Brodok "Musushi" Koraz
Once a masterful noodle chef, Brodok was driven by circumstance to oppose a greedy Dwarf lord hell bent on self preservation. Now he's taking his accidentally discovered druid skills on the road to escape prosecution for a crime he technically committed.
Name: Brodok “Musushi” Koraz
Height: 4’ 5"
Weapons of Choice: Quarterstaff length noodle ladle. Druid magic.
The dwarf druid known to the world as Musushi was born as Brodok Koraz, the heir to a Dwarvish noodle restaurant known simply as The Noodle Cave. For generations, The Noodle Cave served the finest soup noodles in its small crevice town, Last Stone. It served not only as a good place to fill up your belly, but it also became a unifying town square. There, friends gathered and enemies settles scores. Deals and babies were made in equal measure in the wee hours of the night. Bonds were formed and the community grew strong. As a result, the Koraz family became well respected in their small town. When he came of age, Brodok began cooking from a new menu that put The Noodle Cave on the map in a new way, drawing tourists from the entire crevice. The era was blessed with prosperity and merriment.
But it would not last forever. One day, a disgraced Urdunnir lord, Lord Heonrok and his retinue wandered into Last Stone, seeking shelter and food for the night cycle. They were utterly confused when brought food that wasn’t a gem. Filled with pride, Brodok answered their basic questions (like “what is this?”) gleefully. Eventually, he naively revealed the secret to the tasty Koraz noodles. Yes, preparation was crucial, but as were the ingredients. The aquifer from which the water for the noodles was gathered was special. Gifted with a natural flavor from the gods of cuisine! All noodles made with this water were tasty, and those made by Brodok were especially delicious.
But the noble’s men knew there must be something else afoot. A suspicion from an old legend. They requested a take out order for the road, but in truth, sought to preserve this sample for their geologists to test. Sure enough, the broth was special. It was laced with a rare mineral, long lost and thought mythical: Ozimian Crystal. This mineral, in addition to being a natural taste enhancer, could be applied to the construction of weaponry. When treated with a modest amount of Ozimian Crystal, steel became 20 times stronger and could hold a sharper edge.
Desperate to win back favor with the king, the noble dispatched his remaining men to seize control of the local well network and the Ozimian Crystal underneath. The locals could not resist. Burdened by heavy taxes and limited access to the wells, tourists and all but the most loyal customers stopped dining at The Noodle Cave and soon, the Koraz family themselves faced bankruptcy.
The Koraz family were not the only ones to fall on hard times. The townsfolk left Last Stone or turned to the Ozimian Crystal mines, seeking new life as entire industries dependent on the water there met their end. Brodok himself felt an emptiness now that he no longer cooked for The Noodle Cave. Leveraging his strength and muscle memory from long days in the kitchen, he began wielding his 4 foot steel noodle ladle as a quarterstaff and found work in the local night patrol, facing down increased crime from the recently impoverished and desperate. He then found himself dreaming of becoming a wandering mercenary. Times were changing. The best a dwarf could do was adapt.
But Lord Heonrok was not content to simply wait. After all, he reasoned, the local aquifer was a national asset, crucial to the ongoing dominance of the state (to say nothing of his retirement!). If the townsfolk wanted to drink, they should see the big picture and import their water. Eager to increase his yields and capitalize on his recent gains, he began a campaign to force out the remaining recreational uses of the so-called Ozimian Solution. Violently. When the last remaining Koraz Noodle Stand was burned to the ground, with his father lying in a bloody heap on the ground, Brodok rushed to his side. Screaming for help, he decided to retaliate.
That night, following local footpaths that he’d walked and hidden in as a youth, Brodok broke into the Ozimian Crystal mines. He sought only to steal some Ozimian Crystal to rebuild a noodle shop elsewhere, but was discovered by the night guards. In the ensuing chase and fight, Brodok delayed the guards by throwing numerous parts of the mining infrastructure in their path. Though Brodok beat many, he was eventually surrounded. In desperation, he begged the mountain to aid him. He knew it was foolish, but something whispered to him. He suddenly felt that oneness with the universe that he hadn’t felt since his days as a noodle chef. He then heard screams and the pattering of feet. When he cracked open his eyes, he saw the mountain had come to his aid. The roof began to shake and soon collapsed. Infrastructure, equipment, and guards were all crushed by the vengeful rock. And he would be next. Panicked, Brodok clawed for a way out, and the mountain obliged. A passage magically peeled away and Brodok ran. And ran. When at last he felt fresh air on his face, he collapsed and slept.
