Archive for Murder

D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 12 Season Finale

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters, Gaming events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2013 by vobeskhan

Murder-Baldurs-coverAt 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.

BhaalspawnThe 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.

 

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D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 11

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters, Gaming events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2013 by vobeskhan

Murder-Baldurs-coverAt Tabletop Tyrants this week had our two tables as usual though Liam’s was low on numbers as a couple of players were laid low with the “bug” going around. My table consisted of:-

  • Hannah – Half-orc Fighter
  • Adam – Half-orc Barbarian
  • Shane – Half-orc Barbarian
  • Richard – Halfling Rogue
  • Vipin – Gnome Paladin

The heroes were rudely awoken by several large explosions from the direction of the Lower City and lots of shouts and screams. Finally rousing to check it out they ask a passerby what was happening and find that the working class of the Lower City were rioting and both the Fist and Watch had been called out to stop them. The heroes decide that it’s not any of their business and return to their bedrolls. When they do eventually get up they are told that the weapons they delivered had been put to use in the riot though being armed didn’t help most against the trained soldiery of the Fist and many were severely injured or worse.

Rael returned to the emporium and paid them for retrieving the weapons crates for the Guild and offered them another task. Following the riot Ravengard had declared martial law in the city which had resulted in several of her associates being incarcerated (along with many other citizens that took part in the riot) in the Seatower. She needed the heroes to infiltrate the tower and release the prisoners so that her people could escape in the confusion. She had a number of contacts within the Fist at the tower that could help get the heroes inside but they would have to work out their plan as they go. She also had a Gnome that was looking for an adventuring band that her friend a halfing cleric had been travelling with and introduced them. The Gnome had apparently been the mentor of the Halfling Cleric (previously played by Vipin, that died in the crypt a couple of sessions ago).

seatowerThe party headed through the Lower City, witnessing the aftermath of the riot as they passed shops with broken windows, blood stained streets and an increase in the number of troops in the Fist patrols. The upside of this was that there were fewer troops at the Seatower. Reaching the guard post at the city end of the walkway they recognise Nordir Samulkin (one of Rael’s contacts) and announce they wish to see Ravengard. Samulkin escorts them across the walkway, telling them as he does that another contact is guarding the door to the detention cells downstairs but they ned to make their own way there. They pass through the kitchens and pantries and make their way to the detention level to find the other contact (Othial Burlfist) at the door. As they reveal their intentions their new Gnomish companion begins shouting for the guards. The heroes are quick to knock the Gnome unconscious but can hear the pair of Fist’s patrolling the cells approaching. Thinking quickly they tell them they have brought a prisoner for the cells (the Gnome) and are escorted to an empty cell. They hand the Gnome over for the Fist’s to put in the cells manacles and shut them in while Richard uses his thieves tools to lock them in with the unconscious Gnome. The Halfling then used his skills to unlock the other cells, releasing the prisoners.

So as not to look too suspicious the party then headed upstairs to Ravengard’s meeting room so that they were with him when the alarm was raised as the prisoners broke out of the gates and across the walkway, back into the City. Ravengard was livid, the stress of the riot and now this, clearly showing. The heroes told him they could see he was busy and that they’d call back when he had more time.

Richard had decided to use his false nobles identity to run for the vacant Duke’s seat and so they decided to drum up support amongst those they had helped out so far in the city, beginning with Dlusker, the timber merchant. He was happy to see them and readily offered his support, suggesting they go before the Parliament of Peers that afternoon as they were hearing candidates for the vacant seat. The heroes thanked him for the suggestion and set off towards the Upper City.

A few streets short of the gate to the Upper City they heard an explosion up ahead, rushing to investigate they found the remains of a Candulhallow’s cart strewn across the street, its drivers laying dead beside it and several bystanders severely injured by the apparently exploded coffin. The sound of a Fist patrol could be heard approaching so the heroes made a show of helping the injured. Once the patrol arrived they continued towards the Upper City.

Arriving at the gate they recognised another of the Guilds contacts, a vocal halfing by the name of Lotgeir Shortcloak, whom they managed to speak to and asked him to convey their actions and intentions to Guild. He said he would but his tired little stubby legs would take him a long while unless the heroes could give him a few silver for a cart-ride. Adam quickly gave him 5 silvers and the little fellow scampered off with surprising speed.

Once inside the Upper City they went to see Caldwell and ask for his support in getting Richard named Duke. The nervous old patriar wondered why anyone would want such a dangerous job but the heroes assured him that with his trio of burly half-orcs Richard would be well protected. Happy with their reasoning Caldwell agreed to voice his support for Richard’s Dukedom. Thanking him, they set off with one final stop off in mind, Coran’s.

Arriving at the Elf’s mansion they found several of the servants busily clearing away the charred remains of a Dragonborn and when they tried to enter they were denied access. Apparently the altercation that had resulted in the Dragonborn’s demise had irked the Elf and so he rescinded their open invitation to his residence. They left a note apologising and explaining that the monk had been acting strangely secretive.

With the time of the Peer’s meeting approaching the heroes set off to the High Hall, amidst quite a crowd of citizens. A couple of the heroes noticed a suspicious looking individual in a fez skulking down a side street. Following, Richard used his stealth to observe them man (whom they recognised as Imbralyn Skoond, a supporter of Duke SIlvershield) finishing using a scroll to summon a fiery imp. As the imp scampered up onto the nearby rooftops Richard struck at the wizard as he shouted for his comrades.   Skoond responded with a Colour Spray which sent the halfling running the other way as his burly allies charged the mage and easily battered him senseless, taking him prisoner as Richard recovered enough to return. He’d just begun going through Skoond’s pockets and pouches when the whole place shook with the noise of an immense explosion followed by lots of screams. Dragging the unconscious mage with them they rushed to find that the High Hall had been blown up, apparently from underneath. Its remaining structure ablaze.

The heroes quickly began organizing bystanders and any members of the Watch nearby to recover any injured and form a water chain to deal with the fires. As this got under way Duke Silvershield and his acolytes from the Hall of Wonder arrived, as did Ravendgard and a contingent of Fist soldiers and the freed Gnome Paladin (who had bartered his freedom by naming the three Guild contacts within the Fist – but not his “allies”). They were aghast at what had happened and when the heroes produced Skoond and told of his imp summoning Ravengard took him into custody, announcing that he was obviously guilty and would face a public execution (following intense interrogation) prior to the Feast of the Dead.

I’m not sure of the details but I know that Liam’s table suffered a TPK this week. At the end of the session we agreed that we were ready to run the finale next week and told the players to level their pc’s up in preparation, with 36 hours of game time passing to bring us to the Feast of the Dead celebration next week. This is because we have a board games evening planned for the final session date. Talking to the players it looks like all of them are planning on carrying on with the next season and are hoping to attend the Launch Weekend game on the 16th, it looks like we could have about 16-18 people down for it.

Next week I’ll try to have my round-up of the overall adventure/season as well as the session write-up, as for the finale itself I think we’re possibly going with both groups around the map the of Wide for the Grand Feast while Liam and myself DM together.

