D&D Encounters: Murder in Baldur’s Gate (Week 7)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on October 3, 2013

murder-in-baldurs-gate-coverWith Upper City closing its gates to non-residents at 3 bells, the PCs decided to help merchants from Lower City and Outer City skirt the system by travelling through Underceller to bypass the gates. It took considerable effort and a battle with some skeletons, but the PCs found a safe passage and began escorting merchants.

This week at Harry Tarantula North in Toronto we ran three tables, all using the D&D Next play test rules. The other two DMs both had six players at their tables. I started with three players at my table and got two more after about 30 minutes bringing my total up to five. The party consisted of a Half-Elf Paladin (Carl), Halfling Rogue, Dwarf Druid, Human Monk, and Elf Wizard.

None of the PCs from last weeks session were present this week so we said they continued to escort merchants through Underceller as other events played out in Baldur’s Gate this week.

I challenge you to a duel!

We began this week as we have the past few; the Flaming Fist sergeant calls all active members to the daily briefing and hands out assignments. He told those present that the Parliament was going to be announcing another new law today. Considering how poorly the previous few laws were received he cautioned the Fist members to be diligent in their duties and keep the peace.

It didn’t take long for the PCs to hear news of the new law from town criers and upset locals. Dueling was now legal in Baldur’s Gate. None of the PCs were sure what that meant exactly so they kept their eyes and ears open.

Less than an hour after the law was announced the PCs stumbled upon a duel starting up in Lower City. An officer of the city Watch was verbally berating a teenaged lamplighter, something about the lamplighter corrupting the officer’s sister by bringing her to unsavory places in town. The teenager denied any wrongdoing and apologized as he tried to explain what happened. The officer was unreceptive and challenged the lamplighter to a duel.

The officer was dressed in full plate armor, carried a shield and brandished a heavy long sword. He towered a good 6 inches over the lamplighter and outweighed him by at least 75 pounds. The lamplighter was unarmored and carried only a dull knife. This was clearly a lopsided contest.

By this point a considerable sized crowd drew near, surrounding the combatants and anxious to see their first duel. Carl the Paladin, self-proclaimed candidate for Duke, stepped forward. This drew many gasps and cheers from the crowd.

Carl suggested the officer rescind his challenge and back down. He refused and asserted his legal right to carry on with this duel. Carl refused to step aside. The officers confirmed verbally that Carl was willingly violating the legal rules of dueling by interfering. Carl confirmed he was; he refused to let the officer duel the teenager.

The officer smiled, turned to his companions who were in the crowd and declared that Carl’s violation allowed him to call upon his allies to assist, as was the dueling protocol. Now it was seven against two (if we count the teenager). The Druid refused to let Carl battle these men alone so he joined in the fight.

Dueling in the Streets

None of the players or their PCs knew the rules of dueling (I let them make checks and they failed horribly). According to the adventure, anyone could challenge an opponent to a duel. The first combatant to draw blood was the winner. If the bleeding combatant did not concede victory to the attacker the duel continued, now to the death. If a third party joins the fight the challenger can call upon his allies (as many as he deems necessary) to assist him.

There are no rules that prohibit weapons, armor, magic items, or the like. The combatants are not required to have equal arms or armor; they duel with what they have on them. What this means is that anyone with superior equipment or combat training was at a huge advantage. Traditionally it was believed that a deity would bless the duelist destined to win and therefore he didn’t need any other protection.

From a D&D mechanics point of view I decided that the first PCs to inflict damage was the winner. This gave the PC/NPC with a higher initiative a big advantage. To level the playing field a bit I decided that during a duel all participants had to roll a defense check rather than have a flat, unchanging AC. This gave unarmored opponents a better chance to avoid taking a blow. Their fate was now in their own hands.

In order to make an active defense check the PC/NPC subtracts 10 from their normal AC and adds the remaining number to their d20 roll. For example, a Watch officer with an 18 AC would roll a d20+8 to get his defense score. The attacker and defender would roll simultaneously and if the attacker’s total matched or beat the defender’s check it was a hit.