Brodok awoke the following morning to a town abuzz. Aided by friends among the townsfolk, he made it home, where he recounted his tale to his family. His mother did not seem surprised and could, in fact, shed light on the previous night’s events. His parents had identified Brodok’s abilities earlier as a mere culinary gift; a way to manipulate the water’s Ozimian Crystal to improve the taste of noodle broth dramatically. But they had always suspected that this trick was merely the first sign of a powerful affinity with nature. The previous night’s events proved it beyond any doubt: Brodok was a druid, with the raw power to be a mighty one.
Then the bad news. Lord Heonrok was furious. He had accused Brodok of treason; labeled him a Duergar spy in the new arms race for Ozimian Crystal. With such an accusation, the Koraz noodle legacy was ended. Lord Heonrok had won. But Brodok did not necessarily have to be executed. Bidding farewell to his family and friends, Brodok collected his noodle ladle / quarterstaff, the prized jar of Ozimian Crystal, and knowledge of his newfound powers and left Last Stone with a heavy heart.
Though he promised his parents that he would simply live a good life, he secretly swore to make it big on the outside, bringing his stash of Ozimian Crystal to the new market on the surface. He would gain status and wealth and return to unseat the boot-licking lord that had destroyed his town’s way of life. Over the next few weeks, he punched, smacked, and magic’d his way through the Underdark’s many hazards. Through it all, his druid powers grew and he defended his prized jar of Ozimian Crystal. He would need that.
When Brodok finally found his way to the surface, it was as a bloodied and disheveled mess. To begin this new chapter of his life, he adopted an alias; A conjugation of The Noodle Cave’s most and least favored dishes (though both were delicious), the Musutog Noodle Extravaganza Bowl and the Shit Dirt Surprise. He emerged from the underdark as Musushi, the First Druid of Last Stone. And by Moradin, he needed a drink.
Entry 1 – Rat Did I Get Mysqueak Into?
So I got to the Surface today.
Moradin below, it’s crazy. For one, there’s no ceiling. Like one big infinite blue room. And the big torch in the sky! Blinding. I fell down a few times. I had to rely on my quarterstaff to keep me upright for the first hour or so. And the people! I randomly encountered some rather strange and bicker-prone creatures. Two humans and two half elves, if the old tales are any kind of accurate. One of them refused to heal me after weeks fighting my way out of the Underdark! Simply inhospitable. The only familiar things about the place were my… cargo… and the random attacks.
Yes, literally the fifth thing that I saw on the Surface (after sand, sun, the sand up close, weird people) was a merchant getting attacked by bandits. Dude pops out from behind a sand dune and is immediately swarmed by three bandits who smell objectively better than me. Emboldened by memories of bullies like that damned Lord Heonrok, I cough forgot about my wounds cough and rushed to the merchant’s aid. I was quite surprised to find the human and half elf women with me and one of the half elf man’s arrows felling the bandits. The human man was nowhere to be found. I think he fired an arrow at me later.
Nevertheless, I dispatched one bandit and the half-elf ranger got the other. In a mad dash to catch the last bandit, I revealed myself a druid with an Entangle spell. I would have gotten him too, if the half elf woman hadn’t gotten in the way. Then she blamed me for it! At the same time, I saw the women were magic users! A healer and a some arcane arts kind of person. Not a druid. She damn near blinded me just when I was getting used to the sun. Most inhospitable indeed.
Anyway, we got them all, and got this special stone in gratitude from the merchant. There were a lot of words said, but all I cared about was that Ambersand place they mentioned with alcohol. It’s been a long three weeks and I was eager to get a little rest and inebriation.
Alas, I couldn’t catch a break. I fully recognize that I need some friends in this new world, so I set to knowing my new (I guess) companions. I learned the human sorceress (the blinder) was Elythia, kept asking about someone name Roger and taking my gold (that I later learned I should pay attention to). And the half elf healer (the stingy one), Layla, seemed obsessed with the inn keeper’s daughter and birds of some kind. Don’t know what she’s doing here yet.
The human and half elf men were relative enigmas. All I know about Rooke (and his huge crossbow) is that he was half way to home on the betrayal bus before he decided he wanted friends. Sickly fellow, too, kept wanting to vomit as he heard about my delicious recipes. Thomas… Thomas saved it all for the battlefield. Didn’t say much. Just, watched us. He’s either very smart or very… Uh… not smart. Can’t tell which just yet.
OH! I told them my name was Musushi! And they believed it! It’s working. Awesome.
Anyway, we got into a fresh argument about the heads or tails of the place before we heard about this infestation of rats in an ancient temple from the innkeep, Greiz. Finally, something familiar. Eager to start my fortune with some free capital for Rat Tail Noodles and to get away from my present company of losers, I took the job. Unfortunately, they all took it too.
Greiz wasn’t kidding. The so-called “Temple of Three” he pointed us to was infested by rats. Big ones too. I thought then, they’ll make many a dish and we were sure to be rich. The others did not share my enthusiasm. Elythia was paralyzed for a bit with gross-feelings and Rooke kept wanting to throw up. Wouldn’t last a day in the caverns of Last Stone. Emboldened by the promise of future wealth, we eventually employed a few choice rat killing techniques and we carved our way deeper into the ruins. Found a pretty silver dagger and a flask of holy water. Granted it was on a corpse, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers. We pressed on.
Then things got weird.
As we went deeper, we encountered signs that there was something insideous afoot. Graffiti claiming something about a nine-eyed god. Traps deliberately placed to wreak havoc on passersby. Like us. Luck alone preserved us and we uncovered each. Oh and dark vision. Dark vision also preserved us.
It was dark. Underground. Like home. But… not. Dreadful. Evil. We walked in the grip of an icy hand. In the last room, we discovered why. You know those big rats? We encountered a bigger one. But not one you’d want to eat. It was pestilent. Decaying. But by Moradin, it burned. Elythia blew it to smithereens with a magic missle. Say what you want about that impudent girl (and I did), but she can blow up a rat.
As we searched the remaining fur by moonlight, we finally noticed the head honcho rat. As much man as rat for a downright fearsome combination. A completely jacked man rat. Like he pumped cheese with illegal strength potions directly into his huge muscles. As Moradin is my witness, I peed a little.
But then we all snapped together and fought for a mission we could all get behind: Self preservation. We hit the man-rat with everything we had, but none of it mattered. Arrows. Swords. My staff. A fucking owl. Even the previously effective magic missle served only to beat the rat back. And all its wounds healed in fire. That was the really freaky part. Eventually, Layla thought of the knife we found, now held by Thomas. Sure enough, that was its weakness. Thomas struggled a bit, but eventually buried the knife deep into the man-rat, which then (we were happy to see) died. Then! It turned back into a man! Like, “what?!” We found a bunch of stuff in the treasure chest in the room, but the most important thing was this note talking about the coming apocalypse. At the hand of a nine-eyed god with a man rat as its servant. Again: What?!
Upon our return, none of the townsfolk seemed to know what or who we killed. Not Greiz, not this hoity toity merchant mistress talking about crappy (non-noodle) business deals who should know what’s going on in these parts, nobody. But they had gold (which I kept this time), so it wasn’t a total loss.
All in all, day one was terrifying; changed my perception of everything I thought I knew, but other than that, it was good. This group of mine that at first, I found annoying and unreliable, turned out to be rather knowledgeable and competent in a fight. I figure I’ll run with them a little longer while I figure out this world. Even if my gold goes missing, I’ll have a pretty good idea of who has it. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder… what have we started?
Oh. An explosion. I know that one.
Entry 2 – You God-a be kid-demon-ing me!
At last. Some answers. This night is the most relaxed I’ve felt in weeks. Ever since that night in the Underdark spider cave atop a bed of dead (you guessed it) spiders.
Sure, we confirmed that Memphun was destroyed, saw thousands of Memphunites dead, barely survived another falling section of sky, were attacked by Hol Boloth, Gravewalker of the Nine and the skeletons he raised from the ground with demon magic, killed a helpless cluster of killer scorpions, and witnessed no sign of this stupid apocalypse slowing… But we now know generally what’s coming to kill us all. Great day.
When mortals answer your questions about eventual doom with nothing but confused looks and continuous babbling about material goods (there’s probably something to say about people and life here, but I am still far too disgruntled to summarize!), better get an angel to tell you what’s going on. This Naphrem guy, he seems alright. As an angel of Pelor, he’s working to save the world from being collateral damage in this war of the gods. Yes, please. I’m just getting used to the surface and I’ve got some unfinished business with Lord Heonrok below. Luckily, Layla happens to be a cleric of Pelor, so she’s looking to be more useful to have around. I mean, she didn’t heal me of my grievous, grievous wounds when we first met, but I have to admit that the three times she blew apart that army of skeletons potentially saved all our lives. Potentially. Naphrem’s arrival definitely did.
Oh that reminds me, I bought a few fire grenades. They look pretty sweet. Nothing like what we had below. Too dangerous in closed spaces. Can’t wait to use them.
Maybe I’ll use it on Rooke, who Naphrem suggested knows more than he’s letting on about this Cyric god, who’s causing all this trouble. Well, there’s still some time to peaceably coax some information out of him on the way to this relic called the Heart Stone in some place called the Ilecin Delve. Also some goblins there, apparently, who could probably use the fire inside this grenade more than my own party mate (who’s been pretty reliable besides that time he abandoned us). Decisions, decisions. Also, he grabbed the tome with the entire page of information we have on this whole apocalypse. Best not damage it.