D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 10

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters, Gaming events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by vobeskhan

Murder-Baldurs-coverDuring the week between sessions I had been talking with Liam (DM for the second table at Tabletop Tyrants) about what we still needed to include from the printed adventure before the finale as we had both improvised plenty of extra fun for our players and needed to steer back towards the central story line. Having done so we, still wanted the players to have “unique” experiences and so we prepped accordingly.

This week I had Jamie missing as he had been struck with the bug that had previously laid Adam low, but Adam was back with us this week.

  • Hannah – Half-orc Fighter
  • Adam – Half-orc Barbarian
  • Shane – Half-orc Barbarian
  • Richard – Halfling Rogue
  • Vipin – Dragonborn Monk

The heroes continued their stroll down to the back street weapons dealer for Hannah to purchase her hand crossbow (it looked so tiny in her big half-orc hands) for an agreeable 80 gp, while Vipin asked to purchase a whip but was unwilling to pay the 30gp asking price. Richard managed to haggle down to 25 gp and purchased it but then told Vipin he could have it when he paid the cash. Richard also bought himself another 60 arrows for his shortbow before the heroes headed back up towards Little Calimsham in search of further daring deeds.

Arriving back at the Jewel Emporium they were greeted by Rael and Richard told her of the meeting he had attended planning the kidnappings and that a highly placed member of the Fist had been there also. Rilsa calmly noted this and advised the halfling that her associates were well aware of the meeting and plans but didn’t know about the Fist. Thanking him for the information she added that she would make sure the next meeting would be more secure. The heroes asked if she had any tasks suitable for them and after a moment of thinking she asked them if they could possibly travel outside of the city to collect a delivery for her. With the duelling laws and summary street judgements throughout the city the common man needed to defend himself and so the Guild were bringing in shipments of small arms to allow those in need to do so. A quartet of weapon crates were to be dropped at a secluded spot (which she gave them directions to) and needed bringing back before dawn. Most of the heroes were happy for the change of scenery but Vipin chose to return to Coran’s residence.

Vipin prepared a letter for each of the families that ran the warehouses that had stored the smokepowder. “If you do not wish for your secrets to be exposed and blow up in your face like smoke powder, you will come to the Dwellings of Coran the Elf tonight at 10 bells (and /12 Bells/2 Bells on each letter respectively), where one of our agents will meet you. Come alone and bare no weapons. Ignore us at your peril. You are watched.” and sent them by lamplad to be delivered. While he waited he watched Jamie trying to teach the rat tricks using food as an incentive, certain that the rat kept watching him he made a grab for the rodent but Jamie pulled it out of reach and took it up to his room – as they left the room Vipin could swear he saw the verminous creature whispering into Jamie’s ear as it sneered back at him. It was quite upsetting but as his hand brushed the handle of his wand he felt its reassuring presence and calmed a little.

Realising4e_DnD_Orcs_by_RalphHorsley1 that they would need to transport the weapons crates back Richard used his stolen Fist brooch to commandeer a mule and cart from an Outer City business and they set off into the deepening night. Thankfully the trio of half-orcs could see in the darkness and guided Richard and the mule-cart to their destination. Coming clear of a small copse of trees they had a small dell ahead with the ruins of an old watch-fort on the opposite side. As they approached they saw shadowy figures moving within an a deep voice boomed out asking what their business was. The heroes noticed the voice although speaking common sounded orcish and tried to use their heritage to their advantage. But the voice called back that he’d have no truck with dirty half-breeds and sure enough an arrow zinged out from the ruined walls, narrowly missing them.

The heroes could make out four figures in the small ruin, and as they traded missile fire they realised that they needed to overcome the orcs advantage of superior cover. The three half-orcs closed for melee while Richard remained in the cart for cover as he continued to fire his bow. One of the orcs managed to get an excellent shot off, blasting an arrow through the wooden cart-side and into the startled halfling before dropping their bows in favour of wicked looking greataxes.

Adam and Shane worked themselves into a barbaric frenzy as they charged forward at the largest and meanest looking orc while Hannah attacked one of the lesser orcs. The leader gave a howl of fury which seemed to bolster the orcs somewhat but his followers failed to score any hits on the heroes. The leader however managed a viscous strike on Shane (rolled a critical) almost toppling the half-orc with the force of the blow. As Hannah dropped one opponent another stepped in to attack her, finally slipping a strike past her defenses. The stoic fighter calmly took it in her stride and fought on, easily outmatching her opponent. The third orc had moved to flank Adam as he continued to bash at the pack leader with his mighty maul but Richard still managed to thread an arrow between the combatants to strike the foul creature.

Enraged by the wound he had received Shane slashed with his blade and opened a huge gash on the large orcs torso (rolling with advantage for his rage, he rolled 2 criticals!) but the beast refused to drop until Adam smashed his maul down on his head and ended his foul existence. Confident that Adam could handle the remaining orc Shane disengaged so that he could begin binding his wound. The last orc suffered another deadly accurate arrow from Richard which should have dropped him but the rage of Gruumsh was in him and he stubbornly swung his weapon. Thankfully the futile attempt missed the heroes and used the last of his adrenaline as he followed the swing through and sprawled lifeless on the ground.

The heroes gathered the weapons crates and loaded them onto the cart then took the time take care of their wounds before heading back to Little Calimsham. Unfortunately they got a little confused and missed their bearings slightly finally coming into sight of the city north of Black Dragon’s gate and so followed the edge of the Outer City back to the Jewel Emporium. Rael was very pleased that they had brought the weapons back and as she made arrangements for them to be distributed she invites the heroes to spend the rest of the night there, which they are more than happy to do.

As the time for the first of Vipin’s “appointments” approached he began to stealthily patrol the nearby streets looking to see if indeed anyone would come. He saw a small group heading for Coran’s led by a lamplad, a well dressed older patriar flanked by a quartet of burly guards. As they arrived at the mansion the patriar and a single guard entered. Vipin went back in via the rear door to find the patriar awaiting him (the guard remained in the hallway). Ariax Rillyn was not a man used to being summoned and his annoyance showed in his posture and voice. Vipin tried to intimidate the patriar, saying he knew he was involved with bringing in large quantities of smokepowder ingredients but the old man calmly replied that his customer had hired the warehouse to store their goods for a specified period and paid accordingly, what those goods were was irrelevant to him. Even making reference to the suspected sacrifice to Bhaal didnt phase the patriar, whose response was “the only sacrifice I make is a few coins in the poor box at the Hall of Wonder once a week”, before bidding Vipin good night and walking away. Vipin did notice that the old man walked very well and without a cane, curiously considering the broken stick they had retrieved.

His second visitor arrived alone and out of breath, the portly man having had trouble keeping pace with the sprightly lamplad that had led him there. Under Vipin’s “interrogation” he broke down in tears on his knees, “it’s not my fault, we needed the money and it was only once. They said the girls would only be in the city for one night and would be moved on next day. I know it’s not an acceptable trade in these parts but all we did was let them use a ship and unload”. Vipin used the advantage to secure a promise that House Hullhollyn would be of help to his masters when they called, before the blubbering man left  into the night.

