The 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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?
Recounting Encounters Podcast
Recounting Encounters is a weekly podcast I record with fellow Toronto DM, Craig Sutherland, and Marc Talbot (Alton) from 20ft Radius in which we recount that week’s experiences with D&D Encounters. We share the highlights from our respective FLGS and we talk about what worked, what didn’t and what we might have done differently. Find all episodes of Recounting Encounters on iTunes.
Actual Play Podcasts
We continue to record our D&D Encounters sessions and make them available to you for download every week. These recordings are made in a loud, crowded game store so at times it may be difficult to hear everyone. Some language may be inappropriate for all ages, although we try to keep it as family-friendly as possible.
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