Murder in Baldur's Gate

Don't Mind the Smell

Table 1
The Cast:
Umar as Link, the Not-Silent Warden
Katie as The Badass Paladin
Collin as Keira, the ever-flexible Swordmage
Hannah as Phelaia, Thief extraordinaire
Josh as DM

After sending the patriar drunks home with their terrified bodyguard, our heroes think about how to return the hands of the Beloved Ranger, and decide that the culprits have been punished enough. They elect to “anonymously” return the hands to the Master of Cobbles, who oversees public architecture for the city. They show him their Flaming Fist badges and say they just found the hands in the street, but he obviously doesn’t believe them and they leave after a rather awkward discussion. They decide to follow up by watching another nearby statue overnight to see if there is anything suspicious.

After a long, fairly boring overnight stakeout, they determine that nothing more seems to be happening with the statues, but the street-savvy Link and Phelaia realize that something seems amiss with the city’s street cleaners and garbage collectors, who seem to have ignored the Lower City that night, along with an unusual number of rats scurrying about. They return to the Master of Cobbles the next day and see that the logs were filled out by the workers as if everyone was there, and single out one garbage collector who was supposed to be on shift where they were keeping watch and obviously never showed. They stop by his house, and he admits to being bribed by an unknown, hooded individual to periodically skip work, with vague threats of violence from the sewers if he disobeys. They pay him for a sewer key and go to investigate. Link’s tracking skills detect a higher than usual concentration of rats in the sewers, and Collin detects some magical thread tying them together that seems to emanate from a central source. They begin trudging through the tunnels towards this, noticing the sound of chittering and squeaking getting louder as they approach.

Finally a figure calls out “who goes there?”, and they throw a sunrod out to reveal two furry, hunched humanoid figures surrounded by rats. They correctly guess they are wererats and ask what they are doing. The wererats claim to have been driven underground by the oppressive humans who don’t understand their condition, and they prefer the stink. They mention an unnamed woman who has been championing their cause and promising to help get them equal treatment above, if they help with increasing the garbage and stink above ground (which they would want to do anyway). The team decides they are pawns with a legitimate plea, and guess that the woman in question is Rilsa.

That night, they notice the smell in Lower City has gotten distinctly worse, and the tavern where they have dinner, they hear others making similar complaints and getting aggravated. Apparently things in the Upper City are even worse (of course, the Outer City always smells). The next day they go see Rilsa to see what she knows about the rates, but she is primarily concerned with questioning them over the anonymously returned hands of the Ranger, and why a set of hungover patriar youth were smuggled into Upper City the previous morning. Team Hero feigns ignorance, as Rilsa caustically and sarcastically lets them know that she is on to them. She also admits to working with the wererat, Stormbuckle, to further urge and incite the people of the city to rise up against the Council of Four as they get a taste of how the Outer City citizens live every day. Tensions mount however, and Link draws steel to attack Rilsa. Several heavily armed bodyguards immediately appear, and she warns that even if the heroes win, the Guild is powerful in the city and they may end up wishing they had died by her hand instead of facing the wrathful revenge of the Guild. Link and the other heroes back down, and ask what they can do to further her cause.

Rilsa mentions that Marshall Ravengard is using some of his loyal Flaming Fist men to frame a judge who is sympathetic to the Guild’s cause with murder. She provides a location where her spies report they will show up to leave the evidence, and the heroes rush over. There they find two Flaming Fist officers being attacked by ghouls over the body of an apparently murdered woman. They help fight them off, and once the officers recognize them as fellow Fist, they confirm they are making it look like a murder. The heroes turn on them, killing one and capturing the other. They find the body was stabbed post mortem with a dagger bearing the seal of the judge, as well as some of his personal effects further incriminating him and making him look like a desperate sable moonflower addict. The other officer refuses to admit more, and they kill him and dump all the bodies back in the dug up grave of the woman to cover their tracks.

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Idle Hands..

Table B

The Cast
Jarred as Quentin, the bard wonder
Sean as Kouki, the stubbornly pacifist cleric
Hannah as Phelaia, thief extraordinaire
Katie as Premade McPremaderson, the wise and badass paladin
Josh as DM

Our heroes awaken after a good night’s sleep in the inn by the docks that they rescued from Flaming Fist the previous evening, and set out to check in with Rilsa in Little Calimshan. On the way, they pass a crowd who seem upset about the vandalism of a local statue, “Faithful Shopkeeper Meets the Honest Trader”, which has had the hands of both the shopkeeper and the trader removed. The townsfolk are angry and confused about the landmark being defaced, and a local authority is trying to regain order. The team elects to leave him to his work after noticing what happened.

