businessmen, intellectuals or simply born rich have been blessed for their effort?  Doesn't that seem like a stretch to you in the last example?
K: Not at all!  Some have been rewarded for the daring and efforts of their ancestors and are born into fortunate circumstances.  Like myself.  And the others have been blessed in their own efforts with good fortune in their investments and employment. 
SH: But you can understand surely how the less affluent people of West Conch, whether Tychean or not, might see that as awfully convenient?
K: Perhaps, but I believe that Tyche chose me for this district of Conch.  Should the people of West Conch be feeling spiritually or materially unfulfilled, they have my colleague Priest Kardeen there to soothe their woes. 
SH: I am planning to interview him soon, so perhaps I will discuss the matter further with him.  Thank you, Priestess Kaylie, for speaking to the Conch Champion today. 
K: [cheerfully]  You should do that!  Tell him I said hi.  Have a lovely day!

END
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on September 27, 2021, 10:56:49 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

Man-Bat is a Myth!
Dear readers it has been over two weeks since I issued my plea for evidence, witness accounts and sketches of Conch's infamous "Man-Bat".  As I expected, not a single credible piece of proof of his existence has passed across my desk!  I therefore confidently assert that this beast is what I have claimed all along- an insidious hoax perpetrated upon the good citizens of Conch by the adventuring "community"!  I wonder now what other urban legends they are responsible for.  The Piper of the sewers, the giant centipedes of the slums, rampaging animated furniture in Uptown... could all of these outlandish rumours simply be self-serving scams run by racketeering adventurers? 

I have been busy the past few days in and around Conch.  Being the rugged, salt-of-the-earth gentleman I am, I spent some time volunteering in the fields and orchards of the Creek Farms.  I was picking apricots in an orchard at one point, stripped to my muscular waist naturally, when I was attacked by a flock of crows!  As if this was not bad enough they seemed to be directed by a kenku.  I dispatched the creature with little effort of course.  Upon searching it I found it carried the type of restorative potions typically carried by adventurers and noted that its weapon was a "Moon on a Stick" which are often carried by Selunite pilgrims.  One can only wonder whether there is any link between this experience of mine and the plague of crows blighting Conch.

My other experience of note happened whilst taking a casual walk in West Conch.  Whilst in the north west corner of the slums, I was pushing myself through a gaggle of work-shy panhandlers (hard work always brings success in my experience, so beggars can only be lazy), but then espied an interesting sign.  It seems a new temple is under construction in this dilapidated area of Conch.  Could this be the new temple of Jergal we heard rumours about some time ago?  Or is a new deity joining the temples of Conch?  Either way, I would welcome further information.

-G.Morton, editor.


Covington Revealed?
The Nebular University has reportedly dispatched an expedition to locate the legendary vanished village of Covington.  While it is not clear yet whether or not they were successful the very fact that they felt there was enough evidence to send personnel is significant.  The existence of Covington is much-debated by local historians and folklorists and they are eagerly awaiting confirmation whether "the Lost Village" is real or not. 

-S.Hellsworth, reporter.


Band Splits
Music lovers of Conch are despairing at the news that popular duo Swords & Daisies have broken up.  Equally popular in taverns and theatres, the band have entertained residents for many years with their inspirational yet ferocious musicianship.  Mandolin player Grady Swords states that he had despaired of singer Daisy Bastian's infamous tardiness and hookah habit so broke up the band.  Meanwhile, Bastian insists that the breakup was her decision and was due to Swords being " a moral sewer with a face like a bucket of frogspawn".  Both are reportedly working on successor projects but must first resolve ownership of the "Swords & Daisies" name.  They are due to appear before Justice Oswald Schenker next month. 

-A.Nutt, reporter.


Chained Procession
Several residents of Conch have informed the Champion that they have witnessed groups of people moving around surreptitiously after dark.  The accounts are remarkably similar and indicate that an unknown faction is forcibly moving small groups of people between houses under the cover of darkness.  The people being moved were reportedly chained together and clearly unhappy about their situation.  District Authorities are investigating but thus far have not made any headway. 

