The work contained on the following page has been produced by Chris Jameson, and is used with permission by Candlekeep.
Lost Swords Recovery and Reclamation
By Chris Jameson
Lost Swords Recovery and Reclamation is one of the Sword Coast’s most singular businesses. Their specialty is the recovery and reclamation of things lost to Umberlee’s embrace. All of Lost Swords’ field agents have the ability to breathe water, either naturally or by magical means. They use their ability to find and recover items and cargo lost at sea.
The company specializes in recovering cargo from sunken ships. However, they have also been known to search for smaller, specific items, such as magical items lost overboard or the bodies of people lost to the depths. Such items are usually more difficult to recover than the cargo of a ship, and the company charges special rates for these missions. The company will not undertake actual exploration of undersea environs.
The field agents of Lost Swords are organized into recovery teams, with four to six members in each team. Each team includes at least one spellcaster, and at least one person skilled in underwater combat. The company currently employs four recovery teams, plus some personnel that either supplement existing recovery teams or fill in for incapacitated team members. The extra agents are sometimes used as a special recovery team for delicate or high-profile missions, though this is not advertised.
For cargo, the fee is twenty percent of the value of the cargo recovered. An additional five percent of the value is tithed to Umberlee. This is not the only appeasement offered to the Bitch Queen; depending on the expected returns, the client must offer a donation of between ten and one hundred gold pieces to Umberlee before the ship sets sail.
The client is also required to show proof of ownership before hiring a recovery team. This proof must satisfy an official representative of the city. Due to an arrangement with the city officials, there is usually a representative at the Lost Swords headquarters during normal business hours.
The client provides transportation to the recovery site. The recovery team members are treated as paying passengers while the ship is in transit. They do not do any of the work of sailing the ship, but if the ship comes under attack, they will fight to defend it. If they deem the situation hopeless and that the client’s ship will be lost, they will escape overboard and make their own way back to Waterdeep.
At the salvage site, the recovery team begins working. Before attempting to recover any cargo, they first explore the ship to ensure it is unoccupied. If unintelligent monsters are on the ship, the recovery team will fight them only if it is necessary. If a hostile undersea race has occupied the ship, the recovery team will fight them only if the odds are favorable. If not, they will either abandon the attempt or try again at a later time with more personnel. If more personnel are needed, the fees are adjusted to reflect this. Any such combat also adds five percent of the cargo’s value to the fee.
If a group of non-hostile intelligent creatures have seized the ship, the client can negotiate with them for the cargo’s return. Otherwise, the recovery team will do so, but this also adds five percent to the fees, and the client is responsible for meeting the agreement.
Magical illumination is used by the recovery team if necessary. Additionally, they use wands of levitation to more easily move heavy cargo. If a client wishes it, they or a representative can go beneath the waves with the recovery team. If they can’t breathe water or provide a means of doing so, the spellcasting member of the recovery team will cast the appropriate spells on the observer, for normal rates. The observer is responsible for their own safety.
The Lost Swords recovery team can also recover bodies, if necessary. There is a flat fee of 100 gold pieces for every body recovered. If the recovery of a body is the sole purpose of the mission, then a flat fee of 1000 gold pieces is charged, since the cargo recovery rates wouldn’t apply.
Recovery of magical items costs ten percent of the item’s market value, plus an additional 1000 gold pieces.
If the client doesn’t know where the ship went down, magical divination will be used before the recovery team sets sail. Standard spellcasting rates apply to this, as well.
Of the fees gathered, twenty-five percent is split among the members of the recovery team. An additional twenty-five percent is split evenly among the other employees. Aerys takes ten percent of the fees. Ten percent of the fees are split among the remote agents, and the remaining thirty percent goes into company coffers. Employees who are hurt or killed while on the job will be healed or raised by the company; the money for this comes from the company coffers.
While the company already owns one ship, the Raven’s Song, another ship, the Singing Pelican, is currently under construction for the company. Like the ‘Song, the ‘Pelican will be used for independent recovery operations. However, the ‘Pelican was designed specifically for recovery missions, with extra booms and cargo hatches for retrieving and transporting larger cargoes. Jazrik, Tamic Rensyl, and the other mages in the company are planning a host of magical modifications to be made to the ship, in order to more greatly facilitate recovery of cargo.
The company headquarters stands on Sail Street, in Dock Ward. A wooden sign, showing a hand pulling a sword out of the ocean, hangs in front of the building. The spacious lobby is decorated with a large map of the Trackless Sea, and on another wall, the Sea of Fallen Stars is depicted, complete with undersea features. Scattered around the room are shrines to various deities of the sea, most notably Umberlee, Selûne, and Valkur. The rest of the building contains workshops for the company spellcasters, storage areas, meeting rooms, and a large office for Aerys and her assistant, a half-elf named Riella. The company also owns a nearby warehouse. Unknown to anyone but Aerys, Riella, and Jazrik, a tunnel connects Aerys’s office to a small cave near the harbor bottom.
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