At the Jewel Emporium, they find Musayed, who lets them know that Rilsa is out trying to calm the Outer City folk who are in uproar over the statues.. in the process revealing that several more had their hands removed the night before as well, but no clues have been found yet to their whereabouts. Just then, a group of Flaming Fist soldiers enter and demand to search the premises for any sign of the hands. Taking notice of the characters, they initially accuse them of being involved in a plot, but soon recognize them as the Heroes of the Wide, and offer to take them to Ravengard once the shop is found clean. They comply.

The Marshall tells them of the evil of the Guild, and his quest to purge the city of their influence. He also asks about the assassination of Duke Adrian, and reveals his suspicions that the scattered cult of the dead god Bhaal, Lord of Murder, may have some involvement in the plot (possibly along with the Guild?), but does not have any concrete information besides rumors. He asks the heroes to join him in his work to get the city back under control and peace as things seem to be escalating since Adrian’s murder, and malicious forces are clearly at work to stir things up. Quentin and Kouki question his heavy handed methods, but Ravengard cynically responds that they know little of the force necessary to keep a city like Baldur’s Gate under control. After they press him though, he agrees to rethink some of his harsher actions in the name of discipline and law. The heroes agree to take the Flaming Fist brooches and work as honorary lieutenants, but only on work related to tracking the assassination conspirators (at least for now). To celebrate, Ravengard has them stay for dinner in his Officer’s Mess, where they regale the other Flaming Fist officers with their tales and answer questions about the day Adrian was murdered.

The next morning, the heroes are woken early by cries of alarm. Returning to the main room, they find many officers gathered around the Marshall. The hands of Minsc the Beloved Ranger and his hamster, Boo, were apparently taken during the night from the Wide. As Minsc is one of the most popular landmarks in the city, citizens throughout all 3 districts are up in arms, and every available member of the Fist is being called up to suppress and calm the alarm. Ravengard asks the heroes to investigate and track the vandal, since he does not have any men to spare for this task. They hurry out, although stopping to talk to Rilsa on the way to see if she knows anything.

Finding her in the usual place, they allay any fears that they are really allied with Ravengard, and ask what she knows first about the cult of Bhaal. She says this is mostly hearsay and old folk tales, and Ravengard is known for being superstitious, but she doesn’t buy that a dead god might still demand such admiration or powerful followers for a task like that. More importantly, she reports that several patriar teenagers are missing and she suspects a connection to the missing hands. She scoffs at the idea that Ravengard would provide a fair trial, believing the well connected patriars would have committed the crime and be able to get off with a lenient sentence. She promises to provide street justice (but not execution) if they are brought back to her. The heroes hurry off to the Upper City, and find several clues indicating there was no magic involved, but corroborating Rilsa’s story of patriar youths. After speaking with several very unhelpful butlers to try and find the youth, they heed McPremaderson’s advice to track them themselves, as there are only a couple of gates out of Upper City and someone is likely to have noticed them.

This works well, and they follow the trail of a group of scared sounding patriar youth who fled the city to the other side of Wyrm’s Crossing by ferry in the early morning. Once there, they hear that they entered a pottery shop. Quentin and Kouki trick the owner into running outside to find help for a “carriage accident”, and Phelaia sneaks upstairs to find several patriar guards and a group of teenagers matching the description. They are arguing about whether or not the teenagers should turn themselves in, suggesting they may have the hands. While Quentin goes outside to find more guards, Kouki joins Phelaia upstairs and tells them to surrender the youths. The main teenager says he knows it will not go well for them, and orders the guards to fight. Combat spills downstairs and three of the four guards are quickly slain by a rather bloodthirsty party (particularly Phelaia who seems to revel in it), including Quentin and Premade McPremaderson who join the fray.

The youth are tied up, and after much debate, they decide to take the hands and send the youth back to Upper City rather than have them tried. They scare the daylights out of the remaining guard, telling him to escort them home and then flee the city, telling no one what happened, unless they want to incite the wrath of the heroes (Phelaia asks if she should stab him once on the way out just to ensure the point got across, but they worry he might bleed out on the way back if she does). The guard agrees, and the party sends them on their way on the ferry. As the ferry departs, they debate what to do with the hands of Minsc and Boo…

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Thank the Ferryman
To the highest bidder goes...