-P.Krellin, reporter. 
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on October 08, 2021, 12:25:41 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

Editor's Note
I have received many complaints of late that the office of the Conch Champion is all but impossible to find.  Therefore I am currently working on moving our office to a more visible location.  Let it not be said that I ignore complaints!  I will inform you, beloved readers, of the new location once it has been secured. 

Meanwhile reporter Soppira Hellsworth has conducted another interview, this time with Kardeen, West Conch's priest of Tyche.  Please read and enjoy!

-G.Morton, editor.

Interview With a Tychean #2
After my recent interview with Priestess Kaylie of Upper Conch's temple, I spoke with Kardeen of the temple in West Conch.  Kardeen is an interesting specimen with red eyes, misshapen ears and a swarthy complexion.  He is clearly of mixed but unknown heritage and culture and he has numerous facial piercings.  He seems to be constantly simmering with suppressed rage but I noted that he never completely lost his temper.

SH: Hello Priest Kardeen, thank you for speaking with the Conch Champion today.  Oh, Priestess Kaylie says 'hi'.
K: [grunts in irritation].  She and I were ordained together.  Her faith is genuine, but her interpretation of Lady Fortune's ways is repulsive bullshit.
SH: Excuse me?
K: Her prosperity doctrine about unearned wealth being proof of Tyche's favour is just convenient crap for the useless and parasitic idle rich of uptown.
SH: Tell us then what you preach about Tyche.
K: Tyche brings good luck to those with the courage to defy tyrants and to work hard to better their own situation and that of their community.  She smites with bad luck those who seek to hurt or oppress her faithful.  She cares not a whit for bloated rich maggots sitting on their inheritances and investments.  She is the perfect patron for West Conch and its people, which have both been abandoned by the rest of the city.   [stands up and roars as if giving a sermon]  Here in the slums I preach the TRUE word of Tyche!  I encourage and support my flock as they stand up to the bullies here and those in other districts who look down upon us.  I protect my brothers and sisters with Tyche's holy blessings and curse their enemies with misfortune! 

[Kardeen's skin flushes and his eyes actually glow as his anger and passion rises.  It is clear that he is not completely human]

SH: Tell us a little more about yourself, Kardeen.  You clearly have a great love for your parishioners, but you were born elsewhere, yes?
K:  Yes.  I was. 
SH: Who were your parents?  Some people say you are a tiefling, others that you have some drow or orcish ancestry. 
K: [snaps] Who I was does not matter!  The past is an illusion.  All that exists is the present and all that matters is what we do here and now. 
SH: Please, just for the sake of the Champion's readers who are curious.  Tell us what you are willing or able. 
K: [grunts testily] Fine.  I was born in the woods.  I never knew my father, and my mother is a truly despicable woman who kept me in a cage.  Literally in a cage.  A vision of Tyche gave me the courage to break free and escape.  I came here and preached Tyche's word in a corner of the slums, and slowly my flock grew from a few to dozens then hundreds.  Eventually Her church learned of me and  offered me proper training as a cleric, and the funding to start building the modest temple you see here today.  Many of my flock are trapped and oppressed like I was, and I strive to give them the strength and courage to stand up to their oppressors. 

[Kardeen's flinty voice softens as he speaks of his flock and his temple, and his love for them is evident.  The fierce glow in his eyes dims]

SH: What are your current concerns for your parish and West Conch in general?
K: Everything.  We are bearing the brunt and blame for the plague of rats.  Many here are already on the brink of poverty or starvation, and the crows are now reducing harvests and driving up food prices.  Diiri's Boys are running the district now, but they're batshit insane and nobody outside the gang really understands them.  Children disappear here sometimes and we don't know why.  Racial segregation is pushing all the orcs, kobolds, hobgoblins and everything else in this one section of town, which inevitably increases tensions.  The Conch Council always spends more on uptown and the markets, so we can't ever improve things.  Basically, we're always getting shit on here in West Conch.  I'm surprised you had the balls to even come here for the interview.
SH: Whatever it takes to get the story, I say.  I'll be interviewing your fellow priest Zolo next.
K: [inexplicably roars with laughter] You're going to interview Zolo?!  Really?  I might actually buy your newspaper to read that one.
SH: Um... very well.  Thank you for speaking with us today, Kardeen. 
K: [continues laughing]

END
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on October 11, 2021, 01:03:36 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.
Important Message from the Editor
In today's special interview edition the subject is Priest Zolo of the Market District's temple to Tyche.  I have taken a heavily pondered decision to publish this interview in its full unredacted form.  I gently advised Ms Hellsworth to reconsider conducting this interview, but consummate professional she is, she chose to go ahead. 

