D&D Encounters: Murder in Baldur’s Gate (Week 2)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on August 29, 2013

murder-in-baldurs-gate-coverDuke Abdel Adrian is dead – killed in front of hundreds of witnesses while addressing the people of Baldur’s Gate on Founder’s Day. Fortunately a group of adventurers were on site and helped defeat the assassin before there was any other loss of life.

That’s how things began last week for the PCs. Following their spectacular heroics they were approached by three different people who wished to enlist their services while Baldur’s Gate tries to reestablish some sense of order in light of the Duke’s death. By night’s end they needed to decide which of the three offers seemed most appealing.

Last week at Harry T North in Toronto we had a lot of players and only 2 DMs. This week we were back up to 3 DMs but had even more players. The result was two tables of seven and one table of eight.

I ran the table of eight which included seven new players. None of them had ever played D&D Next, and three had never played any form of D&D. After letting them choose from the pre-generated characters, we ended up with the following PCs in the party: Half-Elf Paladin, Gnome Druid, Dwarf Fighter, Elf Mage, Human Monk, Halfling Rogue and two Elf Rangers.

I spent the first 30-40 minutes providing a recap of last week’s events and tried to offer an unbiased breakdown of what each of the three factions had revealed to the PCs during week 1. Eventually the PCs agreed to side with Marshal Ulder Ravengard of the Flaming Fist company. A few were leaning towards supporting Silvershiled, but they were eventually convinced to come on board.

Once the party accepted Ravengard’s offer he made them all members of the Flaming Fist, gave them all silver badges denoting their affiliation and reminded them that as long as they work for the Fist they need to uphold the group’s ideals and behave within the rules of law (something I needed to remind the party of no less than five times this week).

Ravengard tasked the party with closing down two gambling houses: the Oasis in Little Calimshan (Outer District) and the Low Lantern in Brampton (Lower City).

The party decided to split up and scout out both locations. They wanted to get a better idea if they would need Flaming Fist soldiers as back up or if they were capable of shutting down these locales on their own. The Rogue, Ranger #1, Druid and Fighter went to the Oasis. The Mage, Monk, Ranger #2 and Paladin went to the Low Lantern. Not being from Baldur’s Gate, the PCs new nothing about either of these establishments, including where to find them. They relied on the kindness of strangers to provide directions.

The Oasis

The Rogue and Fighter were both seasoned gamblers and were excited to visit the Oasis. The Fighter, Ranger and Druid entered first. It was a dingy bungalow where patrons could play games of dice or cards. Off to one side were large pillows where a couple of patrons were sipping tea while others were chasing the dragon.

A very portly Calishite man slithered towards the PCs, arms extended in friendship. He introduced himself as Ibiz and welcomed them to his Oasis which he hoped they would make their Oasis. Ibiz had scars and pocks on his face which he tried to cover with makeup. Although he believed he was beautiful nothing could be farther from the truth. He appearance was borderline repugnant. The PCs allowed Ibiz to show them to a table where they all proceeded to lose a few coins while scoping out the Oasis.

The Rogue, a frequent visitor to these kinds of places fit in immediately. She moved around without arousing suspicion, gambling just enough to keep off the radar. She spotted a few rooms near the back of the Oasis where people seemed to hold private meetings. She briefly toyed with the idea of sneaking into one, but realized once inside she’d been seen by the occupants.

After about an hour the PCs left the Oasis, satisfied that some illegal activities and probably some clandestine meetings were taking place. They’d return later with the party to close the place down. They expected minimal resistance from Ibiz or his very docile patrons.

The Low Lantern

When the PCs arrive at the Low Lantern they discover it was a listing, three-mast ship permanently moored in the harbor that now serves as a festhall, tavern and gambling house.

The Paladin decided to enter alone. Drawing upon his performing background, his intention was to start playing his lyre and keep the patrons distracted while the other PCs entered unnoticed. Inside the Low Lantern the gaming tables were set up in the middle of the ship’s hull allowing patrons to easily move around the ship’s perimeter.

The Paladin spotted a small stage at the far end of the ship. He stepped up and began tuning his lyre. The crowd was obnoxious and mean spirited, taunting and insulting him. He began performing but failed to win over the unfriendly crowd (someone likened it to a scene from the Blues Brothers). As he struggled to play one of the strings snapped on his instrument which brought cheers from the crowd.