I’ve used active defenses during public play before. I’ve also tried it on and off during home games. It lets everyone roll more dice which helped me keep younger players engaged during public play. It does mean that combat takes longer because everyone is rolling more dice. However, if players get into it and describe their actions it can make for very vivid and exciting combat encounters. (See Let the Players Roll More Dice: Using Active Defenses.)

Carl the Paladin won the initiative but failed to connect on his first strike. A Watch officer went next and hit the Paladin. The officer waited for Carl to acknowledge he’d been beat. When no proclamation was uttered the next officer attacked. The Druid managed to draw first blood on an officer who hadn’t acted yet. The wounded officer immediately tapped out. When the Druid was hit by another officer a second later, the PCs was given a brief opportunity to surrender. I gave the PCs a chance to understand this nuance by making a Wisdom check, which he made easily. He chose to keep dueling.

The Duel took about 10 minutes of real time and was very exciting. The players got into it and described their offensive and defensive actions. I likewise described the officers’ actions. In the end the PCs knocked out the instigator and five of his six friends. When the other officer surrendered early he quickly sneaked away.

The crowd was ecstatic at seeing Carl the Paladin defeat the Watch officers. Carl used two divine spells during the fight to bless and heal himself. Those in the crowd who knew the dueling protocols saw this as a divine sign he would win, and he did. The lamplighter thanked the heroes and then ran off. The unconscious Watch officers were stripped of their belongings, strung up on a lamppost Spider-man style, and left with the message “No Dueling” written on their bodies. The Lower City crowd loved this more than the fight.

Beware of a Flaming Fist Tribunal

The PCs returned to Wyrm’s Rock and rested overnight. The next day Ravengard himself gathered all Flaming Fist members together and announced that he was implementing a new law in Baldur’s Gate. The city is falling into chaos and needs order. It needs the strong hand of the Flaming Fist to guide it. Only through swift and firm justice can the town get back on the right path.

Effective immediately Ravengard empowered Flaming Fist patrols of five or more lead by an officer of Flame rank or higher to convene on-the-spot tribunals. When presented with a crime the tribunal can hear evidence and pass judgment. Most Flaming Fist members expressed their approval, but about 1 in 10 seemed hesitant and clearly felt this might not be a good idea. However, loyalty for Ravengard trumped any doubts.

During the day the PCs heard of the many successes of the tribunals and the locals of Lower City seemed to think it was a good idea. The heroes presided over a case of petty theft in which Carl (of Flame rank) passed judgment, found the accused guilty based on testimony, and gave him a choice of paying a fine or working for the shop keeper for a week for free. The man took the job.

The next day the PCs heard more about the tribunals, however, the accounts became more serious and more brutal. A man who broke a verbal agreement was found guilty and his tongue was cut out. This got the PCs thinking that the tribunals might not be as good as they originally seemed. They decided to talk to Ravengard about it the following day after their patrol was over.

Fire! Fire!

Later that evening the PCs were nearby when they heard the cried of fire. As the got closer they saw four warehouses ablaze. The locals wasted no time helping to combat the fire. The Monk and Paladin decided to go inside a nearby burning building to search for survivors.

Once inside they realized the building was mostly empty. The objects inside were carefully positioned to burn quickly and engulf the structural supports. They also noticed trails of an accelerant on the floor. Clearly someone set this deliberately. Seeing no bodies or people who needed help inside, they tried to leave. Unfortunately some heavy derris now blocked their way. Both were burned as they tried to get through the smoldering rubble (due to very poor checks).

Outside, the Wizard use ice magic to combat the fire while the rest of the PCs joined the line of people carrying buckets of water to the fire. After about an hour the fires were contained and eventually doused.