Table 2

The Cast
Pat as Tarvor the Psionicists
Brain as Dak the Githzerai Seeker
Scott as Kondrat the rogue
Cooper as Nairue the Eladrin Templar
Tim as DM

Our story opens with the team returning to Baldur’s Gate and they see a Flaming Fist patrol ahead pointing in their direction. They team wait to see what are the patrol’s intentions, and they are greeted warmly by the patrol as the Heroes of the Wide. They are invited to meet with Ravengard, Marshall of the Flaming Fist at Wyrm’s Rock. Ravengard thank the characters for coming and tells them how the Guild is besieging the city and how he would like them to help him destroy it. After some questions, the team decides to decline his offer. Undaunted, Ravengard gives them each a Flaming Fist brooch that they can use to get in touch with him at either the Wyrm’s Rock or the Seatower.Wyrm rock

The next morning the team hears the news about vandalism on the five statues that happened overnight. These recent events eclipse the headline on the Baldur’s Mouth about the grafts from the Basilisk. The team sends word through a fake beggar in the street that they want to talk to Rilsa. They spend the rest of the day checking into the statue damage. They find no clues to the identity of the culprit, no magical or religious tampering, nor any leads.

On they’re way back to their inn they encounter a small Flaming Fist patrol that inform them about the Sumptuary Laws and warn Nairue the Eladrin Templar to dress more appropriate to her station. Nairue politely informs them that she will comply and patrol leaves them with no incident. Nairue purchases some common wear for the next day.

The following morning they rise to hear the news about the defacement of the Beloved Ranger statue in the Wide. The Minsc and Boo statue is beloved by the entire city and everyone is upset by this incident. RangerThe team also finds two notes waiting for them and a visitor waiting for them. One note is from Rilsa to meet shortly for an important job and the other note is from Duke Silvershield who requests their assistance in a matter of urgency. The team decides to take their breakfast and meet with their visitor, Esgurl Nurthammas, the Master Cobbler of Baldur’s Gate who is responsible for all roads, bridges, and public stonework. Esgurl is a young, overly enthusiastic patriar who offers the team a payment of 150 gp to find and “deal with the vandals and save the city the cost of a trial.” The team questions his legal authority and he leaves in a huff.

The team head out to meet with Rilsa and she asks also them to capture the vandals. She wants them to face justice and tells the team to bring the vandals to the Silver Song Bird Inn in the Lower City once they find them. She offers a 200 gp as their fee when they arrive with the culprits at the inn. She tells them to search for clues in Wide and to hurry before any evidence disappears. They team go to the Wide and begin their search. They split into teams and (both rolling successes) both teams find clues. Tarvor and Dak find a broken dagger with a family crest that is chipped and covered in statue dust. Nairue and Kondrat find a brooch of a family crest. The team decides to keep their findings under wraps after almost dropping the dagger in front of a Watch patrol. A closer inspection of the people around them gives Kondrat notice of a patriar watching them. They speak with him and learn that his name is Marvin Ravenshade and that he’s looking for his missing brother Martin who hasn’t been home since last night’s revelries. Marvin recognizes the brooch as his brother’s and the dagger as belonging to his brother’s friend Corwin Oberon. Marvin comments that his brother might have gone into the Lower city during the night and gives up looking for him and heads home.

They team check the nearest gate between the Wide and the Silvershield estate and the Watch guard states that Martin or Corwin did not leave through the gate. It is clear that the Watch soldiers know every patriar and important citizens by name and face. Their next step is to visit Duke Silvershield.

The Duke quickly brings them in and dives into his request. He is concerned about the vandalism is worried out the situation getting out of control. He asks the team to find the culprits and bring them to the Watch Citadel before they are harmed by an angry mob. The team informs the Duke about their findings in the Wide and the Duke admits that he fears it was a few patriars boys who have gone missing and may be involved. Kondrat negotiates a fee of 50 gp for each vandal delivered alive to the Citadel.

The team checks the other gates and finds that the Watch guard remembers Martin and his friends leaving early in the morning. After bribing a few lamp lads, the team finds one who took the boys to the Brampton docks. At the docks the team spends more gold until the find the ferryman who took them to the Twin Songs and believes they went to Wyrm’s Crossing. More coin is spent until the find their way to Hadru’s pottery shop. Hadru is nervous and the team searches the tiny shack. Tarvor declares the shack free of any secret doors (Pat rolls a 1!) except for the door below Tarvor’s feet which Kondrat quickly spots. In the makeshift basement the team find the six youths hiding in the dark with the statute hand in their hands. Kondrat makes a comment about not making a, “caught red handed” comment. The boys don’t laugh.

Patriar youths:
Corwin Oberon, owner of the chipped dagger.
Martin Ravenshade, owner of the brooch.
Bleys Redlocks, Benedict Eltan, Eric Rillyn, and Gerard Durinbold – followers.
(The first names are my hat tip to Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber.)

The team debates what to do next. Do they take the boys to Silvershield or Rilsa? Do they take half to each? Do they contact Needle? How do they get them across Wyrm’s Crossing? Do they take them to the Flaming Fist? Tarvor makes a comment about coming back and killing Hadru and not leaving any witnesses if they do take boys to Rilsa and she kills them.

And debate.

