In the heart of the Mana Abyss, a place where the very essence of magic pulses through the darkness, a vibrant Gnomish Trading Company caravan readied itself for a journey of epic proportions. Laden with goods of unparalleled craftsmanship and arcane marvels, the caravan set its sights on conquering the perilous paths of the Underdeep, with the ultimate goal of emerging into the vibrant, magical world of the ManaEthereal Prime Material Plane.

Led by the intrepid caravan master, Thimble Gearspark, the gnomes bustled about, securing crates of enchanted trinkets and shimmering crystals onto the backs of sturdy pack animals. Excitement filled the air as they prepared to depart the familiar gloom of the Underdeep for the boundless opportunities of the surface realms.

Among the caravan’s members was a young gnome, Rillo Wizzleflick, his heart brimming with anticipation for his first foray beyond the depths. Equipped with a sharp intellect and a natural talent for negotiation, Rillo harbored a fervent dream of carving a name for himself in the bustling trade cities of the Prime Material Plane.

As the caravan delved deeper into the twisting tunnels of the Underdeep, they were met with a barrage of challenges – from convoluted passageways that seemed to shift with every step, to hostile creatures lured by the caravan’s precious cargo. Yet, with their wits and resourcefulness, the gnomes overcame each obstacle, their resolve unyielding.

After weeks of travel, the caravan finally emerged into the sunlit realm of the ManaEthereal Prime Material Plane. Their first destination: the bustling city of V’Ral, a melting pot of cultures and commerce where traders can exchange goods and secrets. Upon arriving in V’Ral, the caravan was greeted by a cacophony of sights and sounds – towering obelisk of enchanted crystal, bustling marketplaces thronged with merchants and travelers, and the hum of arcane energy permeating the air. Here, amidst the vibrant tapestry of the city, the gnomes sought out their fellow gnome and merchant, Gorlen Blackhammer.

Gorlen, a renowned gnome merchant with a twinkle in his eye, a penchant for finding trouble, and a taste for mana wine welcomed the caravan with open arms. Over a freshly opened barrel of frosty Jamas, he regaled them with tales of his own travels and the wonders he had encountered in distant lands.

As the days passed, Rillo found himself captivated by Gorlen’s stories, his admiration for the seasoned merchant growing with each passing moment. But amidst the hustle and bustle of V’Ral, Rillo tells Gorlen about a rival trading consortium that is envious of the Gnomish Trading Company’s success. A rival merchant house has sought to sabotage their efforts and seize control of the lucrative trade routes. The House of Zytharis, led by Matron Zytharis, has been leading an open war on our trading company, attacking several of our clockwork caravans.

Gorlen rubs his head, cocking an eyebrow toward Rillo “Is that why my voidsteel shipment was late last month?” Rillo looked to the ground, “Sadly, yes”. Gorlen grumbles as he gives the old man an ache, getting out of his chair…” This is going to require a new fresh barrel.”
After a few moments Gorlen comes walking out with a golem carrying a new barrel, settling back into his chair with his pipe. Taking a few puffs from his pipe, the bartender Golem pours fresh mugs. Gorlen says, “talk to me about the last attack on one of your caravans by this Matron.”

Rillo leans back and describes the dimly lit tunnels of the underdeep. A caravan from the Gnomish Trading Company made its way through the twisting passages, laden with valuable goods and guarded by stout-hearted gnomes. Unbeknownst to them, they had become the target of a calculated surprise assault by the sinister House Zytharis, a Drow noble house with a reputation for ruthlessness and cunning.

As the caravan moved through the tunnels, shadowy figures emerged from hidden alcoves and crevices, their drow eyes gleaming with threatening menace in the dim light. With a sudden, chilling silence, the attack began. Drow warriors, clad in dark armor and wielding wicked blades, descended upon the unsuspecting caravan with swift and deadly precision. Their movements were like shadows in the darkness, striking from concealment before melting back into the gloom. Chaos erupted as the caravan gnomes fought desperately to defend their cargo and your voidsteel, their shouts echoing off the cavern walls as they clashed with their unseen assailants. Spells crackled through the air as arcane energies clashed, illuminating the cavern with flashes of brilliant light amidst the darkness.

Amidst the chaos, the caravan master, Thimble Gearspark, rallied his companions, his voice ringing out above the din as he directed their defense. But the Drow attackers were relentless, pressing the assault with merciless efficiency, their dark intent clear as they sought to capture the valuable cargo for themselves. I ran immediately over to the clockwork golems, as they hadn’t activated but stood motionless, almost as if they had been disabled. It wasn’t until I reset them in the battle that they were able to get into the fight.