As the PCs left the scene they were approached by Coran. He applauded their efforts to help and congratulated the Paladin and Druid on their dueling prowess form the previous day. He asked the PCs how they felt about all these new laws but they didn’t really have strong opinions about any of them.

Coran seemed upset that the tribunals were becoming so unnecessarily brutal and violent. He shared a tale of a fisherman who sold his goods to a local restaurateur. When the man got the fish to his shop he realized many were rotting. He returned to the fisherman and demanded a tribunal from a nearby Flaming Fist patrol. They found the fisherman guilty, gut him like a fish, and impaled his body on a large fish hook as a warning to other vendors to be honest in their dealings.

The PCs were shocked at the story and agreed to talk to Ravengard the next day about rescinding the new law. Coran commented that he was unaware Ravengard had the authority to enact such a law in the fist place. He then bid the PCs good night.

The PCs returned to Wyrm’s Rock for a night’s rest. However, the Rogue decided to return to the scene of the fire and investigate further at fist light. When she returned she saw that the damage was extensive. She secretly went inside a few buildings and found more evidence that the fires were set deliberately.

Outside she saw Flaming Fist patrols keeping order, owners and merchants cleaning up, locals trying to get a good look at what happened, and an unusual number of street kids mulling about. She flashed some Thieves’ Cant and one of the kids replied.

The Rogue approached the young girl who, upon seeing her Flaming Fist badge, asked if she was Othial. The Rogue said she was Othial’s friend. The girl said Othial was supposed to meet her here and pay her and the other kids for completing the job. The Rogue explained she didn’t have their payment and that they’d have to wait for Othial. They decided not to and said they’d come back later before running off. The Rogue returned to Wyrm’s Rock to share this new finding with the rest of the party.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed the dueling this week. Using the active defenses really made it more exciting and the players loved it. Unfortunately for the rest of the session we felt like we were just going through the motions as we tried to hit all the required story points. In retrospect I think I should have trusted my gut and just told the PCs there was a fire while they slept. It seemed like a pretty fortunate coincidence they were close enough to help when it began.

We continued to play up Carl the Paladin’s reputation as man of the people and savior of the downtrodden. The heroes realized that the stories were growing out of proportion but at this pint they’re still hearing nothing but good things so they’re ok with that. Eventually some of the power players will see Carl as a real threat and have him dealt with.

The adventure is written in a way that it’s supposed to allow the PCs to help or hinder each of the three factions every week. However, it’s been challenging trying to work in opportunities for the PCs to help the other two factions. By this point in the story they really don’t have any good reason to help any of the others, and I suspect they’ll dump their allegiance with the Flaming Fist soon enough.

Which events did your PCs participate in this week? Did anyone get into a duel? Did anyone administer swift justice as part of a tribunal? What was your role in the warehouse fire? Do any players see their party switching allegiance between Silvershield, Ravengard or the Guild in the coming weeks?

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.

Sorry, no actual play recording this week due to technical difficulties.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike October 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

We had two new members to out group today, a dwarven warden and a tiefling elementalist, replacing our pixie wizard and werewolf assassin. The rest was our usual old lady druid/warlock, rabbit rogue and pixie assassin/warlock. The two new pcs were introduced by a cleric of Tymora we knew. When the dwarf found out there was a possible Bhaalite incursion she became furious as her parents had been killed by Bhaalite Cultists. We asked him if he knew anything more about the Bhaalites since we had been having trouble tracking them down, but all he knew was common knowledge about their symbols and dress etc. Since they were new to the party we had them swear a solemn oath not to murder us in our sleep. They assured us that they would only murder us face to face if needed and we were ready to go.

Since our last session, Rilsa had won the election and was now a Duke, the Flaming Fists were about as popular as runny cheese, and we were celebrated as heroes of the city, except by Gilden Marsh’s family who did not believe that we had killed him in honorable combat while he was engaged in a criminal conspiracy. Clearly denial is not just a river in Mullhorand.

