Beregost has never looked as comforting as it has upon your return. Having been abroad for far too long, you are surprised to find that Faerun has changed little: no massive rifts in the planar continuum, no marauding bands of Void Reavers destroying everything in their path. For once, everything is normal, or as normal as the Sword Coast can be. Sure, bandits pop up every so often (though not nearly as dangerous as the Black Talon, thank Helm), and yes, someone might be trying to kill you, but that’s not new. If anything, you could use a vacation. Maybe a nice sea voyage…
Drink Up, Me Hearties, Yo Ho!
For decades, the sea trade between Baldur’s Gate, Athkatla, and points south has been a profitable, if not extremely dangerous, undertaking. Some crusty old salts say that the best way of getting from one place to another is with a deck under your feet and wind in your sails, and in this modern age, they aren’t far off. New discoveries in nautical engineering have made seafaring vessels sturdier and faster, and the average sailor is a highly skilled professional, especially when compared to his forebears of even twenty years ago. Further, the local sahuagin clans have all moved on, looking for easier pickings far to the south. Really, the only danger plaguing the sea lanes would be pirates, and those aren’t that dangerous anymore.
Well, not exactly. The pirate crews of old have taken a more capitalistic approach to their trades, instead offering their services for convoy duties. As knowledgeable of the seas and currents as Umberlee herself (though they’d never say so aloud), these “merchant marines” can be of inestimable assistance navigating treacherous reaches of the Sea of Swords and dealing with the occasional goblinoid raid. However, many of these crews are unscrupulous in the best of times, and are as likely to allow their charges to fall into harm’s way as defend them, and in both cases will probably make a fair profit from seized cargo and other salvage.
Still, there is nothing like a bracing breath of sea air to revitalize and invigorate a man. Unless that man is attacked by the Dread Pirate Tolmek and his crew of bloodthirsty cutthroats. In that case, well.
New Instance – Reston’s Quay
It is said that, in the days of high adventure when the seas were the last great frontier, Marcus Reston was a pirate’s pirate: a skilled navigator, sharp-eyed cannoneer, and peerless swordsman. A true leader of men, Reston led a pirate armada of nearly fifty ships and held the admiration and respect of every man-jack in his command. Ship’s scuttlebutt said that Reston was a commander in the Athkatlan Navy, until he was ordered to destroy innocent merchant ships to “prove a point to those damn Northerners”, at which point he promptly mutinied, escaped pursuit from the rest of the Athkatlan Navy, and began a legendary career as a buccaneer.
Stories tell also of Reston’s home base, a secluded island deep within the Sea of Swords called Reston’s Quay. The Quay is surrounded by dense seaweed and long stretches of dead water, making navigation through it impossible to all but the most skilled of navigators and sailors or to those who know the safe lanes through to the island. Many believe that, by now, the Quay must also be surrounded by a ship’s graveyard of great size. Even so, Reston’s Quay remains missing on nautical charts and maps, and whatever riches reside there must wait for those intrepid enough to seek them out.