Conversations With Dornal Whitebeard
by Delwyn Ilar (aka Greg Marks)
“Conversations With” is a weekly column written by Delwyn Ilar of the Podal Prophet broadsheet, bringing you Out-Of-Character knowledge of important NPCs in the Moonsea region so that you might better portray them and their organizations in your games.
A courier, dressed in fine livery, appeared at the offices of the Podal Prophet with an invitation to the Velvet Doublet: To my dearest friend Delwyn Ilar, please do me the pleasure of being my guest at eight bells this evening at a banquet to celebrate your superb literary accomplishments. A carriage will appear at your residence in time to deliver you in the style you so richly deserve. –Dornal Whitebeard
The faction contact for the Lords Alliance clearly knew how to make an impression. The Velvet Doublet is the most luxurious feasthall in Phlan and not something a humble reporter often has the coin to visit. I prepared myself accordingly and met the carriage at the appointed time only to be delivered on the Doublet’s doorstep as eight bells tolled. Once inside, I was directed to the largest ballroom in the hall. Inside, a dais was erected in the center of the vast room with a well-appointed appointed table and two chairs upon it. No one else beyond my dwarven host was present, though the table was certainly set for a banquet.
Dornal Whitebeard: Welcome Delwyn, welcome. Can I call you Delwyn? Please join me. I have arranged this small meal so that we might have a moment to chat.
Delwyn Ilar: Thank you very much Mr. Whitebeard. This is very different from my usual interviews.
DW: Of course it is my boy, because the others don’t know what I know.
DL: What’s that sir?
DW: That you are an important, no, key, member of civilized Phlan society and you deserve to be treated appropriately.
DL: Why thank you, but I might almost be inclined to think you are trying to bribe me for a favorable article on you and your faction.
DW: Is it a bribe if you give a coin to a poor orphan in need? Is it a bribe if you donate to a temple that does good works? Is it a bribe if you acknowledge the successes of others? No, Delwyn, this isn’t a bribe. You’ll know it when I bribe you. This is just a simple dinner.
DL: Well, I suppose a glass of wine couldn’t hurt.
DW: And perhaps try one of the Bouqthi pastries. They are dreadfully hard to import ever since Luiren submerged into the gulf. Still halflings are a hardy folk and I know a gentleman who knows an incredibly talented baker who’s family survived the catastrophe and has passed the recipe down ever since. You’ve never tasted anything like it.
DL: Mmmm… you’re right! It’s amazing. While I finish this, perhaps you could introduce yourself to my readers and tell us a little about yourself.
DW: Well, as you have already surmised, my name is Dornal Whitebeard and I am in the Moonsea region as a representative of the Lords Alliance. I am originally from Waterdeep where my family has been successfully involved in the import/export business for four generations. Have you ever been to Waterdeep? You should definitely go if you get the chance. There is a restaurant in the Sea Ward, Brill’s, with streetside seating. They have the best selection of ale’s to be found in the city and it’s only a few blocks from the Field of Triumph. There are those that will tell you to go straight to the arena and see the games, but I prefer to sit on the street outside Brill’s with a tankard of the local Black Grog and wait for the opening. When the crowd cheers, the sound reverberates down the street and washes over you. There’s nothing like it.
DL: That’s quite an image you’ve painted. As I understand the Lords Alliance, it’s about protecting the civilizations of the North. Did you join up because of places like Brill’s? What do you most empathize with in the Lords Alliance?
DW: Another glass of wine? I suppose in a way I did. The Lords Alliance is about joining together, protecting what’s yours, and helping your allies succeed. I have always been proud of my city and I am devoted to her, just as my allies in the Alliance are to theirs. Everyone has enemies, but together we can be strong enough to defend each other, and prosperous enough for all of us to flourish. Those that join with us will be protected, cared for, and enjoy the fruits of our collective labors.
DL: Lord Neverember and some of your other leaders do not have the best reputations. What would you say to those that have suggested that the Lords Alliance is a bit aggressive in securing its peaceful existence?
DW: I remember when I was a boy and every Ninth-Day my father would give me a silver piece to buy rock candy from the Aurora’s Emporium down the street from our house. It’s not the original one. That’s in Westgate, but to a young lad with money to burn, it might have well been a temple filled with wonder and joy. In my first attempt to spend my father’s coin, a group of young street ruffians poured from an alley to accost me. They made a habit of pushing me to the ground and taking the coin every tenday when I tried to acquire that sweet treat. I didn’t want to tell my father for fear he would deem me unfit for his future generosity, so instead I looked for an alternative solution.