Before we could set up a plan for the day, an elf called “Funny Feeling” (translated from Elvish) walked in and summoned us to a meeting with Rilsa. Little did we know how much trouble we would encounter on that simple walk. First, we encountered some town criers anouncing new dueling laws. To make up for the short handed Watch and Fist, disputes could be settled by dueling to first blood. Loser pays a fine, or if you are unwilling to duel you pay a fine.

Next we passed a square where a gaudily dressed elf, Gilderoy Lightbringer was anouncing his “Knights Circus” a show starting outside the city, with famous knights fighting each other and magical monsters. Our rogue was a jester himself and he recogized the group, but not the individuals named and that it was way larger and more well funded than it had previously been and it sounded suspiciously like the demonic “Night Parade” from Arabel so we investigated. The group chatted with him about the circus and then distracted whim while the rogue pickpocketed him. The purse contained 100 gp and a scroll. The rogue didn’t want to actually steal from Gilderoy so he found a pickpocket in the crowdx and yelled “Stop thief” while holding the purse. The thief gave him a “WTF bro” look and ran away. In return, Gilderoy invited us all to attend the circus for free. Cryptographic and arcane analysis of the scroll showed just a list of supplies for a menagerie of magical animals, so the “Knight’s Circus” is in the clear for now.

Before we had gone three blocks we found a group of five nobby high elves surrounding a cowering half orcish woman. They had caught her stealing bread and she was begging for mercy as she needed it to feed her child. Then they mockingly suggested they use the new dueling laws to settle this. Since the half orc had already admitted to the theft they were obviously just looking to injure and abuse her. Disgusting. Our dwarf boiled over at this mistreatment of a woman and by Elves no less and challenged the lead elf to a duel.

The elf won initiatitive and the duel wounding our dwarf on the first blow. The rouge tried to slip in and surreptitiously wound the elf so it looked like the dwarf won, but even with a natural 20 on stealth there was no way to manage that. Instead he challenged one of the other elves to a duel over the fact that they were grossly misusing the laws on dueling. He won that duel and I tried to make peace saying that both sides had been honorably wounded, we should all pay our fines and go on our way peacefully. The elves were pissed and the second one shouted loudly that his wound was poisoned (It was) and the fight broke into a general melee.

The dwarf went first, blasting three of the elves down the street with a tremendous blow. The tiefling followed it up with a rain of fire, the pixie flew over the burning bushes straight for the leader in his own tiny but ferocious style, the rabbit stabbed the noble he had already poisoned and I summoned a cloud of pixies to start peppering elves with tiny arrows. At this point, the elves’ eyes started glowing and they started chanting in a weird language. The only words we recognized were “Bhaal” and “take their souls”. Not good. Then they counterattacked, focusing on the dwarf. On hearing the word Bhaal, the dwarf became enraged and charged the group of elves cracking skulls like eggshells. (Technically he failed his save to NOT kill the guy, but after hearing they might be the same group that killed his parents, I don’t think that was really a question.) I had my blink dog teleport the half orc to safely. Then I tried to intimidate them by threatening to curse them, turn the minto toads and eat them if they didn’t drop their weapons. They were unimpressed. The rabbit tried (unsuccessfully) to beat out the flaming bushes with his cloak. The baker got stabbed by one of the elves, but the pixie abandoned the fight to rush over and heal him. In the end, we managed to subdue the rest of them with only killing one more elf.

A search of the elves turned up 250 gp, which we took as a “fine,” but no symbols of Bhaal or other suspicious items. We now knew for sure that Bhaal was involved somehow, but didn’t have physical proof for Rilsa and the priests. Our rogue suggested planting evidence and did a quick henna tattoo of Bhaal’s symbol on the leader and then worked the crowd, reminding them how they remembered our version of events with the elves starting the fight, chanting Bhaal’s name and glowing eyes. Later investigation would find no evidence that the elves were Bhaalites and more likely had somehow become possessed by his spirit when they became violent.

