This week I ran a single table of 9 players as our other DM had to work late.
My session write up is here.
"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)
It's not a party till the screaming starts!
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After a week of assaulting the Watch and killing off a werewolf the party made their way back to Little Calimshan only to be sent away because Rael had no space for them (again it was because she was not trusting them much anymore and did not want them near her sensitive plots). The party ended up taking rooms at the Blushing Mermaid for 1 gp each character. The party slept for the night (only a short rest) and healed up all the damage they took. During the night Jackal left the party and found one of his fellow Flaming Fist recruits (Jack the Half-Elf Paladin) and brought him to the rest of the party at the Blushing Mermaid. Twill needed to study his magic tome for some more information on Were-Creatures and locked himself in a room. This meant the party consisted of:
The next morning the party woke up and sat around deciding what to do. The party was thinking about going after the werewolves and wanted to get some of their weapons covered in silver. Nezzle wanted to make some copies of the Writ signed by Silvershield to use to help them get around the city. Torrak wanted to go pray at the Helm Temple while Lucy and Woodarrow wanted to head to a temple in the upper city, but decided to make some toys and beer to sell later.
GM NOTE: Not the best choice but I let the party split up and ran some 15 min adventures for each group. Here are the outcomes.
Torrak to Helm Temple:
Torrak started walking to the Helm Temple. He noticed the Trash was a lot worse and had to make a DEX save to stop himself from slipping on some of the sludge (since he was near the harbor where it was flowing). He was successful and worked his way to the Helm Temple. Once there he talked to the priests and gave them 30 gp to help the church out. Once done he started the trip back to the Blushing Mermaid.
Nezzle, Lucy, and Woodarrow in Blushing Mermaid Room:
Nezzle spent a long time working on the Writ. She wanted to make a Writ that would give the party the official capacity to be in the Upper City at night and to investigate anywhere they wanted. I gave her a Difficult INT (TN 20) check for this and so she rolled her d20, yes she rolled a Crit (for a total of 22). I said she could only make one but it would look very office (very difficult to see the forgery). She spent the rest of her time tinkering and making some clockwork items. Lucy spent her time brewing up some beer that should be ready in a week or so. Woodarrow decided to make some wooden toys and made 10 gp worth of toys to sell at a later time.
Kah-Kaww, Jack, Jackel, and Owl to the Weaponsmith in Bloomridge:
The party headed for a weaponsmith near the manor gate. As they headed there they had to deal with all the dirt and slime on the ground but they made their way successfully. As they passed a pile of trash Owl and Jack noticed something odd that was sticking out of it. It was a very impressive bowl that would be worth a lot of money, but why was it in the trash. Owl was able to read the lettering on the bottom of the bowl but had no idea what it was. The party made it to the smith and Jackal silvered 10 arrows, Kah-Kaww bought 20 bolts and Owl sold her old sword (Twil gave her the magical one). The group then headed back to the Blushing Mermaid but Jack missed a slippery spot and splashed into the slime and trash on the road (This gave him disadvantage on all CHA checks because of the odor). Jack did stop in a shop to buy a fur hat to wear and had to pay a little extra because of how foul he smelled but he was happy to get the hat.
Everyone at the Blushing Mermaid:
Once everyone got back Owl showed the rest of the group the bowl and Nezzel and Lucy smelled the sulfur and the black powder in the bowl. The group all headed to Sorcerous Sundries to see if they would know about the bowl or the powder. Once they reached the store passing more trash heaps and seeing the slime roll down the street, the party had a talk with the owner of the Sorcerous Sundries. She did not know anything about the bowl but the powder was familiar. She did not make it but the only person in town that makes that powder is Felogyr's Fireworks (it was Jack and Owl that picked up the name Felogyr's name was on the bottom of the bowl). Owl bought some components for Twil and then everyone headed for the Fireworks store.
At Felogyr's the party asked why he was making this powder since it was dangerous. He told them that he is the only maker of smokepowder in the city but only for his fireworks. They then showed him the bowl that they found in the Bloomridge and Felogyr got very upset. He grabbed all his employees and had everyone count all his bowls and a talk about if any of them were thrown away. It turns out that he still had the same amount that he had before and nothing else was missing. Felogyr told the party that it was illegal for him to throw away the bowls and if anyone was caught doing it he would beat them like a rented mule. Felogyr then sent the party to go talk to the potter that makes his bowls, named Tacy Sands, and sent the party to his shop to find out what is going on.