The other PCs entered the Low Lantern as soon as they heard the music start. The Mage and Monk stuck together while the Ranger wandered around solo. The crowd was all armed and looked dangerous. It was apparent that these were hardened pirates who often saw combat.

While scoping out the place, the Ranger noticed stairs going up to the main deck and another set going down to the lower holds. The stairs going down were chained off. He tried to sneak his way down unnoticed but got caught on the chain and fell. Some patrons laughed at his blunder. A bouncer picked him up and placed him at a gaming table.

A stern Half-Elvin woman came storming up the stairs to investigate all the ruckus. She was clearly in charge as the staff and patrons all quieted down and immediately showed her respect. She berated the Paladin for taunting her paying customers. She then walked the floor chatting with the regulars and introducing herself to the other PCs as Captain Laraelra Thundreth.

The Monk was a bit direct and impatient and flat out asked her if he could look around. She said he could go to the high roller area upstairs but not the private area below. He pulled out the writ of closure, identified himself as a member of the Flaming Fist and demanded complete access. Captain Thundreth didn’t flinch. She loudly exclaimed to the room that this man was here to shut them down and stop the party. The patrons were not amused. The PCs were outnumbered at least 5:1.

Captain Thundreth snatched the writ and ripped it into many small pieces before telling the Monk and the other PCs to leave now while they still could. The Monk, feeling justified, attacked her… and rolled a 1. She drew a sword and held it to his throat. She gave the party one last chance to leave before she let the crown at them. The PCs realized their predicament and left.

Second Chance at the Low Lantern

The party had agreed to meet back at a neutral location at a predetermined time. The Low Lantern group was really early. The Oasis group was right on time. When they compared their stories they realized that they should head back to the Low Lantern as quickly as possible so that they couldn’t destroy any important evidence. They all put on their Flaming Fist badges and ran as fast as they could back to the Low Lantern.

When the party finally got there they could hear the sounds of fighting coming from inside. The Rogue snuck up to the door and saw the city Watch battling the patrons. She quickly waved the PCs over. When the Watch saw the PCs with their Flaming Fist badges they pleaded for their assistance. The heroes immediately complied.

The ensuing combat didn’t take very long. The PCs made short work of the pirate thugs, knocking them out with almost every blow. However, the pirates didn’t stop attacking. With five of the eight Watch soldiers already down the Paladin decided that it was time to make a statement. He killed the next thug he battled, sending his long sword through the combatant’s chest in a bloody display. The room came to a dead halt.

The Paladin made an intimidate check and demanded that everyone drop their weapons and surrender. They all did. No one wanted to die. The PCs helped the watch detain the thugs and tend the wounded.

As soon as the fighting came to a stop the two Rangers and the Rogue heard sounds of movement upstairs. The three PCs ran up to investigate. They arrived just in time to see some of the thugs trying to escape through a porthole. A rope ladder was lowered down the side of the Low Lantern where a small row boat awaited them. The Rangers shot warning arrows at the men trying to flee and they immediately surrendered.

When the Rogue looked out the porthole she saw another rowboat way off in the distance. Captain Thundreth had clearly fled as soon as the fighting started. She was too far gone to catch now.

Once everyone was detained the Watch claimed jurisdiction on this mess. The PCs argued that they were here earlier and it was their collar, but when they couldn’t produce adequate paperwork they realized they were fighting a losing battle.

Fearing the Watch might be headed to the Oasis next the PC made there way there as fast as they could.

Second Chance at the Oasis

The PCs removed their Flaming Fist badges and entered the Oasis together. Nothing had changed from their earlier visit and again Ibiz welcomed them. The Rogue and Paladin asked if there was a somewhere they could play for high stakes in private. Ibiz personally showed them to one of the back rooms.

Once the door was closed the Rogue explained that they were under orders to shut down Oasis and preferred to do it quietly and orderly. Ibiz didn’t miss a beat and produced a sack of coins. He apologized for missing his last payment. The Rogue took the money and the Paladin produced his Flaming Fist badge and the writ. Ibiz realized his mistake and put up no fight at all.

The PCs allowed Ibiz to return to his office to collect his personal belongings before shutting down the Oasis. Ibiz told the patrons and employees that he had a personal emergency and that the gambling house would be closed until further notice. The PCs escorted Ibiz back to Wyrm’s Rock for questioning.