Dear readers, I warn you beforehand that Mr Zolo is a person of ill-repute, prone to lies and fanciful stories along with possessing a vicious and unjustified dislike for my good self.  I grieve that the respectable church of Tyche has been forced to elevate such a man, a man upon whose watch in Hadrian the death of my son occurred. 

-G.Morton, editor.

Interview With a Tychean #3
I am aware that this interview will be a controversial one, but as a professional and pursuer of the truth I felt compelled to  conduct and submit it.  It would also have been unfair to overlook one of the temples of Conch's patron goddess.  Priest Zolo presented as a rugged and healthy individual approaching middle age.  He was unshaven and seemingly weary yet alert.  One could only describe his voice as gravelly. 
-S. Hellsworth, reporter.

Z: Well, well, well.  I didn't expect the rabblerousing muckraker would let you do this one.
SH: I think a few people may be surprised.  But let us get the obvious issue out of the way first, Priest Zolo.  Please tell us about your history with Editor Morton.
Z: We're both from Hadrian, obviously.  I was the last guildmaster of the now sadly defunct Adventurer's Society there.  A fine community organisation which your boss went to great lengths to slander and shut down.
SH: Please explain what happened.
Z: An adventuring party of our members was heading off to explore some ruins east of Southbank.  They were mostly Selunites, searching for some holy site I believe.  Some children tagged along with the party... fans I suppose you could call them.  If the party in question made any error it was then, in allowing untrained minors to accompany them.  I personally would not have allowed it in a party of my own, and if I had known beforehand I would have quickly stopped them.  Mr Morton's son Giovanni was one of these children. 
SH: What happened then?
Z: The party was ambushed by orcs on the way to the ruins.  Tragically, all the children were slain in the skirmish.  The adventurers did the right thing and brought back the remains for prompt resurrection.  Unfortunately there wasn't enough left of Mr Morton's boy. I was told he'd tried to kick an orc shaman who had an acid sheathe, and the boy was melted.  Horrible.  Tragic.  An unnecessary waste of a young life.  I disciplined the adventurers involved severely.  They all had had their membership suspended and were also punished by the Amaunatorian court of Hadrian.  One was imprisoned. But that wasn't enough for Morton. 
SH: Explain please.
Z: He was a town crier in Hadrian.  He and some parents began a campaign against the Society and claimed that his son's death was just our latest misdeed and that we were a dangerous influence on the young.  He dredged up all these old things that happened years or even decades before I'd ever joined the place... unpaid taxes, possession of contraband, claims that we'd planted one of our members as mayor, allegations that we'd refused to defend the town unless paid more, assaults upon noble house retainers.  It was all ancient history.  But I will give Morton one thing, he's a genius at whipping up outrage and bitterness.  Why anyone would want someone like that running a city newspaper is beyond me.  But in the end he got his way, and Hadrian forcibly purchased our guild hall and ordered us to leave town.  The church reassigned me to Conch and I thought I'd seen the last of that moustachioed cretin.  But then he pops up here too, and getting what he wanted actually seems to have made him worse

[I pause to pull out some notes Editor Morton gave me to respond to any criticisms]

