D&D Encounters: Murder in Baldur’s Gate (Week 11)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on October 31, 2013

murder-in-baldurs-gate-coverDuring last week’s session Ravengard declared marshal law in Baldur’s Gate and the PCs learned that the Guild was smuggling weapons from Wyrm’s Rock and arming people in Outer City for “something big” that was going to happen in the next 24 hours. As the PCs were finishing their confrontation with their Guild contact they heard an explosion emanate from somewhere in Lower City.

We had a very full house at Harry Tarantula North in Toronto this week. I ran a table of six while the other two DMs each ran tables of seven. My table had the same six players I’ve had for the past few sessions. The party consisted of a Human Monk, Elf Mage, Human Cleric, Dwarf Fighter, Warforged Fighter, and Half-elf Paladin (Carl the would-be candidate for Duke).

The Exploding Coffin

The heroes made their way towards the source of the explosion. They could see a plume of dark smoke rising from the origin point so it didn’t take them long to find it. When they arrived, the scene was already crowded with bystanders. Rumour had it that a magic spell misfired randomly hitting a delivery wagon.

Flaming Fist soldiers were already on the scene when the PCs arrived. They’d cordoned off the area and were investigating. The Cleric made a great Charisma check (natural 20) and managed to get the party access to the crime scene. The wagon was transporting six coffins. The merchants driving the wagon were flung from it when the explosion went off. They suffered only minor injuries.

The Cleric, Mage, and Dwarf Fighter looked around the wagon for any signs of what caused the magical misfire. Both the Cleric and Mage tried to detect magic or look for any signs of magical energy. They both rolled amazing and were confident that magic was not responsible for this accident. When they shared this information with the lead investigator he took the criticism harshly and demanded the PCs leave the scene.

Before they left the Cleric found an interesting clue. Although the coffins were badly damaged in the explosion, two of them had an unusual lining inside. The normal coffins had white silk interior, but two had dark material that seemed to be specially treated. The Cleric managed to take a sample before the party was removed from the scene.

While the rest of the PCs took it easy for the remainder of the day the Cleric and Monk went to the docks to find someone knowledgeable in naval warfare. They found a cooperative captain with experience firing cannons. He looked at their unusual cloth and confirmed it had residue of smokepowder. The PCs deduced that there smokepowder was being transported inside of the specially treated coffins. One must have exploded during transport.

Nominating a Duke

The next day Carl the Half-elf Paladin was to speak before the Parliament of Peers and formally request he be considered for the vacant Duke position. The Monk, Dwarf Fighter, and Warforged Fighter accompanied him.

It was an exceptionally busy day at High Hall. People who were unhappy about the poor job parliament was doing came to protest. People we wanted Carl to be Duke came to support him. People who did not want Carl to be Duke came to boo him. There were hundreds of people in the square around parliament, and the peanut gallery inside was packed with observers. As the PCs went inside they realized that one of the secret entrances they’d used to gain access to Underceller was only a block away.

The PCs were shown to a waiting area and told Carl would be called to speak before parliament in about an hour. With only 15 minutes to go, two very tired looking Flaming Fist soldiers arrived to deliver a message from the other two PCs. They’d sprinted all the way from Wyrm’s Rock to get Carl. Ravengard had ordered public executions in Baldur’s Gate. At least 30 people were already beheaded outside of Wyrm’s Rock and 50 more hung at the Basilisk’s Gate. However, the real event was going to happen at the docks in front of the Seatower of Balduran where over 300 people were to be executed.

The messengers had already informed the Cleric and Mage who were en route to the Seatower. If the PCs left parliament now they could reach the Seatower using the Underceller passages before the executions began. After a brief debate the PCs decided it was more important to save 300 people now than get Carl nominated for Duke. They left out a back exit without telling anyone they were leaving and made their way to Underceller.

The Smokepowder Plot

As they ran down the main passage they spotted two coffins near a small side passage. They also heard the sounds of coughing coming from down the side passage. A quick look inside the coffin revealed it was empty, but lined with the treated fabric designed for transporting smokepowder. Carl didn’t want to stop to investigate so he kept going towards the Seatower; the rest of the PCs ran down the side passage and found a small room where ten alchemists were working to create vast quantities of smokepowder.

Using intimidation, the Fighters managed to get the alchemists to stop working, douse their current batch of smokepowder, and reveal that they’d already made enough to fill 50 coffins. When the Monk searched the room he discovered paperwork that included a structural blueprint of the High Hall. The heroes realized that the smokepowder could be used to blow up parliament. The Monk chased after the Paladin. They’d need him to warn the Parliament of Peers that they were in danger and only Carl could get their attention.

The Paladin and Monk returned to parliament while the two Fighters made their way to the Seatower. When the two PCs arrived back at High Hall, Carl was escorted on stage as it was his scheduled time for Carl to address parliament. The Monk took off for the basement with hopes of stopping the destruction of the building.

Carl wasted no time and announced that everyone must evacuate quickly and in an orderly manner because High Hall could explode at any moment. Despite the ensuing chaos the Paladin made three excellent Charisma checks to keep people as calm as possible to assist in the evacuation.

In the basement the Monk found three men placing the coffins full of smokepowder around the building’s support columns. He engaged them in combat, easily taking out the first opponent before he knew what was happening. While the Monk engaged the second man, the villain told his companion to light the fuses. In order to quickly deal with the second man and get to the third faster, the Monk used his new Fire Riposte power to drop the second man. It worked; unfortunately the flames ignited the powder.