As the party moved to the pottery shop, Jackal and Jack were stopped by a Flaming Fist messenger and asked to go see Ravengard in the Seatower. Lucy decided to go with Jackal and Jack to go see Ravengard while the others continued to the Potter.
Kah-Kaww, Owl, Nezzle, Torrak, and Lovearrow at the Potter Shop:
Reaching the Potter Shop the group started intimidated the pottery owner about the bowl. Between the Half-Orc Torrak and the swift tongue of Nezzle they were able to get the Potter, Tacy Sand, to admit to making the bowls. He then shows the party a parchment that has the order that Felogyr always makes when he places order with him. He described someone that the party knew but no one that they could decide right now. They did try to get some more information but right now the only thing they found out was that 20 bowls were made from the last order and already picked up.
Lucy, Jackal and Jack in the Seatower… well close:
Lucy, Jackal and Jack walked to the Seatower but did not reach it. Instead Ravengard found them and took them to a private room guarded by Flaming Fists. He explained to the party that the patriars were trying to keep the Ravengard being a Duke. He said they were trying to hurt the lower citizens by only electing patriars that are looking out for the citizens of the upper city. To stop that Ravengard is planning to frame Silvershield's choice for Duke, Wyllyck Caldwell. He just released an alchemist named Yssra Brackrel that will give them a fake signed affidavit that says that Caldwell uses harmful chemicals in his treated lumber that he sells to the city. This would ruin the man and his business and get him removed from the city most likely. Lucy did not like this idea and decided to let the others choose. Jackal was for it while Jake (after I reminded him that this was an evil act) was torn. In the end they decided to do it because they wanted to save the lower citizens.
Everyone Caldwell's Estate:
Both groups got together and decided to complete the task for Ravengard, especially after he said he would get the law about the clothing overturned. First the party met with Brackrel to get the affidavit and to talk to her about the smokepowder. Jack blamed her for the smokepowder since she wanted to get back Silvershield for arresting her. She pointed out that she was locked up in the Seatower the whole time and could not of made the smokepowder. She did agree that she wanted to get Silvershield back and have him destroyed. She gave them the affidavit and they left.
The party made it to Caldwell's Estate and were able to get a meeting with him. Lucy rolled high on her intimidate and started to scare Caldwell. Jackal used the signed affidavit to get Caldwell to not accept Silvershield's nomination of him and drop out of the race. Caldwell agreed and would pay the party 3gp each (and keep the affidavit) if they would forget about this and leave him alone. They agreed and headed back to the Blushing Mermaid for some rest and to talk some more. The next day they learn that Grand Duke Portyr stopped the election and still there are only 3 Dukes.
GM notes: This all occurred over a multiple days. The trash kept piling up and the party did not address it because they were more worried about the Duke and the smokepowder. Right now the trash and slime in the lower city is ankle deep (or neck deep for the halflings and gnome ;)) and they decided to try and take care of that next week. This adventure only lasted 2 hours and felt very quick especially with no fighting. I also created a character that I will be introducing next week. Cuthbert Oberon is going to be the father of the kid that was killed in the stolen hand incident. He will be using the Stage 6 events to get even with the party especially Nezzle since she got his son killed. I can't wait for him to show up.
This week we had seven players for Next including one new person. The group has been working with the Flaming Fist so awoke in a barracks. They talked to the desk sargent who informed them that five statues throughout the city had been vandalized and their hands cut off. The group asked to investigate and marched to the closest statue. They found few clues at the site and immediately started going into local establishments and asking questions in their now standard tactics of ask one question and search the place with the subtlety of a herd of rhino. After being asked to leave a few places they found a drunk who heard some sounds and went to a warehouse in the area. They broke in and rummaged until they found a secret tunnel and some sleeping smugglers. They knocked out the smugglers and found a hacksaw and some brass shavings but the hands were already gone. They turned in the thugs and found no new leads.
The next day they awoke to the master of cobbles banging on their door. He informed them that Boo was missing and he would pay the heroes of the Wide to find the culprits and spare the city a trial. They ran to investigate the scene.