SH: Mr Morton gave me some things to ask you... hmmm.  Gods his handwriting is terrible.  He says here that the Adventurer's Society had always been run by the most dangerous and unhinged adventurers in all Lower Netheril.  Maniacs with self-given titles like... um... Herkulos the Mad Storm.  Morgana the Bloody.  Blorfun the Gravedigger.  Blackash the Ram.  Um... are these real names?
Z: By Targus' bloody bootstraps!  If he can't even get the names right I'm not going to bother.  What else did you want to ask me?
SH: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your temple.
Z: I was an adventuring priest for many years.  After the fiasco of the Adventurer's Society's demise, the church decided to give me a largely administrative post here in Conch.  There was a lot of tension between the temple and WNTC when I first arrived.  The merchants wanted to ditch our temple and replace it with an Amaunatorian one with all their stringent rules.  I was able to convince them that they would actually be freer and more prosperous with Lady Fortune having their backs, rather than the lawyers of the Sun God slapping red tape on everything.  And Tyche is just as likely to bless someone showing daring in business as in other endeavours. 

[Zolo slaps the desk to emphasise his point about red tape]

SH: And what are your thoughts on adventurers these days?
Z: The same as ever.  Most of us are decent folk looking for excitement and prosperity, and we are happy to help others.  The church of Tyche is always appreciative of the spirit and daring that adventurers show.  I will heal any injured adventurer, and sometimes I sponsor parties for specific daring adventures.  Naturally they have to apply to the temple for such support, so if there are any adventurers who bother to read the Conch Chump, I invite them to contact me. 
SH: We actually have a few adventurers with subscriptions.
Z: Well, everyone needs something to line their pet parrot's cage with I suppose.  Tell me, is doing this interview going to affect your career?
SH: Mr Morton assured me that while he disagreed with my decision, he would not fire me, or punish me at work in any other way.  I think he was impressed by my courage, actually, and promised to print the article in full.
Z: Right.  Well, Fortune favour you.  Plenty of work here or at WNTC for a bright writer like you. 
SH: Thank you for the offer Zolo, but I intend to work for the Champion for a long time.  Thank you for speaking to me today. 

END
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on October 18, 2021, 11:37:45 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

A Nutty New Column
Dear readers, nothing stirs one to action quite like the pangs of simmering jealousy.  Reporter Antorino Nutt has requested that he be allowed a similar regular feature to his colleague Soppira Hellsworth.  Being impressed by his competitive resentment, I bring you Antorino's new project.  He shall profile less visible but equally notable people around Conch.  Being a man of wit and brevity (as well as a talented sketcher), Antorino shall give us a dose of his pencils along with notes on the person. 

Until next time, dear readers.  May the irritating radiance of the full moon not keep you up late!  Gods, it looks like a rotten block of soft cheese tonight. 

-G.Morton, editor.

A Pair of Workers
My first brace of notable residents of Conch are two of this city's quietest but hardest and most honest workers.

-A. Nutt, reporter.

Notary Victoria Hastings, West Netheril Trading Company
(https://i.imgur.com/yA751y6.png?2[/img)
Ms Hastings is the only child of WNTC governor Every Hastings.  She's valued and respected at WNTC for her remarkable dedication and precision in what would be a tedious job to most.  Some have even described her as a prodigy in the art of business.  Yet one would have to wonder why this shining young scion of the Hastings clan is on her way to becoming a spinster.  Even more peculiar is her dropping out from her course at Nebular university last year.  Surely such a keen young mind would make a fine wizard?


Master Isekai, Nebular University
(https://i.imgur.com/wz8STBW.jpg?1[/img)
The perpetually solemn Master Isekai is Nebular's head of the school of Conjuration.  He is renowned for his plodding yet highly knowledgeable style of teaching which contrasts with his ferocity when it comes to disobedient or unruly students.  Naturally he is particularly skilled at summoning.  Why, his students often remark that Master Isekai can summon absolutely anything other than a smile. 
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on October 24, 2021, 02:01:49 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

Weekend Musings
While even a sharp journalistic mind like my own cannot quite pinpoint the reason, I am sure you have all felt a certain sense of contentment about Conch today.  Perhaps there is no one cause.  It's surprising for me personally because we are currently in the process of moving our newspaper to a new office in the Conch Tenement Block.  Moving, as everyone knows, is a HORRIBLE experience which no one should ever have to endure.  I'd even feel sympathy for an adventurer moving house.  Obviously that would be a hypothetical situation because adventurers (especially Selunite ones) are almost invariably wayward and neurotic drifters rather than respectable renters or home owners. 