The first blast sent the Monk flying across the room. He was badly wounded but still conscious. He tried crawling towards the stairs but was too slow. The rest of the smokepowder blew up and the building started falling around him. He was crushed to death.

Most of the people were evacuated from High Hall before the explosions began, but some people did take damage from debris, including Carl who refused to leave until everyone was out safely. The chain reaction of the explosions going off and the collapse of High Hall could be seen and heard from all over the city.

Execution at Seatower of Balduran

When the two Fighters emerged from Underceller near the Seatower they met up with the Cleric and Mage who were waiting for them near the exit. A few second later they heard the explosions and turned to see the High Hall explode and then collapse.

They used the distraction to move closer to the huge execution platform erected on the docks. The 300 prisoners were bound together and lined up for all to see. The PCs recognized many of the condemned as innocent people who couldn’t have done anything that warranted execution. They decided to try and free the prisoners.

The first 30 prisoners were clearly hardened criminals and were shackled together with chains. The rest of the condemned were tied together with ropes. The PCs managed to get close enough to cut the bonds and free the prisoners. As they did so many of those freed helped them cut others loose. By the time the guards realized what was happening the heroes had freed about 200 of the prisoners. They managed to run interference and block the guards long enough for the rest of the prisoners bound with rope to be freed.

In light of the explosion at High Hall and the unexpected emancipation of so many scheduled for execution, the Flaming Fist guards in charge decided not to go ahead with the executions today. The marched the people in chains back to the Seatower where they were put back into prison cells.

The Mage and Warforged Fighter decided to stick around to confront Ravengard when he finally arrived. The Cleric and Dwarf Fighter made their way to High Hall to help the wounded and find their friends.

Ravengard never showed up at the Seatower so the PCs returned to Wyrm’s Rock. The other PCs found Carl and spent the remainder of the day helping the wounded. They never found the Monk and assumed he died heroically trying to save people from the explosions.

Thoughts

We had a lot going on this week and it was nice to finally see some of the loose ends tying together. I was very happy that the party was conformable splitting up, something they were reluctant to do when we started the season. They’ve realized that the way the adventure is structured there will always be something for them to do so they don’t all have to agree on the same course of action.

Even though we only ran two of the three storylines this week (as the adventure instructs the DMs to do) it still ran very long for us clocking in at more than 2.5 hours. We did get a lot done and the players seemed to really enjoy the session. I think they’re happy they can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel; I know I am.

This is the first time we lost a PC since the season began. I don’t like to kill PCs, but there was no conceivable way for me to save him. I did roll the damage listed in the adventure so there was an outside chance he could have survived if I’d rolled really poorly (I rolled almost the max damage).

Next week is the grand finale. I don’t expect it to take as long as most session since it’s basically just the final confrontation. What will be interesting is to see what happens with different group, as the ending isn’t the same for everyone. The party’s actions throughout the season will dictate how their storyline ends.

Which two storylines were played out at your table this week? How did the party handle them? Did anyone else loose a PC or two this week? Did anyone manage to stop High Hall from blowing up?

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.

Visit the Dungeon’s Master D&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as other great D&D Encounters articles and resources.


Looking for instant updates? Subscribe to the Dungeon’s Master feed!


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike October 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm

That sounds like an awesome adventure. High stakes, lack of time, hard decisions great. My opinion on adventurer death is that it is not a problem as long as the death is suitably awesome. I think being crushed under an entire falling castle while trying to save everyone inside counts as awesome enough.

My party used a modified version of Joes modified version.
Our party regrouped with all experienced members this time. My druid, the rabbit/rogue, assassin/wolf, pixie/executioner/warlock and the Elementalist Mistress Hot Damn. We had just returned to our inn after finding the grisly work of Gilden Marsh murdering his family. We received a message from Rilsa to meet at the wizard Orduil’s estate. We ignored it for a short while, to concentrate on the more urgent task of finding Gilden Marsh. The pixie asked the local animals if there was any area they sensed evil or were staying away from. However, they were staying away from the whole city so that didn’t help. I still had my ice dagger with Imbrilum Skoond’s soul trapped in it. That seemed significant so now that we had a full magic user again, I asked the Elementalist to take a look at it, while I prayed to Auril for guidance. We found out that it was anathema to undead and that we might be able to use it in a ritual to track particular undead also. Our rogue tried to track down useful info or items for finding or fighting the undead, but found nothing. On the way he met the pixie Milkweed, a PC from previous sessions, gnow being played as an NPC and Milkweed wondered why we weren’t all going to Orduil’s meeting. We couldn’t find anything else we needed to do so we set off for the meeting.

Rilsa, Orduil and Kraggo were there. Rilsa wanted our help in setting up a rally to help inspire the populace for tomorrow. We were nervous as it seemed like a perfect opportunity for the cult of Bhaal to strike, but we agreed with the conditions that she would also help organize it as a day of prayer to Gond, Ilmater and Auril beseeching their help to defeat Bhaal and that we could organized escape routes and contingency plans just in case the crowd was attacked. Rilsa agreed and left.

