D&D Encounters: Murder in Baldur’s Gate (Week 5)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 19, 2013

murder-in-baldurs-gate-coverDuring the last session the PCs spent a few days investigating acts of vandalism throughout Baldur’s Gate including the theft of hands from numerous statues around the city. When the hands from the Beloved Ranger statue were stolen the PCs led the investigation to recover them. They eventually captured two young nobles and recovered the hands from the Ranger statue.

About two weeks had passed since the events of the last session. The PCs had already earned a good reputation as heroes after their role in the events that happened on Founder’s Day, but their part in the recovery of Minsk’s hands elevated their reputations even more.

This week at Harry T North in Toronto we ran two tables of D&D Next. One of our DMs couldn’t play this week and his group of six all agreed to just do a double session next week. Another DM ran a full table with his six regular players. I began with five players, but about 15 minutes into the session two more of our regulars showed up. So I ended up running a party of seven PCs: a Dwarf Fighter, Human Cleric, Half-Elf Paladin, Halfling Rogue, Elf Wizard, Human Monk and Elf Ranger.

We seem to have lost a few players over the past couple of weeks. I suspect that has something to do with everyone going back to school. I hope that as they get back into a regular routine we see them come back and possibly even bring a few friends to try our D&D. Most of my players read the weekly posts on this website and on the D&D forums so if they do return I know they’ll have a pretty good idea of what they’ve missed and we won’t have to spend a lot of time getting them caught up.

Sanitation Strike

The party is still working with the Flaming Fist and they are taking regular patrols along side the other mercenary soldiers. Every morning they receive a briefing in which a Fist Sergeant assigns active members their daily duties. Today they learned that there was a sanitation strike and a lot of people were not happy about it. As they carry out their patrol of Lower City they heard a lot of complaining and saw tempers flare over garbage.

During the next few days things got progressively worse. The Fist Sergeant realized that there wasn’t a whole lot the Flaming Fist could do and suggested all members try to keep Baldur’s Gate’s citizens from lashing out at their neighbours over garbage disputes. In his desperation he went so far as to say that if anyone had any ideas on how to resolve the strike he encouraged them to share their ideas. Creativity would be rewarded.

The PCs decided to find some of the striking workers and ask them about what’s going on. They have no trouble finding a dozen sanitation workers having beer and nachos at a tavern in Lower City. When asked about the strike they learn that Duke Adrian had promised that in the coming months the sanitation workers would get pay raises. With his passing the remaining Dukes have reneged on that agreement. They talk of more important matters and won’t agree to honour the deceased Duke’s promise. Until they put an agreement in writing the workers will remain on strike.

The PCs felt this was a reasonable course of action given the circumstances so they didn’t press the issue. However they noticed one of the striking workers had a sizable coin purse and happily paid for a round of food and beverages. For a man without income he seemed pretty flush. When asked about it he told the PCs he won it in a card game. They completely flubbed their checks to detect deception so they moved on.

At this point the two late players arrived. When their PCs arrived at the tavern they brought word that Ravengard wanted to see the PCs at the Hissing Stones bathhouse.

The Hissing Stones

With all the trash piling up in the streets the stench was becoming exceptionally foul. There was no escaping it. As such the bathhouse was a very popular destination. The PCs cut the line by claiming official Flaming Fist business. However the proprietor wouldn’t let them enter without paying. In light of the bathhouse’s increased popularity he charged the PCs and all other patrons double the normal rate. They begrudgingly agreed to pay.

Once inside the PCs needed to completely strip. Fortunately they were all playing male characters (even the lone female player) so that made things a bit easier. They found Ravengard in a private sauna. Once alone with him he asked the PCs for a favour.

He explained that according to his sources his name was being thrown around as a possible successor to Duke Adrian. Although this was not a job he sought he would accept it if nominated. However, another name has recently started coming up as well – Wyllyck Caldwell.

Caldwell is a Wizard who specializes in alchemy and he made his fortune selling alchemically treated lumber. He’s a good man but Ravengard doesn’t feel he’s Duke material. He’s concerned that he’s being coerced into accepting a nomination for Duke. He asks the PCs to talk to Caldwell and explain that he should publicly declare that he’s not interested in becoming a Duke.

The PCs agreed to meet with Caldwell but did not like that Ravengard seemed to be using them to further his own political ambitions. They decided that they would not ask Caldwell to decline a nomination for Duke unless there was a really good reason.