Since I have all but proven that Man-Bat is a crude hoax, I have turned my mind to a few of our other urban legends in Conch.  Bring me your sketches and personal stories of the Pied Piper and the Candyman that supposedly haunt our sewers!  Personally I believe that these creatures are just two more scams invented by lazy or simply incompetent adventurers (yes, Jimmy Two Bones, I am looking at you!).  Truly we are cursed with gossips of poor creativity when all they can come up with are anthropomorphic boogiemen to scare us with.  What next?  Is someone going to spread stories about a web-tossing "Human Spider"?  Ridiculous! 

-G. Morton, editor.


Pleasure and Pain
House Mistari and its affiliated organisation the Fane of the Thorned Rose have been actively advertising in Conch this past week.  House Mistari is seeking retainers and staff who "respect the teachings of pain" and the Fane is offering to discipline unruly underlings or teach masters in such techniques.  House Mistari is seemingly a noble house but does not currently appear on the register of recognised nobles of Conch.  This is presumably an oversight due to House Mistari's relatively recent arrival.  Some have cynically said that Conch is a city full of suffering and misbehaviour so House Mistari's advertising will fall on fertile ground. 

-S. Hellsworth, reporter.


New Librarian
The Great Library in Hadrian has announced Miss Arabelle Nelson has been assigned as librarian for all materials relating to Conch.  She was hired because of late the library has been visited frequently by residents of Conch and she is also the apprentice of Head Librarian Albert Pendragon Jr.  Of Miss Nelson herself little is known, although this reporter has been told that she has a personal link to Conch.  One source claims she is the illegitimate daughter of a famous resident of Conch, another that she lived here for many years under a different identity.  Whatever the truth, her presence should make research easier for those journeying to Hadrian. 

-A. Nutt, reporter.


Nebular in Lockdown
The Nebular University has announced it will be operating in a limited capacity "for a time".  Their short official announcement assured that "all was well", although also stated that an arcanist had been injured in an experiment gone wrong.  Residents of Upper Conch have expressed concerns about Nebular's secrecy in this matter and are already saying that staff and guards are only listening to the most urgent requests from the public.  "Aren't they our District Authority?" said resident Boabdil Kurdraus, Esquire.  "What if I get accosted by a beggar?  Or see someone drinking without a coaster?  Do I have to yell over the fence for a smelly brute from Diiri's Boys now for gods' sake?"  All residents of Upper Conch nervously await the next announcement from the university. 

-P. Krellin, reporter. 
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on November 01, 2021, 12:37:05 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

Tales of Conch
Hello again, dear readers!  As I completely expected I have not received any evidence of the existence of the Pied Piper or the Candyman.  Once again, I state that these legends are just boogiemen of no substance!  The Candyman myth has had some extra embellishments these past weeks with some claiming that this infamous snatcher of children is now targeting halflings.  Can these stories get any more ridiculous?  Yes, District Authorities have confirmed that some of the little folk have gone missing of late but let's be serious here.  They are small and hard to find at the best of times.  They're probably just hiding behind some little boxes, puffing on their little pipes like the adorably harmless little creatures they are. 

Interestingly enough, I did receive an account about our legendary Man-Bat.  As you know I considered this creature an utter fabrication but the story sent to me was compelling.  A West Netheril Trading Company guard claims he saw with his own eyes the dreaded Man-Bat!  He said it was in hot pursuit of a blue-haired fellow in leather armour and the pair burst out of a residence.  At first the guard believed it to be a prank and had a good laugh.  When it become clear the Man-Bat meant to murder the blue-haired warrior he was forced to intervene and slay it.  The WNTC guard claimed the corpse was of some sort of mutant humanoid.  I still maintain that the vast majority of Man-Bat sightings were hoaxes by Selunite adventurers (bats are creatures of the night, after all) but clearly there were also a few caused by this pitiful creature.  Hopefully now the sightings will decline. 