The half orc turned out to be a priestess of Tymora named Cylla. We gave her and the baker 10 gp each and she gave us all the blessing of Tymora. Finally, we made it to our meeting with Rilsa. She was upset with our rogue for interrupting a pickpocketing operation, but instead of chewing him out just ordered him to learn Thief’s Cant so he wouldn’t make the same mistake later. She also asked us not to talk about Bhaal’s spirit possessing people and turning them into murderers as the city was already tense enough and news like that could only make people more suspicious and violent. The actual purpose of the meeting was to disrupt some trouble the Flaming Fists were causing at a warehouse. Definitely felt like we made real progress today. The city leaders are finally waking to the true threat to the city. Next time we just need to figure out something helpful for them to do instead of passing crazy laws. The team worked really well today. I was worried that the two new people wouldn’t be able to jump in easily, but they seemed to fit in well. Everyone worked together well as a team for both the role playing and combat portions. The plot was enjoyable. Who doesn’t enjoy robbing a puffed up braggart, or defending a helpless woman from high class jerks? In retrospect the combat was fairly easy, but it did not feel that way at the time, especially as we wer all distracted by other tasks such as rescuing the priestess and the baker and putting out the fire. Overall, one of the most enjoyable sessions this season.

2 Vobekhan October 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm

We had our two tables as usual at Tabletop Tyrants this week and my group have now caught up with extra events from Stages 4 and 5 with the beginning of Stage 6 thrown in for good measure.

We came up with the time difference bit to allow the Sanitation Strike to have more of an effect with having a few days to build up. The players bought into it so I think we got away with it.

With the death of our lawful good halfling cleric, my group seem to have decided to ignore helping Ravengard any further and focus on Rael and the Guild. Perhaps the realisation of the changed evidence will show them that even the Robin-Hood-esque Guild aren’t particularly trustworthy.

