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Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 13

Aftermath

Vivi searched the downed assailant, taking some crossbow bolts and almost all their coin (leaving some to make it look less like they were robbed).

"Our path forward is branching off", Istal tells Zephyr. He implied that Zephyr is stuck in some old ways. He says the guild will never return to this city. Istal was sickened by Zephyr associating with one of the "pale skins".

Zephyr got Istal to admit he was tasked to do a job and asked him who he works for. He stalled some more and Zephyr finally got him to whisper something to her. Vivi and I only overheard a few words.

Quickly looking Istal over, I found he has 22g, 7s, some kind of handheld miniature cannon and a note:

Istal,
Prove yourself. Five palekind, then the monk on the mount. Enclosed is for last resorts. Use will draw attention, I'm sure you know.
- Z

I asked Vivi to raise the guard and bring them back. Once she was there, I convinced her to take Istal away. As they're leaving, Istal asks the guard "What do you know of the Shadow's Thieves"?

Once the guard had taken Istal away, I showed the paper to Vivi and Zephyr.

On the way back to Trollskull Tavern, we discussed the note. Mount Waterdeep seems like an obvious connection to "mount" from the note, but there were no monastaries or anything... There's rumored to be someone on the mount who can help people find solace but that dreams and truth intermingle there.

The next day

3 days from Brightswords (18 Eleint)

After watching the staff mount the troll skull above the fireplace, there was a knock at the door. Zephyr opened the door and had a parchment thrust into her face and was asked "are you the ones responsible for this?" - Fala Lafalier was at the door.

Fala was surprised the Tavern was clean and functional. We invited her in, disarming her tantrum and talked about Rishal's paper supplier situation. She was surprised at how helpful we were and told her friends outside to get away and to take the paint with them. We were pretty sure her crew vandalized the tavern but she'll fix it and give us a discount on our first visit to her shop.

Discussing Istal's note, it finally clicked what Mirt was trying to hint at - Bregan D'aerthe! Zephyr suggested that Bregan D'aerthe could be connected to the Shadow Thieves and that she's looking to forge her own way from them. Awfully convenient timing that the Shadow Thieves started to show back up now that the Grand Game is happening.

I used the sending stone (given to me by Davil) to report in that the issue in the Dock Ward should be resolved but that we're continuing to investigate. I was told to see Bonnie (at the Yawning Portal) for payment. I headed down there to collect it and drop off a letter to my family in Neverwinter.

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 12

Messages

Mirt was the one at the door, with a big bundle under his arm and Vivi invited him in. We "introduced" him to Lif and briefly discussed our plans to open the bar. He brought the skull of a troll as a gift - the one we fought at the Yawning Portal! The skull reminds of how Gwen was instrumental to saving all our lives that night and we miss her...

Meanwhile, Zephyr charmed Mirt into accepting our offer of 10% ongoing profits in exchange for 500 gold. He asked if we're keeping the name Trollskull Manor - after a brief discussion, we agreed that Trollskull Tavern would be a stronger brand.

Mirt got to the point of the visit and asked what we found out from the job. We told him pretty much everything we found out while keeping my membership in the Zhentarim under wraps as much as we can. He paid us for the investment and the job - a total of 750 gold, which we put toward the opening of the tavern.

After handling the coin, Mirt offered Vivi a full partnership "in his organization". He also offered Zephyr and I unofficial affiliation on the condition of our discretion and that we don't endager Vivi or the city. Vivi tried to get Mirt to confirm which organization it is (the Harpists' Guild?), and he refuses to confirm it.

As Mirt was leaving, Vivi asked him if he knew anything about the murder of people of elven heritage in the Dock Ward. He replied "I don't want to brag on the wealth of information I have", heavily emphasising those two words. I'd heard of a similar and subtle org in the city. Bragon? Bragan? Bregan? It's hard to tell, but they're players in the underbelly of Waterdeep.

We decided to get Lif a nameplate that says Spiritual Advisor for the bar, as a title for Lif.

Hunting a hunter

We decided to go to the Muleskull Tavern and I went in first, alone, trying to draw out the elf killer. The entire place smelled like excrement and I found out that it's mostly a Dungsweeper's Guild tavern. Among the various patrons, there was a cloaked figure who seemed to be watching me without drinking.

Vivi ans Zephyr entered a few minutes later and got a booth by themselves. They noticed that the bartender, Richard, was weirdly clean considering the rest of the place. After getting a second drink, he asked me to pull my cloak up and get out to be safe.

Errol, the (former) dungsweeper, was the cloaked person watching me. I got him a round and argued about how we ruined the good thing he had going when the Carrion Crawler attacked. He said because of that, he lost the ring that hid his elven ears. During my whole time in the bar, I was doing my best to obviously be present and an elf. Vivi and Zephyr stayed a bit longer so it seemed like I was alone when I left.

A bit after I left the tavern, something cracked into the building next to my head! I turned to see a cloaked and hooded figure where the attack came from with another rushing me with blade drawn from a different direction. I flooded the mind of my hooded attacker with the futility of existence from a cosmic perspective, incapacitating them and tried avoid being murdered by the other attacker in the meantime until my allies showed up. Luckily, they quickly did and killed my remaining attacker, leaving the one cackling on the ground.

I put a knife to their throat, let the spell drop and asked them why they were killing elves. A spell to read thoughts gave me a sense of overwhelming greed but no real answers, and the person wasn't willing to tell us much.

My patience started running out and the cloaked figure pulled their hood back to reveal themselves as a drow - Istal, a member of the Shadow Thieves.