Although they didn’t meet with Ravengard personally when they returned, the ranking officer debriefed them. The PCs believed they’d failed since they didn’t get the collar for the Low Lantern. The officer explained the all Ravengard cares about is results. He doesn’t care that the Watch closed it down as long as it was closed which made the PCs feel a bit better.

Thoughts

I was a bit worried that the tasks set out for the PCs would be too simple and take no time at all. In a strange way the extremely large party I ended up with actually helped stretch the encounter out. It ended up taking a lot longer than I would have liked, but that was mostly due to the fact that most of the players missed the first week.

It never fails to amaze me how players can take what should be such a simple task and make it complicated by over-thinking it. I found that during this week’s session I was biting my tongue a lot when the players were talking to each other. They were making a lot of assumptions that I knew were wrong. Of course I did provide clarity when the players made statements of fact that their PCs would realize are actually incorrect.

One additional challenge we had this week was that two players were very young (I’m guessing in the 10-years old range). This actually helped me as the DM because it made me describe everything in very simple terms that even these young kids could relate to. I think the other players found it helpful as well for the same reasons. I know that having the kids at the table eliminated most of the cursing and swearing that always seems so rampant among the regular players (something I try to discourage during public play). I did find it challenging to hold the kids to the same standards as the adults. For example I made it an easy to moderate check when the kids wanted to look for “anyone sketchy” whereas I made the adult players be a lot more specific about what they believed would constitute sketchy.

I was a bit disappointed to see that the Stage 1 events were the only thing on the docket in-game for that day. It’s not like the PCs used a lot of their resources or spell allotments, but I don’t like players getting used to one combat and then an overnight rest. It doesn’t accurately reflect the characters’ true potential nor does it make the PCs feel like their ever in any real danger since they always go into every fight at full everything. I’m in the process of reading ahead and I hope that some of the upcoming sessions will all happen in the same day.

Now that we’re into the actual meat of the adventure where does your table stand? Which of the three principles did they align with? How did they handle the tasks set before them this week? Did any DMs beef up the combat or add an additional fight to keep things interesting?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sam V August 29, 2013 at 10:26 am

My players leaned more toward the Guild member Rilsa Rael, because of her Robin Hood style. They found Silvershield to be snooty, and Ravenguard seemed too orderly and formal. I ran two tables, one session right after the other, and both decided on Rael. The first group consisting of an elf paladin, an elf rogue, an elf mage, an elf cleric, and a half-elf fighter split up to meet all three offers, but went with Rael. The second party of a dwarf paladin, a gnome druid, a dwarf fighter, an elf mage and a human cleric only met with Rael. The first party had trouble and took some time to decide which offer to accept, but their mission went smoothly. The second group decided quickly, as they only met with Rilsa, but took a very long time figuring out how they were going to complete their mission. Their battles were a little easy, but that was my fault. We had extra people in both groups, and I didn’t balance the enemies well. During the battles, both groups did something odd. Two different players, one from each group, both paladins, decided to not actually fight, and instead used the hinder action to give enemies disadvantage. They both didn’t want to betray their alignments. After the battles everything went smoothly and the sessions ended with happy players.