3 dan October 3, 2013 at 10:31 pm

This session, we had one person too many for a single table, but too few people for two, so one person sat out, but he enjoys watching anyway. The table had a gnome barbarian, human rogue, half-elf druid, elf druid, dwarf fighter, human cleric, and a cleric of unknown race.
The previous session left off with the ship manifest screaming “thief” at the gnome (me). Flubbing his int check, he planned to jump out the window onto the ledge, and run to the next room, and throw it inside, allowing the party to “investigate.” He neglected to tell the rest of the party in his haste, and the human cleric (who had previously been arrested for the attempted assassination of the new nominee for duke) decided to climb out the window as well, shouting and pointing. An off-duty guard ran out of the inn, and could make out only a shape on the roof. While the rest of the party tried to head off the guards running up the stairs and repeatedly opened and closed the window to their room, the gnome weighed his options: either open the window to the next room and throw the book in, or throw a bolas at the treacherous cleric, causing him to potentially fall off the roof. He went with the latter, but my d20 hates me these past few weeks, so it went wide. Instead, he dropped the manifest, and jumped into a shrubbery below. Meanwhile, inside, the fighter kept his cool better than anyone else, and convinced the guard captain that the room was secured by the flaming fists, and that he should go after the thief, who had fled outside. The elf druid had changed into a dog, and ran along the roof, picked up the manifest, and moved toward the far end of the roof. The traitor climbed back inside, having lost the gnome and manifest, and tried to charm another guard as he came around the opposite corner from the guard captain. He failed, and the rogue told the guard that he was the thief, and had thrown the book out the window. She rolled low, but it wasn’t a stretch, so he believed it, especially when the dwarf tackled the cleric, and shouted to the guard to go get the book. By this time, the gnome had cast minor illusion on the shrubbery to make it look like nobody had jumped into it from the roof recently, in order to hide from an approaching group of guards. The druid in dog form had also jumped from the roof around the corner from him, and proceeded to try to bury the book. The guard, pursuing the book, leapt from the window, and landed quite gracefully next to her. She bolted around the corner, and he followed, but a group of guards left an alley, coming to investigate the screaming book. They engaged her, but they had no reason to believe she was more than a dog, and their only interest was in the manifest, so she did as dogs do, and played as if it were a toy, and she were trying to keep it from her masters. When she bolted again, the gnome cast minor illusion to create an identical dog running down an alley, while the druid ran around the corner of the inn. Somehow, despite the gnome’s low DC and the actual sound coming from the other book, two guards pursued the illusion. They were not clever guards. At this point, all party members but the unknown raced cleric had jumped off the roof, and he had taken the stairs and purchased some drinks for the party in the assumed event of a job well done. The dwarf ‘caught’ the dog and retrieved the manifest, and the party regrouped, each trying to shut off the alarm, to no avail. We returned it to the harbor master, and returned to the inn, feeling displeased with our lack of new information, but at least happy we stayed out of jail.
It was a little later that night, when the party awoke to the sounds of the fire. We ran out to help, but it was too far gone. After the fire had finally been put out, we investigated the area, and found that the fire had been set on purpose. The next day, we decided to follow up. On our way to investigate the owner, we witnessed a duel beginning between a lamp lad and a noble’s son. The noble accused the boy of corrupting his sister, as he took her to a brothel, and her betrothal had been annulled. The party wanted to intervene, but the law bound their hands. He ran the poor boy through, but one of our clerics healed him, and the other (the traitor) accused the noble’s son and his friends of leaving a brothel the previous night where he had serviced them, without paying. This kind of insulting continued, provoking duel after duel, until the noble’s son realized his mistake, and refused to rise any further. In addition, all of the young men had to pay the cleric for his services, as the gods had proven that he was in the right.
This session took up a good deal of time with remaining details from the previous session. While there was no real benefit to the shenanigans with the manifest, the DM and most of the party were impressed that nobody got arrested (though I still believe that the traitor should have been handed over for ‘questioning’).
All-in-all, this week felt pointless to the plot. We gained nothing from the manifest, figured out little about the arson, and made enemies of some nobles. The traitor made the party wary enough that I suspect we will be killing him off somehow if he tries anything else, and he got a little bit of gold.
We are still a week ahead, so I voiced much of my frustration with this adventure last week when we played this session. This week was much more satisfying, though. I mentioned that so little combat was not satisfying, but I determined that having the option is great too, even if the party finds a way to get around it through roleplay challenges. More on that next week.

4 Joe October 4, 2013 at 11:23 am

At Modern Myths in Northampton, MA, we’re still running 4e using the somewhat rewritten version of MiBG that better aligns with the traditional Encounters format. This week we had 3 tables of 6+ players.

This week’s adventure focused on the dueling plot, though it began with some interaction with a circus barker coming to town (there’s some circus-related plot I inserted in session 9, and I wanted to set it up). The party at first called the circus guy out on the obvious lies he was telling about the “amazing strength” of his strong men, etc… but then realized that maybe a happy diversion was just what this city-infused-with-murderous-tension needed.

Next they happened upon some high elven nobles effectively forcing a duel on a half-orc woman who’d stolen a loaf of bread to feed her child. The party stepped in to protect the woman, and combat broke out. I used better duelist stats than those provided in the adventure, and the party had a decent skirmish. When they were done, the elven leader fled, though his retainers were all cut down. Given the rising murder energy, I also had implemented a mechanic where if any PC wanted to NOT kill someone they’d dropped to 0 HP, they had to first make a saving throw. For each murder that they committed, another point got tacked on to that thing we DMs are secretly tracking for their faction leader.

Afterward, the half-orc (who was also a cleric of Tymora who’d taken a vow of poverty) gave them each the Fortune’s Nod alternate reward, because sometimes it’s cool to get rewards that aren’t just a random magic item. They also got a random magic item.