A Meeting with Caldwell

On their way to the meeting, the Monk decided to follow-up on a lead pertaining to a bandit he was hunting down. During a previous session he managed to secure a bounty on a wanted scoundrel from Waterdeep named Quid. The Monk already scoped out one of Quid’s haunts but didn’t find him. He decided to check out another one while the party met Caldwell. His investigation took about two hours and despite making some friends by helping to clean up some garbage, he made no headway on finding his quarry.

When the rest of the PCs arrived at Caldwell’s manor his servant told them he was sleeping. A small bribe got them in the door and had the servant wake Caldwell. When he joined the PCs he was still in his bedclothes and slippers (I described him as Professor Farnsworth from Futurama). He was clearly very old, enfeebled and a bit senile. Before the PCs could ask him anything substantive Caldwell’s nephew joined them. The Ranger immediately recognized the “nephew” as Quid, the scoundrel the Monk was tracking. However, as none of the other PCs were aware of this, the Ranger didn’t do or say anything to tip off Quid.

It became clear that Quid was manipulating Caldwell and was propping him up as a candidate for Duke. It seemed that Caldwell had a solution to the city’s garbage problem; however Quid didn’t want him to implement it until he was ready to announce his nomination. Quid asked the PCs if they’d endorse his uncle for Duke. They were reluctant to do so.

Meanwhile the Rogue and Wizard managed to sneak away fro the party and easily found Caldwell’s lab. Among the alchemical equipment they found a book of summoning spells open on his desk. This was not the kind of magic Caldwell was known for so this was odd. They decided to steal the books and then rejoin the party.

As the party was leaving Caldwell’s home the Ranger told Quid that he would endorse his uncle. He said he’d try to get the rest of the party on board too. He said he’d arrange for the party to meet Quid the following night to solidify their support and determine how they could be the most help. Quid suggested they all meet for dinner at his favourite restaurant to discus it.

A New Nominee for Duke

Once back at Wyrm’s Rock the Wizard reviewed the spellbook. He realized that Caldwell had found a spell that would summon and tame carrion crawlers. They could be magically summoned into the city streets and eat the garbage. After a short time they’d then disappear. The spell was pretty straight forward and could easily be case again and again. When he shared this knowledge with the party they came up with a plan.

It was obvious that Caldwell was nothing more than a puppet for Quid and possibly others. But the party didn’t necessarily think Ravengard was a better candidate either. They instead decided they would get Carl the party’s Paladin nominated for Duke. After all the PCs were already heroes. They could use Caldwell’s spell to clean the streets and give Carl the credit.

When the Monk learned of Quid’s involvement he suggested they ambush him at dinner, have him arrested, and get him out of the way. This would take Caldwell out of the running for Duke and stop Quid from interfering once the party’s plan started moving forward. Once Quid was dealt with the PCs would wait until nightfall and then start summoning the carrion crawlers to clean the streets. They felt that there was too much risk if they did it during the day when people were about and on the streets. At night there were fewer bystanders and less chance of any creatures accidentally hurting anyone.

While the Wizard gathered his components and practiced the summoning spell the PCs met with Quid. He had no idea he was about to get arrested and welcomed them to his table with open arms. The Monk used flurry of blows to punch Quid in the face three times. He hit twice, once with a natural 20. Quid fell face first into his food. The PCs explained to the patrons that they had a warrant for this man. That kept things calm and orderly. After collecting their bounty the PCs got ready for the big event.

The Wizard easily summoned a large carrion crawler and it gorged itself on the trash in the streets. He repeated this a few times and the beast cleared many of the most congested and disgusting streets. As this was happening, the party was knocking on doors and singing the praises of Carl the Paladin. The locals were flabbergasted. As they saw the result of Carl’s creativity they instantly fell in love with him and rallied behind him.

As the Wizard continued to cast and recast the spell it eventually got more and more difficult for him to keep control of the summoned creature. Finally the beast wrestled control away from the Wizard. Instead of vanishing after the spell expired it duplicated. Two wild carrion crawlers began moving toward nearby locals. The PCs quickly put themselves between the monsters and the people.

The fight was the first real test this party had faced together. These beasts were powerful and dangerous so the party didn’t hold back. However, they soon learned that the monsters could easily kill them if they didn’t act intelligently. After battling both simultaneously they finally realized that they should focus fire. Once they changed tactics it was a lot easier. Everyone took a hit or two and at least half of the party fell victim to the creatures stunning poison. In the end the PCs defeated the monsters and that only made them look more heroic to the growing crowd of admirers.

Ravengard’s Favour

When all was said and done the PCs returned to Wyrm’s Rock. The story of their deeds preceded them and the fort was abuzz of their actions. Ravengard asked to speak with them privately. He thanked them for their creativity and initiative regarding the monsters and the garbage problem. They told him that Caldwell was not going to accept a nomination for Duke (now that Quid as out of the picture). Although this was what Ravengard asked for, he did not expect that one of the PCs would now be his main rival. He kept a calm demeanour but it was obvious that he was not happy at how things had turned out.

Thoughts

I had a lot more fun with this week’s encounter than I did with last week’s. Once again there was no combat in the adventure as written but I decided that there needed to be some fighting this week. As the DM I wanted to run a combat encounter and I knew that the players really wanted to kill stuff. So I made sure that happened.

In order to make the combat meaningful and dangerous I pumped up the Carrion Crawlers stats and gave them each 80 hit points, up from the 30 they should have had. Since the party had seven PCs I didn’t see this as a problem. The fight took about 20 minutes of real time and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. However, even after just 20 minutes I remembered how boring D&D Next combat is compared to 4e. I think the key with D&D Next is to have lots of little fights against a variety of monsters and not one massive battle like you would in 4e. I’ll have to keep this in mind the next time I throw in a combat encounter.

There was one other detail that DMs might have introduced this week involving a ceramic pot that the PCs discover in the trash. I decided to leave this detail out for now and will work it in next week. It just didn’t seem to fit once I saw where the PCs were going this week.

With a PCs now vying for Duke I’ll have to tweak some of the upcoming sessions. There are some tips in the adventure for what to do if the PCs decide not to support any of the three main NPCs and it seems like I’ll have to start looking at those pointers. We’ll see if the PCs continue to push for Carl as Duke or if they instead have Carl throw his support behind another candidate.

How did you PCs handle the sanitation strike? How did your party handle the meeting with Caldwell? For groups that are not aligned with Ravengard how did the DM handle his request for this favour?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike September 19, 2013 at 10:10 am

Murder in Baldur’s Gate Session 5
Our group had my druid with bear, dog and raven, the rabbit/rogue, a wizard pixie, assassin/warlock pixie and assassin werewolf. So quite the menagerie. We woke early to find Rilsa waiting for us. No new disaster had befallen the city overnight. [whew] She congratulated us for a job well done and gave us each 100 gp as a reward. She then told us that a group of mercenary minotaurs had camped outside town and the factions were competing to hire them. She gave us 500 gp to hire them and told us that the leader was called Cookslayer for what he did when he didn’t like his meals. We asked her what she knew about the cult of Bhaal coming back and since gods seemed to be involved maybe it was time to make peace with the priests. She said that it was a wizard of Bhaal, not a cleric so it’s not clear that Bhaal is actually coming back and that the priests had been informed, but she still didn’t like the idea of allying with them.
We decided to brink a gift of food, which quickly became a feast with barrels of ale. Our pixie warlock used streetwise and the pixie wizard talked with rats to try to find the best inn to buy it from. The innkeeper was visibly nervous, but agreed to do it as long as the minotaurs didn’t find out that he had cooked the meal. The price was an exorbitant 200 gp, but the werewolf assassin agreed to cover the whole cost. We could have gotten a bargain by mentioning Rilsa’s name, but we decided discretion was more important. We loaded the ale on a Tenser’s floating disc and headed out to meet them. On the way we stopped at the local pois… er “perfume shop” We tried to buy enough “perfume” to sicken/incapacitate a herd of about 50 bulls, but the price was exorbitant and we only got enough for about 10. Our first plan was not to use it, but it’s always good to have a backup if things don’t go well.
We met the Cookslayer and he immediately knew we were working for Rilsa despite our trying to hide it. Negotiations went poorly as we did not have a clear leader and the different members had conflicting negotiation strategies. Cookslayer was unimpressed by our arguments or our motley crew, (two pixies, a wolf, a rabbit and an old lady) but offered us a chance to prove our worth in (non-lethal) battle. He also seemed to recognize my bear which was strange.
We faced off against five minotaur warriors. Their first volley of spears bloodied some of our pcs, while our first attacks did not do the same to them. It looked like a really tough battle so we started using dailies and action points. The pixie warlock/assassin did the best zooming from minotaur to minotaur for massive damage. The pixie wizard took another minotaur out by turning it into a frog. Our wolf and rabbit teamed up on two minotaurs on the East of the map. Unfortunately the rabbit ended up shooting the wolf on a critical fumble. Fortunately it was not one of his poisoned crossbow bolts and the minotaur fumbled next sending his axe flying into one of the onlookers. The Cookslayer spent the fight laughing at our …odd… fighting style, but he seemed impressed and stopped the combat when only one minotaur was left, and agreed to work for the thieves guild.
Rilsa rewarded us again and agreed to pay for the feast (yay). With a few minutes left I visited the priests to make another attempt at unity against a common foe. I sent an animal messenger ahead to inform them that a messenger of Auril (my goddess) was coming shapechanged into a form similar to hers and used Astal Splendor to radiate holy light. They recognized me as the same person somehow, but believed I was a messenger of Auril. Imbrilum were wary as Auril is an “evil” goddess but courteous. He agreed that something might be going on with Bhaal, but felt that it was not too worrying. He asked again about infiltrating the Thieves Guild or finding the missing Flaming Fist that we framed. We’ll have to work on that next time. It seems that the Thieves and the Priest are more wary of each other than outright hostile, now. Not sure whether its our diplomacy or the common enemy of Bhaal, but any progress is welcome. This adventure was much more straightforward than previous sessions, but still gave plenty of opportunity to roleplay preparing for it. The fight was quite challenging. We used several dailies and even so, without our two pixies we might not have prevailed. We still need work on teamwork especially in the roleplaying portions. I am curious about the connection between the Cookslayer and my bear, but the city is in peril, and if we don’t have enough time next session, saving the city may have to come ahead of personal desires.

2 LordOcampo September 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I love the way your players have decided to go their way and think of one of them for the position of Duke. I’ll start running “Murder” today in a local game store. It’s unofficial since there’s no Encounters program in my country but my players have already created their Sundering app profiles to input their session results. I’m taking your session runnings as example.

We’re going to use 4e rules, since nobody in Nicaragua wants to know anything about 5e. I believe a 3.5 player from another city will purchase the adventure and run it with those rules, but he’s never been a DM.

Wish us luck.
LordOcampo´s last blog post ..Nuevos usos de los puntos de acción

3 Joe September 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm

We had a fun time at Modern Myths in Northampton MA. We ran 3 tables of 5-6, all doing 4e. We’re still running the modified, 4e-optimized version of the adventure that I wrote up, so this week was a complete divergence from the printed options.

In this week’s adventure, a famous group of mercenaries, “The Beefy Brigade”, was camped outside of town, and the party’s faction leader sent them to go hire the soldiers before any of the rival factions did. Of course, this meant proving their strength to the soldiers, because by the way they were all minotaurs. And, at my table at least, the minotaurs also happened to be fans of Baphomet (as the did the roleplaying with the minotaur captain, they got into philosophical discussions, and Baphomet is the most common minotaur deity I could thing of). So the 6 level 2 PCs faced off against several level 4 minotaur soldiers, and it was a pretty brutal fight. So brutal, in fact, that while bloodied and in the large circle (I was using the awesome red evil room map from the Vor Rukoth setting/adventure), I let gave struggling PCs the option of selling their soul to Baphomet… which most wisely chose not to do. However, the bard did, and the player (who is a musician himself) is happy to be living out the 80s metal rumors about musicians promoting the worship of demons like Baphomet. This gave him a numerical boost for this combat, but I also decided that (given Baphomet’s general philosophy) that he could no longer choose NOT to kill enemies that he brought to 0 HP, which will have implications related to that OTHER evil god thing going on as the season progresses. In the end, the party won the minotaur captain’s respect, and he pledged his mercenaries to work (for pay) for the party’s faction (at my table it was the Flaming Fist).

I’m constantly reminded how much I like the economy of the 4e system as we go through this. Sure, combats can drag on… but folks have enough HP without feeling bloated, enemies can hit hard (the minotaurs were swinging 1d12+6 axes) without risking 1-hit kills, and everyone has at least a chance to try different skills to accomplish their tasks. Also, the variety of powers does keep folks from getting bored, and often prompts them to try to maneuver the battlefield to certain scenarios (the rogue was eager to make her Blinding Barrage blast power of the most use yesterday, but had to use Positioning Strike a couple times to set it up properly). Also, when folks found that they had trouble hitting the minotaurs’ 20 AC, many ended up spending action points out of frustration and attacking other (lower) defenses, which also added more of a tactical feel (which Next does not allow, given it’s AC-only defense). And with a party of mostly folks who’ve played through at least 1 Encounters season, each round was maybe a 10 minute affair, which is not bad by 4e standards.

I used pretty tough monsters this week, as we had decided next week’s session will be a completely non-combat encounter (or at least, we HOPE it will be), wherein the party can try to get someone elected as Duke. We’re still pointed at the same end point as the printed product, just trying to get there in a way that better suits the old Encounters & 4e models better.
Joe´s last blog post ..What The Average Joe Thinks…Of Dice & Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It

4 Justin Yanta September 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

After a week of assaulting the Watch and killing off a werewolf the party made their way back to Little Calimshan only to be sent away because Rael had no space for them (again it was because she was not trusting them much anymore and did not want them near her sensitive plots). The party ended up taking rooms at the Blushing Mermaid for 1 gp each character. The party slept for the night (only a short rest) and healed up all the damage they took. During the night Jackal left the party and found one of his fellow Flaming Fist recruits (Jack the Half-Elf Paladin) and brought him to the rest of the party at the Blushing Mermaid. Twill needed to study his magic tome for some more information on Were-Creatures and locked himself in a room. This meant the party consisted of:
• Human Ranger (Owl) (1 1st Level Spells Remaining)
• Half-Orc Cleric (Lucy) (2 1st level Spells Remaining, 0 Divinity, 0 Hit Dice)
• Wood Elf Paladin (Woodarrow) (1 1st level Spells)
• Tinker Gnome Rogue (Nezzle)
• Half-Orc Rogue (Jackal)
• Half-Orc Barbarian (Torrak Karrot)
• Stout Halfling Barbarian (Kah-Kaww) (0 Hit Dice, 1 Rage)
• Half-Elf (LG) Paladin (Jack) (2 1st level Spells Remaining)

The next morning the party woke up and sat around deciding what to do. The party was thinking about going after the werewolves and wanted to get some of their weapons covered in silver. Nezzle wanted to make some copies of the Writ signed by Silvershield to use to help them get around the city. Torrak wanted to go pray at the Helm Temple while Lucy and Woodarrow wanted to head to a temple in the upper city, but decided to make some toys and beer to sell later.

GM NOTE: Not the best choice but I let the party split up and ran some 15 min adventures for each group. Here are the outcomes.

Torrak to Helm Temple:
Torrak started walking to the Helm Temple. He noticed the Trash was a lot worse and had to make a DEX save to stop himself from slipping on some of the sludge (since he was near the harbor where it was flowing). He was successful and worked his way to the Helm Temple. Once there he talked to the priests and gave them 30 gp to help the church out. Once done he started the trip back to the Blushing Mermaid.

Nezzle, Lucy, and Woodarrow in Blushing Mermaid Room:
Nezzle spent a long time working on the Writ. She wanted to make a Writ that would give the party the official capacity to be in the Upper City at night and to investigate anywhere they wanted. I gave her a Difficult INT (TN 20) check for this and so she rolled her d20, yes she rolled a Crit (for a total of 22). I said she could only make one but it would look very office (very difficult to see the forgery). She spent the rest of her time tinkering and making some clockwork items. Lucy spent her time brewing up some beer that should be ready in a week or so. Woodarrow decided to make some wooden toys and made 10 gp worth of toys to sell at a later time.

Kah-Kaww, Jack, Jackel, and Owl to the Weaponsmith in Bloomridge:
The party headed for a weaponsmith near the manor gate. As they headed there they had to deal with all the dirt and slime on the ground but they made their way successfully. As they passed a pile of trash Owl and Jack noticed something odd that was sticking out of it. It was a very impressive bowl that would be worth a lot of money, but why was it in the trash. Owl was able to read the lettering on the bottom of the bowl but had no idea what it was. The party made it to the smith and Jackal silvered 10 arrows, Kah-Kaww bought 20 bolts and Owl sold her old sword (Twil gave her the magical one). The group then headed back to the Blushing Mermaid but Jack missed a slippery spot and splashed into the slime and trash on the road (This gave him disadvantage on all CHA checks because of the odor). Jack did stop in a shop to buy a fur hat to wear and had to pay a little extra because of how foul he smelled but he was happy to get the hat.

Everyone at the Blushing Mermaid:
Once everyone got back Owl showed the rest of the group the bowl and Nezzel and Lucy smelled the sulfur and the black powder in the bowl. The group all headed to Sorcerous Sundries to see if they would know about the bowl or the powder. Once they reached the store passing more trash heaps and seeing the slime roll down the street, the party had a talk with the owner of the Sorcerous Sundries. She did not know anything about the bowl but the powder was familiar. She did not make it but the only person in town that makes that powder is Felogyr’s Fireworks (it was Jack and Owl that picked up the name Felogyr’s name was on the bottom of the bowl). Owl bought some components for Twil and then everyone headed for the Fireworks store.

At Felogyr’s the party asked why he was making this powder since it was dangerous. He told them that he is the only maker of smokepowder in the city but only for his fireworks. They then showed him the bowl that they found in the Bloomridge and Felogyr got very upset. He grabbed all his employees and had everyone count all his bowls and a talk about if any of them were thrown away. It turns out that he still had the same amount that he had before and nothing else was missing. Felogyr told the party that it was illegal for him to throw away the bowls and if anyone was caught doing it he would beat them like a rented mule. Felogyr then sent the party to go talk to the potter that makes his bowls, named Tacy Sands, and sent the party to his shop to find out what is going on.

As the party moved to the pottery shop, Jackal and Jack were stopped by a Flaming Fist messenger and asked to go see Ravengard in the Seatower. Lucy decided to go with Jackal and Jack to go see Ravengard while the others continued to the Potter.

Kah-Kaww, Owl, Nezzle, Torrak, and Lovearrow at the Potter Shop:
Reaching the Potter Shop the group started intimidated the pottery owner about the bowl. Between the Half-Orc Torrak and the swift tongue of Nezzle they were able to get the Potter, Tacy Sand, to admit to making the bowls. He then shows the party a parchment that has the order that Felogyr always makes when he places order with him. He described someone that the party knew but no one that they could decide right now. They did try to get some more information but right now the only thing they found out was that 20 bowls were made from the last order and already picked up.

Lucy, Jackal and Jack in the Seatower… well close:
Lucy, Jackal and Jack walked to the Seatower but did not reach it. Instead Ravengard found them and took them to a private room guarded by Flaming Fists. He explained to the party that the patriars were trying to keep the Ravengard being a Duke. He said they were trying to hurt the lower citizens by only electing patriars that are looking out for the citizens of the upper city. To stop that Ravengard is planning to frame Silvershield’s choice for Duke, Wyllyck Caldwell. He just released an alchemist named Yssra Brackrel that will give them a fake signed affidavit that says that Caldwell uses harmful chemicals in his treated lumber that he sells to the city. This would ruin the man and his business and get him removed from the city most likely. Lucy did not like this idea and decided to let the others choose. Jackal was for it while Jake (after I reminded him that this was an evil act) was torn. In the end they decided to do it because they wanted to save the lower citizens.

Everyone Caldwell’s Estate:
Both groups got together and decided to complete the task for Ravengard, especially after he said he would get the law about the clothing overturned. First the party met with Brackrel to get the affidavit and to talk to her about the smokepowder. Jack blamed her for the smokepowder since she wanted to get back Silvershield for arresting her. She pointed out that she was locked up in the Seatower the whole time and could not of made the smokepowder. She did agree that she wanted to get Silvershield back and have him destroyed. She gave them the affidavit and they left.

The party made it to Caldwell’s Estate and were able to get a meeting with him. Lucy rolled high on her intimidate and started to scare Caldwell. Jackal used the signed affidavit to get Caldwell to not accept Silvershield’s nomination of him and drop out of the race. Caldwell agreed and would pay the party 3gp each (and keep the affidavit) if they would forget about this and leave him alone. They agreed and headed back to the Blushing Mermaid for some rest and to talk some more. The next day they learn that Grand Duke Portyr stopped the election and still there are only 3 Dukes.

GM notes: This all occurred over a multiple days. The trash kept piling up and the party did not address it because they were more worried about the Duke and the smokepowder. Right now the trash and slime in the lower city is ankle deep (or neck deep for the halflings and gnome ;)) and they decided to try and take care of that next week. This adventure only lasted 2 hours and felt very quick especially with no fighting. I also created a character that I will be introducing next week. Cuthbert Oberon is going to be the father of the kid that was killed in the stolen hand incident. He will be using the Stage 6 events to get even with the party especially Nezzle since she got his son killed. I can’t wait for him to show up.

5 Vobekhan September 20, 2013 at 4:55 am

We ran Next (as usual) at Tabletop Tyrants this week, but we had one big group as our other DM had work commitments.

As the second group had already ran the Hands Off stage last week I didnt see it necessary to repeat and simply let them recount the tale in character to my group as they met up.

They were already at the Hissing Stones as Ravengard arrived and heard him out before agreeing to his request and heading to Caldwell’s. During the session they decided to show him how dangerous being a Duke would be and this served to put the wind up him sufficiently.

The fight we had was with a trio of Bhaal followers, although the module doesnt list them any further than the opening event I felt that they still needed to represent a threat to the city, which will have repercussions later on.

The players all seemed to have good fun and we ended the session with the large party heading to Tumbledown on a modified version of the Planted Evidence supplementary event. Working with the other DM we will decide whether to run as a single group or posibly have each group enter the crypts from different places and cover more ground.

With the release of the final public packet this week I think its an idea to have the players modify their characters now rather than wait till next adventure as we have done previously, as we are only 5 weeks in to the 13 week season.
Vobekhan´s last blog post ..D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 5

6 Justin Yanta September 20, 2013 at 11:14 am

Yea with the new packet I am wondering if we should take a week off and change all the characters (Since for this adventure we had more weeks then we had Stages (I believe 2 extra weeks)). I will put it up to vote with the group and let them see. I know the Barbarian will say no since it will greatly weaken his character (he is a ranged barbarian only because of the special 1/2 damage against blunt, pierce and slash damage). I would like to go with the new rules but they might say no. No matter what I will print up all the rules so we have them (put them in a new binder).

7 Spykes September 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Game HQ in OKC:

We had three tables of 6 players. They have recently abandoned Rilsa to go work for Ravenguard. They were charged with restoring some order to Lower City. They have begun investigations into the statue vandalism, but have been side-tracked by other events. They have witnessed to deaths from roof slates that were obviously targeting wealthy Lower City merchants. There is a link to upcoming events. They other problem is that there have been an odd number of rat attacks. Recently, the FF have commandeered many of the hounds in out city to try and run the rats out of the sewers. During this attempt, the soldiers were ambushed by a large band of Dire Rats and a wererat. This was a very coordinated attack. One soldier managed to escape to tell the tale. The PCs were brought to the scene and asked to solve the rat problem. After a bit of investigating and using their ill gotten writ signed by Silvershield, they were able to gain access to the Upper City sewers, where they had deduced the rats were located. Finally they uncovered Thurgo Songbuckle, the halfling wererat and his lair of Dire Rats that had been hired Rilsa to make calculated strikes against Wealthy Upper and Lower City targets. The fight was fairly tough for them, some contracted Filth Fever. We’ll see how they handle that next game.

Out table is a little behind the normal progression because of the extra events I’m throwing at them from the supplement, but I’m a firm believer in balancing combat, exploration and interaction, and there has just been no combat encounters the last few weeks, so I injected some. The supplement seemed to offer the best opportunities. I will saythat I really liked Ameron’s carrion crawler idea and I’ll probably shamelessly steal that.

Next week we’ll most likely wrap up the statue events and maybe get into the trash pile-up events.