And continue to debate as the day draws on. They finally decide to ferry everyone back into port in two boats. They strip the boys of their fine clothes and dress them in common wear and bind the hands a bit. They split the party with Kondrat and Nairue taking Corwin, Martin, and Bleys in one boat with Nairue holding on to the statue hand to prevent the boys from tossing it overboard. Dak and Tarvor take Benedict, Eric, and Gerard in the second ferry.

All goes well until they near the docks. As they get close to the docks the boys decided to make their move. Team one fails their perception checks and one (1d6/2) boy, Corwin Oberon, dives into the water and swims to shore. Team two to manages to keep their boat in line with a few head thumps.

The team delivers the culprits to the Watch Citadel without any further incident. They are paid 250 gp and they tell Silvershield that one swam off in the port. The team leaves the Upper City and go to the Baldur’s Mouth to give Needle a recap of events. Needle pays them 20 gp for the story, which about covers all the money they spent on bribes and transportation. They forgo meeting with Rilsa and head back to their inn.

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To the Docks!

The Cast
Jarred as Quentin Wander, Bard of Valor
Phillip as Ian Songsteel, Assassin
Eric as Helium Gas, Warlock
Hannah as Phelaia, Tiefling rogue
Josh as DM

After a good night’s sleep in the inn, our heroes awaken and take stock of the situation in one of their rooms. They are interested to take up Silvershield’s offer of investigating Guild members to see if they can learn more of Rilsa’s methods and whether they would be good to work with. Since they slept in the Upper City, they agree to start with Norold Dlusker’s stall in the Wide. Quentin Wander approaches Norold openly while the rest of the team make themselves inconspicuous, and Quentin attempts to tactfully assess whether Norold is assisting the folks of the Outer City by asking about free fabrics or other discounts for the disenfranchised. Norold isn’t playing along, so he asks for a private discussion. At the edge of the Wide, Ian and Helium approach as well, and question more bluntly. Norold is taken aback and obviously spooked by any hint of a Guild connection, but claims to know nothing and have nothing by way of evidence, and walks back to his stall before the heroes can stop him. Annoyed at the lack of progress, they decide to go back and chat with Rilsa.

They hire a carriage to take them out to Little Calimshan, and things are uneventful until they reach the Basilisk Gate, where they hear a crier warning everyone that clothes outside of one’s station will no longer be permitted in the city, by order of the Council of Four. A Watch soldier stops the carriage, and accuses Ian, Helium and Quentin of being too expensively attired (Hannah is dressed in common clothes and is fine). Helium asserts his status as a foreign nobleman, with Ian as his bodyguard, while Quentin complains loudly about the law and refuses to comply. Aggravated, the soldier starts to demand a search or consider arrest, but Helium convinces him that Quentin is his personal traveling minstrel (somehow over Quentin’s loud disagreement to the same.. methinks the guard became frustrated with these odd and confusing travelers).

At the Jewel Emporium, they are quickly ushered to the back to meet with Rilsa. She takes the money and gives a bonus for the two sets of books, which she assures them will come in handy. They mention talking to Silvershield, and she immediately asks about her identity being revealed. With assurances it has not been, she reiterates what a cruel and selfish man he is, and the heroes share the names they were asked to investigate. With a smirk, she thanks them for the useful information, but admits to nothing, except that the Low Lantern was closed down the previous night and that it was a good thing the heroes had not been spotted there.They ask a few more questions about the goals of the Guild which are quickly handled, but then are interested in more work. Rilsa mentions that her sources have suggested the Flaming Fist may be out in unusually large force at the docks later that evening, and common folks might need some protection. She suggests they be there, and report back to her with anything else unusual that they find.

Later that day at the docks, the heroes see some torn down notices about the sumptuary laws as well as grafitti hinting at hatred for the Watch and the Council. They stop for dinner at an inn and spend some time chatting with the Lower City and Outer City workers there. They learn more about the Low Lantern and its proprieter, Laraelra Thundreth, although some of the information conflicts with what they heard from Rilsa earlier about the goings on there. Ian takes to the rooftops to search for disturbances. He sees Flaming Fist kicking people off the street and using non-deadly force, which, as an assassin, he sees as not a particularly big deal. When another loud disturbance is seen a few blocks away, he calls to the rest of the team and they sneak around the back streets to investigate.

They come upon a group of restaurant workers and locals brawling with several of the Flaming Fist in the street, with another proprieter in a shouting match with the sergeant. They manage to stop the fighting and hear out the opposing sides – the Flaming Fist have orders to clear the streets and establishments, but the innkeeper argues that they pay rent and taxes to have a business, evening is their core hours, and if this trend continues then her business won’t be able to stay open. Quentin agrees and takes her side, and guilts the sergeant into allowing everyone to stay at the inn as long as they promise to stay inside and off the streets. He also mentions that Ravengard had put out a summons for the Heroes of the Wide to meet with him, and that he is a very good man to know.