2 dan August 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm

This week, we had a table of 4e, and a table of Next. At the table of Next, we had 8 players and the DM. There were a human rogue, a human druid, a rock gnome armadillo druid, an elf ranger, 2 half-orc barbarians, a forest gnome barbarians (me), and a dwarf fighter.
We had allied with the guild, and tried to stay in the good graces of Silvershield. As we had misused his writ last week, the guild contact informed us that he was displeased with us. We were pages for our services from last week, and given an extra 10% for our impressive level of success. Then, we talked next steps. 2 of the 3 people Silvershield had wanted us to apprehend had been arrested already, and the 3 was expected to be arrested soon. The contact gave us a plan: we would be smuggled into the square, where we would collect the target, and smuggle him to an undercellar, where we could gain access to a secret tunnel to the outer city, where he could take shelter.
We decided on the details on the way. One of the half-orc barbarians (#1) decided a distraction would be in order, and decided arson would be a good one. The rock gnome gave him a clockwork armadillo lighter, and he went to the other side of the square. The human rogue was to disguise herself as the target, and him as a commoner. The rest of us would provide further support as needed.
The plan started well. The merchant was finishing the last sale of the day. We waited,but made ourselves obviously impatient. The rogue said ‘your clothes. Give them to me,’ while the dwarf fighter said ‘come with us if you want to live.’ Somehow, the party was thinking terminator at the moment. We knew we didn’t have time to sugar coat things, and told him that the guild had sent us, and men were on the way to arrest him. While the rogue did her work, the dwarf kept an eye out for half-orc #1′s handiwork. At the first sign of smoke, the dwarf yelled ‘fire!’ and the crowd began to panic, and the remaining party members and the target (minus the double) fled the tent, joining the throng. I noticed a man trying to push through the crowd toward them, and cast minor illusion, so that only the party members could hear, and warned them all, and pointed him out to them. The fighter charged him, trying to knock him down in the fray, but failed miserably. He shouted ‘arsonist!’ from the ground, pointing at the man, and the gnome used this cue to cast another minor illusion to make it seem like he was holding a torch. In the mayhem, nobody realized it was an illusion, despite its sudden appearance, and believed the accusation. The dwarf tried to tackle him again, but failed.
We escaped to the undercellar without further incident.
We went into the tunnels, where only the half-orcs and the dwarf could see, so one took point, the other 2 rear. The gnomes followed behind the dwarf in front, the druid holding his clockwork armadillo lighter at the ready in case of emergency. The dwarf missed a spike pit, causing the forest gnome and himself both to fall in, but missed the spikes. Then the kobolds appeared.
The single-file restriction caused an otherwise easy combat to take a long time. Only few characters were within melee, and most of the ranged attacks missed. The dwarf climbed to the edge of the cliff with the gnome on his back. The other gnome rolled into a ball using his special armadillo hide armor, and was thrown by a half-orc, but hit the dwarf, causing both to fall into the pit. The other gnome had already climbed off the dwarf’s back, and killed a kobold. A few rounds later, two had been intimidated to flee from behind, and the kobold alchemist tried to flee, but was struck down.

3 bisonic August 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I ran a table of Next that started as six players and ballooned to ten players after twenty minutes in. The large group was a challenge but I’m trying to find another person with the time to DM.
We picked up the morning after the ambush and the players wanted to talk to Silvershield and work for him as well as the guild. The group chatted with Ss and then went to investigate Norold Dlusker, a cloth merchant whose family had hit on hard times. When they approached, Dlusker was talking to the Baliff of the wide and handed the man a bag. The players staged a fight to distract everyone so someone could investigate the stall but they found nothing suspicous. They talked to Dlusker but didn’t actually ask any questions and soon moved on.
They then moved to the Low Lantern to investigate the bar’s captain, Laraetha Thundreth, who was suspected of collusion with the Guild. The group had fun interactimg with the various people in the bar including several gamblers andbone hlfling thiefbwho was intimidated into confessing his role as a guild thief. The group investigated, poorly making insinuations and trying to snoop in the kitchen. Eventually the door was kicked in by the Flaming Fist who declared that the bar was closed and everyone was under arrest. The patrons did not take it well and the players egged the crowd on as it escalated into a bar fight. The Captain magically snuffed all the lights and made her way to her cabin and two players followed. Another player started making moltov cocktails and one barbarian shot the main Fist guy with crossbow which took the fight to lethal. The Captain was halfway down a ladder to an escape boat when one of the PC’s cut the ladder to slow her down but was foiled by Feather Fall. Back in the bar the fight escalated as the thrown cocktails hit more players than Fists. Eventually the Fists were knocked out and several players jumped into the water and got intot the Captain’s escape boat. The Captain came clean with the PC’s near her saying the Guild was at least honest about what they did.
The players then went to meet with Yrssa Brackrel, a cosmetics seller in the Wyrm Crossing. They talked to her and she invited the female PC’s in to give them a makeover and sell her goods. They noticed a number of components that could also be used for alchemy and produced the writ. Yssra turned white and confessed her guild connection then bought the PC’s off with a case of healing pots and a promise to leave town. We ended there before they reported back to Ss about what they found.
The group is torn by the politics of the situation. They don’t trust Ss and fear that they cannot go to the Fist after all they have done, putting them in the hands of the Guild. This is troubling to the more lawful players and I plan on giving them a lifeline to the Fist as the Guild gets more ruthless. There was a lot of good interaction and RP even though there was also a good number of bad decisions. It made for some fun situations like a back and forth theft of the Captain’s hat and charlatan shenanagins over which duke they might have worked for. As a DM I think I will give no points to Ss as the players thoroughly bungled his investigations. The FF was defeated but the bar was still closed so a point to them and one to the Guild for last week’s escapades. Hopefully they will just stick to the Guild track from now on.
I need to wrangle a second DM soon or the group size may drive my older players away. The newer players are in their late teens and early twenties and love the RP and that can take up time others would rather spend getting in to tactical fights like our previous encounters. I think some people have forgotten how to play their character as a person and not a set of combat stats. Investigation and interaction are not the group’s strong suits but they are starting to open up. I need to encourage it more than I used to.

