D&D Encounters: Murder in Baldur’s Gate (Week 3)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 5, 2013

murder-in-baldurs-gate-coverThe PCs, working as agents of the Flaming Fist, closed down two gambling dens during last week’s adventure. During this week’s session they didn’t have any official duties so they took the opportunity to get to know the streets and landmarks of Baldur’s Gate a little better.

At Harry T North in Toronto we continue to see a fantastic turn out for D&D Encounters. We ran two tables, one with eight players and one with nine players. Our third DM knew he would be absent this week so he and his six players took the week off and plan to do a double session next week. Our fourth DM was unable to play this week so we proceeded with the massive tables.

My party was relatively unchanged from last week. Seven PCs returned, one player changed his character, and we had one brand new player. This is how the party shaped up in the end: two Elf Rangers, Human Cleric, Dwarf Fighter, two Human Monks, Half-Elf Paladin, Halfling Rogue, and Elf Mage.

Without any clear direction or orders this session, the PCs were free to do whatever they wanted. This seemed to throw the players off, but as the night progressed they got more into it. They decided to break into smaller groups as they each explored different areas of Baldur’s Gate.

Music Lovers

The Paladin and Rogue went shopping for a new lyre to replace the one the Paladin destroyed during last week’s trip to the Low Lantern. They started their search in the Outer City but couldn’t find what they wanted. The Paladin eventually decided to head to the Wide where he knew he’d find better merchandise.

As they passed through the Basilisk’s Gate they noticed the absence of the surly Dwarf toll collector, Nant Thangol. Others noticed this too. According to the chatter Nant was injured. The PCs flashed their Flaming Fist badges and asked the new toll collector what happened. He explained that after the gate closed last night Nant was beaten and robbed. There were no witnesses and there are no leads.

When the PCs reached the Upper District they noticed that the Watch was harassing a party of adventurers. These adventurers were pretty rough and tumble looking. The Watch was demanding that they hand over two really nice looking items – a magical hand crossbow and a magical broach. When the adventurers refused and the Watch tried to take the items. Unwilling to part with their treasures the adventurers instead agreed to put the items away and out of sight. This satisfied the Watch. The PCs merely looked on in amazement.

The Paladin had no trouble finish a suitable replacement instrument in the Wide. The Rogue wandered around while her companion shopped. She was approached by a shady looking man who flashed her hand signs in thieves’ cant. He suggested she meet with his employer in Little Calimshan tonight. He explained that the party was being duped by their Flaming Fist masters and they were actually doing more harm than good by working for them. Curious to learn more she agreed to meet.

The Bounty Hunters

The Monk, Ranger, and Mage decided to head into the city and find a bounty using the Monk’s connections. They too noticed the absence of Nant Thangol at the Basilisk’s Gate. Much like the other PCs they flashed their badges and got the same story.

Once in the Lower City, they noticed a patrol of the Flaming Fist explaining to a group of middle class merchants that they were no longer allowed to wear the fine silks they were currently dressed in. They explained politely that new sumptuary laws were in effect. They’d have to remove the offending articles and keep them out of site lest the items be confiscated. The merchants were confused and upset but complied.

The PCs asked the officers more about what they’d just witnessed. The officers showed them the written proclamation they’d been issued that morning explaining the new law. It was all perfectly legal. The Fist reminded the PCs that they were subject to these new rules as well and should keep their own fine weapons hidden.

Moving on, the PCs found the Monk’s contact and took on a bounty. They were looking for a man wanted in conjunction with three robberies. Witnesses remember seeing him near all three locations at the time of the crimes. Although they couldn’t see the suspect’s face they all remembered seeing a very unique dagger.

With a little bit of information gathering the heroes found that their quarry frequented a few local restaurants regularly. They decided to visit one and see if he was there or if anyone knew anything. The first stop was a specialty restaurant in the Dwarven community. None of the employees or patrons were willing to talk to the PCs (likely because none of them were Dwarven). The PCs decided to have lunch and wait.

Weapon Seekers

The Cleric, Monk, and Ranger decided to buy new weapons and replenish their supplies. The Monk and Ranger were both dirt poor and felt more comfortable shopping in the Outer District. They had no trouble finding great deals on new bow and arrows, replacement javelins and even a decent club.

Feeling proud of their successful bargain hunting they decided to celebrate with lunch in the city. When they reached the Basilisk’s Gate and heard what happened they felt it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Once in Lower City they wandered aimlessly looking for a nice place to eat. They too witnessed the Flaming Fist enforcing the new sumptuary laws. Four Fists were demanding a man give up his sword. The man was not happy and refused. The Fist held him down and forcefully took his sword. They explained it would be held at the Wyrm’s Rock and he could retrieve it tomorrow. The man was furious but was not about to fight four armed guards.