Once the soldiers leave, the innkeeper gratefully offers to buy them drinks and let them stay the night. Things are uneventful until they hear another ruckus outside an hour later. Outside they find vandals in the process of vandalizing the outside of the inn, except two Flaming Fist soldiers have found them. One of the thugs makes a run for it and has his legs cut by the soldier to keep him down. Our heroes still appreciate the use of judicious force, and allow this to take place, although Quentin runs up and heals the injured thug before he bleeds out. The soldiers arrest them and take them away.

A little drunk, Team Hero decides to stay the night at the inn and report back to Rilsa the following day…

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The Fourth Estate
Power to the people!

Table 2

The Cast
Pat as Tarvor the Psionicists
Brain as Dak the Githzerai Seeker
Scott as Kondrat the rogue
Kyle as Ryltar, Drow Bregan D’Aerthe Mercenary
Tim as DM

The day begins with the adventures finding the inn in a bustle with news and gossip as the people talk about the previous day’s events. They find a newssheet, The Baldur’s Mouth, on the table next to them. They pick it up and read about the assassination of Duke Adrian that still cover the headline. It also mentions heroes who killed the assassin and other reports that say it was a monster that attacked the Duke. The newssheet also has a few smaller articles about the closure of two gambling dens by the Flaming Fist the previous evening, reports of robberies in street by small thugs on some gate officials, and a story about the Nant Thangol (aka The Basilisk) being robbed and assaulted in his home.

The adventures decide that they need more info and more neutral info. They track down the office of The Baldur’s Mount by back tracking and asking the news lads for directions. At the office of the Mouth they meet Ettvard Needle and introduce themselves as the Heroes of the Wide. A very excited Needle ushers them into a back room and peppers them with questions. The party give false names, except for honest Tarvor. They also conform the story that the Duke’s assassin turned into a monster. In exchange the team ask Needle about the Guild. He tells them stories he’s heard, like how the Guild take care of the Outer City residents.

The team negotiates with Needle to offer him the books they “found,” wink wink nudge nudge, on the road near the Basilisk’s house in exchange for some information and help. Needle offers the team the use of his top boy Pip as well as info he may pick up in the future.

The team gets a tour of city from Pip and they encounter a Flaming Fist patrol bullying some Outer City laborers, poking them with clubs, yelling at them, and making derogatory comments about them. The team steps in and intervenes when they first encounter the abuse by distracting the patrol in order to give the people time move on. Throughout the day the team keep seeing other Flaming Fist patrols doing similar bullying.

As they continue their tour they start to notice fresh vandalism on the walls of buildings. Slogans such as, “Down with the Patriars,” “Extinguish the Flaming Fist,” and “Tear down the wall. Free Baldur’s Gate!”

With Pip’s help, them predict where the vandals might strike next and head out to try and catch the vandals. The team sneak up on the vandals and quickly surround them. The heroes quickly explain that they just want to talk and they aren’t here to arrest them. With paint on their fingers and cloths, these three vandals have clearly been doing this for awhile. After a few minutes of vague answers, the team identify themselves as the Heroes of the Wide and that they’re here to help. This gets a more positive reaction from the vandals and they offer the bucket of paint to the team to take over. They explain they’re almost done with their shift. The heroes decline and the just want to talk to someone in charge. One of the vandals looks over Kondrat and whispers to him to go to the Calim Jewel Emporium in Little Calimshan. The heroes let the three vandals continue on their way.

PipThe team decide to take a break for lunch and take Pip with them to a nearby pub. Over lunch the team ply Pip with questions about his life, his work, about Baldur’s Gate, and about the political climate. Pip is very honest and forthcoming about growing up as an orphan on the streets. He was lucky to fall in with Master Needle and has worked hard to learn his letters and words and tries to be a good reporter/seller/errand boy for Master Needle. Pip often sleeps in the news office where ever he can find space. Pip’s political view are pro Lower City interests, but he speaks like someone who is repeating things he’s heard and not from actually life experiences, basically what you would expect to hear from any 9 year old who grew up hearing only one side of a political view. Pip also constantly mentions his big story, something about a room, or a dog in a room, or a dog with a hand. They characters aren’t really sure what Pip’s talking about, basically what you expect from a sugar infused 9 years talking about their favorite subject.

Pip mentions that at night in the Lower City a green glass lamp above an establishment means that it is open for business. Pip also tells the team about a secret knock they can use at night in the Lower City get a “burl,” or swift, temporary shelter for 2 cp per person. And any injury, harm, or theft against a citizen who offered the burl will likely cause the betrayer to be hunted or be unable to receive help in the future.