4 Joe August 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm

We ran 2 tables of 7 at Modern Myths in Northampton, MA, both running a modified version of the adventure in 4e.

The modified adventure had a more traditional Encounters setup: there were reports of priests moving a large shipment of “offerings” from outer city up the hill. If the party was allied with the rogues, their job was to rob the temple guards & steal the shipment. If they were allied with the soldiers, they had to let the robbery happen, then attack the thieves to “recover” the shipment, skimming a little off the top to pay for new boots for the soldiers. If they were allied with the priests, they needed to defend the shipment.

My table, allied with the soldiers, waited near the pawn shop in the outer city, hiding themselves to ambush the thieves. The fight was pretty straightforward, though they did end up killing someone. I’ve been playing up that every time they kill someone, they get a flash of Bhaal’s symbol (from the cover of the adventure) in their eyes, so they all realize that killing is probably bad, though occasionally they forget. Ravengard had also told them not to kill any of the thieves, because they didn’t need to make more enemies in the outer city by killing someone’s brother. So after they’d knocked out each of the others, we ran a skill challenge (really more of a dark comedy type of argument) about how and where to dispose of the body.

We’ve handled the extended rest issue by saying that images of the killings that have happened plague their dreams, preventing them from getting a “good” night’s sleep until 4 sessions have passed (we’ve gone back to the old Encounters model of leveling-up during the extended rests).

Overall it worked well, but I have to say that the supposedly “tough” thugs in the downloaded stats were stupidly underpowered. Sure, they hit for okay damage, but with defenses of 11, I had people hitting them when they rolled a 2 or 3. That took a lot of the challenge out of the fight. I’m glad that I used new monsters for a lot of the future sessions, because “tough” is the last word I’d use to describe those thugs, and they appear pretty frequently if you follow the adventure as written in the printed product.
Joe´s last blog post ..What The Average Joe Thinks…Dungeons & Dragons: Murder in Baldur’s Gate