Finally, we're still moving into our new office at the Conch Tenement Block.  We've purchased new furniture, but I became tired of my reporters squabbling over who should get the nicest desk and chair.  I graciously offered to take them myself, thus harmoniously ending the dispute.  Now that, dear readers, is leadership!

-G.Morton, editor.


Decline in Vermin
All across Conch there has been a marked drop in reports about rat infestations.  While there has been no official announcement, many believe that the Nebular University along with some mercenaries are responsible for the end to the plague.  Unfortunately, the crows that have plagued Conch remain as troublesome as ever.

-S. Hellsworth, reporter.


Missing Halfling Persons
District Authorities have been perplexed by the number of halflings being reported as missing of late.  Though they form a small percentage of Conch's total population, in the past few weeks missing person reports involving halflings have been disproportionately high.  Local historian Alain Otorr stated that the halfling settlement of Hilltop suffered a similar plague of missing "hins" over a century ago and he speculated that there may be some link between the events. 

-A. Nutt, reporter.


No Mercy for Thief
Chief Justice Mercy Pineblight has sentenced a petty thief to a year of indentured service to West Netheril Trading Company after convicting him of theft and disruption of trade.  Mr Leopold Vallen admitted to stealing a loaf of bread in the central market and overturning two market stalls in his attempt to flee the guards.  Pineblight rejected Vallen's defence that the bread was for his hungry children, and she placed the children under the city's care for the duration of the sentence.  "There," Pineblight stated "they will be taught there is never an excuse for disrupting commerce." 

-P. Krellin, reporter. 
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on November 13, 2021, 10:51:38 pm
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE OWNER
Readers, you will all have heard the rumours that our beloved editor Giona Morton has gone missing.  Sadly, they are true.  I will try to put your minds at ease by describing what I believe has happened.

Giona's editorials give some hint of his deteriorating mental state, though sadly I have only realised this in hindsight.  I am told he was becoming paranoid in the office and even searching reporters' desks for signs they were spies sent by his enemies.  I was one of the last people to see him in Conch.  I spoke to him the morning he disappeared and suggested he take a long vacation to "get away from the world".  He agreed, and said he just had to make a deposit at the bank to pay an invoice first.  While we spoke, he was doodling on the front of a newspaper, which is when he wrote the cryptic message reported by the WNTC guards who searched the office. 

As we now know, the bank was the last time Giona was seen in Conch.  I know the man well and I believe that there is nothing sinister about his "vanishing".  He simply took my advice too literally and has retreated somewhere isolated.  Unfortunately this means the newspaper must struggle on without him.  For that reason there will be no issue this weekend, and I apologise for that inconvenience.

Naturally we need a new editor.  Therefore I open applications to the public.  Please send a letter to the editor detailing your interest and qualifications.  I feel that the Conch Champion needs to mend bridges with adventurers and Selunites so I warmly encourage them to apply too.  In the meantime I shall administer the newspaper myself as best I can.  May the Lady of Mysteries watch over us all.

-Rudolph Hurstport, owner


OOC note:
This is open to interested PCs. 
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on November 22, 2021, 12:56:56 pm
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

The Perils of Ownership
The greatest burden of owning a business is knowing that ultimately, the coin stops with you.  Without any serious interest (oh there have been pranks, believe me) in the editor's position I am forced now to act in the position myself until it can be filled.  It seems that wherever Giona Morton went, he is not coming back anytime soon (truly a shame, for we have finally completed the move to our new office in the Market District).  I even asked previous editor Perrina Layne to consider returning but she seems quite happy in retirement.  My idiot son Flokki expressed interest in the job, but I'm not going to inflict editorials about which ladies at the Loving Lamb give the best value upon you.  I'm not a journalist, so you'll have to bear with me and forgive some mistakes.  The editor's position is still open so do please send an application if you are interested! 

It seems I have taken up this job in a perilous time.  Some are even whispering that war could be coming to Conch.  Fear not readers, The Conch Champion has proudly served and informed this city in times of strife and war in the past.  We are on your side, never doubt that! 