The players had fun this week, though they’re getting a bit worried about all the murderous energy floating around. Nobody’s tried to do anything to stop it, really… but they have at least noticed that it’s there and growing, and they’ve connected it with followers of the dead god Bhaal.

Next week we’re going completely off-book as the party will investigate a warehouse where a rival faction has been secretly shipping boxes of “something”.

5 Justin Yanta October 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

So after cleaning up the streets, Nezzle being put up to become a Duke and stopping the plague rats it now turned to events closer to home. The party went to sleep at the Blushing Mermaid and work up to some new issues. The party this week consisted of:
• Human Ranger (Owl)
• Half-Orc Cleric (Lucy) (2 1st level Spells Remaining, 0 Divinity, 0 Hit Dice)
• Wood Elf Paladin (Woodarrow) (1 1st level Spells) (has filth fever)
• Tinker Gnome Rogue (Nezzle)
• Half-Orc Rogue (Jackal) (has filth fever)
• Half-Orc Barbarian (Torrak Karrot)
• Stout Halfling Barbarian (Kah-Kaww) (0 Hit Dice, 1 Rage)
• Half-Elf (LG) Paladin (Jeff) (2 1st level Spells Remaining) (has filth fever)

Blushing Mermaid (Everyone):
The party could not get much sleep because three of its members had contracted filth fever and were sick all night long. The party finally got up and headed downstairs. Nezzle forged some birth certificates which she was able to sneak into the records office to show that she is a child of one of the noble families and has the right to become a Duke. The party heard of the new taxes and was all for it. They hoped it would hurt the nobles. While this was happening the group tried to get the others healed and spread more messages about Nezzle’s feats. Once they got all back together the group was approached by a lantern lad that gave them an invitation to a party that night with Coran.

Coran’s Party (Everyone):
Well it was a good sized party and the group mingled very well. We spent a lot of time role playing and them working on the party to get Nezzle elected. Finally Owl, Jackal, and Kah-Kaww went to talk to Coran about the party and to get his support. He was willing to give his support if they would do him favor. He wanted the party to check on some odd dealings happening at the harbor office.

While this was happening a shadowy hand reached from the corner of the room and grabbed Nezzle. Korrak quickly tried to break them up and was successful in breaking the man’s grip but could not catch him. The man was Cuthbert Oberon the father of the boy they let get killed in the Stone Hands event. He was very upset and told them they did not want him as an enemy but they do now. He also told Nezzle that he would get her soon, as his friends are getting some changes that will allow him to show everyone how worthless Nezzle is and that she needs to be removed from Baldur’s Gate. After that the man disappeared with his son out of a door leaving them to wonder what was going to happen.

Harbor Office – Firework Store (Everyone):
Well the group went to the Harbor office and were not able to learn much. They were able to get some dockworkers to tell them of the odd things happening with all the smokepowder supplies coming in so the group headed to the Firework store. There they talked to their friend and found out he did not get any more supplies. They headed back to the Harbor Office and started threatening the Harbor master if he did not show them the books. This got the Flaming Fist involved and the group had a long talk but it was decided that they would need to get permission from the Dukes to see the books. The Dukes told them they would give them permission in the morning and the party decided that they needed to get the book first (as they overheard a plot to steal the book while traveling).

Harbor Office at Night (Everyone):
The party used Nezzle’s skills to break into the harbor office and make it to the book. As they got their a different group was seen breaking in from the windows and the group tried to make a quick escape. I had the building set up that the Harbor Office was on the third floor and they broke out a window and tied a rope to escape. Owl and Lucy fought with the other intruders along with support from Jeff, Kah-Kaww and Torrak. They did not kill anyone and just made sure that Nezzle could escape with the book. Once she was gone the other disengaged and made their escape (they took some damage but escaped).

At the Blushing Mermaid they were able to open the book and read the information. They figured out that someone is making explosives but for what they do not know. They party took an extended rest and everyone was able to save against the Filth Fever (I had the 3 with the fever take disadvantage on all STR, DEX and CON saves. It did hurt them but was not fatal).