It was clear the drow was surprised to see the clockworks activated; it wasn’t until shortly after that the drow fell back into the tunnels, and the gnomes could regroup. Similar occurrences have been occurring with our other caravans as well, I have heard of two other stories similar to my own. Gorlen …” mumbles something about that bitch drow,” then clears his throat and speaks up, “Well, Rillo, it seems to me your caravan scouts probably need some divination magics, recommend some gems of true seeing, next there is a gruff old surly dwarf in town who has the forge, believe it or not but he is an Ancient, I would have him look at your clockworks he can probably figure out what the Drow are doing to them. “

Gorlen thinks for a minute, “I tell you what, Rillo, go ahead and get your caravan and wares set up in the merchant square. I’ll go down and get Kargin properly lubricated with Jamas, stop by in, say, 3 hours, and we can discuss him looking at your clockwork” … laughing…” Hell, by night’s end, he may even buy some of your raw metal supply.”

As Rillo waves by to Gorlen… Gorlen glances up at the bartender golem; come on, it will be a long and expensive night. It’s time to bust out the top shelf. As Gorlen walks toward the crafting area of V’Ral, the noise of clanging hammers and the roar of furnaces can be heard. Gorlen enters the shop, watching the flames dance in the forge, and the scent of molten metal fills the air as his hands shape the glowing metal into works of artistry and ingenuity. With each strike of the hammer and twist of the wrench, life is born into his creations. Eventually, Kargin’s eye catches Gorlen on the edge of his vision, and he begins to wonder why his front door was unlocked, noticing Gorlen brought his bartender golem with him. Kargin, knowing Gorlen well, knows he does not drink anything but quality beer, so after a long day of work in the forge, why not drink on Gorlen’s tab?

As the evening wore on and the forge fire burned low, Gorlen and Kargin began to tell stories of their adventures, with thoughts of countless wonders still yet to be discovered in the manaverse. Kargin looks up at the wall and nudges Gorlen… “Hey, watch this.” Getting fresh, full mugs, at the stroke of the top of the hour, Dregnoth comes strolling in and lays eyes on the elemental fragments around the forge. Dregnoth catches an eye on the barrel of Jamas; Kargin and Gorlen are enjoying and, for a minute, seem distracted. At which time, a worried look begins to pass across Kargin’s face for a few brief moments, but then Dregnoth’s focus reasserts itself, and he declares himself a GodKing and begins the process to interface with the earth fragment, vaporizing himself into a pile of dust. A few moments later, a dwarf-looking Homunculus comes walking across the room with a broom and a dustpan, cleans up his remains, and dumps it outside. Gorlen looks at Kargin “How often does that happen?” Kargin replies…”About every 12 hours, always at the top of the hour.” Gorlen laughs… “You should sell tickets; people would pay money to watch.” Kargin replies…” Ohh, trust me, I have thought about it, but I do worry that one day he will come in, lay his hand on the fragment, and not vaporize… then we need to worry.”

Not much more than a few moments later, a distant “Hello” sound is heard toward the front of the forge, with Rillo slowly emerging near the back where Kargin and Gorlen sit. After Gorlen makes the introductions, he explains the drow troubles Rillo and the gnomish trading company are having. After much grumbling, complaining and resistance, Gorlen makes sure to tell the bartender golem in front of Kargin to please retrieve four of his finest barrels of Jamas. Naturally, we see a glint in Kargin’s eye with the knowledge of that … “Well, I suppose I have sometime before the beer arrives to take a look at these clockwork golems,” … telepathically Gorlen tells the bartender golem to take the long way to get the beer.

A few minutes pass as the Ancient starts pouring through a clockwork golem, scratching his head and mumbling, “Just why?”… “Hoh dear lord”… “what the f?”… “For Christ’s sake,”…. “how did this ever work” … and then finally, “What is that?” pulling a magnetic magical disc out of the clockwork golem… Kargin opens his spectacles for a closer look…. Hmm, this isn’t gnomish in origin; it’s drow. I would hazard a guess either they did a reverse pickpocket and planted this in your golem, activating it during the ambush, which is unlikely because most golems don’t fall for stealth tricks, or you have a traitor amongst your trading company sabotaging your golems. Rillo was shocked. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing…Kargin pulled the remaining magnetic enchanted discs out of the other two golems. Kargin looks at Rillo saying “bring me the remaining clockwork golems by tomorrow, and I’ll fix the remainder of them up; I also have some construct big ohms around here, I would be happy to sell you, it warms my heart that it will be used to stick it to a bunch of drow” With a wave of his hand, several ancient dwarven homunculi emerge, reassembling the clockwork golems.

About that time, the bartender golem showed up with four barrels of Jamas, and as one may expect, no more work was completed for the rest of the night.

Kargin glances at Gorlen as the beer is poured… “We get to see Dregnoth vaporized, we get to drink Jamas, and we get to help stick it to the drow… it’s a good night”