-R. Hurstport, owner & acting editor


Nebular Exclusive
The Conch Champion can exclusively report that Nebular apprentice Lauriella Sithirr has received an astonishing dual promotion to both journeywoman and acting head of the special projects and dangerous experiments section of the university.  The latter promotion has occurred due to the kidnapping of her superior, Arcanist Cassandra.  Our sources, who cannot be named, say that the news has stunned her fellow students who look upon her new role with a mixture of admiration, envy and resentment.  Though Sithirr has been a ferocious critic of  this newspaper, in the spirit of forgiveness we wish her well in her new roles. 

-S. Hellsworth, reporter.


Darkness in Hilltop
The woes of halfling village Hilltop have continued.  The disappearances and murders it has suffered recently culminated in a great shadowy mass blotting out the village from view for a time.  It is believed that the actions of halfling defenders and allies from Conch were able to defeat whatever horror caused this and allowed the sun to shine upon the village once more.  However, disturbing reports of raiders and warbands in our region almost immediately followed.  A link between the two events seems likely. 

-A. Nutt, reporter.


Conch Man Murdered by Rengarth
Sketchy reports have filtered to us that a man from Conch was recently killed by barbarians when he tried to enter a sacred cave on Rengarth land.  Although the location of his death is not yet clear, the Conch Champion can exclusively reveal his identity as Anders Yates, an enforcer for Conch's Kolumbo Gang.  One can only speculate what a ruffian from West Conch was doing in such a place.

-P. Krellin, reporter. 
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on December 05, 2021, 06:25:11 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

Exclusive Investigative Report
Reporter Peela Krellin has concluded an investigation into the strange artifacts known as "soulstones" or "soulgems".  I commend her courage and diligence in this matter.

-R. Hurstport, owner and acting editor.


Stealers of Souls
Those acquainted with magical artifacts will surely already know of or have encountered the unsettling items known as soulstones.  To the uneducated, one of these would seem to be a pretty gemstone of moderate value.  But in truth they are disturbing creations into which the soul and essence of a killed sentient creature has been bound.  Activating the stone will cause a magical effect, usually a physically enhancing one, but this can only be done three times.  On the third use, the stone will crumble and the soul bound within obliterated forever.  Most folk would consider such a deed utterly abhorrent, and yet increasingly these items are appearing in our markets.  So presumably some have no qualms about their use. 

The rulers of West Conch, Diiri's Boys, have effectively used these soulstones to seize and retain their dominance of the slums.  As District Authorities, that is entirely their right and their business.  But one would have to wonder if their use by the Boys has played a role in these once rare items being regularly found in the Conch area.  If the soulstones were to be entirely in the hands of their employees perhaps there would be little cause to worry, unless you were their enemy of course.  But increasingly soulstones are falling into other hands. 

A concerned parent recently wrote to this newspaper saying her child found one when collecting rocks.  The parent accidentally triggered the stone's power.  Initially confused, they were horrified when they took the soulstone to a priest who explained the nature of it.  The parent was frightened that someone would come after them or their child for having possession of and using such an item.  Adventurers have also been known to collect or carry soulstones, either to use them or hand them over to priests in hopes of releasing the trapped soul.  They have been finding soulstones in the possession of monsters and bandits.  Many sellers in the market district told this reporter that more soulstones than ever are being sold to them by adventurers, scavengers and traders.  Interestingly not all of these soulstones are genuine but many are. 

There is little consensus on how these soulstones are made, or by whom.  Evidently Diiri's Boys have some insight into their creation, but it is also likely that any powerful arcanist could learn the necessary artifice.  It is said that rival gangs are also seeking the secrets of their creation.  But should such cruelly created items be allowed in the possession of anyone outside District Authorities?  Do religious institutions have a responsibility to intervene when the destruction of souls is the ultimate result?  I make no judgement, but simply report these facts for the reader to decide.

-P. Krellin, reporter. 
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on March 07, 2022, 07:36:39 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

I Hate This Job
I'm not in the mood for an editorial today because, well, read the headline.  So I shall let the reporters "do their thing", as they say. 

- R. Hurstport, owner and acting editor.