Orduil sighed in relief when she left. He was very worried about the rally as tomorrow was also a holy day for the Cult of Bhaal so it was very likely that something bat was going to happen tomorrow. He explained that they had figured out how Gilden Marsh was teleporting. He was using Bhaal’s power to move between areas of great violence or murder. Possibly including even murders that hadn’t happened yet, which explained how he could teleport to the Marsh estate. They had a ritual that would block his teleporting, but needed our spellcasters help which we provided. Then on to the ritual finding Marsh. There was an awkward moment when he realized there was a soul trapped in the ice dagger, but he didn’t press the issue. Mistress Hot Damn led the ritual, which was so difficult she barely survived and was in fact knocked unconscious by the force of the ritual. We asked Orduil to heal her as out last set of healing checks had gone so badly they accidentally killed the people we were trying to heal. He did so and she was able to narrow Marsh’s location to the Ducal Palace. We decided to rush over there and then use our various animal related powers to try and track down his exact location.

We had just reached the courtyard in front of the palace, when we encountered Duke Silvershield’s coach driven by a cloaked figure and guarded by several minotaurs. We could see the minotaur’s breath steaming in the cold morning air, so we figured they at least weren’t undead, which was good. The cloaked figure greeted us sarcastically as the “Heroes of Baldur’s Gate” and cackled that now he would not have to search us out. The minotaurs threw back their cloaks and we all saw that they were former members of Cookslayer’s company, but now they had gaping wounds in their chest in the shape of a skull surrounded by drops of blood and their eyes had been torn out and left dangling from their sockets. The cloaked figure then pulled out Duke Silvershield’s head from a bag and hurled it at us. The head started to smoke and spark, but nothing else and he started cursing “damn gnomish work”.

The pixie started with his usual charge straight into one of the minotaurs for massive damage. The elmentalist created a burst of flame around the minotaurs, the drive and the horse pulling the carriage. Amazingly, the horse was the only one not hit, although she was clearly spooked. The rogue dazed two minotaurs with poisoned crossbow bolts and the assassin used the opportunity to hide. My druid tried to pass the assassin the ice dagger as he would be more able to use it, but the dagger itself shouted NO at that! I make it a rule not to argue with divine artifacts of my own goddess so I summoned some pixies and insects to attack the enemy instead. I also had my bear rear on its hind legs and try to scare the horse into running. That worked only too well. The horse dashed down the street, through the clouds of fire, insects and pixies, and knocking the cloaked figure to the roof of the carriage. We could now see that he resembled Marsh, but not exactly. Maybe a cousin whose body we had missed at the site of the massacre? The horse trampled almost everyone friend and foe alike causing minor injuries and knocking everyone to the side of the path. Just as it was almost off the map, our assassin leapt onto it’s back, and swung through the window. He found Duke Silvershield’s headless body, his family sword and a pool of fresh blood on the seats an floor. He tried to stab the Marsh lookalike through the roof with his dagger, but it was too short, so he grabbed Silvershield’s sword and used it instead, striking a final blow, and appropriately avenging Silvershield with his own family’s sword.

The pixie and elementalist made short work of three of the minotaurs, but our rogue had much worse luck. One of the eyeless and dazed minotaurs somehow sensed him and charged knocking him down. Instead of simply standing up the rogues player described how he acrobatically flipped to his feet, so the DM asked him to roll for it. Of course he got a natural one and actually clunked his head on the flat of the minotaur’s axe. He then used his most powerful attack daily on the minotaur and rolled a natural one again, (third for this session.) and sent his rapier flying into the bushes. It was like a clown shoe except with real imaginary weapons. The minotaurs knocked him out next turn, but Mistress Hot Damn healed him and dispatched the minotaur handily.

We had just finished off the last enemy when we heard the iron window on the gate to the palace open. Gilden Marsh stood there laughing at us “You’re too late, already. Hahaha.” The pixed charged him, but he closed the window and he bounced off leaving a small dent. Fortunately, where a pixie leaves a dent, a bear leaves scrap wood and kindling. We rushed in and that is where the adventure ended.

Another fun adventure. The combat was very enjoyable especially after a week of no combat. The opponents were suitably creepy and tough, and the trampling horse and carriage added a little extra excitement. Once again, we are reminded of the stakes and it is a good setup for the final adventure next week. I’m just wondering if Orduil set us up. He implied that we had at least until tomorrow to stop whatever plan the Bhaalites have, but now it seems like it has already happened or is just about to happen. We will have questions for him, assuming we survive the day.