His third visitor strolled through the night streets of the Upper City alone and with luisroyo_malefic_Legend_of_the_Duelistconfidence and once before Vipin broke into a tirade before the dragonborn could even speak, “I don’t know what you think you know, but you know nothing!”, he made it abundantly clear that should Vipin ever interfere in his families further business it would go badly for the monk. Taken aback at this Vipin drew in a deep breath, and faster than his eye could follow the patriar had an elaborate rapier drawn and pointed at his throat “think very carefully on your next, and possibly last, action” he said with a cool confidence. But the dragonborn ignored the warning and exhaled a blast of its fetid gaseous breath. Barely phased the patriar struck with his rapier, piercing Vipin with a precision strike. The monk disengaged and ran into the garden of Coran’s mansion turning to see if the patriar was giving chase. The patriar stood in the doorway apparently awaiting Vipin’s next move, which was to fire a crossbow at the man. The patriar calmly lifted his bejewelled hand and one of the rings on te extended hand glowed briefly as a bolt of lightning streaked forward at Vipin. The agile monk tried to leap clear but was still caught by the edge of the bolt, its electrical charge coursing through him and leaving him smoking and unconscious on the now scorched grass. Coran’s servants barely looked up as the patriar stalked forward to the groaning dragonborn and drove his rapier deep into its chest, ending Vipin’s life. He was about to walk away when it seemed he heard something, then bent down and retrieved the wand from Vipin’s corpse before leaving.

Well, first off I think I should explain what was going on with Vipin’s monk. The wand he found was a wand of fear but it was cursed.

Wand of Vangar – bone wand

1/day cone of fear
Activation Time: 1 action
Range: 10 feet
Duration: 1 minute
DC: 15

The wand creates a phantasmal image of sheer terror in the minds of your enemies. Each creature of your choice within range must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for the duration. This spell has no effect upon undead or constructs. On its turn, a creature affected by this spell can use its action to make a Wisdom check against your spell save DC. If the creature succeeds on the check, it is no longer affected by the spell.

Paranoia: The pc using the wand must make a CHA check against the Wands DC each time they use it (if it hasn’t been used in a 24hr period they must test during a long rest). Failure results in the user increasing their stage of paranoia, success reduces by a stage. Once affected the user will not wish to be parted from the wand and will do their utmost to retain it. They will only willing part with it once they are reduced back to unaffected.

Stage 1: -1 on CHA checks, user believes he is being followed.
Stage 2: -2 (cumulative) on CHA checks, user hears whispers that aren’t there.
Stage 3: -2 (cumulative) on CHA checks, and takes offence at the slightest thing even from allies.
If a user dies while suffering stage 3 his soul is absorbed by the wand (how it gets its power) and so may not be  resurrected/raised apart from as mindless undead.

Having read the Weapon Smuggling event I wanted to tweak it a little and give the heroes a chance to do something outside of the city and experience fighting something other than soldiers, nobles and dock workers. I used a trio of orcs with an orc leader straight from the Bestiary, these had followed the Guilds associates, seeing them leave the crates in the ruin and decided to help themselves before being interrupted by the heroes arrival.

We have received the Launch Event packs for the next season and following discussions with the players and myself and Liam, we’re planning on levelling up the adventure to allow players to either carry their existing characters over or create new 4th level (as that’s what they will be at the close of the season finale) for Legacy of the Crystal Shard and its Encounter season. I must admit this doesnt look too much of a problem within the  Next playtest rule set so should be fun. I was also given some dungeon tiles by one of my 40K club friends and fellow blogger, a number of which feature snowy terrain – talk about perfect timing – so a big thank you to Jon.

 

D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 9

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters, Gaming events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2013 by vobeskhan

Murder-Baldurs-coverThis week saw us back to our seperate tables as we continue our adventures down at Tabletop Tyrants. This weeks table consisted of my regular players

  • Jamie – Elf Ranger
  • Vipin – Dragonborn Monk
  • Hannah – Half-orc Fighter
  • Richard – Halfling Rogue
  • Shane – Half-orc Barbarian

The heroes made their separate ways back towards Coran’s mansion and as they regrouped they spotted the familiar form of the flamoyant elf ahead, in heated discussion with a trio of young patriars. As they neared they could hear that one of the patriars was accusing Coran of leading his sister astray and “dishonouring” her at one of his recent parties, the smiling elf replied that the honour had been his and that the young woman had been their entirely by her own choice. With the new duelling laws in place the blustery youth challenged Coran, despite his companions attempts to dissuade him. The heroes had now caught up to them and also failed to convince the foolish boy to withdraw the challenge, and resignedly stepped back as blades were drawn. The youth attacked furiously but Coran barely exerted himself as he parried each and every strike. After several failed strikes Coran decided to end the farce and neatly sidestepped the latest attack, moving close to the patriar before smashing the basket hilt of his rapier into the youths nose with a satisfying crunch.  Coran was happy to leave it at that and the youths companions dragged him away before he could embarass himself further.

Returning to the mansion the heroes checked on their slumbering half-orc friend, the servants told them that he had awoken only to avail himself of another barrel before falling into bed once more. Happy that he was being looked after they left him there. The heroes accompanied Hannah to check out the address Rael had asked her to watch. The address was in the Lower City and on arrival could be seen to be a bustling patisserie, with customers coming and going. The heroes found somewhere to relax and watch from as the business began to slow and the staff then closed up the shop and left. Making sure that the street was clear of onlookers the heroes checked that the shop was empty, listening intently at the door and windows. Satisfied that no-one remained within they headed off to Little Calimsham and the Jewel Emporium to report their findings to Rael.  As the heroes moved through the Outer City Richard split off and headed down to Sows Foot alone. Reaching the Emporium Hannah reported her findings to Rael’s large friend and received a gleaming red gem in return. With no other instructions or requests forthcoming the heroes headed back with the intent of staying at Coran’s once again.

