Albert "Bert" Stein
So where do I start? Well, like any good story teller I guess I should start at the beginning, and you know, now that I think back, I was there at the beginning, although it’s not really the start of a good story, well not yet anyway. Greyhawk was a very different place then although the work for a travelling shadow puppeteer and story teller was pretty thin on the ground – there, that surprised you didn’t it? You never would’ve guessed looking at me that I was once nothing more than a simple entertainer. Even being a halfway competent illusionist couldn’t make the entertainment business profitable enough to survive which is how I wound up on a “simple” quest to rescue some trader’s daughter from an evil demon spider dealing merchant in some god forsaken port on the Nyr Dyv. My company, some mad Dwarf loner who was all axe, hair and flatulence, the most annoying Halfling I’ve ever encountered and that’s saying something. This one, god he had a question and smart ass response to pretty much everything no matter how innocuous or mundane and a fairly shy Cleric who I seem to remember being a dab hand with a poultice or healing brew. Anyway flatulence and annoyance aside you’d look at that group and think “that’s not a bad party a simple search and rescue should be well within their gift”. You know, you’d have been largely right, but here’s the kicker and if you take anything away from my story it’s this; when you plan an intricate rescue the one thing you should never under any circumstances overlook is how you plan to escape with a frightened young girl through a remote city utterly loyal to the evil merchants whose business and home you’ve just burned to the ground. Which is how we came to be running for our lives through the Cairn Hills which if you don’t know it is one of the most terrifying places it’s ever been my severe misfortune to visit – particularly at night – and I’m afraid I’ve no desire to relive it so we’re going to jump ahead.
So after many many weeks we arrive back on the edge of Greyhawk and what do we find? Well, it’s fracking occupied by an invading army of thousands upon thousands of Theocritan troops and low and behold our aforementioned demon spider lover is in cahoots with them. Well I’m ashamed to say that was enough for me; demon spiders, botched rescues and barrow wights are one thing but marching into the hands of some of the most xenophobic people in Oerth with a Dwarf and Halfling at my side are where I draw the line so I grabbed what little kit I could and hit the road leaving them to it.
With the benefit of hindsight I maybe should’ve stuck around, as you see that smelly dwarf that was Commander Daken of the Black Legion? Believe it or not after the rescue fiasco he went on to become the commander of thousands of troops, the liberator of the Flint Hills, a king and I’m not sure about this one but possibly the re-embodiment of a long forgotten Dwarven god of war and that timid young girl who was almost little more than a demon spider incubator went on to become his High Priestess – I kid you not. Me, I took to the road and back to the life of a travelling entertainer, the only problem, during war time and at the constant threat of Iuzian or Theocran invasion it’s an even greater struggle earning your coin telling stories of heroes and dragons and that’s where Scalpel found me. I forget which tavern it was but I was down to my last crown and trying to figure how to stop the angry barmaid from kicking me out on my ear when an interesting proposition was made. As a relatively harmless looking entertainer and Greyhawk native it would be very easy for me to get my Theocran travelling papers which would let me come and go as I please and more importantly pass information back and forth to the resistance through my shows, plus it gave me a chance to do my bit and to be honest take away some of the guilt from fleeing and leaving the others to it.
Now jump ahead many months and I find myself being offered a really cosy number, I’d been doing pretty well with this spying business and was offered the chance to try my hand at a bit of diplomacy, now the fact that it was down here in Cllewellaf helped make my mind up as frankly I love the climate and am pretty partial to your spiced wines. What I hadn’t banked on was being chased across the seas by an Iuzian attack ship commanded by some huge freak in armour with an unhealthy love of chains straight into the most messed up storm I’ve ever seen before being dumped unceremoniously on strange shores. I don’t need to go through the whole thing as I’m sure you were at the address earlier but yes, it was me that found the lost civilization and opened the portal which has reconnected you with your ancient ancestors and has hopefully opened at least a small lifeline to the free peoples. So what do you make of all that then?
What, I didn’t catch that? Ah, I’m terribly sorry I’m afraid I don’t speak Lizardman. Sprechen Sie Selidorian?
Did you get any of that? No? Ok, so where do I start? Well, like any good story teller I guess…