5 Mike August 29, 2013 at 11:17 pm

We had the same group of six again, two human wizards, one pixie wizard, druid/warlock(me) and rabbit hengeyokai rogue. After the last session, we had decided to support the thieves guild. On the way to the meeting, the rogue asked if he could try to buy some poison and eventually found a “perfume shop” that was able to help him. The pixie bought a bottle of perfume almost as big as she was while we were there. Rilsa took us to a pawn shop and had us meet with some of the Guild Leaders. She gave the paladin a hard time for whacking one of the thieves in the back of the head from behind last session, but he coolly said “that’s the best time to hit them in the head”. She also questioned all of our motives which were variously: money, to help the oppressed, to bring order to the city. Overall she seemed satisfied. Then, it was our turn to ask questions. Mainly about the politics of the city and what the Guild was actually doing to help people. Rilsa explained that the Duke who had been killed had been friendly to them and there would be an election to replace him at some point. We wanted to know who the Guild wanted or didn’t want to replace him and what they were going to do to achieve that or bring peace to the city. She claimed that they did not have any plans and didn’t even know who any of the candidates were. She was similarly vague about what they actually did with the money they stole. Not reassuring. We almost walked out on her, but in the end we agreed to help her if she would use some of the money to help the wounded and families of the slain from the previous fight at the gate.
Her mission was simple, to rob a disguised wagon taking taxes to the priests. We asked her assurances that this was indeed a tax wagon and not in fact transporting holy relics and she assured us that it was only gold. Our plan was to wait until the cart was in a narrow street, then have our wizards create illusions of cultists coming to attack from the front and the back. The paladin would disguise himself as a Flaming Fist and rush in and direct them down a narrow alley to escape. Half our team would be waiting in the alley and half would follow the cart in. Surrounded and with no maneuverability, hopefully they would surrender or if not we would have an easy fight.
The plan only half worked. None of the PC’s in the alley bothered hiding since we assumed the pitch black night would hide us, but the chief guard was a gnome and had infravision, so he only had the wagon half into the alley when he noticed us and stopped. The battle was swift nonetheless. The paladin took out one of the guards. The rogue bloodied the gnome in one blow. He also accidentally knocked the cart driver out and broke his leg causing him to start bleeding out. The gnome had an immediate reaction to turn invisible, but the other wizards targeted him with area effects and tumbled him around the alley until he slammed up against the wall with 0 hp. The pixie also used mage hand to administer his only healing potion to the cart driver. Finally on my turn I grabbed the unconscious gnome and threatened to kill him if the other guards didn’t drop their weapons, which they did. We stabilized the gnome and then tied everyone up and took the cart to a different alley to search before returning to Rilsa. The cart DID have religious artifacts and magical weapons, but there was a large amountt of gold too. Five times more than Rilsa had predicted. We took the magic weapons since our agreement had only been to return the goal. Our DM suggested we could lie and only return half the gold and keep the difference for ourselves, but we decided to play it honest today.
Most of the session today was spent in talking. The fight only lasted one round. So it does look like this is going to end up being a mainly talking adventure for us. So far I have not been impressed with the thieves. They do not seem competent, honest or to actually care about the welfare of Baldur’s Gate. Perhaps that was just because they did not trust us yet, but if they still appear the same way we might have to switch allegiance to the priests or possibly even the Flaming Fists.

6 Justin Yanta August 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm

So with school starting this week a lot of kids did not show up. So we had 1 table of 6 and 1 table of 5. My table was the same people as last week and the other table was also the same. So the two tables were:
Guild Table:
- Half-Elf Wizard (Twil)
- Human Ranger (Owl)
- Half-Orc Cleric (Lucy)
- Wood Elf Paladin (Woodarrow)
- Stout Halfling Barbarian (Kah-Kaww)
- Tinker Gnome Rogue (Nezzle)

Flaming Fist Table:
- Human Monk
- Dwarf Fighter
- Half-Elf Cleric
- Half-Orc Fighter

Now the great thing is that we had done different tasks. Terry (FF GM) and Me (Guild GM) got together before the encounter and went over what happened. Since Nant was still alive and Laura was alive but full of arrows (having escaped down the river) we could use them in our adventures. So the FF went to the Temple to talk to a healing Nant and Laura would be running into my group when they made it to the upper city. So now Stage 2

Stage 2:
Guild Table:
The party made it back to Little Calimshan and they counted out their money and made sure the gold and property was given to the poor. By the time they finished everything it was getting close to morning. They headed back to Rael’s store and sold some items and paid here 10 gp to store some items so they did not have to carry around everything. So I had the group describe all what they are now carrying and what their clothing options are. The Wizard was wearing fancy purple velvet robes and the Paladin was wearing a bring green cloak lined with fur. Nezzle decided she would were her noble clothing since she had her id for being a Baldur’s Gate noble (charlatan). The others were wearing armor and carrying weapons but nothing that was out of the ordinary.
(Special Note SPOILER: In Stage 1 the group robbed Nant and beat him up. The interesting thing is that they found 2 books that looked interesting. They found a book on dragons in the area and a book on the noble families in Baldur’s Gate. They don’t know that the noble book will be useful for Stage 3)

Rael offered the group room for the night so they could rest and they accepted. So after all that they laid down to sleep but were awoken after 3 hours by banging on Rael’s door. Rael opened the door and it was an informant from the upper city that needed her help. That people were being assaulted in the streets and they needed help. The party got up and headed to the upper city.

Since it was still early morning (around 7AM-9AM) the party was surprised that they hit a long line of people trying to get into the upper city and the Flaming Fist looking over everyone for weapons and contraband. The Flaming Fist looked to be in a bad mood and was slowing down everyone. The party used their celebrity status to skip to the front of the line and make it pass without much of a look. The party made it to the center of the upper city and noticed a lot of the watch pulling things from people and arresting others. A LARGE group of watch were guarding a dwarf with a wrapped hand as he shook down people for fines. The group moved to stop them and noticed their nemesis Nant working to collect fees from the citizens and he turned to the group with a gleam in his eye. At this same time the party finally read one of the papers that I kept telling them was posted everywhere. I used the printout from the Encounter’s Site (thank you so much) to give everyone at the table the letter. So they read it while Nant and his 10 watch guards moved forward to the party. Nant yelled at the group that they were in violation and they had to remove all offending items. The Wizard, Twill, was forced to strip (he was not wearing anything underneath) and the cloak was taken from the Paladin, Woodarrow. Nezzle was going to be forced to strip when she showed off her identification and they backed off (Successful Bluff). Lucy the Half-Orc decided she had enough. She turns to me and says, “They can do that to us. I am going to intimidate them to give back all our stuff”. I look over the Half-Orc and oh cool it had ADV on intimidate rolls. Well with a 10 in CHA and a difficult task (20) I did not think she might get it. She rolls an 18 followed by a 20. She scared the piss out of the group and they quickly gave back everything. They just demanded that the group leave the upper city now and remember the rules from now on. Nant and his group turned tail and ran (hey he was still hurt).

Twil got dressed again and the group planned on returning to Nant’s house and this time cutting off his legs, or maybe a whole arm. The group was grumbling and planning (they also did not like the idea that there would be nothing to steal since they just cleared him out last night), when Laura the owner of the Low Lantern showed up heavily bandaged and wanting to talk to Rael. She started saying that the Flaming Fist barged into the Low Lantern and started killing off all the patrons. She only managed to escape by climbing down the rope to her row boat. She was almost all the way gone when she was hit by 2 arrows and she just laid down in the boat and pretended that she died. She mentions that she had a friend bandage her up and let her rest. She just learned about what was happening in the upper city and knew Rael would be here to check it out. Lucy decided she would bandage up Laura and rolled a nice 18 to wrap some clean bandages. Laura was very grateful for this and said she would like if the group could come with her to check on the Low Lantern. She did not feel safe with all the Flaming Fist walking around.
(Special Note: SPOILER The other group was the Flaming Fist that attacked the Low Lantern. They ran in with weapons drawn and attacked the people with weapons. They KILLED everyone they fought in the Low Lantern and even tried to kill Laura as she escaped (with arrows). After all that they set fire to the boat to destroy the den of evil or so they said)

Rael then turned to the group and said that the people needed to do something more to get the partisan’s attention. She suggested vandalizing the area with paint and she hoped got others to see what was truly going on. The group said that was beneath them and they did not want to hurt the partisans or other citizens. They wanted to hurt the Watch and Flaming Fist. So they decided it might be time to vandalize the Watch home in the upper city. I told them it was in the middle of the day and if they were going to dress back up in the clothing/masks from last night they would be attacked on sight since the Watch and Flaming Fist know the masks now. They decided they needed a better disguise or come back later so they decided to follow Laura back to the lower city to check on the Low Lantern. Twil started hitting on Laura which got Owl (his companion in game and RL girlfriend) upset (not really she was laughing when she said she was upset). So Owl was not happy but followed the rest of the group keeping a close eye on Twil. They made it almost all the way to the Low Lantern when they ran into a Flaming Fist patrol that was harassing citizens and tearing apart stores. The group got upset with this and they turned to each other and said, “You know what. We need to take the Flaming Fist uniforms, dress up as Flaming Fist and attack the Watch. Then loot and vandalize the Watch.