Richard arrived in Sows Foot and easily found Hamhock’s Slaughterhouse, several people were funneling into the building via the main doors, flanked by a pair of burly bruisers. He joined the throng and as he got to the door one of the doormen barred his path asking for the code. Richard passed him the note he had taken from the patriar he had mugged and reading it, the thug gave a grunting nod before returning it and letting him past. Inside the assembly stood murmuring, wondering what the nights meeting would reveal. Doors leading further into the building opened and a trio of cloaked figures entered. The lead figure mounted the stacked crates that made a makeshift stage while his companions flanked him, he removed his hood to show he was an older human male, probably about 50 or 60 years old but showing no sign of frailty. He called the throng to order and once the room was quiet he went on to talk about the unrest many of the Lower and Outer City residents had been downtrodden by the Patriars but now was the time to strike back at them where it would hurt most, to get their attention and demand a voice for the “little” people. It was no use hitting their business’s, no, family was what made them Patriars, so family was how to do it. He wanted volunteers to meet back here at twelth bell tomorrow to arrange to kidnap members of several Patriar families. At that the trio left the way they had come and with the assembled throng began filing out. Richard noticed a face that he thought looked familiar ahead of him but couldnt quite place it. He decided to follow the man, heading back into the Lower City and along the docks. Gradually the companions he walked with drifted away until only the man he followed walked on. Richard continued to follow him and saw him approach one of the Fist guards at the approach to the Seatower, he spent several minutes talking to the guard before off into the residential area of the Lower City. Eventually he stopped at a building, fumbling for his key, and checking the rest of the street was clear Richard struck, bringing the pommels of his weapons crashing down on the neck of the man and dropping him to the street. He quickly used the key to enter the building, dragging the unconcious man with him. The 2 room dwelling was sparsely furnished, a crisply made bed with a sturdy footlocker and big comfy looking armchair being the only furniture other than a simple wooden table. The footlocker had a big padlock on it which proved no problem to Richard, inside was the uniform of a Blaze of the Flaming Fist’s. Richard checked the unconscious man and found his brooch of office hidden within his clothing. He took the brooch and the silken cape from the locker, as he did so he noticed something odd about the chair out of the corner of his eye. Investigating he discovered the chair was covered in an illusion. It was actually a simple wooden chair with a weapon rack built into the back. The rack currently held a very good quality longsword and a loaded heavy crossbow. Richard bundled them up in the cape, slung them over his shoulder then dragged the man back into the street before re-locking the door and dropping the keys beside the body. He then headed back towards the Upper City. Unfortunately he was too late and the gates had been closed for the evening, so he headed back to Vipin’s rented house for the night.

The larger group had arrived back at the gates to the Upper City only to realise that the doors were closed for the evening and they did not have another “invite” from Coran, seeing their predicament a scraggily dressed woman offered to get them guided access through the Underceller for 20gp, when the heroes asked how much for unguided access she replied 25gp as it would cost them more to clean up after their corpses. They were about to give in to her extortionate price when a lamplad called out not to trust her and that he could take them to the Fetcher (master of the Underceller). They followed the young lad to a ramshackle lean-to and found the Fetcher inside he gave them access and brief directions for a lot less than the woman had asked for and the lamplad guided them to an entrance hidden within a deserted building.

Once in the tunnels they found their path splitting in two and a squirming mass of rats at the junction. Jamie used a Speak With Animals ritual to chat with a rat and get an idea of where the nearest “Sunlight” was, the rat led them back to where they had entered. Exploring the other direction they found a rotting door leading off from their tunnel. Vipin and Jamie listened intently at the door hearing nothing beyond but as they pulled back little maggot-like things could be seen burrowing into Jamie’s ear. A quick Cure Wounds spell put an end to them and the elf and dragonborn examined the room beyond. It was empty apart from a barrel in the far corner. Vipin noticed some sort of trap trigger on the barrels lid and attempted to disarm it with his thieves tools – and the lid exploded! Splinters of wood shot at the pair as the smokepowder charge triggered, shredding their faces. Once they recovered from the shock of that, they found the barrel full of coins and Vipin also noticed a wand carved from a single piece of a humanoids leg bone. As he picked the wand up he felt its voice in his head “You are the new master of the wand of Vangar” and pocketed his find to examine later. Meanwhile the other heroes were concerned that the rat that had accompanied them was acting agitated. Shane fired a flaming arrow down the dark corridor, which hit something wet and went out. Peering into the darkness Hannah was able to just discern the movement of a gelatious cube coming slowly towards them. Not wanting to face such a creature the heroes fled back to the ladder they had come down and returned to the Lower City and found lodgings for the night at a reasonably priced inn. During the night Vipin examined his new wand, finding it was capable of firing a ray of Fear once a day, he decided to test it on Hannah’s sleeping form. The half-orc began to fidget uncomfortably in her sleep and murmur.

Next morning all the heroes made their respective way back to Coran’s. As the larger group made their way they passed by the pattiserie there was quite a crowd outside it and as they walked by they realised that the building had caught fire during the night and was now a burnt out shell. From the conversation of the crowd it was believed that one of the ovens had apparently been left alight.

Arriving back at Coran’s the servants advised that the gaudy elf was out of the city but had left instructions to give the heroes food and lodging as needed. As they took some breakfast they noticed a dirty, scruffy looking halfling also there. He told them his name was Thurbuckle and if they fancied making some “easy cash” they should try their hands at the pit fights down at the Slutty Mermaid. Despite the party having a pair of burly half-orcs they didnt seem as interested so he bid them good fortune and went on his way. They heroes made their way back to Little Calimsham as Richard wanted to sell the longsword he’d acquired. As they approached Little Calimsham they realised that a rat seemed to be following them through the streets. Vipin chased the rat with the intention of killing it and everyone else chased Vipin to try and stop him. They were able to prevent him slaying the rat and Jamie gave it a morsel of food before allowing the rat to climb up on his shoulder where it continued to sit as they walked on to the Calim Jewel Emporium. Richard was able to sell the longsword for a nice profit and Hannah enquired as to the availability of Hand Crossbows. Rael’s large companion advised them to seek them from a seller down in Sow’s Foot  close to Wyrms Crossing and so the party set off to buy one.

Another fun session this evening, again more improvised than as written as I unfortunately  was late finishing work beforehand and so didnt get my normal prep time. That said I’m finding that it’s very easy to improvise within this format. With only 4 sessions left for this season I’m going to have discussions with my fellow DM (Liam) and get the necessary set pieces in place so that we can run the finale on time, from what I’ve read ahead of it we may possibly split the finale over a 2 session stretch rather than rush things, we’ll see.

As a side note, I regularly listen to the “Recounting Encounters” podcast from 20ft Radius and Dungeonsmaster and was happily surprised when I was mentioned by name in this weeks release – thanks guys 🙂

D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 8

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters, Gaming events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2013 by vobeskhan

Murder-Baldurs-coverThis week our FLGS (Tabletop Tyrants) was very crowded and so we were limited on space, as a couple of players were running late we decided to run as a single group for this week so the group consisted of:-

  • Tanis – Half-elf Paladin
  • Jamie – Elf Ranger
  • Hannah – Half-orc Fighter
  • Jodie – Elf Rogue
  • Amy – Human Cleric
  • Josh – Dragonborn Paladin
  • Richard – Halfling Rogue
  • Shane – Half-orc Barbarian
  • Vipin – Dragonborn Monk

The heroes gathered at Coran’s mansion for breakfast (though they were unable to awaken Adam from his inebriated slumber and left him to sleep it off ).  After a discussion the heroes decided to split up, Tanis, Jamie, Josh and Shane wanted to head down to the Seatower and see if any new bounty’s had been posted; Amy, Vipin and Richard wanted to visit the Harbourmaster and the Felogyr’s Fireworks to find out more of the large shipments of smoke powder ingredients; while Hannah and Jodie wished to head out to Little Calimsham and see if the Guild had any new assignments for them.