GM Notes: The group is really trying to solve this mystery and are putting a lot of time into it. This is great but slowing down the story. I am going to have to do some combining of some of the other stages to get them moving but it was a lot of fun. Also it was fun having the father of the kid they had murdered in stage 3 come after them and set them up for the showdown next week (that they do not know yet). The story is getting more interesting but still it is moving very slowly and the players are needing a lot of pushing to keep the plot moving. We will see what happens next week. Next week the party will all be at level 3.

6 bisonic October 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

My table for Next is down to four people. The group consisted of an elven ranger, elven rogue, elven druid, and a half orc fighter. They were following hints about smokepowder and went into Mordencai’s Mansion upon hearing that no one ever leaves the place alive. They almost found out the hard way when the ranger walked into a magic door and was transported to a room full of skeletons and a basilisk’s gaze.

They had difficulty fighting as they verted their eyes, taking disadvantage on all attacks until the druid used thunderwave to clobber the monsters. The skeletons were not attacking but were trying to cart off the solidifying ranger but were dispatched by the party. The basilisk should have petrified the ranger but I did not want to punish him for walking into a room a failing four checks. He was hobbled with a speed penalty for the rest of the day.

They explored the magical doors by throwing rocks and eventually moved to the grand ball room. They failed to notice the gelatinous cube and the rogue and ranger were quickly engulfed. The rogue freed herself and the ranger and started to run away but the ranger sat behind and kept swinging at it until it grabbed him again. The rest came back and finished it off. The druid had to use the second of her spells to heal the ranger before they continied on.

They continued to throw rocks at every door before coming in and accidently alerted a priestess of Bhall that they were about to enter the room where she was performing an unholy ceremony. The same person who walked blindly into the basalisk and the cube walked into this room and was attacked with inflict wounds. He failed yet another save, dropping him instantly. They recognized the priestess as Ravengard’s personal secretary. The priestess summoned a ghoul and the druid healed the ranger. They were careful and finished off the enemies without taking any more losses. Being elves most of the group were immune to the ghoul’s touch.

They tried to disrupt the alter, which held a flaming fist breastplate, a well crafted longsword, some hair, some blood, and a skull. They attempted to break the skull but it resisted their attacks until they used the longsword to break the skull on two. They inferred that the altar was being used to control Ravengard. The ranger subtly compiled all the weapons and magic items in his pack with no fuss from anyone else. As the session ended, they brought the longsword and breastplate to the Fist and are execting to meet with Ravengard in the morning.

The group enjoyed the mission and did not find what they expected. They have found some impprtant clues to what is going on and now have someone they know is free of any influence. Hopefully they will be able to trust someone now and I can give them missions that they can follow and complete. It is a shame that it took so long for me to reign in my group and that more than half of my group has left but I think I will be able to make it fun for those who still show up.

I am a little weary that the group will take advantage of the changed deuling laws to try and kill some people but I think it will make for a fun session. Not everyone they duel will be a first level commoner and they will have to be careful with the fights they pick. They will also have a few other things to do to keep them moving along with the plot.

7 David Argall October 19, 2013 at 2:11 am

Given I was worried the group was about to fall apart, this week was fantastic. The extra week has allowed the DM to learn the module a little better, and he decided to shove us into a fight. Now we are likely another week behind in playing the module and our fight may have produced serious plot complications, but…
The DM decided to reverse some time, and told us the crimelord would finger our suspect in return for a “favor”. I was wary of what that favor could be, but the others bit. So we got sent to see the head of the guild, who was willing to say the garbage strike was her idea, and to annoy the high class. We decided to arrest her, and her guards didn’t like the idea. So one brawl…
We were not a well-oil machine, particularly our mage who needs to learn her spells, and so combat was even longer than usual, but off to the pokey she went. So we go into next week with a sense of achievement.

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