The group went to talk to the Flaming Fist and were surrounded (I had 3 Flaming Fist Sergeants, 8 Privates, and I gave them 10 thugs that were just muscle for the Flaming Fist). Lucy tried to intimidate but failed, Nezzle tried to persuade and did well enough to keep them listening but not to do anything (made it a hard 20 to get them to leave). It was Twil that used his city knowledge to bluff the group that they saw people attacking citizens in the upper city and that they needed to help them out. Twil rolled a 20 and everyone yelled out a cheer as the Flaming Fist quickly stopped going after the citizens but ran to catch the attackers in the upper city. This left the thugs who decided to pick on the group as they might have some information. The group quickly attacked the thugs and a different group of tough thugs were attacking people in the inn looking for information. So the battle was quick and bloody as they party did not hold back at all and killed all the thugs/tough thugs. The highlight of the evening was the Halfling, Kah-Kaww, 3 rounds in a row failed to shoot though a window at a tough thug. He rolled a 3, then a 2 and finally a 1 followed by a 1 with his Halfling reroll. The window was defeating Kah-Kaww. So Lucy decided she needed to show him how it was done. She grabbed Kah-Kaww and beat his dex vs. str check to get picked up. She then threw him through the window at the tough thug. I told her she would be at Disadvantage since he is fighting her and KNOW the window is impossible to defeat. So she rolls a 20 and everyone laughs since she has to reroll. She picks up a different die and closes her eyes and rolls… a 20, yes 2 crits. I tell her she picks up the Halfling and throw him through the window striking the Tough Thug with the flying Halfling. Since this was an improvised weapon I had her roll 2d4s + STR for damage and she got 7 total. I then gave 1/2 damage to the Halfling for running into the Tough Thug. It was the funniest thing to see that happen.
(Special Note: You remember the Flaming Fist that we bluffed. Well those were the same Flaming Fist that caught the other group beating up a group of citizens. The group were not wearing their Flaming Fist insignia at the time and the citizens were a group of vandals. The group finally got the Flaming Fist patrol to back down and tried to get information from the vandals where the guild is operating from. The vandals finally broke (not really) and gave up a establishment that had no Guild ties. The group went and ransacked the establishment and confiscated everything. Now they are staying in the upper city for the night and trying to catch who lives there.)

So 2 weeks down and 2 great stories. I can’t wait to see what the groups do next.

7 Vobekhan August 30, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Another excellent week with 2 full tables both running D&DNext.

I’m really enjoying the openess of this adventure and the flexibility in customising it to fit your individual groups style of play. My table having sided with both the Guild and the Fist (though for how much longer remains to be seen) had three tasks before them this week, ambush the tax collector and close the Oasis and Low Lantern.

Even overrunning our 2 hour time slot (I almost missed my bus home) we only managed to complete 2 tasks, and shall begin next session approaching the Low Lantern.

After discussion with my fellow DM, Liam, we decided to try running the whole session mapless this week to see how the new players handled it as many had only been playing D&D since the start of this season. I think it worked well, but I will probably use a map of some sort for the Lantern next week (probably the one from the earlier Neverwinter season).

With the players reactions on the closure of the Oasis I forsee that they may soon choose to follow only the Guild, though the halfling cleric seems firmly set to “uphold the law” – it’s definitely going to get interesting.
Vobekhan´s last blog post ..D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 2

8 Vobekhan August 30, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Oh, in case anyone was wondering, the silver dagger is a +1 silver dagger with the “gleaming” property. I didnt want to just give a basic +1 weapon and thought the gleaming would fit nicely with the dagger being in the refuse.
Vobekhan´s last blog post ..D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 2

9 evermore September 4, 2013 at 7:30 am

my week 2 was a bit different i manged to get the 3 meetings of all the main cast in but, i had a minor thing escalate,
after the battle and death of the duke and after the other had requested meetings, i started a NPC ruckus over what to to with the dead dukes body!
long story the outer city caused a minor unrest and stole the body to take and paraded their hero in there quarter!! ( lot of failed rolls tried to clam the subject) latter in the day they joined with the flaming fist too, but on there way back to town there where way layed by this paraded again!, this time they got better crowd control and agreed that the body be taken back to the city, but this was a win for the outer city peoples! in general
they met with Rael, but crazily showed there fist pin badges! i didnt kill them on the spot but im a little unsure how to play this one as they agreed to help with the tax collector and gave the guild info on the fists plans!, the rest of the day they investigated the tax collector but he was doing a normal job obnoxious but normal.. they are currently on there way to the low lantern! where they know something is up inside (brawl)but we ended there!
I’d hate to close the guild and fist off to them at this early stage next week will be epic or tonight i mean!

10 evermore September 11, 2013 at 6:34 am

week 3, should have been simple close the lantern and oasis
the lantern fight was ok but then they lost the plot i started the law on clothing and vandalism plots , they stopped the fist being brutal to foringerners , but then inadvertently aided some vandals because they didn’t under stand thieves cant, thy wanted to enter the nobels quarter btu where wearing furs and didnt want to give this up foguht the watch and lost so now i’m escorting them to prison! arrgh!

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