In the Wide they found the Baliff had cordoned off the scene so they could search. They discovered a knife that had been used with the Ravensomething crest and a clasp belonging to the Oberon family. Imbralym Skoond spotted them and quietly told them that his patron would greatly appreciate the quiet return of any missing youths to the Silvershield estate. They immediately agreed to this.
They went to the Ravensomething house and Started demanding information, access to the entire house, and telling the family their son was going to die. When that failed to get them anything they tried to sneak around the house and were immediately spotted. They then tried something similar at the Oberon house to no avail, but were steered towards the gate guards. They were eventually guided to the distant store where they young adults were holed up. They stormed into the shop and the shopkeeper hinted that he could be bribed. Once they caught on they found the kids and after a few tense moments they talked the kids down and convinced them that they would deliver them safely to Silversheild. The players asked if they had bee told to do it by the Guild and the kids said they thought it would be funny. Time ran out before they figured out how to get the group through Wyrm Crossing.
This session got out of hand several times. I was not on top of my game and the players were going to pull at any thread until something shook loose. They hated that they could not solve the initial problem and really started acting aggressively towards anyone or anything they thought might be hiding something, which was anyone they had not already met. I was rushing the ending as we are falling behind schedule and I am going to move through the next two stages at once. The group is not coming together as they have not figured out who is good at what. The players coming in and out is not helping them figure this out, which brings me to my next point.
Many of the characters have overlapping specialties and no one feels comfortable with it. The gnome druid is a charlatan, as is the rogue. The monk is a bounty hunter and the paladin is a minstrel. With the exception of the rogue, they are all pregens and are strangely built. The addition of skills might help them be more comfortable with seperating party interaction roles.
As a DM I did not enjoying this week. I kept this part in because I read up on Minsk and Boo and how beloved they are but it is clear that this week's group has never heard of them. The players are grasping at every thread and I feel like I have to give them something before they resort to mindless violence against every shopkeeper. In a home game I would have time to show them their actions are not acceptable to the people of Baldur's gate but the two hour a week is not enough time. I put myself behind by giving them an interesting and challenging combat last week which they really enjoyed but that will probably be the only chance to do that until the finale. It feels like this campaign only fits solid groups of five or less and is mostly unaffected by player actions as the plot happens around you. There has been no mention of the "villain", nor will there be unless I shoehorn it in. The upcoming events all seem interesting to run but how will the players be able to effect the outcome without feeling like they missed something important at every turn? My long time players have been dropping off like flies and the newer ones are not coming together as a group.
Game HQ in OKC:
We had three tables of 6 players. They have recently abandoned Rilsa to go work for Ravenguard. They were charged with retoring some order to Lower City. They have begun investigations into the statue vandalism, but have been side-tracked by other events. They have witnessed to deaths from roof slates that were obviously targeting weathly Lower City merchants. There is a link to upcoming events. They other problem is that there have been an odd number of rat attacks. Recently, the FF have commamdeered many of the hounds in out city to try and run the rats out of the sewers. During this attempt, the soldiers were ambushed by a large band of Dire Rats and a wererat. This was a very coordinated attack. One soldier managed to excape to tell the tale. The PCs were brought to the scene and asked to solve the rat problem. After a bit of investigating and using their ill gotten writ signed by Silvershield, they were able to gain access to the Upper City sewers, where they had deduced the rats were located. Finally they uncovered Thurgo Songbuckle, the halfling wererat and his lair of Dire Rats that had been hired Rilsa to make calculated strikes against Wealthy Upper and Lower City targets. The fight was fairly tough for them, some contracted Filth Fever. We'll see how they handle that next game.
Out table is a little behind the normal progression because of the extra events I'm throwing at them from the supplement, but I'm a firm believer in balancing combat, exploration and interaction, and there has just been no combat encounters the last few weeks, so I injected some. The supplement seemed to offer the best opportunities. I will saythat I really liked Ameron's carrion crawler idea and I'll probably shamelessly steal that.
Next week we'll most likely wrap up the statue events and maybe get into the trash pile-up events.
Only four players were at my table this week for Murder in Baldur's Gate: Lee was back, but Harry and Rich had other commitments. Paul's 4E table had five players.