2 dan November 1, 2013 at 1:09 am

It seems like your party has finally caught up to mine. This is probably due to the fact that our groups were so thurough that we actually have a shot at doing all 3 semi-final scenarios as opposed to just the two we were recommended to do.
At last weeks session, we had 2 tables of Next, each of 7 people. There were only 2 people for the usual 4e group (including DM), so they played next. My table had a human rogue, half-elf druid, gnome barbarian, pre-gen half-orc barbarian, 2 pre-gen dwarf fighters, and the pre-gen cleric. The newer players were flavored as reinforcements from a mercenary guild with which we were affiliated in light of rising tensions.
The DM decided to go off of what we (the players) have done in the past weeks, which is to say, he asked where our characters were from the beginning. I like this approach, as it gives the impression of down time and allows our characters to have more of a background impact in addition to the direct story impact. The new cleric was in a temple seeking guidance, the half-orc and one of the dwarves (hereafter dwarf#1) patrolled taverns, and the remaining party members worked with the flaming fist to try and keep the martial law in check.
At this point, the gnome has been working on gaining further rank in the flaming fists, and has been attempting to act as an advisor to ravenguard, trying to find alternatives while the martial law is in effect. The streets have been kept relatively calm, despite the military takeover and the tension in the air, and it almost seemed more peaceful than it has been for a while. Ravenguard has no intention of maintaining martial law for longer than a month. He seems to think that a time-out is just what the city needs. This being said, maintaining martial law and commanding his troops is a stressful job, and the party has been trying to alleviate the stress to whatever extent possible, especially since ravenguard has proven to have a temper.
While at the temple, the cleric overheard a group of people talking outside, without the accompanying clink of chainmail. Suspicious, he followed. He was able to overhear talk of ‘Rael’ and ‘the prison guards won’t see it coming’ before the group entered a tavern. Against his creed to enter such an establishment, he thought it best to alert the rest of the party, who were more familiar with the city. When he informed us, we recognized the name of the tavern as the same one we had used to access the tunnels in the undercellar. The rogue, a local, knew of a passage that would lead directly to the back of the prison, and we decided to attempt to intercept. We expected a jailbreak at this point, but didn’t know what to expect. Being with ravenguard, we decided to request backup. At first he was reluctant, but after the gnome got a crit on his charisma, he agreed to send along 2 privates. Along the way, the other fighter took command of them. Upon our arrival, we saw the 2 guards at the gate drop. Upon closer inspection, they had crossbow boots through their necks. The cleric cast bless. The fighter commanded the privates to hold the line at the gates. The thief attacked an enemy, then his in the shadows, and a few enemies rushed the gates. The enemies were not well armored except for one, who seemed to be the leader. The gnome held a decent area between his 10 foot reach whip and throwing daggers, and caught anyone who may slip the net, while dealing decent damage regularly. We incapacitated the leader, and killed the last few enemies. The druid nailed the crossbowman with a javelin, and the rogue disemboweled some people. About midway through the combat, the cleric had to leave, but another player showed up around the same time (a latecomer to the 4e table) and took over.
For the duration of the jailbreak, the half-orc and dwarf#1 were in the tavern. The half-orc had gotten drunk, and passed out. Dwarf#1 decided to try to make some money by arm wrestling. He failed twice, losing most of his gold. When the hal-orc came to, he convinced him to arm wrestle in his stead, then kicked him in the shin. This set him into rage, breaking the table and sending both to the floor. 4 of the other patrons stood up to defend their friend, and a brawl ensued. We actually switched between the two combats every round, and it added a good deal of entertainment to the encounter. The dwarf and half-orc wound up at odds by the end of the night.
After defeating the enemies, we had little time left in the session, so we quickly interrogated the captive. We found the unused explosives in a back wall, and contained the situation without further incident.
Interestingly, the other table was on the other side of the jailbreak. From what I heard after, they were a cohesive unit, and worked very well together. I heard tell of back-to-back-to-back thunder waves, and other fun things. The person telling me this said he hadn’t experienced that level of cohesion since the flaming horse incident last season (week 3-ish).
Last weekseemed to be a decent week. There wasn’t much to investigate, just a straightforward prison break that we managed to stop. It was a pleasant break from the endless investigative roadblocks that we’ve been dealing with.
This week, we only had enough people for one table of 4e and one table of Next. This was fortunate for the second Next dm , as he felt unwell. Our party had an elf mage, an elf druid, a half-elf druid, a human rogue, and a gnome barbarian (me). We began in the wide, as we were publicly recognized by the parliament of peers for our stopping of the prison break, in addition to our other previous activities. We noted that Silvershield was not present, but his lackey, Skoond, was there to fill in for him. As Skoond shook each of our hands, the gnome cast a minor illusion on him as a joke, getting a few chuckles from the crowd. Afterwards, we approached Corrin to see if he knew why Silvershield hadn’t been there in person. All he knew was that Silvershield had given some obvious lie as an excuse.
At that, he pointed out that Skoond was trying to sneak off. We followed nonchalantly, keeping an eye on him, but the half-elf druid ran headlong into a tent, causing a commotion. Our reactions gave us away, and Skoond increased his pace. The gnome and rogue took point. The rogue knew this part of the city well enough that she recognized the alley he went down led to 3 dead ends. When we reached the final bend, Skoond was gone. Knowing he had to have gone somewhere, we searched the area, and found a trap door. The rogue and gnome worked together to search for traps in the tunnel, and the rogue realized that it was an escape tunnel, which are for use by patriars in emergencies. When we reached the end, we found a door, which the party investigated. They recognized the sound of rythmic voices, and the mage cast detect magic, sensing 5 points of evocation beyond. When the rogue tried to open the door quietly, it made a loud creak. We heard a voice call out ‘___, is that you?’ (I forget the name called). The gnome cast minor illusion to make it sound like someone was speaking through the door, but made it muffled, and the party got ready to react if attacked. When a dwarf pulled the door open and began sputtering in shock, we told him Skoond had told us to meet him. We were given directions, but he made no efforts to lead us. We asked for a map, and he obliged. As we left, we glanced around the room, and saw two gnomes working at a table making smoke powder. There were a few casks, but there was enough smoke powder in the air that a spark would cause the place to blow up.
The rogue estimated that they were in the cellars of Silvershield’s manor. After examining the map and looking into several rooms (finding nothing of note) we came upon Skoond’s private quarters. Listening at the door, we heard nothing, so we entered. After searching the room, we found a hollow leg in a stool. The leg contained a blueprint that the rogue recognized as the High Hall. It was marked by several Xs. We placed our copy of the cellar map into the hollow leg to taunt any who would find it, and found our way out through another hidden tunnel, and made our way to the mason’s guild. They informed us that every mark was located on a supporting wall. With the knowledge of the smoke powder and its connection to the blueprints, we decided to try to warn the parliament of peers before it was too late. Before we left, they told us one other thing: there was a door on the blueprints that didn’t exist. In it’s location was a wine cellar.
We made haste to the cellar, and demanded in the name of the flaming fists that he tell us what was going on. He panicked due to martial law still being in effect, and told us about the suspicious casks that Skoond had had delivered, that had been disappearing from the cellar gradually. He had received a large shipment only hours before. We told him to go get flaming fist reinforcements, as parliament was in danger. He ran, and we proceeded to the basement. After the barbarian and rogue failed their search check, the mage decided to cast fog cloud, and cause it to disperse through the area. We were able to see the fog seeping through a crack in the wall, and we were able to find a latch to open a secret door there.
At this point, another player, a monk, joined us. Upon entering the cellar of the High Hall, we noticed that there were no casks of smoke powder. However, there was evidence of fresh paint on the walls, and they seemed to be thicker than they should have been. We deduced that the smoke powder had been packed into the walls. The barbarian turned to try to warn the parliament, but before he could, the wine merchant ran back down the stairs and through the door, screaming about a demon. Following behind him was a flaming imp.
We knew letting it touch the walls would be bad, so we tried to divert its attention. The barbarian cast minor illusion to create the image of an attractive female imp, which managed to distract it long enough for the monk to sneak up on it and stick a manacle around its neck. We proceeded to open a cask of wine, and dropped the imp inside, dousing it. The barbarian ran up to the main chamber, and called for a hasty but orderly evacuation, warning that if they panicked too much, they may set off the smokepowder. This managed to work, and all evacuated, with no casualties. Meanwhile, the monk was gifted with the lethal cask of wine, which he planned to sell as ‘fire imp wine.’
When the flaming fist reinforcements arrived, the barbarian ordered them to secure the building and the smoke powder. When the merchant was questioned, he told us he had seen Skoond summon the imp with a scroll. With an eyewitness, we had enough evidence to arrest Skoond, but not enough for Silvershield.
Having saved parliament and captured Skoond, the party is sure to be recognized for our greatness, and I expect that my barbarian will receive the promotion I’ve been working towards at the beginning of next week’s session. Of course, based on what I read, I worry that next week I may need to use every bit of my influence to try and keep Ravenguard from making a crazy decision, and try to keep the peace. But, metagaming.
This was a fun session. There was risk of a TPK, and we were able to avoid it. The DM even commented that we seem to solve all of our problems with alcohol. Between the riot and the wine, two massive, difficult problems, we came out on top through use of alcohol. It’s pretty fun, actually. It was particularly amusing when the DM started to pull out the battle map, and almost had it out, when we took the imp out, and he just kinda sat there, unable to use it. I stated before that combat need not happen to get the thrill of life and death. This is one thing that I think 4e did right with its skill challenges. There is a real effect on the players when their lives are on the line and they can’t rely on combat tactics to keep them alive. I feel like a good skill system would be a great addition to Next, but I don’t feel like the proficiency system is good enough. I think the uncertainty of skill dice from earlier in the playtest would work wonderfully in these circumstances.