As they set out they heard one of the Baldur’s Mouth criers announcing that the Parliament of Peers had rescinded the early closing of the Upper City, but had resurrected the old duelling laws within the city.

 

“According to the old law, any person can demand immediate redress in the form of a one-on-one duel for any perceived wrong another person commits against that individual. Traditionally, duels are fought to first blood, but the combatant who suffers the first wound can choose not to yield. It is against the law for anyone to intervene in someone else’s duel. I f a person intrudes on a duel, he or she can be arrested or the original duelists’ friends can challenge the intruder.”

 

As they walked the streets they could see that several people were already discussing the announcement, with many wondering if some would use the opportunity to settle old scores. After agreeing to meet back up later the heroes headed off to their chosen tasks.

 

Tanis, Jamie, Josh and Shane

 

Taking a direct route towards the Seatower led them down one of the steeper streets of the Lower City and as they walked they heard a number of screams behind them, turning they saw people scattering as a cart came wildly downhill towards them. Jamie calmly sidestepped out of the way as Tanis tried to lay between the wheels and allow it to pass over him. Josh and Shane decided to try and halt the driverless vehicle.  The cart clipped Tanis’s armoured shoulder, setting it bouncing, Josh slowed its speed slightly but was still brushed aside. Shane decided to use his head, literally! Meeting the cart with his lowered skull, which broke through the wooden planking, embedding the half-orc. The cart continued on its wild ride with Shane hanging/being dragged along with it. Giving chase Josh managed to catch hold with a taloned hand but only gouged the wood as it sped along. Shane recovered his senses enough to try and use himself as a brake, and though he did bring the cart to an eventual stop the jarring against the cobbled street caused several bumps and bruises to his legs. Once his companions caught up they examined the empty cart and realised that the harness used to attach whatever animal (or person) that usually pulled it had intentionally been severed. With no other clues forthcoming they made sure it wa secured and continued on their way.

 

Arriving dockside they examined the bounties posted on the notice boards, though there were few to read. The Fist were still offering 50 gold coins for the capture of Laraelra Thundreth, former captain of the Low Lantern tavern, who still remained at large. There was also a notice from Waterdeep advising all cities up and down the Sword Coast to be aware that the infamous assassin Oskar Balisfyre was abroad. The authorities in Waterdeep were offering 500 gold coins for the succesful capture of the halfling, 200 for his corpse, but the notice advised that he was to be considered armed and extremely dangerous. They had heard that the Low Lantern had re-opened for business and decided to try their luck  in finding the errant captain.

 

They gathered a few looks as they entered but no-one challenged their entry, enquiring at the bar revealed that the captain hadn’t been seen since the “closure”. During the questioning Josh partook of some fine Elven wine whilst Tanis and Shane stuck to the less refined (though by no means less alcoholic) scrumpy on offer. One of the patrons said they’d seen the captain

Laraelra Thundreth

Laraelra Thundreth

and for the price of a couple of gold revealed that he had seen the former tavern owner signing on as crew for the Endeavour,  a cargo vessel anchored in the harbour. Finishing their drinks the heroes set off in search of a dock worker willing to ferry them out to the ship.

 

Boarding the vessel, the crew were curious as to their presence and Josh announced they had business to discuss with their captain. They were escorted to his cabin, where they found him poring over a chart. After a discussion and more coins

changing hands he admitted that Laraela was onboard and agreed to allow them 20 minutes in his cabin with her to “discuss” matters. She was summoned to the cabin and as the captain left them alone, she calmly sat in his chair and put her booted feet up on his desk.  With a pretense of conversation the heroes quickly distracted her and knocked her unconscious. Leaving the cabin with Tanis carrying her the ships captain was unhappy to see them taking his crew member, Tanis threw him a small purse of coins as he, Shane and Jamie prepared to leave the ship. Josh however decided to unleash his dragonbreath upon the captain and a pair of his crew. The heroes had to beat a hasty retreat as several of the sailors rushed to their captains aid, and chose to leap overboard into the harbour. Luckily they hailed a passing docker and bought passage on his cargo raft back to shore, their prisoner still unconscious, and once ashore took her to the Seatower to claim the bounty.

 

Amy, Vipin and Richard

Arriving at the Harbourmaster’s office the heroes find a pair of Fist soldiers on guard at the door while a Gauntlet (corporal) was discussing the break in and theft with the Harbourmaster inside. As the Gauntlet left, the heroes went in expressing their thanks that the extra taxes had now been dropped. They offered any help they could to secure the offices for the Harbourmaster but he respectfully declined, happy that the Fist were now going to station guards outside at all times. Aware that no more information could be gained they bid him farewell and headed uphill to the firework makers.

The store was unmistakable and inside was more elaborate than outer. Several assistants were serving customers, business was obviously good. Richard noticed one particular customer who kept looking around nervously as he completed his transaction, and once he’d left the heroes approached the assistant that had served him. The found that many people were making purchases of fireworks in preparation for the upcoming Feast of the Moon (a 3 day celebration of the passing of the dead held annually in the city). When their questions became more focused the assistant said they’d need to talk to the owner and called him over.

Avery Sonshal was a happy, ruddy-faced halfling and was quite happy to discuss his business with the heroes. When they enquired about the large shipments he told them that although they had been ordered by him they were for a customer directly and offered to show them the transaction records. Following him through the back of the shop they passed through his workroom where several halfings and humans were carefully measuring and mixing the components for the smokepowder used in their fireworks. They entered his office and Avery climbed a small ladder to recover a leather-bound tome. He searched a couple of pages before showing them the entries they were looking for. The customer, one Horus Kope, had purchased large amounts of the separate ingredients via the store that were delivered directly to a number of warehouses on the docks. Kope had also requested contact details for Avery’s suppliers to arrange further, larger shipments directly. Avery happily gave the heroes the locations of the warehouses and they set off to investigate further.

Vipin said he would meet the others at their destination and left to enquire with his contacts amongst the city for further information on the warehouses, their owners and the mysterious Kope. His secretive ally said he would drop the information off at Vipin’s residence in a few hours. Vipin asked if they could find out more about the mysterious Kope and his contact stared at him incredulously, “Kope, Horus Kope. Are you having a laugh? Horoscope! Someone’s obviously taking the goldenflow”.

Catching back up with his colleagues they discovered that the 5 warehouses were owned by 3 different patriar families, the Jhasso family, Hullhollyn family and the Rillyn family, but all told the same story – the goods had been unloaded and delivered but were collected by the customer within a few hours of arrival.

With no other leads apparent, Amy decided to revisit the Harbourmaster and take him for a drink (once he realised she was paying he readily agreed), while Vipin returned to his rented accommodation, Richard decided to stealthily follow the secretive dragonborn, managing to keep unseen and then taking up a position so as to keep a watch. Shortly a lamplad knocked on Vipin’s door and when the door opened he handed over a sealed envelope before scurrying off on his next delivery. Before Vipin could read the note, Richard broke cover and calmly knocked the door. Vipin was surprised to see his companion but with a sigh of resignation invited him in and they both read the information.

