Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Brass Velocipede

Field Report from Simon Mendelsohn (Apprentice Mage) to the Pathfinder Chapter in the City of Almas:

Dear Sirs,

     I write to you  to report of my encounter with an unusual magical object of some interest, I believe, to the learned gentlemen of the Society.  I include a brief sketch of how I came to encounter the Brass Velocipede below, along with my first-hand observations of the device.

     The troll Urluk and his band of gnoll raiders were known to prey on the  Almas-Elidir road some 10 leagues north of the Frogswamps at the headwater of the River Foam.  I was travelling with a group of caravan guards out of Falcon's Hollow (after a disastrous mission for the Pathfinder Society left me friendless and coinless in northern Andoran) when our caravan was attacked by Urluk's gnoll reavers.  They ambushed us from cunningly made blinds along a low cliff top, raining javelins on the caravan before closing to attack with cruel barbed spears.  Luckily, we were arrayed carefully in the wagons, and managed to run off the raiders after a hail of spells from the motley party of adventurers guarding the caravan.  I myself played a small part in the defense.  After moving the wagons, a group of us set off to stalk the gnoll raiders, intent on revenge.  We discovered them in consultation with the troll Urluk himself, and after a series of cunning counter-ambushes, were able to divest the countryside of one of its more persistent threats to commerce.

     Urluk's cave proved to be a cache of his ill-gotten gains, which we took as payment for our service.  Coin and gear were plentiful, as were potions and unguents thanks to a recent raid on an alchemist's caravan.   Among the treasure was a brass velocipede, a very rare and wonderful device whose function was ascertained after a fair amount of experimentation.  The device takes the form of a delicate brass figure, which we found wrapped in oil-cloth.  When given a command word, which we found etched onto the bottom, the small figurine expands to a 6 foot tall wheeled mechanism which looks a lot like this:

     Once a rider is secured by a leather strap to the red velvet seat, the device can be commanded to take the rider to any destination at great speed and in only minor discomfort.  The Velocipede can travel at a speed of twenty leagues to the hour, for anywhere from one to eight hours before reverting to it's miniature form --- the period before the device is exhausted seems to be random.  It can only travel on roads that are somewhat maintained --- a cart path is sufficient, but a footpath is not --- and will refuse to travel on roads that could damage its clockwork mechanisms.  The Velocipede can be activated up to three times in a seven day period.

     This rare and wondrous device is not in my possession, but I thought it prudent to report on it first-hand, since such a device is otherwise unknown to me.


Simon Mendelsohn

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