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 11

Counter-espionage

17 Eleint - four days from Brightswords.

Davil pays me a platinum coin to tell him who hired us to identify the person who hired us. He also cautioned me to know as much as possible about who I work with and for.

He also gives me a big picture overview of of the internal conflict in the Zhentarim. Irstul Flocksun is Davil's counterpart in the three-headed serpent faction. Davil asks me what I plan to tell Mirt and offers me another task: someone is targetting elves and Davil asked me to find who has killed three elves and half elves in the Dock Ward, around the Mule Skull Tavern. I should find out what I can or else guarantee that the problem won't recurr. Davil gives me a pebble with which to contact Marsaili when the issue is resolved.

I suggest to Vivi and Zephyr that we should discuss this back at the manor.

On the way, Vivi looked for paper sellers and while she doesn't see anything specific, she realized the Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors needs the same kind of paper as Rishal.

There's a Magist's Guild tower on our way back to the Manor. Vivi walked in, as if she'd been there a hundred times. A member is working at a desk across from the entrance, doublefisting quills and writing with both while talking with us about paper used for scrolls. Upon condition of discretionary selling, the Magist would provide a recommendation.

As we're leaving, we notice a set of doors watched over by an ornate statue, which isn't made of stone - perhaps bronze? It looks like parts of it have gears inside!

A soft open

We wanted a runner and a server as well. Maybe another person behind the bar, depending on what Lif thinks. The Manor can comfortable fit up to 40 or 50 people, standing.

Instead of offering real kitchen offerings, we decided to have breads and cheeses ready for patrons.

Our other considerations:

  • servers - need to hire!
  • management - Azthoran to handle on Brightswords
  • entertainment - Vivi looking into recruiting family or students from her bard school
  • promotion - handled by Volo
  • security

Debriefing

We talk about what happened in the Yawning Portal and decide that our loyalties are more to each other than our respective organizations.

After getting our story - and allegiances - in line, we stop by The Bookwyrm's Treasure to talk with Rishal. He sounds happy to agree with the Magists Guild's terms.

Zephyr bought a Wand of Secrets and I bought a Scroll of Comprehend Languages. I also left a note at Corelyn's Crown for Fala, telling her that we're helping Rishal get another paper source and that we can mediate between them when she returns.

After finishing at the Bookwyrm's Secret, Vivi sends a message to Mirt inviting him to the Manor to report in and discuss an investment. Lif was excited about being the main bartender and wanted to be part of hiring help. We thought we would need two servers and a runner who could help pour beer if needed. Vivi told us that two copper a day is the minimum we could pay for servers and that we could expect it to cost six gold per day to run the bar.

Bar prep

Zephyr began brewing a specialty ale that would be smoky both in flavor and actual presentation to keep with Trollskull Manor's theme of spirits and ghosts.

I look for somewhere to get our opening supplies - bread, cheese and brewing supplies. The baker I found isn't anything to write home about and I didn't get any kind of a deal. The other supplies - brewing, firewood, cleaning, etc - are high quality and saves us a pretty good amount.

Vivi starts looking for bar staff - two servers and a runner or barback - and wants to pay a little more for reliable people. The first candidate - a youngish male dwarf namaed Baraht - seems reliable and we hire him. The second - a silver fox half-elf named Davavor - gives kind of generic answers but Vivi thinks he's ok. The last is a dragonborn woman named Arabis that Vivi has a hard time undersanding, she only spoke Draconic. I stepped in to interpret and (after being invited) Lif surprised her by appearing right behind her! After the shock wore off, Lif showed that he can write in Draconic to communicate with her.

After finishing hiring, we heard a loud rasping at the Manor door.

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 10

An unusual conversation

Before the show resumes, Mirt informed us that they're looking for a specific agent that could be causing trouble. He's hoping for the agent's location in a day. He didn't have the name of the person but says Maxine should be forthright. She probably won't speak if she thinks it'll cause a stir.

Maxine's dray goes up and down the High Road. The driver and tolltaker - the Wolfwood brothers - are not aware of Maxine's capabilities and should not be made so. She'll have a violet flower behind her left ear.

After the show ends, he offered to invest in the tavern. For each 200 gold, he would want a 5% share. He gave Vivi an enchanted paper (which will turn into a bird) to debrief. If we're lucky we could find him at his manor in the Sea Ward.

Vivi had heard of the Wolfwood brothers and thinks their dray works around the Trade Ward.

There was a Stablemaster's Guild, and I remembered where it is!

I take the appearance of a city watch guard - Gregan - that we've run into before to give us the appearance of authority and head to the stables behind the guild hall.

I get spotted walking into the stables and the stablehand tried to ask what I'm doing. As I turned to respond, I cast Charm Person and ask him to help us confirm the safety of the Wolfwood Brothers' horse. He pointed out two horses they use, Maxine and Marjorie. I asked Vivi to talk to Maxine and that I will check Marjory.

Vivi asks Maxine about the Zhentarim agent. Maxine asked if she means Blondie and Greenie? They were talking about putting agents in a guild. Vivi made plans to meet the horse at noon on Snail Street near the Honorable Knight walking statue.

On the way back, I notice two other Zhentarim - Sarborin and someone else whose name I don't know - making general nuisances of themselves on the High Road. I offerred to buy them a round if they agree to lower the volume, since they're making a bad impression of the guild. They agree but are obviously full of shit so I ask the bartender to give them drinks that will put them down for the night.