8 dan September 21, 2013 at 4:18 am

This session, we had 2 tables of next and a table of 4e. My table of next had 5 players, 2 of whom were playing for the first time. One had never even heard of a tabletop RPG. Our party was made up of a gnome barbarian (me), a human rogue, a half-elf druid (new player), a human warpriest cleric, and the elf mage pre-gen (the new player who’d never heard of tabletop RPGs).
We were summoned to the bathhouse by ravenguard, with whom we were allying with more often at this point, and answered this summons. He told us that he was displeased with the council, as they seemed to be all talk and no action, and he felt like their most recent nominee (unofficial, as he had yet to accept) would be the same. He felt that he would be better suited to the job, as he would take action.
The party decided to question him about his stances, and what he would do, and all but the rogue (a guild sympathizer whose family relied on their support) felt that he would make a good candidate. However, we decided amongst ourselves to meet with the other candidate, and inquire about his stances.
We were easily able to meet with him, and questioned him thouroughly. The mage (who had a substance abuse problem) began hallucinating hamsters (specifically boo), and used minor illusion to make the party see it later, though the gnome saw through it, and countered with his own to make only the mage see it turn into a large rabbit. The nominee proved to be an able politician, able to choose his words carefully, and managed to convince the majority of the party that he was a good candidate. Except for the warpriest. For some reason, the warpriest decided that he was lying, and needed to be stopped. He managed to convince the party to join him after dark, to investigate the manor. He had a passport, as did the rogue and mage. The driud turned into a hunting hound, and the gnome hid within a minor illusion of a hunting hound, and they slipped through the gates unhindered. When they got to the manor, the druid (who was female, and thus a female hound) lured the guard dogs away, allowing the rest of the party to get in unnoticed. The warpriest investigated around the window, and noticed shadows inside. The mage tried to cast minor illusion to create a sound that the guards would investigate, but the guards managed to see (or rather, hear) through the illusion, and immediately began to search for the mage. When they got close, he ran, and only barely managed to escape. The gnome saw that things were going south, and his in a small indent in the wall, casting minor illusion over himself to make the wall appear smooth. The druid and rouge left quickly, and the warpriest was caught off-guard, and taken into the nominee’s study. He tried to bluff his way out, as he was alone against 4 guards, but failed, and was knocked out after a struggle, and taken to jail. Meanwhile, the rest of the party had met back up at the inn. The mage was out of his substance of choice, and tried to get more from the gnome, who happened to have some in his herbalism kit. However, after failing to charm the gnome (due to gnomish cunning), the gnome was was prepared for another spell. When the mage realized that charming the gnome wouldn’t work, he chose to try to attack him. Silly people, always underestimating the 2’11″ gnome. The barbarian got off a quick lash with his whip as a warning to the mage mid-magic missile, but the mage managed to finish casting the spell. This sent the gnome barbarian into a rage, allowing for a whip-dagger combo that took the mage down easily. The gnome took the mage’s healing potion (which was his asking price for the “goods”), and the rogue stabilized him (using his own healer’s kit, which she neglected to return).
While we didn’t get a lot done storywise, we did have some fun interactions through roleplay. The little bits of combat allowed the new players to see how the combat system works, despite lack of actual story-based combat. Even though his character got his butt kicked, the mage’s player enjoyed his first experience, and said he looked forward to next week, and wanted to keep playing the pre-gen. The party over all greatly enjoyed themselves, but it is seeming difficult to tie occurrences together, and certain plot points keep getting overlooked. Also, with the nature of encounters, where players can come and go, and groups get switched around, this kind of campaign has this issue worsened, as a single character seems to have less impact, because his choices are negated when he gets placed with a different DM the following week. I love the adventure as a whole, just not as much in the encounters style.
I’d much rather have set groups for this kind of adventure.

9 evermore September 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

Thank you for the carrion crawler idea! brilliant fighting thieves and soldiers each week was getting dull!

10 Ameron (Derek Myers) September 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

@evermore
Just wait until you hear what I’ve got in mind this week if the party ventures into Underceller.

11 David Argall October 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Our party continues to lag behind and has just finished[?] the hands investigation by recovering the later set. Our investigation into the earlier removals is “ongoing”, but likely to get forgotten with additional events. We located our chief suspect, but accepted his story of just being a witness and gave us no useful trail. Before we could decide whether to lean on him some more, we were called to deal with the new hand-stealing. This proved easy enough thank to some good perception rolls and we were off to the noble families right away. But we heard that many people were mo$t interested in getting these perpetrators and so we decided to offer the nobles a $han$e to get out from under and were pleased with the result. [We found one of our shy players actually had the best diplomacy score and so she got some star time.]
Finding the kids was merely work. We found witnesses to their trail all the way, and our eager intimidaters did the rest. So kids were taken home for a spanking and we were paid off. Our captain did want their names, but seems willing to let us slide in not giving them up.
Next week may see us keep on with the hands, or turn to a new task[s].

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