Heights of Discrimination
In recent weeks the District Authority Nebular has received repeated complaints from members of the more diminutive races in Upper Conch.  A gang of unknown masked humans has been accosting lone halflings, gnomes and dwarfs in Uptown and threatening them or even beating them up.  On a few occasions offensive notes have been left pinned to the unconscious victims.  "NO MIDGETS IN UPTOWN!" was one of the printable ones.  Similar graffiti has been spotted on buildings in Upper Conch of late.  Lone halflings have been the most frequent victims of this outrageous racism.  With no arrests made by Nebular guards yet it is rumoured that the halfling community in Conch may be considering taking action of their own. 

-S. Hellsworth, reporter. 


Ogres Attack Sadardiel Estate
The Conch Champion has been informed that the Sadardiel Estate at Lake Vyctoria fended off yet another ogre raid on the weekend.  The raids have been increasing in frequency and severity.  Lady Apolline Sadardiel has both declared her family's determination to remain on their titled lands and her desire for skilled mercenaries to either join the plantation's garrison or work for House Sadardiel on a freelance basis. 

-A. Nutt, reporter.


Another Bizarre Ruling
Conch's most eccentric judge, Justice Oswald Schenker, has sentenced yet another criminal of Conch to a bizarre punishment.  Creek farmer Mr Percy Leibold was found guilty of being exceptionally cruel to the cats he kept in his barn.  Justice Schenker sentenced Mr Leibold to being transmuted into a cat for a week and living in said barn.  Mistress Abighail of Nebular agreed to perform the procedure at Justice Schenker's request.  The Creek Farms' head farmer Joy Lambton said that Mr Leibold's cat body is already "looking scratched up to hell" from the barn cats exacting their vengeance.

-P. Krellin, reporter.
Title: Re: Issues of the Conch Champion (For public reading)
Post by: Fiverine on July 07, 2022, 03:44:04 am
The Conch Champion.  Independent & Accurate, Always.

I Still Hate This Job
I must say I am dismayed that seemingly not a single soul in Conch is willing to relieve me of this burden of editing my own newspaper.  But fine.  I will do it my bloody self if I must.  At least I can say that the recent months have been calm in our fair city.  The threat of war seems to have receded and our greatest danger right now is that of dreadful self-appointed comedians abusing the professionalism of our city proclaimers.  That said, I pride my reporters on being skilled at dredging up dismaying news no matter how good things appear (surely nobody reads a newspaper for GOOD news?).  So please read on and enjoy their efforts!

-R. Hurstport, owner and acting editor.

Mysteries of the Gods
The Conch Champion has been informed that all three Tychean temples in Conch have recently added sealed vaults to their crypts.  While we are a mere newspaper and have no right or interest to meddle in the affairs of the gods, loyal and longstanding parishioners of the temples have complained to the Champion about being forbidden to enter these new rooms.  Nor have parishioners been provided with any explanation of the sudden need for secrecy and security.  This reporter has contacted all three temples to query the matter.  All three gave the same reply that it is an internal church matter and of no concern to this newspaper or the general public. 

-S. Hellsworth, reporter.


Massacre at Hilltop
Yet another tragedy has befallen the halfling village of Hilltop.  A halfling warrior by the name of Lotho Thistlevale went berserk upon returning from a long journey to the west and slew several humans who were in Hilltop on business.  Then he turned his wrath upon those fellow halflings who sought to restrain or pacify him.  Differing accounts say that he was then either slain by the Hilltop militia or narrowly escaped them.  Conch's West Netheril Trading Company had some members in Hilltop at the time and they were amongst those slain.  WNTC has informed the Champion that they have sent a letter to Hilltop demanding the resurrection of their staff and compensation for their trauma. 

-A. Nutt, reporter.


Secrets of the Wizard Tower
The normally reclusive wizard Ptolemy of West Conch has asked for brave adventurers to go to his tower and face the challenge of his "Room of Doors".  Ptolemy told the Conch Champion that adventurers will find both danger and rewards in this room beneath his tower.  This newspaper can only speculate about what awaits any intrepid adventurers who answer his call.  We invite any who survive their visit to write a letter to the editor to explain their experience. 

-P. Krellin, reporter.