Once again outside, the team has Pip fetch a newer copy of Baldur’s Mouth to see if it has anything new. The headline is an interview with the Heroes of the Wide about their battle with the assassin and the transformation of the assassin into a monster.

They team dismiss Pip with a few copper pieces from Tarvor and a half and orange from Kondrat and with a promise from Pip that he’ll let them know if he comes across any news out of the ordinary. After Pip departs, they decide that they need to speak to the Guild again and start to make their way to Little Calimshan. As they near the Basilisk gate they see Nant Thangol at his normal place collecting tolls from incoming merchants, but Nant looks more surly than the day before and has fresh bruises. They team stand in line with the non merchants and quickly make it out of the city without being noticed by Nant.

Assaulted by the smells, noise, and filth about him, Kondrat regrets giving his half of an orange to Pip since all of the food and drink out here look questionable. “Water sirs?” asks a vendor holding up a dirty cup with filled with water of a slightly brown tint. Kondrat pushes his way through the crowds and vows not to eat or drink anything out here as he pass a vendor grilling what look like rats on a fire made from dried dung.

Further along their route to Little Calimshan Kondrat checks for a tail and realizes that they’re being followed by what looks like a cloaked Flaming Fist soldier. “We’re being followed,” Kondrat whispers to the others, “quick, split up and lose the tail!” Kondrat quickly melts into the crowd and disappears from view. Ryltar draws his hood over his head and slips into the shadows in the opposite direction from Kondrat. Dak vaults over some crates and quickly disappears down an alley barricaded by several stacked crates. Tarvor, suddenly realizing that he’s been left behind and having no experience losing a tail decides to run. He turns and dashes forward-only to run smack into a cow and fall flat on his face. In a panic, Tarvor scrambles to his feet to take flight again only to see the tail continuing to follow someone ahead who is wearing the same colored cloak as Tarvor (Pat rolled a 20!). Tarvor stares in disbelief as the tail continues to follow the other cloak and leave them behind. “Nice work,” says Kondrat as he reappears suddenly next to Tarvor.Little calimshan

Unencumbered by their tail, the team quickly make their way to Little Calimshan. On their way to the Calim Jewel Emporium they pass a boarded up building called The Oasis that has a Writ of Closure tacked to the front door. Musayed, the older gentleman who served them tea the previous evening, recognizes them and seats them in a booth off to the side from the main area. “Ah good gentleman, what can Musayed do for you?” he asks. The team express their desire to talk with Rilsa and Musayed replies that he’ll see what he can do.

He returns with tea and water for everyone and informs them that Rilsa will meet with them shortly. Kondrat, realizing the tea and water are fresh and clear and that anything consumed in Little Calimshan will be as good or better than anything to be found in the Lower City, orders a plate of hummus. After a few minutes Musayed returns and escorts them into the back room where they find Rilsa and a plate of hummus waiting for them.

She politely greets them and both sides make vague statements to each other about the night’s activities. The team inform her that they saw Nant as they were leaving through the Basilisk gate and that he looked beaten. She replies that perhaps some thieves might have broken into his home and beat him after not finding any money. Tarvor speculates that there might have been another group of burglars who robbed him earlier. Rilsa then suggests that if there was an earlier robbery, that group might owe the Guild some money. Kondrat drops a bag of 50 gp on the table and it quickly vanishes up Rilsa’s sleeve.

Preliminaries out of the way, both parties start to get down to brass tacks. The team press Rilsa for more information about the Guild and she explains that the Guild provides order and protection to the Outer City residents where the FF and Watch refuse to patrol. That the Guild provides monetary help when it can or other types of help where possible. She speaks about the FF as bullies and how the corrupt government steals money from the poor through excessive taxes and tolls. She ask the adventures to join with the Guild to help right these wrongs. The team agrees to help the Guild, but are split on how and how much. Kondrat and Ryltar are willing to killing provided the Guild pays them, while Tarvor and Dak are less willing to go that far and would prefer alternative methods. Rilsa agrees to take this proposal to the Guild and to offer the team a higher profile job with higher rewards. She suggests that they not come back to Little Calimshan and that she’ll get in touch with the adventures later.

On the way back to the Basilisk Gate, the adventures spot a FF patrol about 100 yards ahead of them and headed in their direction. The patrol’s officer notices them and points at them. The adventures are not sure at this distance if he’s ordering the arrest or pointing out the Heroes of the Wide in admiration.

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Choices
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

THE CAST

Pat as Tarvor the Psionicists
Brain as Dak the Githzerai Seeker
Collin as Keira
Jarred as Quentin Wander, Bard of Valor
Scott C as Kondrat the rogue
Hannah as Orsino Fortanbras III, bloodthirsty thief
Sean as Kouki the pacifist cleric

INTRO

After defeating the monster and getting offers to meet different people, the team debates their options.

Finally the party decides to meet the thief at Little Calimshan. As the party make their way through the streets of Baldur’s Gate district by district, first from The Wide, then through The Steeps, then across Heapside, and finally through Eastway to the Basilisk Gate at the eastern edge of the city.

As they approach the Basilisk Gate they come across a crowd of people jamming the gate into the outer city. Mareak, a blond-bearded dwarf recognizes the characters from their encounter in the Wide and explains that there was a theft of the city shield or something from the Harbormaster’s Office and now the toll collector was searching for it. Mareak implores the Heroes of The Wide to help speed things up with Nant Thangol the toll collector.

The adventures push their way forward and find Nant and half a dozen or more Flaming Fist mercenaries searching people. Nant is a gaunt dwarf who is arrogant and contemptuous toward the crowd. He flagrantly exceeds his authority as a toll collector. Several grumblers defame him, pointing out that he isn’t a customs agent and a few of the Flaming Fist soldiers appear uncomfortable about this detail. Nant’s post to the Baslisk Gate has earned him the nickname of The Basilisk. Once Nant finds out the identity of the party, he gladly moves them through the line while making disparaging comments about the scum still in line. Sean’s character (a pacifist cleric) convinces the Basilisk to stop searching and let everyone through the gate.

The group continues into the outer city, a place filled with cheaply made buildings, packs of stray dogs, and the smellier or nosier businesses of Baldur’s Gate; the tanneries, forges, slaughterhouses, stables, and dung heaps. After 30 minutes of walking through the crowded streets, they find themselves at the gate of Little Calimshan. Kondrat sees the hooded figure waiting near the gate and the figure signals to Kondrat to follow him. The hooded figure leads the party through a twisting obstacle course until finally dropping into a darkened, enclosed courtyard.

The agent leads them inside where they find a central fire pit, multicolor rugs, and heavy drapes that create the impression of being inside a tent. A seamed face peers at the party from beneath a turban. The man, wrapped in an ornate, brocaded robe, sits besides a low table along the fire pit and pours tea for everyone. The guide closes the door then pulls away a false beard revealing a woman’s face. “Thank you for coming,” she says as she sits next to the old man. “I wasn’t sure you would, but we had great hope.”

RilsaThe woman introduces herself as Rilsa Rael, agent of the Guild. She explains how the guild has been declared a criminal organization, but what they really do is protect and help the people in the outer city who have no other support system. She asks the heroes to join her and suggests that could rob Nant Thangol and redistribute the money to the poor. The party can’t agree to help her, but she gives Nant’s address and regular route in case they change their mind.

The party debates what to do next and Sean’s character says, “We met with the lowest, we should now meet the highest.” The party agrees and head back into the city to met Imbralym at the Three Old Kegs. They race back into town and arrive at the Three Old Kegs as Imbralym is finishing his meal. They talk for a bit before being taken through the streets of the Upper City to Duke Sliversheild’s residence. As they walk through the Upper city, the adventures notice the difference from the Lower City and the Outer City. Here it is clean, with flat streets and drainage, colorful buildings and magic lamps lighting the streets. Here in the Upper City, everyone is a patriar, is a servant for a patriar, or the very wealthy businesses owners.

At the Sliversheild estate they meet Duke Silversheild who offers them work. (I’m not clear on what happened here.) Silversheild asks them to help him take down the criminal organization called the Guild. (Is this correct?) The team discusses the idea before politely declining the offer. Imbralym escorts them out of the Silversheild estate and tells them not to come back unless they have more info on the Guild. (Is that correct?)Silvershield

Tarvor suggest that they get the the Guild to work with the patriars. As the team make their way to an inn, they decide to go to Nant Thangol’s house to break in and investigate to see if they can find any clues to corruption. A few of the party members do a great job distracting the guards outside while the thieves sneak in the back and poke around. Kondrat finds a doctored ledger on a table and Orsino gets itchy sticky fingers and finds another ledger showing the money that The Basilisk was collecting plus what he was skimming off the top. Orsino also steals a bunch of other stuff like candelabras, goblets, plates, and what not. The party leave the guards and the sleeping Basilisk behind and head to an inn.

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Murder in the Wide!
First blood spilled

THE CAST

Pat as Tarvor the Psionicists
Brain as Dak the Githzerai Seeker
Collin as Gwenn the Wizard Extraordinaire!
Jarred as Quentin Wander, Bard of Valor
Phillip as Ian Songsteel
Scott C as Kondrat the rogue
Hannah as Orsino Fortanbras III, bloodthirsty thief
Eric as Helium Gas, Warlock.

INTRO

For whatever your reasons, whatever your histories, whatever your relationships with each other, you all find yourselves standing in the Wide in Baldur’s Gate to celebrate Returning Day. Baldur’s Gate is one of the great cities of Faerun, with the rich living atop the bluffs protected from the bourgeoisie, the middle class living in the middle of the city, and the poor and outcast who live outside the walls with little law or protection.

It is the anniversary of Balduran’s historic return to Gray Harbor, the namesake of the city. The light drizzle isn’t damping the festive mood emanating from the crowd in the Wide, the public marketplace . The crowd erupts in wild cheers as an older, surprisingly muscular man takes center stage. The people love Duke Abdel Adrian and it is clear that he loves the people of Baldur’s Gate as well.Duke adrian

As Duke Adrian expounds on the virtues of shared opportunity, you all notice a disturbance to your right as small group pushes their way towards the stage. A figure jumps upon the stage and attacks Duke Adrian with a short sword. The panicked crowd fleeing from the scene impede the Watch from using their crossbows or reaching the stage.

Realizing that they are the closest to act, the brave adventures step forward to save Duke Adrian, but are intercepted by four Thugs.

Stuff happens. Some wizard slides people around. A few of the adventures get wounded. Orsino kills one of the thugs. Tarvor tries to mentally smash the assassin, but nothing happens.

(Who killed the other three thugs? I don’t remember, can someone remind me.)

The fight on stage continues until the assassin kills Duke Adrian! With a sudden bone-cracking and flesh-tearing transformation, the killer is morphs into a hulking, blood-soaked, corpse-like form. The monster momentarily exults over the corpse of Duke Adrian before leaping into the crowd to rend skulls form torsos.

The brave adventures quickly face off against the monster and flight it until Orsino delivers the fatal blow! (That’s two for Orsino. Yes, I’m keeping score.)

Cheers, tears, adoration, grief, and the thanks of many bystanders fill the air. You all start to getting called the Heroes of the Wide. As the panic subsides, the upper city Watch are able to make their way to the stage and help restore order to the Wide.

Tarvor uses his vast Arcane knowledge to study the Spawn corpse and try to determine what caused the transformation. But the most that Tarvor can discern is that the transformation was not of a magical origin.

As the adventures compose themselves and bask in the adoration of the crowd, the two rouges Kondrat and Ian Songsteel (I think it was Ian) notice a hooded figure signaling to them in secret thief hand signals. They discreetly make there way over and the cloaked figure mutters, “You are newcomers here, so you don’t know the situation. If you want to know what is really happening in Baldur’s Gate, meet me at the gateway to Little Calimshan at dusk.” Then he steps into the crowd and disappears the way rouges do.

At the same time Orsino and Quentin (I think it was Quentin?) are approached by well dressed, older, pudgy elf who has a wine glass in hand. “Well done adventures! My name is Coran, I am well known here in Baldur’s Gate. In my youth I was an adventurer like yourselves. Let me show you my appreciation by buying all of you a drink sometime.” Then he waves his glass and stumbles away.

On the other edge of the Wide the two magic users Helium Gas and Gwenn (I think it was Gwenn?) are approached by a young man, darkly handsome and graceful, who is dressed in a sumptuous robe. He clasps the hand of Helium Gas and whispers, “My name is Imbralym Sknoond. My master bids me to discover who took Abdel Adrian’s life. If you wish to save Baldur’s Gate from the rot festering inside it, meet me at the Three Old Kegs. I will be there until four bells.” He quickly slips back into the crowd after delivering the message.

Ulder ravengard cardWhile, near the stage, Dak and Tarvor are approached by a powerfully built man with a clenched gauntlet wreathed in fire emblazoned on his tabard. The symbol of the Flaming Fist, the mercenary company that polices the lower city, but not the upper city. "Greetings. I am Ulder Ravengard, commander of Wyrm’s Rock and-as of right now-marshal of the Flaming Fist mercenary company. Duke Adrian had been our marshal. The Watch (the police force for the upper city) was responsible for his safety here and should have protected him. We are indebted to you.

Please meet me at Wyrm’s Rock, where we can have a proper introduction. You could be of great service to our city. I hope you do not disprove my good appraisal of you. You’ll find I can be a valuable friend."

As Ravengard walks away, a dozen hard-bitten, plain-clothes figures melt away from their positions, shadowing the marshal, their eyes prowling the crowd, stalls, and eaves.

Tarvor and Quinten (I think it was Quinten) search their historic and religious knowledge regarding the transformation. Both recall stories about various transformations, demons, possessions, etc.

What happens next?

Session 2 – Picking up a few minutes after session 1 ended, time enough for everyone to do a short rest.

Players should huddle up, share the info they all just picked up, and decide on their next course of action.

Players can make one and possibly two of the three appointments without splitting the party. Splitting the party to make all three appointments is possible, but the smaller party attending the appointment may cause suspicion from the person who invited you when less then your full party attends the meeting.

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