We were playing through Stage 4 of the adventure; this stage is fairly light on actual incident involving the players. The two major events were Rilsa Rael manoeuvring the garbage collectors to go on strike, causing great unrest in the Upper and Lower cities, and Ulder Ravengard's intrigues to gain the position of Duke of Baldur's Gate. The players were quite happy to see the garbage piling up as they otherwise continued their revolutionary path, but Ulder Ravengard's schemes required more attention.
The players learnt through their contacts in the city of the discontent with the Parliament of Peers with Ravengard: although it was traditional to give the title to a member of the Flaming Fist, his recent actions had made them want to give it to the alchemist Caldwell, an elderly patriar they thought would be easy to manipulate. As all of the players have now worked for Ravengard, he summoned them for a private discussion, where he expressed his outrage over the problems he was facing with the Parliament. Along the way, he suggested a solution to his problem: if they group could convince Caldwell to decline the nomination, he'd be able to gain the title uncontested. And he knew of someone who was ready to accuse Caldwell of inferior workmanship and safety problems with his alchemical products - if the group would mention this to Caldwell and he dropped the nomination, the accusation could be quietly dealt with...
The group immediately agreed with Ravengard, but privately were very willing to sabotage his plans. They began by visiting Caldwell's accuser, a dumpy alchemist named Yssra Brackrel. She explained to them that Caldwell's main product - alchemically treated lumber that was resistant to destruction - was actually very flammable. She was unable to directly give them proof, but told them that she'd been hired by the Provoss family after their stables had burnt down. The group wanted more proof, and decided to visit Caldwell to get some.
Caldwell received them, and reacted in some shock to the suggestion that his lumber was dangerous, explaining that if it was as dangerous as they insinuated, the city would have burnt down several times already! He gave them some samples to test, and went away grumbling; the group hadn't let him know the identity of the rumourmongers. The tests of the lumber showed that Caldwell's treatment did make it very resistant to fire, and Brackrel tried to insist that they were using something that Caldwell had made to throw people off the track. The group tried to talk to the Provoss family, but were refused entry by the gate guards, who took little notice of their insistance they belonged to the Flaming Fist: in the Upper Quarter, the Flaming Fist have no dominion!
At this point, the group were pretty sure that the accusation was actually false, and so they told Caldwell not to worry, and then went to Ulder Ravengard and told him that Caldwell would pull out! Ravengard - for now - suspects nothing, but this may not last.
As we were now two sessions without significant combat, I used the DM's trump card - Coran - to hire the group (particularly Tait) to steal a platinum plaque from the crypt of the Whitburn patriar family! This was complicated by two matters: the first was a cultist of Myrkul who was raising the dead in the crypt. This led to two combats, the first against 6 skeletons (very easily dealt with as Callan let his Light Cleric just destroy them) and then against the cultist and 10 zombies, which was a more difficult combat - Tait, who still had a first level character, went down as his protection from evil spell proved not as effective as he hoped. As the zombies swarmed towards them, Callan rather wished he'd kept his light burst power still available; however, once the zombies inside the original room were taken care of, the other zombies that were attacking from the rear were able to be faced in a doorway, and the better defensive position allowed the group to prevail. (It was a fairly long battle; eight rounds in total).
However, the plaque wasn't visible in the tombs they'd explored. Lee, searching around, found a secret passage that led to the inner crypt, where the group found that an ankheg had bored its way into the chamber. This was a potentially dangerous fight as it spat acid at Tait and Lachie, but the heroes managed to make their saving throws, and then Lachie's barbarian hit the ankheg very hard, and Lee shot it a few times. The group were hurt by the time it went down - and Tait unconscious again, having almost been killed outright by its bite - but it eventually only took two rounds to take down. Looting the valuables in the crypt gave them a tidy sum of money as well as the plaque, which they returned to Coran for a further reward. He told them to keep themselves available for an "entertainment" he'd be running in the upcoming weeks, and with that we closed the session. Again, it had run for about 2 hours.
There are a couple of things that I didn't include in this session from the notes that I'll catch up on next week (especially when the wizards rejoin us), especially concerning the Ducal election; it may be that the players are able to keep their position with the Flaming Fist for a bit longer...
Blog: Merric's Musings; On Twitter: MerricB
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