“The Jhasso family were members of the long-standing Seven Suns trading coster, despite suffering losses in the past they were back to a good level of business.

The Hullhollyn family own a couple of warehouses but also have their own small fleet of cargo ships.

The Rillyn family own a number of buildings in the lower city, warehouses as well as rentable accommodation. The head of the family, Ariax Rillyn, also served regularly as a judge in the city courts, most often when suspected Guild members were brought in and seemed to issue lighter sentences to those individuals.”

Hannah and Jodie

Exiting the Lower City the duo’s senses were assaulted by the smells of the Outer City as the various business’s hugging the walls gave off the fragrances of their particular wares. They headed for Little Calimsham and were well on their way when they realised a child was following them. When they turned to look at him he very badly tried to look inconspicuous, so they decided to lead him into an ambush in the twisting side streets. The child blundered into them and looked terrified that he had been caught. Questioning him they discovered that he wa a lamplad that “some geezer” had paid a “shiny” to follow the pair, with the promise that he would find the child later to hear where the heroes had gone. Hannah paid the boy 2 gold pieces to tell his mystery patron the wrong information and the child took the coins and with a grin said “yeah, you woz ‘eddin to the Seatower” before scuttling off into the streets. Jodie thought the child looked more like a halfling and curious, decided to follow the urchin. He headed through the Outer City, almost to Wyrm’s Crossing before entering a ramshackle building that turned out to be a shanty-dive tavern called the Slutty Mermaid.

As the heroes entered the child, who had been sitting on a stool at the makeshift bar, gave a squeal and dove behind it. The other patrons paid little attention as the duo walked forward, most were humans but a pair of dwarves appeared to be deep into a drinking contest at a nearby table. After talking to the barman and assuring him they meant the child no harm, the boy crawled out and stood before them once more. Jodie bluntly asked if he was indeed a halfling to which he replied no he wasnt. Their conversation was interrupted by a loud thump from behind, whirling around, hands on weapons, the heroes relaxed as they realised it was simply one of the dwarves finally succumbing to the drink and falling drunkenly out of his chair. Satisfied with the childs answers they let him go, and made to leave the tavern, as they got to the door Jodie called over her shoulder a traditional halfling farewell and glanced at the child. He’d already begun heading for the rear exit and winked cheekily at the elf before running away. With a shake of her head, Jodie followed her companion back towards Little Calimsham.

Arriving at the Calim Jewel Emporium they found Rael manning the counter and once the shop was empty asked if she had any suitable tasks for them. Rael did indeed have such a task. A pair of buildings in the Lower City were of interest to her, she needed the heroes to watch the comings and goings and discover if the buildings were left empty at night. Sounding simple enough, the duo agreed and set off back to the Lower City. As they passed through the crowded streets of Little Calimsham they noticed a build up in the crowd surrounding a group erecting a gaily coloured tent. As they approached they heard a familiar high-pitched voice, “No, no, no. You’re doing it wrong. Straight up you lazy fool”. They recognised the rotund form of Ibn, the former owner of the Oasis, who looked to be getting back in business. He caught sight of Hannah and recognised her, the colour draining from his face. She assured him that she wasnt there to shut him down again, and in appreciation he invited the duo to drop by anytime.

And so we ended the session with the groups of heroes all heading back towards Coran’s to regroup and share their information. Having discussed with Liam previously I informed the players to level up to 3rd level for next session. Hopefully the store wont be as crowded next week so that we can spread out a little more and resume as two groups. Running a group of 9 isn’t a major problem, once they chose to split up I tried to spend time with each sub-group evenly as we progressed the session, but with the limited time available to us it’s definitely easier with 2 smaller groups.

Not any real combat this week but I was very happy with the players willingness to immerse themselves into the ongoing story of the campaign, especially as talking to other DM’s I’ve heard that some groups have actually given up on the adventure as it wasnt interesting enough for them. A real shame as there is so much more to come….

 

D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 7

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters, Gaming events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2013 by vobeskhan

Murder-Baldurs-coverThis week at Tabletop Tyrants we split back into our 2 tables to continue running the adventure with the D&DNext playtest rules. The groups were given the choice of returning the body of Ezree Provoss to her family or taking the evidence of her murder to the authorities. My group decided that as they had the pipe and cane they would do the latter.

Following last sessions pc deaths the group this week consisted of:-

  • Richard – Halfling Rogue
  • Hannah – Half-orc Fighter
  • Adam – Half-orc Barbarian
  • Shane – Half-orc Barbarian
  • Vipin – Dragonborn Monk
  • Jamie – Elf Ranger

As the heroes left Tumbledown they came across an increasingly familiar gaudily dressed figure and greeted Coran. The flamboyant elf was surprised to see them and asked where they had been for the last 2 days. The heroes were confused, having only spent a couple of hours in the Provoss crypt, while apparently 2 days had passed in the city. Coran suggested that perhaps the magically adept ancestors of the Provoss had cast some sort of temporal stasis enchantment upon their family resting place causing time to pass more slowly within, but more importantly the heroes had missed “all the fun” – the nightsoil and goldenflow collectors had gone on strike and the city was beginning to stink with the build up of refuse, and Duke Silvershield had issued an edict that all non-patriars must vacate the Upper City by 3 bells to reduce the increased levels petty crime and the refuse build up, this had created obvious tension in the Lower City with many citizens business’s suffering from the shortened trading hours in the Wide. Coran noticed that the heroes numbers were fewer than the last time he’d spoken with them and offered to hook them up with “suitable replacements from some adventuring types” he knew. The heroes thanked him and set off towards Little Calimsham.

They made their way to the Jewel Emporium and found Rael’s large companion manning the shop, when they asked if Rael was available to talk to he wordlessly nodded towards the back of the shop. Moving past the hanging curtains they found her seated on the cushioned floor with a robed dragonborn and a hulking half-orc. Introductions were made as Rael told the heroes the newcomers were looking to join them. They inform Rael of their findings in the crypt and hand her the items which she confirms belong to Ariax Rillyn, head of the Rillyn patriar familiar who often presides over trials within the City. She offers to make sure the items are passed on to the right people. The heroes ask if Rael has any “tasks” she needs them to do for her and she tells them that the Harbourmaster has begun taxing luxury items in a protest against the early lockdown of the Upper City, while she agrees with his principal the tax is hurting some of her “business associates” bringing in their own goods and would appreciate the heroes trying to persuade the Harbourmaster to rethink his stance. She doesn’t want him hurt though, as he is usually a good and fair man (and any replacement may be even worse). The heroes happily agree to “have a word” with him.

Journeying into the Lower City they experience the effects of the refuse strike, with the already narrow streets becoming choked with uncollected waste. Upon reaching the docks they see several nightsoil workers sat outside a bar, happily playing cards and drinking. Despite striking for improved pay, they seem to have enough coin to spare for such activities. Arriving at the Harbourmasters office they find him hunched over his huge leather-bound ledger, noting the comings and goings of ships and their cargoes. Upon speaking with him they realise that he’s just trying to prove a point to the Dukes and Peers Parliament that the hardworking folk of the Gate wont stand for these ridiculous restrictions, especially while they have no representation on the Council of Four. Realising they aren’t going to convince him otherwise they head up to try and find a resolution with the Dukes and Peers by trying to get Duke Caldwell on side.

After entering the Upper City the make their way towards Caldwell’s mansion when a roof tile drops onto Adam’s head. Looking up they manage to avoid a second tile. Hannah manages to climb up onto the roof before lowering a rope and Shane joins her up there. They discover that the tiles had been deliberately loosened but could find no trace of a culprit. They are spotted by a Watch patrol who question why they are on roof. After talking with the patrol they discover that several such “accidents” have occurred in the past few days, resulting in minor injuries, and are allowed to continue their journey. Talking with Caldwell they discover that the Parliaments vote to instigate the curfew was a very close one and several of the patriar families are feeling the pinch as they have business interests in the Lower and Outer City. He suggests they try and convince Duke Silvershield to reconsider.

So the heroes head to the High House of Wonders but after speaking to one of the adepts they find that the Duke is at the High Hall for a meeting of the Parliament, they inform the adept of the fate of Ezree Provoss and that their companions had taken her body back to her family and then hurry to the High Hall. Sitting through the meeting is a long and tedious affair but their interest is piqued when they announce that evidence had been brought forward that one of the heads of a patriar family had been implicated in the heinous murder of a Ezree Provoss and that a bloody dagger had been the evidence. The patriar in question was Amblyn Ravenshade, and until his innocence he had been taken into custody. The heroes thought this strange as they had given Rael the cane and pipe, not a dagger, but said nothing. At the end of the meeting Duke Silvershield asked if there was any other business and Richard stepped forward. Following an impassioned speech the council called for a vote to repeal the edict on the early curfew and it came down to a single vote – Norold Dlusker. who voted to rescind the edict and tipped the vote in favour. With a face like thunder Duke Silvershield was forced to declare the curfew returned to its previously long-standing time of dusk and with an over forceful slam of his gavel declared the meeting closed before stalking off, closely followed by his advisor Imbralyn Skoond.

As the heroes filed out of the Hall Coran was sitting at the back and gave them a congratulatory clap of his hands. He then reached quickly into Hannah’s cloak and produced an envelope which he passed to her. Inside was an elaborately decorated invitation to a private soiree at his Bloomridge mansion at 8 bells that evening, before taking his leave.

The heroes made haste to the Harbourmasters office but were stopped shortly after entering the Lower City by the sounds of a girls screaming for help. Investigating they found her begging for help, her little brother apparently trapped inside their house that had caught fire. Vipin and Shane rushed into the smoke-filled abode, following the sounds of a childs cries to the upper floor. Vipin charged into an obscured room which he thought held the child but only managed to run straight out of its open window, luckily to be caught by Hannah as he fell earthward. Shane discovered the cries were coming from behind a closed door and burst through to see the youngster in its crib. As he grabbed the child he heard the floor creak ominously and leapt clear as it gave way to the flames below. Quickly but carefully he exited the building and reunited the siblings as others arrived to begin throwing buckets of water upon the blaze. After about an hour it was put out but the house was ruined (luckily it hadn’t spread to adjacent buildings), examining the remains the heroes realise that the blaze hadn’t been a total accident – someone had set fire the build up of refuse on the opposite side of the building which had spread uncontrollably. With their neighbours looking after them, the heroes left the children and continued to the harbour.

They informed the Harbourmaster of the reversal of the curfew and he said that once it was made official he would “re-asses” the necessity of his harbour tax and bid them good day. Whilst everyone else decided to attend Coran’s party, Vipin chose to remain in the Lower City, renting lodgings and preparing to pay pan after hours visit to the Harbourmaster’s office and get a look at his ledger. Using his disguise skills he made his emerald scales appear a dull black colour and under cover of darkness made his way back. The door lock posed no problem to his talented use of picks and he entered the office. After making sure he was truly alone he opened the ledger – and a voice like parrot cried out loudly “Thief! Thieving buggers are trying to steal me!”. Vipin was surprised to find the voice was coming from the ledger itself and realised that a magical sigil was on the cover, he tried to decipher and use it to silence the ever louder squawking, to no avail. A glance out of the window showed a Fist patrol approaching, he had about a minute before they would be close enough to hear the commotion. He tried once more to silence the sigil but failed again, so tearing the newest few pages out he fled. The patrol spotted him but were unable to keep up and he easily list them, returning to his lodgings to examine his findings.

Meanwhile Coran’s party was in full swing and the heroes were greeted warmly by their host and soon were enjoying the refreshments (some more so than others). The 2 barbarians quickly began downing the strongest ales they could find and soon became inebriated, shortly thereafter deciding to establish who’s tribe was better with a bout of traditional orcish arm wrestling. Several of the partygoers and some of their companions placed bets on the outcome, and when Shane emerged victorious Coran was pleased to give him 5 gold out of his winnings. Having lost money betting on Adam, Richard decided to try and recoup his losses with his larcenous skills, but as he approached his target a familiar voice in his ear announced “not while your on the premises, please”, and so he decided to leave it till later. Eventually the party began to wind down with several of the guests leaving in groups or singly and a small number taking advantage of the numerous guest rooms Coran placed at the disposal. Coran told the heroes they were welcome to stay also and as a former adventurer he understood that sometimes you needed someone or somewhere in a pinch so his door would always be open to them, just so long as they used the back door. Hannah and Jamie took their drunken friends up to a sumptuous room while Richard decided to take a stroll, following a trio of young patriars into the night air. One by one they split off into their respective family’s compounds until the last one staggered along alone. Richard made his move, expertly striking the youth at the base of the neck with the pommel of his silvered dagger. The young patriar’s legs buckled under him and he faceplanted into the street. Richard quickly took his coin purse and dagger from the belt, then checked his boots as many hid extra wealth in them – no coins but a folded parchment note which Richard pocketed quickly. He was unable to search further as a Watch patrol was approaching, and so he returned to Coran’s (via the back door) and one of the servants clearing up directed him to his companions room. As he passed another of the doors on the same landing he heard a girlish giggle from the room beyond followed by a very familiar voice saying “Here’s Uncle Tickle-fingers!”, followed by another squeal and giggle from the girl. With a wry grin he continued on and rejoined his companions.

Secure in his lodgings Vipin was able to examine the pages of the ledger he had stolen. Most were pretty mundane but a couple of large deliveries stood out, large quantities of the ingredients for smokepowder had been brought in to the city noted as “Deliver to H. Kope, in care of Felogyr’s.”, the monk decided to wait until he had regrouped with his companions before investigating this further.

Having spent a little time in discussion with Liam (our 2nd DM) we came up with the time discrepancy and that we wanted the players to split back into their groups and return to their separate agenda’s. We gave them the choice at the start of the session and ran from there. The players have noted that the name of the accused didn’t match with what they discovered and have chosen not to act upon that, yet.

The orc arm wrestle was something I came up with on the spot. I had both players roll initiative with the winner going first, rolling their Str v the defenders Con roll, a win resulted in pushing the opponents arms wide enough to plant a headbutt on them. Then the second player does the same, and repeats with fresh initiative rolls to begin the next round. The first to win 3 rounds won. It worked well and all came down to a Shane beating Adam’s roll when they were on a 2-all tie.

I’ll add Liam’s write-up once he’s caught up, been a busy chap as well as suffering the lurgy.

D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 6

Posted in D & D Next, D&D, Encounters, Gaming events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by vobeskhan

Murder-Baldurs-coverDown at Tabletop Tyrants this week we had 3 new players join us bringing us to 12 (when everyone attends) players and 2 DM’s. Unfortunately we had a couple of regulars missing due to injury and prior commitment so actually played with 10 players.

  • Amy – human cleric
  • Hannah – half-orc fighter
  • Shane – human barbarian
  • Adam – half-orc barbarian
  • Richard – halfling rogue
  • Jamie – elf ranger
  • Tanis –  half-elf paladin
  • Vipin – halfling cleric
  • Josh – dwarf barbarian
  • Jodie – elf rogue

The heroes began to make their way through the city towards the cliffside cemetery of Tumbledown when a familiar voice called out to them. It was Coran, the flamoyant elf some of them had met previously, with a couple of sturdy looking companions. He congratulated the heroes on succesfully helping his friend Dlusker and gave his condolences at the loss of one of their own in doing so. He introduced his companions as “more adventuring types, looking for a little more excitement than even my parties offer” and the trio joined the heroes. Enquiring on where they were headed Coran advised them to catch a lift with one of the Candulhallow’s carts on one of its numerous trips back and forth from Tumbledown. With a quick memory jog the party recalled that the Candulhallow’s were a patriar family that made their fortune as undertakers, and after a breif search found one of their carts. With a little convincing they managed to get a lift, saving them some of the walking. During the journey Richard was able to engage the cart driver in conversation and with a little coin to grease his tongue discovered that the crypt they were heading to belonged to the Provoss family, formerly known for their powerful wizards but their fortunes had taken a decline in recent years. The driver also revealed that their was a second “secret” entrance to the crypt. The Candulhallow cart dropped them off just inside Tumbledown and wished them luck as the heroes walked the rest of the way and decided to split up and enter by both entrances. Vipin, Josh and Jodie would go through the main entrance while the rest would try the back door.

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The “door” was a false grave opening onto a spiral staircase leading down into the dark crypt with the musty smell of tunnelled earth and decayed flesh. Lantern in hand Tanis led the way until a large form lumbered out of a side tunnel. It had once been an ogre, but now it was a rotting undead hulk. The cleric fired off a moonbeam “accidentally” burning Adam with its radiance, after that most of the heroes kept back and attacked with missile fire – except for Richard who risked a slight singe to try and baseball-slide between the hulks legs and attack from behind. However, he misjudged it and slid astride one of the tree-like appendages. Before he could crawl around to the rear the hulk smashed a fist down solidly hitting him, the battered halfling then crept behind the hullk and tried to hide in the concealing darkness.

The hulk withdrew from the the moonbeam before pummeling the halfling again, this time leaving Richard unconscious  on the floor. Amy decided to cancel her moonbeam in favour of a Prayer of Healing to restore Adam’s burnt flesh and Richard’s frail body. With the Moonbeam gone Shane charged into the hulk as Hannah and Jamie continued to use ranged attacks and Tanis prepared his Divine Favour. The hulk struck back at Shane (scoring a critical) its fist lifting the barbarian clear off his feet and hurling his lifeless form over his companions into the wall behind them. With Shane’s death the heroes fought with renewed vigour and brought the hulk down.

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The other trio cautiosly entered the main entrance, finding the gnawed remains of a pair of humans before seeing a lone ghoul down one of the corridors.

https://i1.wp.com/photos1.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/5/6/8/8/highres_287362152.jpegThe trio attempt to engage the horror but it flees northward up the darkened tunnels. The heroes chase after it, only to find it has friends nearby. The trio of heroes now face a quartet of hungry ghouls.

Despite the dwarf barbarian falling victim to the ghouls paralysing touch the sturdy warrior quickly shrugs it off just in time for Vipin’s cleric to successfully use his holy symbol to turn the ghouls, forcing them to flee back down the tunnel.

The larger group of heroes encounter smaller groups of zombies and skeletons which pose little threat and are easily overcome. They also find a curious glowing circle of runes beside a dust covered workbench. Closer examination revealed an old scroll tube that was still sealed. Carefully opening it the heroes find a scroll of Animate Dead, the cleric takes posession for now as the heroes move on. The tunnels twist and turn, often joining back up with one another and soon the heroes are heading towards the main entrance. They approach an old wall mounted font, still full of foul smelling brackish water, and find a pair of the ghouls their companions had chased off. Despite Hannah throwing her warhammer at one ghouls feet (natural 1, he he) the heroes destroy the undead with relative ease, the only one to suffer a wound being Jamie the ranger, who as an elf resisted the paralysis easily.

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The trio advanced into the final resting place of the Provoss’s ancestors finding a pair of ornate sarcophagi, guarded by another zombified ogre. The fight was brutal and by the time they had finally dropped the hulk Vipin’s cleric lay dead on the crypt floor. The remaining pair of heroes rifled through the contents of the coffins before catching up with their companions as they discovered what appeared to be a small alchemical laboratory. Not unusual in the crypt of a family of wizards but this looked to have been used recently, and hastily left behind. A search of the remaining clutter revealed a broken mixing bowl with ” F E L O G Y R / B C ” engraved on the bottom, a couple of the party recognised the name as the proprietor of Felogyr’s Fireworks on Bindle Street in the Steeps. They also discovered what looked like the Provoss family shrine, though it had been desecrated with symbols of Bhaal and the dead body of Ezree Provoss lay upon it. A careful search showed she had been the victim of a ritual sacrifice, and the heroes also found an ornate smoking pipe, the name of the patriar “Ariax Rillyn” etched into it, and the upper third of a broken walking stick, the cane’s head bearing the Rillyn family crest (a barren tree within a triangle) and the initials “AR”. Adam also found an amulet with the Provoss family crest upon the corpse and pocketed it. The party decided to return the poor deceased girl to her family, gathered up their gear and left the crypt by the nearest exit.

Having discussed the outcome of the previous week with the Liam I had come up with an idea to run a crypt crawl for a change of pace, as an experiment wanted to try using the dungeon tiles from my Castle Ravenloft board game as the map. (what we came up with is in the DM’s Community Resources for the season) To be honest I expected the group to split a bit more evenly before entering the crypt but it still worked ok and I feel it made a nice change of style with the players not having to hold back from wailing on the bad guys. The session over-ran the 2 hour slot we usually have by about 15 minutes but it let us finish at a natural point.

Next week will see us split back into the two groups as the heroes return to the city proper.