3 Joe November 1, 2013 at 9:37 am

We continued to run the modified 4e-focused version at Modern Myths in Northampton, MA. Numbers have been dropping off the last few weeks, so we barely had enough for 2 tables this week. We ran a version of the gunpowder plot (with the requisite Guy Fawkes references), though it all happened below the large gathering that will be the finale next week. I also inserted a Bhaalite Mage Wight that was directing everything, which also gave me a mouthpiece with which to taunt the players and to spell out the background Bhaal plot more clearly.

Prior to going to the main square outside the Parliament of Dukes to look for potential trouble makers (at Coran’s suggestion), the party decided to look into any underworld business activities that may be involved in the city (a previous session saw shipments from a Drow group). As this was kind of ad hoc, I decided that many weapons dealers were building up supplies in the city, and that several regional lumber groups were increasing shipments to the city (to coffin-makers, it turned out). Also, they found a construction area with a sign that said “Coming Soon: Entreri’s Legitimate Goods”. The assassin at the table immediately recognized the name of a famous assassin, so it was pretty clear that the murderous energy in the city had been noticed by a variety of outside business interests.

The fight itself wasn’t too hard, though the addition of explosive barrels made it much more tactical than usually required. One player remarked that it was still much better than that new D&D smartphone game with the explosive barrels (and after playing it for almost a week, I totally agree with him. It’s like fantasy-themed shuffleboard. But I digress…).

The session ended with the explosions being stopped, but with screams being heard from the square above, and the Bhaalite wight’s lingering spirit telling them that the risen lord Bhaal’s servant would turn this city into a monument to murder. The party got a quick 5-minute rest (while defusing the barrels), but had to race up to (hopefully) stop massive carnage next week.