When we get back to Trollskull Manor, a gold dragonborn is watching us from their back door. This was the same place that had people working the lock and Gwen has put a note under the door advising them to get a new lock. We agree that we should learn more about our neighbors.

After Vivi relayed her conversation to us, Blondie doesn't mean anything to me, but Greenie is probably a description based on physical characterstics. It would be a bad disguise in the Zhentarim.

We discussed the terms of Mirt's investment offer. We don't want to allow more than a 15% stake and would prefer it to stay closer to 10%. Hopefully we could get 500g for a 10% stake. Our goal is to have something open for Brightswords; just the bar if necessary but the full tavern is possible. It's even possible that we'll be able to do a soft opening the night before Brightswords.

Hiring practices

17 Eleint - 4 days from Brightswords.

Before going to the Honorable Knight, we decide to start looking for servers and kitchen staff. We wanted to meet our neighbors and started with the suspicious(?) dragonborn's place. Apparently, it's The Bookwyrms Treasure, a bookstore.

The dragonborn said Fala is the (wood) elven woman who came around a couple nights ago, trying to get him to change something about his business. He finally introduced himself as Rishal and explained that Fala wants him to change which paper he uses to inscribe his scrolls (Duskwood). Vivi knows that Duskwood paper has been harvested to a dangerous level. Rishal said that he wouldn't mind changing paper providers if he doesn't have to pay more. He told us that Fala is at Corelin's Crown in Trollskull Alley also.

Nearby shops

The Tiger's Eye: ??
The Bent Nail: furniture store
Steam & Steel: a forge and shaper
Zephyr Post: messenger bird post
Brewn's Brews: brewers
Corelin's Crown: apothecary - back in 2 days

The wrong way

We get to the Honorable Knight early and wait. I catch a ride on the dray while the others follow on foot. Maxine was acting stubborn and slow, directing the dray off its normal route and toward the Yawning Portal.

Zephyr and I enter separately, me disguised as a dockworker. I see a hooded figure at a table with Yagra. I ask for a drink and sit a the booth next to them. Zephyr heard two whistles, while I hear only one from behind me, coming from Yagra's table. When I turn to look, Yagra beckoned me with a finger. I go over to their table and ask what they wanted. The person in the hooded cloak asked me if I preferred to be called Azthoran or Master Chryssel and since I was already identified, I dropped my mask and ask whom I'm speaking with.

The blond figure pulled back their hood and introduced himself as Davil Starsong. Fuck.

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 9

A funny thing happened at the theater

16 Eleint - 5 days from Brightswords.

As we wake up in the morning, Zephyr finds a goodbye note from Gwen. I checked her room, which was emptied of all her belongings. It seems that Gwen is gone for at least some time. Over the last few days, Gwen had been sullen and withdrawn. She was transparently changing the subject every time Octavia's name came up.

During breakfast, a tinking sound on a nearby window drew my attention and it was a paper bird! I opened the window and as I said hello, it flew past me toward Vivi. It was a request for Vivi to meet someone named Mirt at intermission of the opera at the Lightringer Theater tonight in Sea Ward. The note was referred by Renaer and sealed with a Harper symbol.

Our work and adventuring clothes were clearly not going to suffice - we went and had clothes custom tailored for us.

I went to scout the theater, accompanied by Zephyr. The opera is The Beast's Struggle, which starts at sundown.

At sundown, I was able stroll into the theater with nothing but confidence. Zephyr and Vivi got stopped by the ticket-takers though. I used Mask of Many Faces to disguise myself as an usher and pretended that I had their tickets and box ready for them. The lie easily got them inside as well.

As much as I want to trust Renaer, I'm not fully convinced that this note came from him or that this meeting will be safe. We agreed to stay together for the meeting at intermission if nothing else.

Vivi recognizes Victorio and Alanter Caselanter looking out of sorts.

We make our way to the balcony and find Box C, which has eight seats: two rows of four. The box is spacious and seems relatively private. There's already a guest in the box, enveloping the entire rear left seat and wearing hat with an enormous feather. I silently take the back right seat, Vivi and Zeph take the two seats in front of me. The first act of the opera is enthralling for Vivi and I but Zeph is left a weepy mess, she's so moved by it.

At the intermission, the person - we assume, Mirt - addressed Vivi from right next to her. We all tried to cover our surprise that he was able to move there without us noticing.

I pulled out a copper piece and circle its edges to cast Detect Thoughts: his surface thoughts are curiosity, unassuredness and pure delight - like a parent watching their child take their first steps.

He says that he can teach Vivi to move past her assumptions by joining his organization but didn't want to say what it was. "Words are our weapons and knowledge our whetstone." His test for Vivi is to find someone they've been seeking for some time. He offers 100 gold for Vivi and 50 gold for any others to complete the job. The man places his hand on Vivi's and she palms something metal and irregularly-shaped that he places there.

The job is find and talk to a specific horse - one that can speak the common tongue should it choose - Maxime the Mare. It will only choose to speak with one of his ilk. She pulls a dray around the city. He needs us to ask about the Zhentarim.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 17

Let's Forge a Deal

With a job to do in exchange for Duke Zalto's conch, the party talked through some ways to give Duke Zalto what he wants without betraying the trust of the various dwarf clans by permanently stealing Maegera from the forges of Gauntlgrym.

The group went back to Citadel Felbarr and spoke with the king and queen there and with their counsel, devised a plan to set a trap in the Iron Flask. The Felbarran engineers said they could make something that would last at least for a few hours, which they thought would fool Duke Zalto long enough to get information from him about King Hekaton's Court. Unfortunately, the engineers need to take some part of Maegera to make it work, and so they need to make a trip to Gauntlgrym.

While Corvyn, Bryn and Sashura flew the castle to the Gauntlgrym, Ghore and Alun went back to the Yakfolk village to foment a slave rebellion. Unfortunately, when they got there and started sneaking around the village, they realized the Yakfolk aren't slaves to the fire giants - the Yakfolk are keeping slaves of their own. Ghore marched into the chief's hut and challenged him to a fight, which a group of other Yakfolk stepped up to join.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 16

Negotiations

The stairs along the cliffside of Ironslag already had another party ascending them. Our heroes split into two groups: one to climb the stairs from the bottom and another that started at the top of the stairs and descended. By the time the groups met, they were in a cave halfway up the stairs. Inside, they found the other adventurers recovering from what looked like a surprise encounter with a chimera which killed two of them.

The rising sun revealed the other party as drow, setting everyone on edge. Sashura provided some minor healing as a gesture of goodwill and the drow told him that they were on their way to meet with Duke Zalto about a job. The two groups parted ways carefully.

Upon reaching the mountaintop, the party found a village of Yakfolk, who welcomed them into the cheif's hut for a modest feast. After a time, word came that Duke Zalto would meet with them.

On the way through the giant's forge, Bryn and Corvyn noticed several collosal pieces of armor, too large even for a giant.

The party was introduced to Duke Zalto and they asked for his help to get to King Hekaton's court. He said that he would help them if they did a job for him first: acquiring a flame primordial named Maegera. If they capture it in the Iron Flask he gave them and bring it back to Ironslag then he would allow them the use of his conch to get to Maelstrom and prepare them for court.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 15

Mutual Enemies

A blue dragon snuck into the temple of the Eye of the All Father! Harshnag charged at it and told the party to flee and they eagerly did.

They flew the cloud castle to Citael Felbarr, where the party was welcomed with open arms once they explained that they had slain giants. They had an audience with King Morinn and Queen Tithmel and got their blessing to approach Ironslag - the forge-mountain controlled by Duke Zalto, the fire giant representative in King Hekaton's court - along with advice and supplies.

After arriving at Ironslag, the party was stopped by two enormous adamantine doors, which they couldn't find any way to open. Fortunately, there was a staircase climbing along the cliff side...

The Storm King's Thunder: session 14

The Eye of the All Father

Before interacting with the arch, the party decided to investigate to the north of the temple chamber. There were two floors of what appeared to be guest housing for visiting giants. After getting part of the way through the hall of guest chambers, Alun set off a trap that sent a boulder rolling through the hall! The party all managed to hide in the guest rooms while the boulder passed and a statue of a hill giant pushed it back into place. After that, the party searched the rest of the rooms and found a Shard of the Ise Rune.

After some extended trial-and-error back in the temple chamber, the party managed to activate the archway and went through it to another chamber, which Harshnag called the Eye of Annam. They asked the oracle six questions:

Questions to the oracle

1: How do we restore the ordning? Use a conch to go to King Hekaton's court, root out the evil there.
2: How do we get a conch? They are held by the leaders of King Hekaton's court.
3: Where is King Hekaton? Unknown?! Talk to Serissa, at her father's court. She needs their help too.
4: Where are the giant chiefs?
5: How can we befriend who's necessary in court so we can survive negotiation? Court is in chaos, they can do whatever they would like, basically.
6: Any of the giants help us willingly? Duke zalto, maybe?

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 8

Job's done

Last day of the job for the dungsweepers - a tenday from a holiday.

Az and Gwen go to send some letters. Zephyr gives a letter to Az to drop at the post as well.

At the day's job, there are a new set of dungsweepers - a pair of twin(?) half-orcs who are very intense about their work named Siku and Tan.

The guard work is boring and after some time, Vivi notices an apparent robbery in progress: a couple humans and a dwarf pushing a halfling around. The halfling gets pushed down and one of the humans runs into the building behind him and runs back out carrying something.

Zephyr, Gwen and Farah go see what's going on - Farah stopping to check on the halfling - while Vivi and Azthoran stay put watching over the dungsweepers. Gwen threatens to beat the shit out of the thieves, who give their stolen loot up without a struggle.

Personal tasks

The halfling's name is Cloret and is so grateful that he offers them a 20% discount on anything* in the store: Balthor's Rare and Wondrous Treasures.

Azthoran talks to Yagra at the Yawning Portal about Zhentarim faction stuff. The three-headed serpent faction is still using the Zhentarim name but is acting more like Xanathar's thugs, damaging the good public name of the guild. Urstil is a name Yagra has heard attached to all this.

Yagra hasn't been able to talk to Davil Starsong (head of the Zhentarim in Waterdeep, and a relatively public face) recently, either.

Zephyr starts setting up to brew craft beers in Trollskull Manor. If it goes well, she can probably get away with selling it for a couple tendays before the Brewmaster's Guild comes calling. Then she'll need to pass a quick test and pay dues from then.

Gwen paints Trollskull Manor a fresh coat of cyan, saving us 75 gold from the total: 1100 gold.

Vivi talks to her family about how to run a tavern. This saves ?? gold initially: 1070 gold remaining.

Azthoran tries to go to nearby taverns and tries to push the public to want a new tavern. Several attempts get him thrown out (a natural 1 and 2) but a couple go rather well. One at a bar for offduty Guard members and one at The Silent Shield - a sanctuary bar. People can stash things and people here. Neutral ground, not under the wing of any of the guilds or anything. We seed demand for another tavern that's neutral ground.

Pay me!

On 12 Eleint we go back to Blackstaff Tower to get paid. The Blackstaff can't meet with us and we're met by Garlan instead. They claimed not to expect five of us and Azthoran explains that the Blackstaff didn't limit it to just those present. For the unexpected difficulty of the task, we're given a total of 600 gold to split.

Vivi tells him that Stooge - Renard Maneim - has a fortune-stealing amulet. Gwen says she doesn't believe that we were hired just to watch some random Dungsweepers and there has to be more to it. Garlan acknowledges that there is more to it and that they suspect there's faction interference at play.

Azthoran asks if the Grey Hand have access to extra resources - libraries, etc. Garlan replies that the trial for the Grey Hand was only for Gwen but could include Azthoran if he was interested. He said not to worry and Garlan suggested he look to the library run by the Wathful Order.

As the information Gwen was promised, she hands him a piece of paper with a name of a person to find. The person was part of the Lord's Alliance team that was pulled from this task. Isn't life funny that way?! Garlan offers to let Gwen know as soon as the team is back in the city.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 13

Barbarians at the Gate

The session starts with a fiery red pebble flying past the party's heads, toward the barbarians ahead. When it arrives, it explodes, covering the warriors in flames. Once they realized they were under attack, they turned and rushed the party.

After a short melee, the Great Worm barbarians were all killed leaving the party winded but all right overall. Ghore skinned the barbarians' pet white dragon wyrmling, and is planning on making armor from it.

The next chamber - beyond the gates which the defeated barbarians were pounding on - housed seven enourmous statues. One, in the center, even larger than the others, surrounding it.

Harshnag told the adventurers that the statues are:

Annam: the all-father
Grolantor: god of hill giants, holding a bone club
Skoraeus Stonebones: god of stone giants, holding a boulder
Thrym: god of frost giants, holding... nothing?
Surtur: god of fire giants, holding an iron greatsword
Memnor: god of cloud giants, holding a mithral spear
Stronmaus: god of storm giants, holding an adamantine trident

Inside the chamber is an archway, lined with runes representing the kings of giants, and filled with a magical mist, radiating conjuration magic. The party decided to continue exploring the complex and come back to the archway after, since they believe it to be a teleportation device.

South of the statue chamber is a feast hall, where Corvyn stumbled into a Remorhaz! The fight was dangerous and frightening but the party made it through - needing a long rest in the aftermath.

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 7

Fighting in the streets

Rewind!

Zephyr is trying to regroup with the rest of the party after getting separated and heard about one heavily-armed and three other hangabouts watching over some dungsweepers on Warrior's Way. As she goes along, she's met by a giant, wormlike tentacled creature popping out of nowhere. Guards whistle and pull their swords as the create slithers down the street.

Fight!

I (Azthoran), creates an illusion of a large crate in front of the dungsweepers, blocking them from the carrion crawler's sight. Farah invokes duplicity to create a masked clone of herself. Vivi attempts to cover it in Faerie Fire but it evades the spell's effect and climbs along a wall, swiping unsuccessfully at a cityperson on the way. The guards take a shot with their crossbows: one shot lands and the other hits the wall, shattering. Gwen closes in and casts Compel Duel on the creature, locking its sights onto her. She then hurls a javelin at the creature, landing a glancing blow. Zephyr tries to find some cause for the crawler's appearance but doesn't see any caster or summoner. She does finally catch sight of Gwen, though! Two of the dungsweepers take cover, but Stooge runs away - and Farah notices him smirking as he goes.

Azthoran sends a sliding window of starry space - an Edlritch Blast - toward the creature. Super Farah casts a guiding bolt, slamming into the crawler's side, causing two smaller things to detach from its sides: smaller but still tentacled. Farah's physical self chases after Stooge. After failing to highlight the monsters with Faerie Fire again, Vivi inspires Gwen with some encouraging words. One of the smaller beasts attacks Super Farah (the illusion), doing nothing and the other ignores it, moving past Gwen towards Azthoran. Doing so provokes an opportunity attack on the way. Nevertheless, it manages to bite Azthoran and drag his legs out from under him, knocking him prone. The big crawler bites Gwen, paralyzing her and breaking her concentration. Regardless of the compelled duel, though, it attacks her again only hitting her armor. The guards reload and fire without much luck. Gwen tries to make her body react but isn't able to. Zephyr moves between the two guards and throws a pair of daggers at the larger crawler. Her first dagger whiffs and so does the second. Morton and Error continue taking cover while Stooge tries to run - Farah manages to hit him with her mace while he flees, stumbling.

Azthoran stands and sends Dissonant Whispers at the smaller crawler. It resists the worst of the celestial music but the psychic damage still finishes the creature off. He moves down the street toward where Stooge is fleeing and Farah is following. Farah attempts to command Stooge to grovel but it resists the magic. Vivi launches a crossbow bolt at the large crawler and moves down the street also. The remaining young crawler chases down Azthoran, dealing him yet more poison damage and dragging him prone again. The mama crawler follows suit - one bite is stopped by his armor but the second lands home. The guards close in and pull their swords, striking the large crawler. Gwen shakes off the paralysis and rushes back into the fray, ready to attack at the next opportunity. Zephyr runs behind the crawler, between the guards (again!), thrusting with her rapier for a sneak attack! With her other hand, Zephyr stabs with a dagger. She tries to back away but is grabbed by a tentacle first and is paralyzed for her trouble. Morton Till screws his courage to the sticking place and strikes the larger monster with his broom, dirtying it but not much else. Errol flees down an alley and Stooge evades Farah's attack.

Another burst of celestial music wracks the large Carrion Crawler's mind, causing it to thrash into Gwen's glaive and collapse, dead. Farah attempts to command Stooge to grovel again but he resists the magic and smirks back at her; Farah gives chase and moves her illusion to keep within its range. Vivi gives chase after Stooge and tries to wing him with a crossbow. The remaining carrion crawler tries to bite Azthoran but I manage to juke its attack. One guard attacks the monster but fails badly, hitting the ground. The other guard checks on the bystander as Gwen cleaves the crawler in half.

Cleanup

After the fight, the guard questions us but there are witnesses confirming we weren't involved in the creature's presence.

Morton Till told us that to find Stooge's residence, we should talk to the main guild operation is in Trade Ward, on Salibar Street (off of River Street).

A grizzled guard vet thanks Azthoran for his service and asks his name and guildmaster to commend him to his leadership. Az tells the guard that he works for the Zhentarim and that he may find Yagra at the Yawning Portal Inn. The gaurd seemed unsettled and got out of the conversation as fast as he could. This will probably be fine.

Vivi suggests that we try to find Stooge and Gwen knows has some familiarity with trying to track people down. Gwen's experience and contacts tell her that either the Watchful Order or Xanathar's Guild would be the best way to find someone with strange abilities.

Azthoran and Zephyr are going to try asking about Stooge with the guild. They have work history but not his address. They think he was staying in the same neighborhood as The Curious Past.

Krentz might be able to get us a contact at Xanathar's Guild. We also recalled someone vaguely connected to Xanathar's Guild - Xoblob, the owner of the purple shop - who might be able to point us in the right direction to inquire at Xanathar's Guild.

Farah's family are done at Trollskull Manor - they confirmed that the orphans were there though they aren't now.

We collectively try to harass Lif into working as a bartender since he clearly enjoys doing so, via a thoroughly incorrect series of cocktails and pours. After irritating Lif to a breaking point, he reveals himself to Azthoran and gestures for him to drink what he just poured. Azthoran acknowledged how completely wrong it was and invited Lif to take over behind the bar. We need supplies and alcohols.

Zephyr takes an inventory of the drinks and supplies we have for the bar and tries to get a list to fill in gaps. She heads to the Castle Ward and starts trying to acquire supplies at a five-finger discount. The first place she tries, Felzoun's Folly, though, she spills a mug of ale while reaching for supplies behind the bar and is spotted by the bartender.

The bottle takes 15 gold off of the renovation cost, leaving 1160 gold.

A New Mastermind

After thinking through the battle, Zephyr realizes that the rest of us were being really inefficient with our movements and actions. She takes a visit to Siltress, a female elf, in one of her hideouts. Siltress is going over notes and with both hands is automatic writing. After a brief introduction and explaination from Zephyr, Siltress launches into a lecture about tactics, language, body language, etc, and becomes a Mastermind rogue.

Zephyr asks when the guild is going to make its move, and Siltress responds that there's a faction war brewing and that it's not the right time yet.

Taking an Oath

Gwen sleeps, but without rest. That the Blackstaff has information and will owe Gwen a favor, she dreams about her past:

Gwen standing, bloody. A coin flips in the air.

A body laying on the ground, Gwen's blood on the ground too. A coin flips in the air.

Two faces on one side of the coin.

Gwen lashing out.

Coin flip.

Same perspective, but halved.

Coin flip.

Her standing over Gwen, a look of defiance as she walks off.

The coin lands but only one face is on the coin: anger, rage and vengeance. Gwen picks up the coin and her face takes on the same visage: that someone is out there and now Gwen has another tool that she needs and deserves in order to give that person what she deserves.

Gwen wakes up in a cold sweat, screaming but feels like she has the capability to strike not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well.

A Light in the Dark

While studying three separate books of arcane lore, Azthoran notices the walls of the study have expanded to be a great void.

A light shines in the dark and Azthoran sends his consciousness toward it. When he gets closer, a hooded figure is revealed, holding the light.

Azthoran projected closer to the figure and heard more and more voices laughing. The final voice being deep and roaring. The cacophany grew overwhelming and started him back to waking consciousness.

After recovering, Azthoran realized that the three tomes on his desk were replaced by a single one that he hadn't ever seen before, with a gilded icon on the cover: a lantern with a gemstone eye inside.

The book of shadows contains arcane lore, and spells, all written in different hands. Azthoran attached a chain to the spine and began studying it, staying up all night.

Whispers in the Night

Vivi meets up with Professor Niverra Wildrun at an inn. As she sits down, the Professor asks "What have you learned?"

Vivi asks about the Grand Game and if it could be guided toward a beneficial outcome for the city.

She just listened while Vivi talked at length. Afteword, the Professor says "Do you see what I did there?"

"Just listened..."

"Exactly. Sometimes it's easier to just let people tell you what they know rather than asking." She goes on to explain that there are social pressure points just like there are biological ones.

They agree to share information about the Grand Game and tells Vivi to learn when, who and why to trust someone.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 12

To Find an Oracle

Harshnag suggests the party consult The Eye of the All-Father, hidden away in the Spine of the World. (A trail in the Valley of Khedrun leads to the temple.)

Before they leave Westbridge, the party tried to secure Fulminore's castle to use as a base - Corvyn used Flight on himself and Harshnag. Corvyn wasn't quite familiar with how to use the castle's navigation orb, however, and while he managed to lower the castle's cloud spiral staircase, he accidentally started the castle sinking toward Westbridge! A pair of panicked werewolves fled from the Barovian staircase and attacked the pair.

After defeating the werewolves and familiarizing themselves with the navigation orb, Harshnag suggested again that they visit an oracle he's aware of - the Eye of the All-Father.

They flew the castle north, to the Spine of the World, and left the castle at the Valley of Khedrun to go the rest of the way on foot (Harshnag couldn't guide them the rest of the way from the castle).

The party found fresh tracks along the way, which Sashura and Ghore believed were from an Uthgardt tribe.

A few days later, they arrived at the temple of the Eye of the All-Father. They crossed the bridge into the temple but the barbarians whose tracks they found were already inside. Sashura wasted no time sending off a fiery pebble...

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 6

Unlucky Work

Vajra is the Blackstaff and invites Gwen to Blackstaff Tower, who agrees. We all debate about what to do and what it could mean for us to have caught the attention of such an important and powerful person.

It's nearing dusk and Vivi explores the attic and turret of Trollskull Manor.

We gather up and prepare to go to Blackstaff Tower and Farah wants to stop to check on her adpoted orphans first. Lif pantomimes walking out while floating in place.

Some roughs are lingering around Trollskull Alley as we depart, messing with one of the doors. They see us and run off but Gwen puts a note under the door advising them to get a new lock. We argue about the ethics of putting your nose in other peoples' business as we walk.

We find the children, who hadn't done a very good job looking for Gwen. Farah assures them that it's ok and Gwen gives each of them a dagger. They have various levels of interest in them and Gwen offers to train them. Squidly carves his "name" in a wall, but it's just a squiggle. Farah and Azthoran suggest they also need to learn their letters then Farah tells them to go back to her house for the night.

Azthoran uses illusions to make the stuffed beholder that Farah gave them spookier. Squidly looks impressed and asks if he could learn how to do magic. Az tells him to start by learning letters and languages - libraries around the city would be a good place to start.

Azthoran disguises himself as a scribe using Mask of Many Faces and Farah does the same, but as an unarmed adventurer aide.

The guards in front of Blackstaff Tower let us in when Gwen provides her name. As we enter the tower, we notice that Zephyr is missing - we don't remember her being with us since shortly after we left the manor (her player was absent this session). We really have to do better about making sure each of us know where we're going. An elf with brown/black sclera sitting at a desk, surrounded by bustling clerks, directs us further into the tower after Azthoran announces Gwen the Red.

We meet a gnome, who leads us up a set of stairs, speaking a set of phrases when the stairs run out, causing a new set of stairs to appear. This repeats many times before the stairs end at a single door, this time the gnome causes the door's handle to appear.

Beyond the door is a nature-themed lobby. Azthoran cautions the group about what information we offer up of our own accord. The room beyond the lobby is richly-decorated without being luxurious. A somewhat dimminutive human woman with olive skin stands up from behind a desk: Blackstaff Vajra Safar.

Vajra says she was eager to meet Gwen and is impressed that she accepted the invitation. Vajra said she might owe us a bit of a favor? Renaer and Vajra go back a ways, he suggested she take an interest in us, with how we can "help this city."

Vajra asks if we've heard of the Grey Hands - a sort of publicly-known special forces of the Guard. It sounds like she's offering Gwen a "part-time position" in the Grey Hands, paid with gold, information, etc. It would also allow her to work outside the Code Legal (assuming otherwise moral behavior). After some consideration, Gwen agrees and Vajra says there needs to be a test.

Some of the Dungsweepers have requested protection. A group from the Lords' Alliance has been protecting them but has to be away for a while. We're to fill in for 4-6 hours for 4 days. The Dungsweepers are concerned with being caught in gang activity. Morton Till is the lead of the group and would want to meet with us in 2 days. The pay is 20 gold per day for each, and for everyone who makes the whole time, 125 gold to split.

The oddities involved may be magical in nature.

Who's paying Safar to set this up? The Lords' Alliance.

This is just for protection? Not solving mysteries? Correct.

This is for 08 - 11 Eleint, it is currently 06 Eleint. We stay with them each day until dismissed by Morton Till.

We head to the Shallow's End to discuss further. We are all onboard with the job: the pay is suspiciously good and getting information is appealing as well. Farah is in favor of helping out the Dungsweepers too.

Paying outright to get the Manor started in a tenday is 1200 gold. Oof.

TODO:

  • clean rooms
  • Gwen to sell silver bars
  • fix kitchen
  • put locks on the doors
  • make sure privy works

Skipping forward a bit (after the job)

Vivi likes the attic bedroom. Azthoran to take bedroom on third floor (not the master bedroom). Farah takes the master bedroom and Gwen will stay in the spare room, since she doesn't plan to stay in Waterdeep.

Farah asks her family to help clean the Manor tomorrow. That saves us 5 gold from the total (1195 gold).

We get locks made for the front door with 6 keys and locks on all the bedchambers. This is 20 gold from the total (1175 gold).

Back to the job

Day 1

We meet Morton, who is a little surprised by our appearance but is reassured by the presence of Gwen.

The dungsweepers:

  • Morton (foreman)
  • Errol (a little shady, tries to nick things but is usually stopped by Morton)
  • Stooge (a young doof, talks about everything in sight non-stop)

Stooge finds a mostly-empty bottle with a small amount of thick yellow liquid in it. Azthoran swirls it around to get an idea of what it is and it starts to fill the bottle with foam. When the foam hits the cork, it bursts out and spreads a noxious cloud, making Farah nauseated and exhausted (level 1).

The cloud disperses and people recover. The bottle is now fully empty.

The weird occurrances have been happening for a month.

Farah asked if they've done anything to piss off a sorcerer, run over an old lady with a cart, read any creepy books, etc? Azthoran asked what happened a month ago. Farah looked at Stooge's aura and found something magical on his hip: a pink gem (with a necromancy aura). The Curious Past on the Street of Silks is the shop where he got it. He paid 70 gold for it.

Apparently random good fortune has been befalling Stooge as the ill fortune has affected others nearby him.

Gradil the Blue was the proprietor but died when the shop burned down 25 years ago. There's nothing obvious at the ruins of The Curious Past, but they are emenating a faint aura of illusion magic.

Day 2

Farah asks Stooge when he went to the Curious Past; it was last month on Agairon's Day (a holiday at the first day of Aleisis, named after a super powerful wizard) an hour or so after sunset. He says the proprietor's name is Gradil the Blue - probably a halfling.

Azthoran tells Stooge about the fate of The Curious Past and he looks very upset about it. After the shift, Stooge gets upset at us but as he starts to yell, we're interrupted by guard whistles and a carrion crawler barrelling down the street!

Azthoran Chryssel's magic

Spell components

Azthoran has learns his magic by finding and exploiting anomalies and abberations in the laws of reality. These secrets have been pulled from the mind, such as it is, of his patron: Dumathroth.

Using these quirks of nature to produce an effect usually require him to recite a phrase or make a series of gestures. Occasionally it also requires some physical component, which he keeps in a special set of pouches.

Spells

Eldritch Blast

Verbal Components

oeul, a word from the dead language of Fost, which is the word for a shooting star

Somatic Components

Pressing fingers into one's palm in a specific pattern and rhythm

Description

Azthoran's palm emits something that appears as a section of the night sky: a dark void dotted with frosty white and distant amber stars with occasional violet clouds. As the blast moves, the stars and cloud fields remain stationary to the viewer(s) while the borders move. It looks as if a window to deep space were moving.

The entire effect - projection, traversal and collision - is silent, save for the verbal component and any sound uttered by the target.

Minor Illusion

Somatic Components

Crossing the pinky and ring fingers while making a ring with the middle finger and thumb and also crooking the index finger

Material Components

A bit of fleece

Description

For visual illusions, the light briefly bends and refracts while forming the image. If needed, shadows congeal into a fluid almost-substance which is sculpted into the illusion as well. These elements remain (or appear) when someone understands the illusory nature of the vision.

For auditory effects, the sound simply occurs.

Guidance

Verbal Components

om'l nuorath straen - translates to "remember what will have happened" in Common

Somatic Components

Open the Book of Shadows, scan the page inscribed with the Guidance cantrip

Description

Shimmering gemstone reflections surround Azthoran's hand and ripple over the target and fade as it passes.

Spare the Dying

Verbal Components

termiamt - translates to "stop" in common

Somatic Components

Open the Book of Shadows, scan the page inscribed with the Spare the Dying cantrip

Description

A starry cloud briefly passes over the target while they stabilise

Toll the Dead

Verbal Components

A ringing sound

Somatic Components

Point at the target

Description

The ringing sound of steel on stone comes from Azthoran, filling the target with such dread that it causes them to physically weaken

Charm Person

Verbal Components

har'ch no gravthrist. Azthoran has not been able to identify the language these words are from.

Somatic Components

Tracing an x with one's index finger and then grasping the space which would hold the sigil

Description

Azthoran gains temporary insight into the kinds of body language, speech patterns and mannerisms that make the target feel comfortable and friendly. This works to subtly guide Azthoran's behavior to ingratiate him onto the target. He can attempt to actively tap into this knowledge to manipulate the target as well.

If the target succeeds on their save, Azthoran is so obvious about playing to the target's preferences that the manipulation fails embarassingly.

Dissonant Whispers

Verbal Components

There are no magic words or phrases for this spell but the sound must be able to be heard by the target to take effect.

Description

The discordant sounds Azthoran makes are the sounds celestial bodies emit, when translated into sounds mortals can perceive.

Hideous Laughter

Verbal Components

ver'dona miskearmn - a phrase that roughly translates to "divine comedy" in Primordial.

Somatic Components

A hand held palm to the sky and then inverted and thrust downward

Material Components

Tiny tarts and a feather waved in the air

Description

For the duration of the spell, the target's thoughts are flooded with the utter futility of existence (from a cosmological scale) and buckles under the realization, laughing helplessly at the misery of their own part in the sad joke of reality.

Detect Thoughts

Verbal Components

A few words in a forgotten languaged from the Underdark, which sound like slithers and clicks.

Somatic Components

Shaking fingers on both hands, from little to index, and then clapping them together.

Material Components

a copper piece

Description

The target's thoughts sound in Azthoran's mind as if they were being echoing inside a cave or tunnel.

Eldritch Invocations

Agonizing Blast

Azthoran's Edritch Blast gains ominous garnet-colored stars and cloud fields.

Mask of Many Faces (Disguise Self)

Verbal Components

houranst. This is the term the Grey Elves used for a lie that someone has committed themselves to.

Somatic Components

Quickly adjusting how one's clothes are worn is all the spell requires.

Description

Azthoran briefly takes on a multifaceted, gemstone-like aspect while light bends and refracts to form his new visage.