The Monk followed the man while the Cleric and Ranger followed the Fist guards. The Ranger was the only PC in this group with a Flaming Fist badges (since the other two PCs were new to the party) so he asked the patrol what was going on. They respected the badge despite his poor appearance and showed him the proclamation. They recommended that he hide his newly acquired weapons, which he did.

The Monk caught up to the sword-less man and asked what was happening. The man was irate and explained that the Fist had gone too far. He was going to get his friends and they were going to retrieve the stolen sword.

The Gambler

The Fighter decided that he wanted to be alone or at least away from the party, so he ventured into Baldur’s Gate alone. He heard about Nant Thangol’s predicament but didn’t really care. He was oblivious to the enforcement of the sumptuary laws going on around him. He kept his head down and feet moving. Eventually he found a private club in the Dwarven area where he could play some cards.

After an hour of playing he wasn’t doing very well until his luck changed and he won a huge pot. When he decided to leave with his winnings the other players refused to let him leave. They demanded a chance to win back their money. He begrudgingly agreed. After losing a few hands he again tried to leave and was again told he couldn’t.

At this point two men entered the club, one screaming about how the Fist just stole his sword. He explained how the Fist were robbing regular, honest, hard-working people in broad daylight. He called a few gamblers by name and demanded they come with him to take back what was rightfully theirs. The man’s companion (the Monk) made no indication he knew the Fighter.

Five men decided to go with the sword-less man and the Monk and track down the thieving Fits officers. The Fighter kept his head down and mouth shut.

After the commotion was over the Dwarf decided he needed to leave no matter how insistent the gamblers were that he stays. Before everyone focused their attention back on the game he stood up, grabbed as many coins and he could from the table and ran out the door. Unfortunately he only got a few coins and a couple of playing cards with his grab.

One of the other gamblers had already drawn a dagger and threw it at the Fighter. With a natural 20 it cut the Fighter’s purse strings and his pouch fell to the floor. Focused completely on fleeing, the Fighter didn’t notice his loss and was just happy to get out alive. He ran a few blocks before hiding in a nearby restaurant. The Mage, Ranger and Monk were having lunch at one of the tables.

The Restaurant

The bounty hunters explained what was going on. The Fighter, being a Dwarf, donned his Flaming Fist badge and spoke in Dwarven to the staff. He asked for their help locating the suspect. It was clear that they didn’t want to get involved but did confirm that the suspect ate here regularly. The PCs told the employees that the man was very dangerous and they should be careful. This convinced them to be more cooperative. They told the PCs that he ate here and at another nearby restaurant. The PCs paid their tab and left for the other location.

As soon as they stepped out the door a Flaming Fist guard came running towards them. He was bleeding and winded. Spotting the Fighter’s badge he ran towards him.

“Help, there’s a riot in progress a few blocks from here. A group of thugs attacked my patrol. The others are down and we need reinforcements.”

The other three PCs immediately put on their badges and they all ran towards the sounds of the fighting.

Street Fighters

The Monk, his new friend and the pose they’d rounded up were looking for trouble. The Ranger and Cleric were still in the area and spotted them wandering the streets. Realizing that this could be trouble they followed the growing crowd.

As soon as the sword-less man spotted a Flaming Fist patrol he pointed and said they were the ones with his sword. Without waiting for a response or confirming that these were the correct guards (they were not) the mob charged. About a dozen thugs began beating on the Flaming Fists. The Ranger made sure his badge was visible and he and the Cleric joined the fight. One of the Fist officers managed to get away and ran to get help.

A few minutes later he returned with the Mage, Ranger, Monk and Fighter. With the PCs on the side of the Flaming Fist the battle shifted quickly. After a few more rounds the aggressors were either knocked out or they decided to flee. Many of the thugs were detained and the PCs were asked to escort them back to the Wyrm’s Rock for processing.

On the way out of the Lower City the Paladin and Rogue caught up to the PCs. They exchanged tales of what they’d done that day. The Rogue secretly asked the Ranger, Cleric and Monk to come with her to meet a friend. The four PCs slipped away from the group and headed for Little Calimshan.

Testing Loyalties

The Rogue led the PCs through the winding streets of Little Calimshan to Calm Jewel Emporium. Once inside they met a woman named Rilsa. She explained that she worked with the Guild and that the Fist was using the PCs. The gambling houses that were closed generated revenue used to help the poorest of the poor in the Outer City. Closing them only hurt the people who needed the most help while giving Silvershield and Ravengard more power.

She confirmed that the attack on Nant Thangol was her people and that the dirty money they stole was used to feed and clothe the people who needed it most. She openly criticized the new sumptuary laws pointing out that it disempowered the people who most needed to stand up to the people in charge.

She begged the PCs to reconsider their allegiance to the Flaming Fist and instead work for the Guild. If they were unwilling to work for the Guild she’d just be happy if they stopped helping the Flaming Fist. The PCs present were convinced and decided to try and persuade the other PCs to jump ship.

Thoughts

The lack of formal structure or a showpiece combat worried me this week, but in the end I think things came tighter nicely. The players took a bit to get warmed up to the complete freedom they had, but they really flexed their imaginations by the end.

As I become more familiar with Baldur’s Gate I find that as the DM I can present the PCs with more options. Likewise as I continue reading ahead in the adventure I can set the seed of what’s to come.

At this point the players are still a bit unclear on their ultimate goal, but I think that’s part of the fun this season. Everyone knows something’s coming but no one has a clear idea of what that might be yet.

What did your group do this week? How did they react to the sumptuary laws? Have any other parties had members shift their allegiance yet?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joe September 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

At the two Modern Myths locations (Northampton MA & Mamaroneck, NY) we ran 4e, continuing to use the altered version of the adventure I wrote to better suit organized play settings with people often swapping tables.

This week I had taken the “some people are getting killed by falling roof tiles” adventure seed and turned it into a request from Coran to investigate because too many convenient “accidents” had killed wealthy people walking through the area, whose bodies had mysteriously been found devoid of coin.

At my table (6 players), the party went to the Lower City where the rooftile deaths were happening and did lots of looking around and talking to locals. Arcana checks revealed a lingering sense of summoning magic in the area, and someone smelled brimstone. They went to interrogate the local magic salesman, who knew nothing about infernal summonings (“I think those are illegal, and I always abide the letter of the law!”). Next they found a seedier alley with less-scrupulous street vendors (which I named “Portabello Road”, after the site in Disney’s Bedknobs & Broomsticks). While they found plenty of unsavory folks, they were not able to figure out who was doing the summoning.

Fortunately, the party saw movement on a rooftop, and ran up to investigate, finding several fire mephits (lvl 3) and imps (minions). After a longer and harder fight than I expected, the last one was defeated and sucked back to the Abyss whence it came. As it left, it said “You are good at killing, just like that other one will be… the one with fire in his name and killing in his past.” (The adventure was written to have the creature give a different clue depending on who is further on that secret thing that DMs are keeping track of).

The party didn’t make much of the clue at the time, but instead went back to their base at the Elfsong Tavern to report to Coran. They then (once again) had troubled dreams, which prevented them from getting a “good” extended rest (they’ll finally get one after next session, when they level up).
Joe´s last blog post ..What The Average Joe Thinks…Of Dice & Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It

2 Michael September 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

We had 7 people at a table playing 4E at Modern Myths Mammaroneck. Two of our previous group couldn’t make it and we had three new members. One of them was an an assassin wolf/shifter who had his tongue torn out by demons and couldn’t speak. Also a dragonborn paladin and a changeling. We slept late that morning and met up with Rilsa. While we were sleeping the priests of Gond arrested Wilbur Brassbreaker the dwarf we framed for robbing the priests. (Apparently we accidentally framed a cousin of Nant Thangol, not Nant himself.) The watch arrested him, then he escaped, killing some watch members, and was in hiding. The Fists got mad and started fights with the watch and cracking down on the populace, which rioted and by the time we were up, 14 citizens, several Fists and one more Watch were dead. It looks like the surface peace of the city has finally cracked. As the local heroes we needed to do something.

Rilsa took us to a temple of Ilmater and soup kitchens where she showed us the charity they were giving with the money we stole. Then, she told us that they had a candidate and a plan for winning the election of the next Duke, but wouldn’t tell us who it was. This made us feel better that they were at least doing something and at least had a plan, so we wouldn’t necessarily have to switch to the priests. I suggested that they aly with the priests against the Flaming Fists as obviously the Guild couldn’t win by itself and the Fists seemed worse, but Rilsa refused, saying that the priests were just as bad. We had a bit of a player conflict. Our pixie witch stayed in character as a rural pixie first time in the city, asking a lot of naïve questions which frustrated the assassin as he wanted to get to the fighting. Unfortunately for him, since he had no tongue he could not effectively threaten her in game, and just waved his fist menacingly.

After the meeting our group split up. The magic users got an offer to join the local mage guild which they accepted after some haggling. The assassin and changeling decided to spy on the Fists. The changeling disguised himself as a young cheerleader type and they tried to eavesdrop on their practice grounds. They overheard Ravensgard talking to Gilden Marsh, the muderous javelin thrower from session one. They found out that the Fists felt Brassbreaker was framed and were hiding him. Also they were going to raid two gambilng dens belonging to the Guild.

The rest of us went to visit the priests. I was hoping that there was some way we could get on their good side and act as a bridge between them and the Guild to at least bring a little more calm to the city. We apologized for missing the last meeting explaining that we were ambushed and it was more important to track down the perpetrators. Imbrillum was very excited and asked if we found the Guild’s headquarters. I lied and said we just found a safe house which we had destroyed “with prejudice”. I then bluffed that we had found a message saying an outside thief was coming in to the guild for a leadership position, and offered to ambush him, have our changeling take his place and give them a spy into the guild. Imbrillum was even more frightened of a “foreign” thief coming to the city and said they would have the watch arrest anyone with that appearance and seemed open to the plan. I hope that if the priests and Guild each think that they are spying on/manipulating each other they will be less threatened and less likely to actually fight each other and more likely to work for the good of the city.

We all regrouped and exchanged information and told Rilsa about the raid on the gambling dens and the plan to create a double agent with the priests. She seemed interested and declined our offer to help with the gambling dens. Our meeting took place in Bella’s charm shop and she gave the pixie seven flowers that he could enchant to allow creatures to fly for one round. We had an evening meeting with Coran where he offered a reward to track down whoever had been knocking people unconscious with roof tiles and robbing them. It sounded like the Guild’s work, but they hadn’t mentioned anything to us so we agreed.

The raven and Pixie scouted the rooftops from above, while the rest of the party shadowed them on the streets. The pixies soon spotted an imp hiding on a roof and relayed that to the team below. We surrounded the roof and prepared to ambush the imps. The Pixie suggested giving my grizzly bear the ability to fly too, to get him on the roof. The bear, however, was afraid of flying and it took all of our persuasive ability and a promise of fresh fish to persuade him to try flying. (In retrospect, I obviously should have given him a “magic feather” from my raven to boost his confidence.)

We swooped to the top saw a mob of imps and fire mephits and got a surprise round. We tried to capture some of the imps, but they kept poofing out of existence when knocked unconscious or being destroyed by their allies if grabbed. The fight was tougher than I expected, with most of us getting ongoing fire and/or poison damage. Our poor human wizard got poisoned and ongoing fire twice, but he bravely took double opportunity attacks for a chance to blast the last fire mephit and imp with an ice spell. The paladin dropped his mace on a natural one, but the pixie handed it back to him with mage hand. The assassin, finally got to yell at the pixie since his wolf form had a tongue. Two of the party nearly died, myself and the human wizard and both my grizzly and raven got killed. We did get the parting prophecy about being good at killing just like the other [one]. I remember the imp saying that it was another pixie, but maybe it was just talking to the pixie. Either way I will be looking out for an evil pixie. That also implied that they had not in fact been summoned by the Guild. Is there a secret fourth faction around, that is deliberately trying to set everyone at each other’s throat?

Reaction:

Overall, it was a fun session. Much more role playing and less fighting than usual. I like role playing so I was happy, but some of the more combat oriented PC’s were a little impatient. The combat was also more challenging especially compared to last week, when I don’t think the enemies even got the chance to attack. I enjoyed the flexibility to do what I felt was needed to bring peace to Baldur’s Gate even though out of character I know that it isn’t really possible. Finally we get a hint that there is some sort of supernatural force manipulating everyone, and who our true enemy really is. I definitely appreciate the difficulty of trying to keep multiple players with different styles of play happy, especially when the number of PC’s is expanded to 7.

3 Vobekhan September 5, 2013 at 7:11 pm

we had another good weeks turnout, running 2 tables of Next again. My table had the same 5 players, while Liam’s had 3 of his regulars and his partner joined us for her very first experience of D&D.

As my group are trying to juggle allegiance to 2 patrons they still had a task to perform this week, shutting down the Low Lantern. This brought them into conflict with some of the patrons and a trio of Watchmen.

We had some scuffles and following a chase through the streets another brief but one-sided battle which left one pc lying on the cobbles until the halfling priest caught up and healed her (in the nick of time, having failed 2 death saves).

The party attended the state funeral for Duke Adrian and with Silvershields revelation of the Sumptuary Laws I was pleasantly surprised by the players actual reactions (general consensus calling it a “dick move”).

The session ended with the halfling and half-orc fighter convincing the others to hang around in the Upper City in an effort to confront the Dukes or the Parliament about the Watch interfering in the Lower City (as well as their corrupt tax collectors).
Vobekhan´s last blog post ..D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 3

4 Justin Yanta September 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

(Sorry for the long writeup) The saga continues this week with the Party planning their next heist against the Watch (planning to vandalize the watch while wearing Flaming Fist uniforms). This week the showing was a little less (again school kept quite a few people away), so we still had 2 tables:
Guild Table:
- Half-Elf Wizard (Twil)
- Human Ranger (Owl)
- Half-Orc Cleric (Lucy)
- Wood Elf Paladin (Woodarrow)
- Tinker Gnome Rogue (Nezzle)

Flaming Fist Table:
- Human Monk (Showed up at 7:05)
- Halfling Rogue
- Half-Elf Cleric
- Half-Orc Fighter
- Half-Elf Paladin (Showed up at 7:00)
- Stout Halfling Barbarian (Kah-Kaww)

Since we had all 6 of the players at my table and only 3 for the other table Kah-Kaww joined them so that he could try and get some of the Flaming Fist uniforms for the Guild party. Since I ran the Guild table I will mostly say what happened at that table and give highlights of the other table.

Night before Stage 3:
(Guild Party)
The party searched the Low Lantern for what happened and found out that the fire that burned down the Low Lantern was caused by the Flaming Fist. They checked though the rubble for any bodies and anything to salvage but it was all destroyed. The Guild was unsuccessful with getting the Flaming Fist Uniforms but would be able to get them the next day. The party then went back to Little Calimshan and found some room to sleep for the night. This gave time to Woodarrow to be contacted by her God (Rillifan Rallathil) and filled with divine purpose gaining the use of Cure Wounds and Bless. Lucy also communed with her God and gained the ability to channel her God’s Divinity. Rael took Nezzel aside and taught her the Thieves’ Cant so she could talk to others and so she would be able to read the Guild’s symbols around town to find places to get help. The party finally lays down to sleep till the next morning.

Stage 3 Day 1:
(Guild Party Morning)
The party awakes to noise coming from parts of Little Calimshan as the Flaming Fist is searching the area. The party finds out that hands of several statues were cut off and the Upper and Lower city residents are furious. Owl and Nezzle both crit on reading Rael’s expressions and emotions and figured out that the Guild most likely committed these crimes.

The party did not want to be seen by the Flaming Fist so they left quietly and headed to the harbor where 3 of the statues that lost hands were. The party inspected the statues and saw that they were professionally done. That the hands were removed with care and could easily be resorted if found. This was done by a master of stonework. As they inspected the statues they were stopped by Skoond. He had noticed them and told them about the Horrors and Rot in the city. He asked them to come with him to meet with Silvershield so they could hear his take on what is happening in the city. Twil accepted this invitation quickly just so he could learn more about Silvershield and what he might be up too. The others also agreed and heading to the Silvershield estate.

(Flaming Fist Party Morning to Night)
They were searching the Undercity most of the night for Guild activity and spent the night in the Upper City. So when day broke and they heard the news they headed to the statues in the upper city and saw the hands removed. The also noticed that Minsc and Boo’s statue was unharmed. Ravenshield requested the party to inspect the know guild hideouts for the hands and to see if they could find any trail. They spent most of the day searching for the hands but with no luck.

(Guild Party Afternoon)
The Party was greeted by Silvershield and given a large assortment of food and drink (VERY high end) as Silvershield spun his tale of corruption and rot for people not of Baldur’s Gate. He told them of the crimes of the Guild and that even the Flaming Fists were looking above their station and trying to take on more authority then allowed. He painted the picture of how they partisans only wanted what was best for the city and they needed a way to protect themselves. They felt they can only trust each other so they had the rule past to help people know the leaders of the city that they could trust and to push all these impersonators. He felt it was the Guild that removed the hands and wanted the Party to investigate. They told him that the Flaming Fist could of done it since the hands were removed so expertly (and a nice crit from Twil to talk to Silvershield). Silvershield said that might be but he would need proof. “Bring me the proof” he says as he offers the group 10 gp each a day and room and board to help find the people involved. He also gives the group a Writ that says he authorizes them to perform this investigation and bring the people to justice. The group took the job and decided to frame the Flaming Fist in the taking of the hands (tick on the evil meter for the group). So Skoond and the group headed to the harbor again and the party showed Skoond how the statues’ hands were removed and that they would of taken a long time. This means the Flaming Fist had to be involved in the crime in some way otherwise this could not of happened. Skoond said he would take that information to Silvershield and told them to find some more proof. The party spent the rest of the time investigating and finally hit on a lead or so they though.

Nezzle found a guild marking on the Counting House and a receiving house on the waterfront. The Party checked out the Counting House and rolled some great spot checks to see some items going under the table and some bribes. They moved down to the receiving house. Here they got their first glimpse of Afery Sonshal. He was picking up some packages at the docks. Also they saw Skoond pick up some things for Silvershield and they followed him for a bit. Finally the group decided they should go talk to Rael and get the hands from her or find where she had them hidden (and tell her of their plans). So they started by questioning Rael about the hands and finally they started rolling bad. Everything they tried they failed and Rael would not give up the hands. She did offer them some tools that could be used to remove the stone hands. I was laughing inside when they almost took the offer (because if they were caught with the tools they would be going to Prison). The party decided to do some more searching in the morning and went to bed.

Stage 3 Day 2:
(Guild Party Morning)
The party awoke and quickly moved out to start their search. They heard people complaining about the stone hands and brushed them off at first. It was Rael that informed them that the hands of Minsc and Boo were stolen that got the party in motion. Rael told them to bring her the culprits and she would take care of them. The group headed up to the Wide and inspected the statue. They could see that these hands were roughly chipped off and not cut nicely. Nezzle found a wooden mallet with a symbol impressed on it from striking something with the symbol on it. Twil’s eagle eyes (rolled 19+great int) found some dragging footprints and an impression of a broach with a family seal imbedded in the ground. Twil took out his book on the Noble Families of Baldur’s Gate that he found in the first week and located who the symbols belonged to. The party headed off to Ravenshade first…

(Flaming Fist Party Morning to Early Afternoon)
Since they were still in the upper city they were on the scene first and found the dagger and broach. As they were trying to learn about the dagger and broach they were approached by Esgurl Nurthammas. He was so upset about the crimes and wanted the criminals to pay. They were able to get him to agree to pay 150GP for the criminals. After that the Party headed to Oberon Estate to talk to them about the broach they found. When they got there they learned that their Oberon’s son, Saul, had not come home at night and they want him found. The Party intimidated the family (or tried too) in order to get them to pay for their son back. Instead the Oberon family call the watch on the Party and they left. They did find out that the son was last seen heading to Heap Gate so they headed to Heap Gate to track him down.

When they got to the gate they used their Flaming Fist Badges to get the guards to tell them that 6 kids went thought the gate early in the morning and they talked to the Lamp Lad Jethro. The group used their Flaming Fist Badges again to be allowed though the gate and went to talk to the Lamp Lad. During this time Kah-Kaww (Going by Kaw the Lawful) bribed the guards at the gate to allow them to pass though again when they come back. Kaw also bribed the Lamp Lad to tell them where the kids went and they slowly walked through town heading to the harbor. As they walked through town they talked to different people trying to see if anyone saw the kids but noone had. Kaw also bribed multiple people to help them back though town if they do capture the criminals.

Once at the harbor it took them a while to find the boatman that took them up the river. It seems that he just got back from a trip there. He said he would take all of them for 1 gp each and they accepted and headed upriver to the Twin Songs.

(Guild Party Late Morning to Afternoon)
They worked their way to the Ravenshade residence and noticed it was in an uproar. Their son was missing and looked like he might have been kidnapped. The Party talked to the Ravenshade family and worked out that the son, Hans, was going out for some drinks with his friends, Saul Oberon and Kyle Durinbold. They would know where he might of gone. The party headed to the Oberon’s family home and they seemed a lot calmer. They said their son was known to stay out late and drink. He should be back soon as people were looking for him. They did say they saw their Son head to Heap Gate last night. The Party moved off to Heap Gate but was stopped by Skoond. He told them that Ravenshield thinks the kids might be involved in the removal of the hands. He did not want them to face mob justice or the Flaming Fist brand of justice. He would like them to be brought home so tensions would calm down since the kids were just being kids. He offered them to stay on his stipend and would give them 60 more gold to bring them to him.

The Party reached Heap Gate and were trying to talk to the Guards that would not listen or give them the time of day. Owl, being a sheepherder’s daughter near Baldur’s Gate, started to be signaled by one of the Lamp Lads. The Party used the Writ to get through the gate and went to talk to the Lamp Lad. Jethro was smitten by Owl and gladly gave up information to her (thanks to a great CHA roll and having the Commoner Background). He even offered to take her to the harbor to show the party which ferry he took. They party moved with haste to the ferry and was able to get the ferry to tell them where he took them (for 1 gp) and then transported the Group (1 gp each). Once they made it to the Twin Songs they found out that the kids were heading toward the Wyrm’s Crossing and so the group headed that way. The group did not find any signs of the kids and spent a lot of time search for them. Finally someone from the carpenter’s guild came up to Love, who is a member of the carpenter’s guild, and told her that Horgold Hadru had not been seen today and they were worried about him. The Party headed to Horgold Hadru’s pottery shop and his home (used the map from The Elder Elemental Eye Encounter (Outbreak Map)). The Party first when though Hadru’s house and found that more than 1 person had been there lately and an impression seemed to make it look like something heavy was there recently. Nezzle took out her fire starter and a noise maker and set traps in the house to let the Party know if someone tries to get in there.

The Party headed over to the shop (I had some plexiglass that was set on top so I could draw on the maps. I drew a counter and some shelves for the room that connects to the road and left the rest as is for storage). The Party tried the door and it was locked. This was easy for Nezzle to pick and she quickly opened the door. Hadru was there behind the counter putting things away. He was very nervous and asked the Party to leave as he was closed today. The Party refused and Lucy tried to intimidate him. She rolled another 20 and scared him to death. He started yelling out that thieves were robbing his store and ran into a corner to curl up in a ball.

(Flaming Fist Party Afternoon)
They finally made it to the Twin Songs and started searching. They got a lead on one the kids that they were stashed someplace in the Twin Songs but they were not sure where. The Party worked their way through the stores searching for the kids. They were lost and had no leads when they heard some yelling and something about thieves. They went to check it out and saw a group of people forcing their way into a building while the other building was left untouched.

(Both Parties now together on the same map)
So we had everyone roll initiative. The Rogue of the Flaming Fist party went first. From there it was all the Guild Party that went then the rest of the Flaming Fist party. The rogue moved closer and hid in the shadows. The Guild Party all moved into the shop and headed for the back room (having to climb/jump over the counter, STR Check, or go through the low counter (Hadru could climb over easily), which was just difficult terrain). Once everyone was in Nezzle closed the door and locked/jammed the lock with a nice 21 on the check. The Flaming Fist took a turn to move up to toward the shop all double moving.

2nd turn the rogue headed for a back entrance while the others started to search the back room. Lucy tossed another crit and found the youths hiding in the stacks of goods. Twil went and blocked one of the back doors while Love blocked the other. Nezzle rigged her last noise maker to the front door and ran for the back room. The Flaming Fist group started to see some smoke and then fire coming from the house nearby and so the Paladin and Kaw headed there to help out the people inside. The rest made it to the front door and tried to break it down with no success. At the end of the Initiative the youths ran for the back doors splitting up into 2 groups of 3. One of the youths bull rushed Twil and smashed him into the back door with a low crack. Twil shouted out a warning to stop what they were doing. The ones that charged Love could not hit her but surrounded her.

3rd turn saw the rogue moving toward the back while the Guild Party talked to the youths. With 3 people rolling 18+ on their CHA checks and showing them the Writ that they were to be taken back to Slivershield the youths gave up. They told everyone they just wanted to go home. They did not mean to cause such a ruckus as they only wanted to go home now. They handed the hands over to Twil and allowed themselves to be tied up. The Flaming Fist broke down the front door and a loud scream echoed as everyone grabbed their ears. Law opened up the other house to an ear piercing scream and called out for anyone in the house. With no answer he headed back to the shop with the rest of the Flaming Fist.

4th Turn saw the Monk of the Flaming Fist and Nezzle get into a shouting match about who should get the youths. Nezzle showed the Monk the Writ and with the monks 2 on his check for a forgery decided this was real and that the Guild Group had the authority to bring them in. This stopped the hostilities and allowed everyone to talk and make some agreements. It was decided that Hans Ravenshade, Saul Oberon and Kyle Durinbold would go back with the Guild group while the other 3 youths went back with the Flaming Fist group. The parties split up and headed back to their respected locations.

(Flaming Fist Group)
Gave the 3 youths over to Ravenshield of the Flaming Fist and decided not to give any to the mob. They felt that a trial was better than mob justice. The Flaming Fist was very happy and set up a trial at a later date. They youths were then taken to the Seatower till their trial.

(Guild Group)
Nezzle sent some secret messages to the guild as they were taking the 3 back and told them to follow her. She then hatched a plan so that they split into 3 groups with each taking one of the youths back to Silvershield. Nezzle took Saul Oberon and took her route in such a way so that the Guild could trap her and take the youth. They beat up Nezzle just to make it look real. So 2 Youths made it back to Silvershield and 1 went to the Guild that was then sent to the mob with stone hands tied around him. The Guild was not pleased with this and though the heroes might not be helping them anymore. They will see if the heroes will help more or not. Silvershield was happy to get back 2 of the youths, but was dismayed that one was killed by the mob and 3 were captured by the Flaming Fist. He paid the heroes for their work and let them leave. Later on he learned of the deal with the Flaming Fist and decided the heroes would have to be watched more and manipulated.

Overview:
OK I LOVED THIS. We had so much fun and including both tables together in the story made it a lot of fun for everyone. We went past the 2 hour limit to 3.5 hours because we just lost track of time. The other GM and I agreed to work together in the future for some of the upcoming events. The funny thing was there was really no fighting yet everyone was really involved. Also using the backgrounds and character in-game knowledge really helped to keep people engaged at the table and in the game (matter of fact no cell phones came out this week since they had to listen and work together). Next week we decided that the Guild Party will get to do the plan they set in motion in Week 2 while the Flaming Fist party will be inspecting Undercity for the Guild. This was a great time for all (and a HUGE writeup).

5 Joe September 5, 2013 at 9:09 pm

@Justin, “monk of the flaming fist” just sounds like it should be a separate class or title or paragon path or something. Just really epic. Whatever else happens, I think that monk needs to keep the title.

@Michael, the combat was harder for folks at the Northampton store, too. That darned invisibility caused lots of problems. It’s kind of exciting, though, to watch someone experiencing things from the player side and getting hints of what’s “really” going on. I hope it continues to be fun.
Joe´s last blog post ..What The Average Joe Thinks…Of Dice & Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It

6 Michael September 6, 2013 at 9:42 am

@Joe- Yeah. I am trying to keep out of character knowledge separate. Obviously there are giant symbols of Bhaal all over the playtest materiasl so I have some idea what’s really causing all the troubles. But I can’t just have my character start casting divinations for the cult of Bhaal or Bhaalspawn or dead god energy when there really hasn’t been anything present in the adventure to indicate that’s what is going on.

7 Justin Yanta September 6, 2013 at 11:26 am

Thanks Joe. I have been having a lot of fun with the groups and being able to have the same events happen at both tables. Everyone is really enjoying what is going on and it seems each week they are more into talking and thinking of other ways to do something instead of fighting. Right now I have The Guild and one of my Players at the high mark on tracking. I cant wait to see what happens next.

8 Merric Blackman September 9, 2013 at 12:33 am

Nice report! Derek, how long are your sessions?

Generally, I’ve been running them at 2 hours (which is longer than we took for previous Encounters seasons), but I feel I really could make them a lot longer if I wanted to, such is the potential of this adventure. :)
Merric Blackman´s last blog post ..Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Unrest Rising

9 bisonic September 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm

My write up is in the Dnd community forum. My sessions have been running at 2-2.5 hours with a single large group. I would love to do what Justin is doing with the two groups but I don’t have a second DM. I think the stage 3 events are really going to cause a huge rift between the party as everyone tries to figure out how to exploit it for themselves or to serve the city. One or two will insist on trials, one or two may insist on killing them, and the rest will debate who will pay the best. This is all very interesting but also taxing on me as the DM.
I am letting the players decide when the combat starts and the map comes out for now but that won’t be the case every time. I hope the next season is more linear and maybe more of a combative place. My players are trying very hard to avoid violence as the consequences are so high, which is a big change for some of them. I can see them getting itchy and fear they may explode in a way that is hard to recover from. Though the lack of a healer could also be holding them back.

10 Justin Yanta September 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

@bisonic:
Yea I was lucky we had 2 large tables and are able to split up some. people might even change groups. I am not sure. I also agree that without a lot of combat it is hard to know when to stop (ie a 4 hour game). So far they had a fight the first week and almost no real combat after that (the second week was just tossed in to allow them some fighting because I did not want to go any further until the other group caught up). Still I like them thinking outside the box but it also scares me. This week is an open week (were are not moving to stage 4 but allowing them to take a little time to let the stage 3 events to sink in and to clear some things off their plate that they have been wanting to do (ie. Attack the Watch). We will see what they do tonight in the game.

11 Alethia September 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Can someone tell me where the Wizards forums for D&D Encounters went?

12 Merric Blackman September 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm

@Alethia: Yes, here it is:
http://community.wizards.com/forums/126381

So much of the “upgrade” to the Wizards community site is a downgrade.
Merric Blackman´s last blog post ..Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Unrest Rising

13 David Argall September 19, 2013 at 1:43 am

Running a week behind most tables, we are confirming most other results. The adventure needs more work before it really fits D&D. Still, we were not disgusted by the result.
Running under the Flaming Fists on patrol, the party went out looking for a fight, which was hard to find when we kept on rolling good diplomat and/or intimidate checks. We talked the captain into giving us another assignment, which was to watch the tax collectors at the gate. He probably meant to guard them since there had been a couple of cases of their being robbed. However we decided to audit their behavior, which resulted in our discovering the dwarf was overcharging. Our evidence wasn’t that impressive, but we proceeded to arrest him anyway, despite his being guarded by a greater number of members of the flaming fists, including an officer. We really should have backed down, but did I mention we were spoiling for a fight? In any case, initiative was rolled, and we demonstrated the superiority of quality over quantity.
Hauling the taxcollector off to the captain, we were surprised to see him actually jailed, and instead of our being fired, our leader become an officer directly under the captain. [We were ordered not to bother the taxcollectors in the future tho.]
Our thief continued to have an independence streak. I am not sure if he ended up joining the fists or not. He was definitely eager to get a backstab, suffer 2 OAs that left him with 3 hp in rushing cross the field to get a flank [and then rolling a 3.] And on we go to 2nd level.

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