4 bisonic November 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm

My game continues to be unpredictable, despit what I had previously thought. We had a group of five for Next. After finding the smoke powder lab last seasion, the group followed the dud barrels to the uppers, where they were told their fist badges would do no good. They tracked the shipment to a bar called the Three Barrels near the high hall when a fire imp ran towards the cars. They dowsed it before it got there or anyone saw what was happening. They went inside the front of the bar and started trying to sneak into the cellars through the busy kitchen. One player went to the bar and told the bartender about the imp but he took her to be insane or drunk. They saw Imbralym Skoond come in and they said hello to him. They told him of the imp and he quickly made his excuses and left. After an attempt to distract the waitstaff by yelling at each other, the group was asked to leave or settle down by the bar’s security as it was a nice establishment.

As they were leaving they tried to break in the back but heard the sound of another imp that managed to creep in a window as there was a very minor explosion and a small fire. Skoond ran up to them saying he heard what happned and asked them how the Guild could have done it. He pointed the group to a house in the outers that he knew was a Guild safehouse and told them to eradicate it. The group opted to stop for the night before looking in to the safehouse marked with red shutters.

The next morning they walked over to the building and started asking the people on the street out front if they knew who owned the building. No one gave them an answer. They noticed a beggar sitting on the street making a constant sound with his begging cup. They spoke to him and gave him a gold. He pounded his cup on the gound a few times before he stopped making any sounds and told him that he didn’t know anyone who lived there. They then knocked on the door, pounded on the door, and then they just walked away. Some of the group decided that they should work for the guild to infiltrate it. They went to a local bar where they were all but ignored by the people and staff. They asked more people who owned the red building and said that they were looking for work if anyone knew of any. One person replied that they did not have any work for the Flaming Fist.

The group then went to do the same thing in Little Calimshan. Again more frosty stares and more blank answers. They demanded to meet with Rilsa but most of the people seemed to have suddenly forgotten how to speak Common. The group told some people where they could be reached for when she wanted to meet. They then went to a bar outside of Calimshan to wait. They ordered food and the bar emptied out. After some time they started to feel ill but all warded off the poison from the meal. A group of thugs headed by Laraella Thundreth (I always forget her name and never pronounce it correctly), whose bar/ship they had trashed earlier, came in and demanded they leave town or die. A fight ensued and the players knocked everyone unconcious. They demanded she tell them about the place with the red shutters but she told them where they could shove it so they tied a noose around her neck and started to drag her towards the city. I pointed out how evil it was so they bought a cart and shoved her in the back. When they reached the city, they told the Flaming Fist patrols that they were escorting a prisoner, but decided that she should be quietly brought to the Duke for questioning. Eventually the patrol that was escorting them noticed that they were headed away from Seatower and asked why. The ranger told them that they were bringing her to Duke Silvershield. The guard asked, “What are you, a Fist or the Watch?” The ranger replied, “Both.” The Fist did not like the response and took off to report to someone with rank about what to do.

The players got to the closest gate to Silvershield’s estate and were questioned by the Watch. They said they were bringing a prisoner to the Duke and provided the writ from the first session and demanded his name so that he would be punished for stopping them. He gladly provided his name, and it was clear he was a noble whose family was at odds with Silvershield. He also informed them their writ was out of date and did not cover prisoners. It was invalid and they could not pass. The group was concerned about the Fist catching up to them so they decided to push through the three Watchmen. The men were skilled but the group prevailed and left them unconsious.

They quickly made their way to the Silvershield estate where the butler summoned Skood. They told him about what had happened in the Lower City and at the gate and handed Laraleth to Skoond. When he asked them why they brought her they said so that he could question her. He paused for a moment and said he would take care of her as well as the gate guards. He then gave them directions to travel to Seskergate using the tunnels so they could hide safely for the night. I noted that the directions had them pass directly past the alchemy lab they started the session in. As we ended for they hear two faint explosions in the distance, likely from Seatower.

My group, one or two in particular, are determined to try and play all sides, even though I made efforts to show how well that would work. They don’t understand why people are not falling over themselves to accommodate them and are making no effort to be subtle, persuasive, or even aggressive. They stick to their first plan, in this case, ‘Ask nicely if the Guild will let us into their safehouse’, until they are forced to make a change. I thought they would kick in the door and raid the place but they just walked away and forgot what mission they were on. They also trust Skoond, no matter how shady and obvious I make him seem. I mean he has a curly cue mustash for Baldur’s sake! Do I have to have him cackle and tying damsels to railroad tracks? He is obviously going to kill Laraella and those Watch men. They had better at least try to search his house or he is going to tell them to report what they’ve found to Parliment so that they get killed in the explosion. Maybe his fez makes him too likeable.

5 Vobekhan November 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm

We had two tables of Next as usual this week, though Liam’s table was low on numbers due to the “bug” going around, which probably contributed to his table suffering a TPK (I dont know the details unfortunately but it apparently involved a narcoleptic dog?).

My table took part in the prison break, though Vipin’s new character tried to drop them in it mid-plan. Eventually the prisoners were freed and the heroes progressed their plan to get one of them elected Duke (this is probably a result of my mentioning how “Carl the Paladin” was doing this in your games).

Despite the fun we’ve had with this season I’m kind of glad that we’ve agreed to run the finale next week as its felt rather dragged out the last few sessions and without the incidental bits I’ve put in myself the events of the latter stages were a bit rail-road-ish.

6 Justin Yanta November 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm

GM NOTES:
OMG we had a massive 4 1/2 hour session for this week and only went through Smokepowder Plot. Everyone had a great time and are ready for the finality next week. Prison Break and Public Executions occurred but Silvershield will be the winner of the most hated person in Baldur’s Gate. Here is how this week broke down.

