The Howling Toadstool was packed tonight, with groups in each section of the tavern all clustered together and discussing various events in their lives. One group, however, was discussing events a bit outside of their specific circle.
“That Cros guy is really something for a goblin,” a well-built man with shaggy white hair said. He wore traditional warrior garb for the region and was lightly armored. “I hear that he’s made literal war machines. The guy has no magic talent, so he builds a bunch of steam-shooting golems and they wipe out everything they catch off guard. Amazing.”
“He has to be ‘really something’ if we’re talking about him like this, Emsay,” a slimmer, fair-haired man across the table said. This man was wearing light robes with a badge that indicated he was a decent-ranked wizard, but still had a long way to go before he was considered a master of his craft. “I’m hoping those tales are exaggerated and that some well-aimed magic could blow them to pieces. If that’s not the case, then that fortress had amazingly lousy soldiers in it.”
“Lornys, please,” Emsay said, rolling his eyes. “I keep wondering how the guy did it without any use of steam elementals or any magic, just 100% pure technological ingenuity. I thought goblins were supposed to be kind of dumb.”
“There’s always the exception to the rule,” Lornys said. “I mean, you market yourself as a sturdy warrior, the muscle of the adventuring party, the mercenary with the pointy sticks. You’re certainly not dumb, though.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.” Emsay folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. “I’ll return the favor. Honestly, I think the mage ranking system in this region is a heap of nonsense. I think every party needs a mage. Even a cantrip can be useful in a pinch. They shouldn’t be looking at you and thinking ‘oh, he’s decent.’ They should be looking at you and thinking ‘this guy knows what he’s doing, let’s figure out how to make that work with what we need.’”
“You flatter me.” Lornys took a swig of his ale. “But if you asked me, you know what I think every party needs?”
“What would that be?” Emsay leaned forward again, interested.
“A healer.” Lornys suddenly became occupied with a ring in the table’s wood, tracing a finger around it. “All the muscle and magic in the world can’t save you if you’ve got something that can rip through you or blast you to bits in an instant.”
“Very true.” It was Emsay’s turn to take a drink of his beer. “So, I guess you’ll be picking up some fine ladies for our next venture, then?”
Lornys huffed, looking a bit miffed. “You know that not all healers are girls, right? Just because this is often the case doesn’t mean that it’s true. Just like how not all swordsmen are brute force, and Cros is a very smart goblin.”
“I wonder where the guy healers are, then, because I rarely see them,” Emsay mumbled. “They’re probably all locked up in the churches and whatnot.”
“Well, we’ll see who we find when we start looking for party members,” Lornys said. “Maybe we should put some fliers up. Or we could inquire with the barkeep. You know he runs a recruiting service here, right?”
“Wait, he does?”
“Yes,” Lornys said with some irritation. “He keeps a register of parties looking to recruit for adventures and mercenary work, and he matches up people that might work well together. In fact, I think I’ll go talk with him now. I’ll see if we can’t get some recruits.” With that, he got up and began to make his way to the front of the bar.
“Good luck!” Emsay chimed in, giving Lornys a mock salute.