D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 12 Season Finale
At Tabletop Tyrants this week we decided to run the finale as one large group and both myself and Liam DMing in concert. As we have done throughout the season, we ran using the D&DNext playtest rules and “theatre of the mind” rather than battle-mat and miniatures (with 9 players we thought it would be a squeeze for everyone to have been able to see and access a battle-mat). Pooling our DM notes we realised that we each had a different candidate at the top of the “secret” Bhaal Favour chart with my group having Silvershield at the top and Liam’s having Rael, so we decided that both would be used. Following last week we had told the players to level up, bringing their pc’s to level 4, we also upped the BBEG’s accordingly, and told them that they would have had a long rest as the Feast of the Dead was a 3-day festival and we would be “joining the action” on the evening of the 3rd day.
As the festivities of the final evening began the candidates for the vacant Ducal seats were invited to sit on the top table in the Wide, alongside Duke Silvershield and Grand Duke Portyr. The evening was going well and several of Silvershield’s acolytes were serving flagons of Westgate Tears (a particularly fine wine imported by the Temple from Sembia). Following a rousing speech from Duke Silvershield he invited each candidate to introduce themselves and state their case to be considered as a duke. When Richard had done so he had several supporters in the assembled revellers as well as his companions.
The drink must have been flowing a little too freely as several small disputes were breaking out amongst the citizens and from what the heroes could overhear, for the slightest of reasons. The few Watch members on duty moved in to break these up, and thats when they noticed several cloaked and masked figures moving through the throng. As if at some unknown signal, the masked figures drew familiar wickedly curved daggers and slaughtered several innocent bystanders, while one threw back its cloak and tore of its mask to reveal Rilsa Rael. With an inhuman roar she transformed into a beast the people of Baldur’s Gate thought they would never see again – a Bhaalspawn. If that wasn’t shocking enough, an answering roar came from the stage, as Duke Torlin Silvershield, High Priest of Gond, also transformed into a Chosen of Bhaal. Before anyone could respond, Silvershield turned to the still seated and oblivious Grand Duke Portyr, ripping the old man’s throat out with a single swipe of his claw.
Silvershields acolytes drew swords and crossbows but rather than attack their former leader they began targeting everyone else, one shooting down Adam’s hawk. Meanwhile the masked followers of Rael began hunting through the crowd towards the heroes, Vipin and Jodie in particular. Rael leaped onto the stage swiping at Silvershield and for a moment the heroes hoped that the two Bhaalspawn would tear each other apart, unfortunately Josh drunkenly called out a challenge to Silvershield and with a mighty bound the former high priest launched himself into the crowd, easily clearing the distance between them, and attacking the dragonborn.
Despite her transformation Rael still rembered her hatred of Vipin (having had all three of her contacts within the Fist arrested) and so commanded her masked followers to converge on the gnome. Silvershield saw Richard cowering, I mean strategically sheltering, under a table beside Hannah and leaving the battered, bruised (and still inebriated) Josh leapt over the crowd to thunder down onto the table. Reacting to his sudden arrival Hannah’s half-orc swung her warhammer, smashing into the beast heavily before catching him again with the back-swing (using her Action surge). With the damage he had already suffered (from Rael, Josh and an Inflict Wounds spell from Amy) the hammer blows proved just that little bit too much and his twisted form fell lifeless to the table. Insensed by this, the remaining acolytes swarmed at Hannah intent on revenge.
With both enemy forces focusing on two individuals the remaining heroes were able to maneouver without risk and tackle those they wanted to. Most of the unengaged heroes chose to take ranged attacks at Rael which proved fruitful as the former Guild representative fell to their attacks and as her lifeless form fell to the bloody floor of the Wide the remaining thugs and acolytes stopped attacking, looking dazed and bewildered as to why they were apparently in combat with the heroes.
They were quickly disarmed, just in case, as members of the Fist (led by Ravengard) and the Watch arrived to begin the clear up and the party were declared heroes of the city.
The session ended with a summary of the read-aloud of the “Aftermath”, we were a little disappointed that there wasnt a better reward given to the heroes other than a slap on the back, and the line that stated “The people of Baldur’s Gate aren’t about to elect t h em dukes” put a damper on Richard’s plan to become a duke. Our session lasted about 2 hours and in hindsight might have been better as two seperate tables, but as we had been trying to link our respective tables progress over the course of the weeks it felt a good idea to do a mass session. Unfortunately 9 pc’s, 2 bhaalspawn, thugs and acolytes makes for a very long combat round.
Overall I enjoyed the season, though the events as written were a little rail-roady in parts and I used quite of bit of my own input to flesh other parts out as we went.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of our players, Hannah, Richard, Adam, Amy, Josh, Vipin, Jodie, Shane, Tilly, Tanis, Jamie and Sunyi, and my fellow DM Liam for sticking with us and making it another memorable season of D&D.