The party started at the Seatower this week because of the issue with needing Flaming Fist badges.
The party this week consisted of:
• Half-Orc Cleric (Lucy)
• Wood Elf Paladin (Woodarrow)
• Tinker Gnome Rogue (Nezzle)
• Half-Orc Rogue (Jackal)
• Half-Orc Fighter (Torrak)
• Stout Halfling Barbarian (Kah-Kaww)
• Human Ranger (Owl)
• Half-Elf Paladin (Jeff)
• New Person Half-Orc Barbarian Pre-Gen (Fluffy Bunny)

Seatower to Undertaker (Everyone):
The party got their badges and were ready to follow up on the Smokepowder coffin and where it was heading. They were able to track it to the Hall of Wonder and spent time there waiting to see who would pick it up. They saw 4 dwarfs pick up the coffin and take it towards the west side of the city. The followed the dwarfs until they found a house that they entered with the coffin. This started with me having everyone roll initiative and let them move through the streets to the house. Everyone headed to the house except Kah-Kaww (who now had his new longbow) and Jeff who was checking other streets. Nezzle was able to roll over 20 and found a massive trap and that the door was locked. Lucy and Woodarrow found a balcony and Fluffy found a different balcony. Kah-Kaww tried and failed to climb to the roof of a different building to get a better view.

Nezzle, with Jackal’s help, was able to disable the trap and unlock the door. Owl then opened the door and charged into the house but found it was empty…

GM NOTES:
I made Seskersgates with lots of hidden doors and treasures. Also since I knew that noone was going to catch Silvershield I had Skood be complete corrupt at this time and thus some special things. Also I had cut out all the hidden areas and only showed them when the doors were opened. This made it a lot of fun since they had to search everywhere. Here are the maps:
Upper Floor: http://i528.photobucket.com/albums/dd326/jyanta/SkoondHouseUpper.jpg
Ground Floor: http://i528.photobucket.com/albums/dd326/jyanta/SkoondHouseMain.jpg
Basement: http://i528.photobucket.com/albums/dd326/jyanta/SkoondHouseLower.jpg

Seskersgates (Everyone, well except for Kah Kaww):
Jeff joined with Lucy and Woodarrow and they all climbed to the balcony. Owl ran to the room straight ahead and found a kitchen with a still burning stove and no one there. Also she decided to grab some bread and start eating. Fluffy climbed to the other balcony and looked into the room that was connected to the balcony. She rolled a 1 so I had her yell out that she sees that the Kitchen was on the second floor. Owl then spit out the bread thinking that it was not really bread but something else.

Jackal found a library and started to search it. He rolled a 24 on his search and found a book that said “Secrets of Seskersgates” but after trying to read it (and rolling a 4) he could not understand the book but did find a passage that described the room that he was currently in. Jackal decided to keep the book and wanted to meet up with Nezzle to see if she understood the book. Woodarrow, Jeff and Lucy started searching the rooms upstairs and looking for anything but they found nothing. One thing they did find was that someone had been here but now everyone was missing.

Nezzle and Torrak started to search the Tower as Owl went into the dining room and the attached guest room. Owl tried 3 times to search for something but could not roll over 5 thus she found nothing. Nezzle and Torrak found that the tower had a lot of crates or something in it but now everything is missing. Torrak found some scratches on the floor that lead to the kitchen so they started to head that way.

Outside Kah-Kaww tried again 2 more times to climb to the top of the roof but cannot find a handhold (Everybody laughed because Kah-Kaww’s player just could not make the roll. It was only a 10 but he kept rolling 5 or less. That is 4 rolls in a row that he could not succeed).

Fluffy move though the room into a closet. Searching the closet she finds a secret door and is able to open it. She could peer into an interesting room but that was all she could see, for now. Lucy decided to head down the stairs to meet up with Nezzle, while Jeff hearing that Fluffy found a secret room headed into the room. In the room he searched and was able to find a map that he could not understand. Woodarrow searches the study and finds another secret door. This door opened up into a room with glowing runes.

Owl ran up the stairs and hears that Woodarrow found a room. Owl runs into the room and is hit by a powerful wall of fire. The Fire did minimum damage (2) but still caught her by surprise. Owl searched the room and found a book. The book had spells that would teach you how to summon Fire Mephits. At the same time Nezzle, Torrak, Jackal and Lucy make it to the kitchen. Nezzle reads Jackal’s book and is able to find out that there is a secret door near the stone oven. Jackal finds the door and opens it. Torrak runs into the room and finds a hallway with a stairs down and a doorway. Nezzle and Lucy head though the door in the hidden hallway and finds a chest that is locked.

Outside (Kah-Kaww):
Kah-Kaww finally gave up trying to climb and knocked on a door. He was able to charm his way into the person’s house and headed to the roof. From the roof he saw that some of the Watch was heading their way. He decided to go tell the others and make it back downstairs and to Seskersgates. Once inside he closed the door and the door magically locked behind him.

Seskersgates (Everyone):

Upstairs Fluffy headed into the secret room and searched it. She was able to find a hidden compartment that contained a dagger +1. Woodarrow headed downstairs with Owl as they discussed what she found. Jeff and Fluffy were able to figure out that the Map showed Seskersgates and other locations around Baldur’s Gate. This showed that there were secret tunnels under Baldur’s Gate that lead thoughout the city. One of those connections was somewhere in the house. They then started to move downstairs to join the others.