Come to think of it, Naphrem didn’t say what the Heart Stone is or does except to say that we’ll have a chance to survive the apocalypse with it. He seemed to suggest that I’d be particularly interested in it. If it’s anything like this Cloak of Shades he gave me, I’ll take it. Could have used this to hide in the Underdark. A few times, Naphrem. Well, it’s not like I’m bitter. There’s no way you could have known. You’re just an angel of Pelor. Hm. Maybe I’ll meet Moradin someday.
Anyway, before all that, we must go back to those slackjawed know-nothings in Desheb for supplies and worldly information. I don’t look forward to that. I only hope they won’t be suspicious that we return without the Ivory Clan agents. I was just getting used to Ahabef and I think we were on our way to becoming the best of friends. Ah well. They’re dead now. Thomas will be happy to see the shopkeeper he was so handily seducing. Maybe we’ll get a discount on some more suffocation rags. “Keep the sand out,” my sandy dwarf [cough cough cough] throat.
Ideally, we can be in and out before the Ivory Clan or anyone who knew the mercenary Uzigal knows we’ve arrived. We just need to keep Elythia from buying more armor. I mean, the girl can throw a mean magic missile, but Moradin below, pick a color. Besides, every dwarf knows that stone gray is the best. Then on to the Heart Stone. And surviving the apocalypse. And goblins I can throw my fire bombs at. And the Golem guardian. Ugh.
All things considered, it feels good to know what’s coming and do something (anything) about it. I’m the most optimistic I’ve been in weeks. Still not a lot, but enough to hope for decent sleep.
Entry 3 – Hole-ly Dis-orc-anized
Hurts. Hurts lot.
Dove in hole. Vines stopped from bottom. So much arrow. Where ropes from?
Not dead. Got fight orcs. Underground ’gain. So happy.
Still bleed. Write later if golem no kill us. Mmm. Special rock.
Entry 4 – Gemoor big or gemoor home
Finally made it to an intact surface city (ending an orc dynasty along the way, I might add), and the most impressive thing is this bote vehicle on which I now write. Seriously, this bote can carry a full crew of 30 and rides on top of the sea like a cooked noodle, if you can believe it. I sure do have a lot to learn about water!
Anyway, this city’s a lot bigger than home. And I don’t just mean literally (though things really are so tall here). It’s more… complicated. I don’t like it. The number of types of people is staggering. And they’ve all got problems. Unfortunately, some of them are our problems, as they smack of the Nine.
We’re now on our way to a land of druids across the sea, that large pool of water I mentioned. Wow, what a sight. The other dwarves of Last Stone aren’t gonna believe it. Who knows if Moradin himself could conceive of such a vast and endless thing. Way more novel than a bunch of rocks or even a mountain, let me tell you. Whoo. So wet. Just can’t get over it.
But these druids, though. It seems that the wildlife there has become suicidal. Death by water, ironically, according to the ship’s captain. Met him at a travel shrine that Rooke really wanted to go to. We’ve signed onto his crew on the Arturian, on their return trip to Odisvark. The trip seems harrowing, but promises great rewards. Maybe some exotic meats for my recipes. And I can talk to other druids! Maybe even have time to go “on the hunt,” as that one vision mentioned that they do there.
As good a start as any, I say. After that, I bet we’ll see Hol Baloth again, in Estalia, where the Sun is dimming again, if that Pelorian priest’s skepticism is to be disbelieved. I hope Layla’s assistance with that plague they were dealing with talked some of his own god’s sense into him. After talking with that Meron, I’m starting to think Layla’s one of the practical ones; a terrifying thought. I try to have as few of those as possible.
Ugh. The plague ship from Brondoriand of interest to the Ivory Clan. Dwarven birth defects in Dorasea (my people!). It’s a long road to cross off the Nine. Would that we could tackle them all, but Captain Stenwall (our sleep deprived ride to Odisvalk) waits for no dwarf, human, or half-elf. Though it pains me, my people in Dorasea must wait.
At least we now owe nothing to that Ivory Clan. Thomas and Elythia won us an audience with Lady Sima with their “diplomacy” and “words.” Good thing too, else we wouldn’t have learned that the Ivory Clan are, in fact, slave traders and this Sima lady actually got her missing shipment (of slaves, it turns out)! And freed it. One less gaggle of rich and powerful telling us what to do. But who knows how long that’ll last since we may have accidentally sworn for Lady Sima (crafty wench). If that wasn’t enough, Elythia has her tiara in a bunch about freeing slaves. If we had time for that, I’d first liberate Last Stone, I tell you what.
Welp, time to vomit now. It turns out these botes can be unnervingly bouncy.