Jako Velderbrunt was a monster of a boy; well over five feet tall at the age of ten with legs like tree trunks and arms of steel. Sadly what Jako had in build, his family lacked in good fortune. His parents could not afford sweets, or even shoes for him, and where I went to school, he was forced to work as a smith’s apprentice so that his family might make ends meet. I offered to buy Jako a candy and so when the hoodlums can out of the alley that last time, I was not alone. Jako beat those boys bloody and they never bothered me again. I bought Jako candy every tenday for the rest of my childhood. That’s the Lords Alliance. We protect our allies, reward our friends and bloody those that would force themselves on those that can’t protect themselves.
DL: Are you more like a business, a government, or a family?
DW: Yes. All of those things are a part of the Lords Alliance. The various cities of the North: Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Mithral Hall, Silverymoon, among several others, have banded together for mutual benefit, so there are governments involved. They do not always agree on everything but in general all of them seek to make the world a safer, more comfortable place. This means a solid infrastructure, free and open trade, and public safety. Just like you would protect your sibling from the bully on the block, we do the same whether its highwaymen, rampaging monsters, or rogue city-states. What’s good for civilization is good for all and nothing will stop us from ensuring that that civilization will be brought to everyone that needs it.
DL: Can you speak about what you hope to do specifically in the Moonsea?
DW: As you know, the Moonsea, especially the Northern Moonsea, has seen a lot of turmoil. As the representative of the Lords Alliance I hope to offer a stabilizing voice through trade. The region has rare woods, furs, gems and an abundance of metals and the forges that go with it, but it lacks in sufficient food to feed its peoples and the textiles to cloth them. This drives the different cities into conflict as they fight for resources. By opening up lines of diplomacy and trade we can bring everyone together.
There are also a wide assortment of criminals, thugs and dictators in the region. Fortunately, the Lords Alliance has ample resources and can afford to train and equip our operatives like no one else. Where necessary, we can take direct action to pacify these divisive elements. Right now one of the largest threats to security and civilization are these Cult of the Dragon fellows, but fear not, we’ll wrap this up and be home in time for a pint.
DL: Who decides who needs pacification? If I didn’t know better I might think that sounds a bit tyrannical.
DW: Come now Delwyn, the Lords Alliance is not some all-powerful boogeyman. We are not judge, jury, or executioner. We are simply helping the local populace by eliminating any threats to their safety and bringing them prosperity. A lack of security does no one any good. If a family can’t be safe in their own homes, how can they be productive? And if they do succeed because of the safety and civilization we bring them, they will be fruitful enough to help their neighbors and then everyone wins.
DL: What do you say to those “highwaymen, rampaging monsters, or rogue city-states” of the Moonsea that stand opposed to the Lords Alliance and threaten your views of civilization?
DW: I’m sure there are very few individuals that might fall into that category, but if there are, I would try to convince them of the manifest rightness of our view and of all the benefits we can offer them if they join us. However if they persist in opposing us, I would say to them: we will come for you. And we will come with the best agents, armies, and equipment; anything and everything to complete what needs to be done to protect and expand civilization. Superiority is our security.
DL: Speaking of potential conflicts, can you speak as to why the Lords Alliance has agreed to ally with the other four factions?
DW: We are natural allies of everyone who sees the rightness in our world view. As you know the Harpers have always been an active force for good in the North, and many of our longer-lived members have been Harpers in the past. The Order of the Gauntlet also is strongly motivated to bring good and order to the world, making them natural partners as well.
The Zhentarim is less of stretch than you might think. They are simply the Lords Alliance without the moderating guidance we had in our infancy. They want to civilize the Moonsea and surrounding area, they want to protect their own, and they want to prosper. They want all the same things we do, and like us, when they commit to a course of action, they will spare nothing to see to their success. Some of our other allies might balk at what needs doing, but not the Zhentarim. We are not so different.
DL: What about the others, the Emerald Enclave?
DW: We have had our disagreements with the Emerald Enclave, it’s true, but I would point out that they are not against the spread of civilization, they simple wish to temper it. We appreciate the caution of our green brethren. After all if you clear-cut the forest, it will not regrow, and then where will you get your lumber? There is a place at our side for the temperance of the Emerald Enclave, just as there is for all the other factions.
DL: Is there anything you’d like to add?
DW: Only that if any of your readers are interested in success, safety, or prosperity, come to the Lords Alliance. We have everything they need or want and we would be happy to share it with our friends, and we are always hiring.
DL: That’s quite a nice sentiment. Thank you for the interview.
DW: And of course it applies to you as well, my dear Delwyn. Indeed please continue to eat and enjoy, the fifth course has only just arrived and the entertainment hasn’t even begun. You need not be in any hurry. I have retained a carriage for your return home. In the Lords Alliance, we know how to reward our friends.