Jackal was able to find out that the chest was trapped and locked. Jackal helped Nezzle disarm the trap and then Torrak tried the open the chest but the hinges were stuck. Lucy decided to help Torrak and they were able to finally force it open. The chest had nothing in it but by opening it the wall in front of them fell to the ground showing a different staircase. Lucy, Torrak and Nezzle headed down those stairs while everyone else headed down the other staircase.

Smokepowder Room (Nezzle, Torrak, Lucy):
Nezzle, Torrak and Lucy made it down into a very dark room with dim light coming from glowing orbs but overall they could not see well (well Nezzle could not see. The others had darkvision). Nezzle lit a torch and one of the people in the room saw this and ran to her telling her to put it out or she will kill them all. They had a long talk with the smokepowder makers and found out that Seskersgates is owned by Skoond. The group also found out from the smokepowder makers came from the Guild and they were paid to make 300 barrels of smokepowder and they only needed to make 5 more to be complete. The group took this knowledge and headed back to talk to the other.

Secret Basement (Everyone but Nezzle, Torrak and Lucy):
Owl lead the group downstairs and started to search the room thanks to the knowledge from Fluffy that there was a secret enterence to underground paths from Seskersgates. Owl was able to find the secret door but also a different door. This other door headed to a room full of religious things. Owl was not able to figure it out but the symbol seemed very familiar as she had had dreams of the symbol. Kah-Kaww headed into the room and also read the symbol but could not make out who’s it was. Woodarrow with her religious knowledge figured out that the symbol was Bhaal. That the alter was giving off a lot of energy and seemed to be alive. Fluffy and Jeff opened up the secret door and was able to find stairs leading to the underground tunnels.

Under High Hall (Everyone):
I had them make some tracking rolls and they were able to follow the trail to High Hall. They found the secret door and was able to open it (I used Asurta’s Tomb map from the Seekers of the Ashen Crown Adventure). The group noticed Skoond and a large amount of Dwarves just finishing up setting up some explosives. The dwarves all carried a lot more explosives on them. This started with Torrak charging into the room and attacking Skoond. He hit and did 17 damage to him.

GM Notes:
Now I had changed up Skoond’s spells some. He now had Mage Armor and Mirror Image and I had him already with both active (he wanted to make sure that he could escape as needed). I also took off his other 3rd level spell and make it Summon Fire Mephit. This made him fit what I thought he should be at this point).

Torrak’s slash was good but after a d6 roll one of the mirror images disappeared (actually I described it that Skoond split in half and now there were two of him). The 2 dwarves charged Torrak and did minimal (7) points of damage to him. The others now started moving into the room with Owl and Kah-Kaww shooting arrows into the room and killing some dwarves while Woodarrow charge and hurt one of the others. This then started Skoond’s turn and he turned invisible and ran away (not far). The dwarves then had their turn and 2 tossed fire pots at the group still in the secret passage. Everyone but Owl missed their saving throw and they took 15 points of damage (Jackal (Bloody), Nezzle, Lucy, Fluffy, Kaw-Kaww, and Jeff) while Owl took half. As the turns started for the others they took more fire damage as they charged out of the area. Fluffy was able to cleave though dwarves and take out another while Lucy ran into the room and exploded with radiant light destroying Skood’s illusion and his mirror image. She also took out 2 more dwarves. This left 5 dwarves left. Nezzle came in and badly hurt Skood while Jackal took max fire damage and fell unconscious. Jeff was in a fight with a dwarf trading blows but not really connecting and Torrak took out one more dwarf. Skoond cast his Summon Fire Mephit and sent him to set off the charges as he ran. Fluffy caught up with Skoond and while raging knocked him out. Kah-Kaww was also raging and was able to hurt the Fire Mephit. Jeff and Woodarrow surrounded the Fire Mephit dealing massive damage and killing it. One of the last 2 dwarves tossed a fire pot and caught Jeff and the others. This caused Jeff to fall unconscious and greatly damaging the others but luckily did not set off the explosive. Lucy saved Jeff while Nezzle ran back into the fire to force a potion of healing down Jackal throat reviving him.

Everyone was able to wrap up the battle and the wake up Skoond. He admitted that Bhaal wanted him to destroy High Hall and that they could not stop Bhaal from destroying Baldur’s Gate. He even admitted that Silvershield was the leader and he would destroy them all before he used his power to burst into flames killing him and hurting the people around him. The group headed upstairs and noticed that if Skoond was successful then the Parliament of Peers would have been destroyed along with everyone in 1 mile of High Hall. The group took some time to heal up and are going to confront Silvershield. They did hear news about the other 2 events but really there was only one place to go now. Stop Bhaal and Silvershield.

GM NOTES:
OK I went off script here. I wanted them to have an enemy and a clear person to go after. Silvershield was going to win the prize anyway so it just made sense. The group really wants to face Silvershield and I am going to use the Market Side map from the Seekers of the Ashen Crown Adventure. Also I decided that Skoond and Silvershield were too far gone and that Skoond would spill the beans about what was happening. This really set up a massive fight and with them using up most of their healing and some of their attacks it will make the battle next week epic (I hope). I also really liked having Seskersgate Manor drawn out and set up ready for them. It really made it special with them having to find out the secrets.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: