Friday, 13 July 2018

D&D - A Journey North - Session Two - Waterdeep (Part One)

We've just started a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign with a new DM this time...this is session two...
Our starting group is a somewhat eclectic mix of (in no particular order) a Halfling Swashbuckler, a Gnome Wizard and a Human Monk (collectively a group of thieves known as 'The Silvered Penny'), a Half-Elf Hexblade, a Carchari* (Sharkman) Barbarian from an amphibious race currently inhabiting a village in the north but who are now integrating with the other races of Faerun and this session we will also be joined by a Human Fighter.
*They're explained in the session one write-up which can be found HERE...
The Dungeon Master
Harry - All the People and Monsters...
The PC's
Our DM is using 'Milestone' Advancement rather than XP...we're all currently Level 4
Tom - Sprig Shadowfoot - Halfling, Rogue Swashbuckler
Phil - Wrenn Rofferton - Gnome, Divination Wizard
Dan - Saladin - Human, Drunken Monk
Garreth - Varis Maacus - Half-Elf, Hexblade Warlock
Craig - Torrik - Carchari, Bear Totem Barbarian
Harry - 'Billy' - Human Fighter
Lord Tresendar - Our Employer

More information on the characters stats can be found HERE. More background info will be added as soon as people send me some...

Session Two - Waterdeep
Varis's sleep at the 'House of Good Spirits' was disturbed by a vision from his patron where the reason for his command to join the noble was made clear. Despite his initial belief that the task involved Lord Tresender in some way it was in fact revealed that an important contact of his mistress had gone missing from the town of Philander and that the noble was just a convenient way of getting to their last known location. When he awakened from this dream he discovered that he had been given a gift to aid him in his mission, the gift was a magical rod designed to increase his magical abilities but how it had arrived in his room was a complete mystery to him. The thought that other agents of his mistress were also involved was not as reassuring as you might have thought given the amount of internal politics involved in a cult of manipulators and assassins.

After an undisturbed nights sleep for the rest of the adventurers they all made their way downstairs where their employer Lord Tresender who was apparently an early riser was already having breakfast. He was in conversation with a young man dressed in chainmail who seemed to be somewhat animatedly extolling his own virtues as a warrior in a fairly loud fashion. Lord Tresender announced to the rest of the party that he was recruiting this warrior to his selection of travelling companions as an additional bodyguard.

Note - ...and just like that my character had a purpose and Louis's character was now part of the group. I know 'dream sequences' and 'we met in a bar' are a bit of an RPG trope but it's still a simple and effective way to pass on information and to add new characters especially when done subtly.

Act One - Travel Plans
Once every-one had emerged from their rooms and finished their respective breakfasts talk turned to their next move. It had been suggested by Sprig the previous evening that transport by sea would be far quicker than travel by road and Lord Tresender had already given his approval though it had been somewhat too late to discuss specifics. The sharkman Torrik after some encouragement admitted that he knew a great deal about travel by ship and was familiar with the dockyards of Waterdeep so could more than likely facilitate the hiring of a vessel.

Sprig and Wrenn had learnt through their own contacts of a particular captain still sailing from Waterdeep in spite of the fact that increased dangers had resulted in most other ships limiting themselves to short journeys and passed this information on. Varis had obtained similar information from his own cult contacts but as he had no desire to explain where he's come across such intelligence and as Sprigg and Wrenn had already vocalised the important points he kept this knowledge to himself. Lord Tresender seemed in no hurry to engage in this next stage of travel instead expressing a desire to explore the city a little and then deal with the travel arrangements in the afternoon. Effectively this gave the majority of the party the morning off...

Note - Several players had in character stuff they wanted to accomplish and this was a good way of allowing them to do so without having to consider how the rest of the party may feel about their various activities.

Interlude One - A Morning Off
Torrik was obliged to accompany Tresender as he was employed as his personal guard and the new recruit Billy decided to go along as well either to prove his worth or simply to ingratiate himself with his new employer. Varis pretty much only needed some minor supplies as he'd already gleaned all the information he could locally through his contacts and so was looking forward to a morning not involving babysitting nobles. With funds running low however Sprig decided that he and the rest of 'The Silvered Penny' were going to take the opportunity to make themselves some money...

Using Saladin's knowledge of bars and taverns (which was seemingly the only reason he could find his way around anywhere) he led the rest to a more academically inclined area of town as Sprig needed a book shop of some description. After finding a local store that seemed to be slightly less well maintained than the others Sprig purchased several tomes from a pile of damaged items for Wrenn to use as a base to create some fake books of magic for re-sale.

They had done the same con in other towns as a quick and easy way of making some quick money. The plan of course relied on finding some-one gullible enough to purchase the items. Fortunately the gnomes who ran the store knew of a local bar where academics from the local facilities of learning went to relax...if they'd made the connection between the sale and the request they might have been less forthcoming. While Sprig was negotiating the purchases Wrenn came across a badly damaged tome which seemed to contain the important parts of a spell he identified as 'Fireball'. Keeping his excitement to himself he acquired the book to peruse later at a bargain price.

Saladin of course knew exactly how to get to the bar in question. Using a combination of actual spell terminology, alchemical symbols and utter drivel Wrenn created a passable looking arcane volume for Sprig to sell on. Fortunately the bar contained several small groups of academics in various states of inebriation and with the trained eye of the seasoned conman the halfling Sprig found a likely group of marks. Adopting a suitably academic sounding tone of voice and copying their mannerisms exactly Sprig slipped easily into character.

Playing the role of a fellow academic attempting to gain funds for the repair and refurbishment of his own library he managed to offload the spurious book for a reasonable price. The con was nearly ruined at the final moment when the monk Saladin who had been described by Sprig as his mute servant decided to speak several words. Sprig got around the problem by pointing out that when he said 'mute' he meant 'idiot' which in the thieves head wasn't far from the truth and the sincerity in his voice seemed to convince them. Not wanting to push their luck any further the group left with their ill gotten gains. Saladin's share was somewhat below an equal one as Sprig began to suspect that he had identified the source of their run of bad luck during their last major job in Daggerford...

Note - Apparently Tom couldn't fail a dice roll that encounter...

Act Two - The Streets of Waterdeep
Once every-one had met back at the House of Good Spirits, Lord Tresender declared that he was ready to gain passage from Waterdeep via sea and so the group set off with Saladin leading the way using his usual navigation method of using pubs and taverns as landmarks. As they were moving through the streets Varis took the opportunity to ask a few questions of their employer about their final destination of Philander as he was going to need to explore the area thoroughly to complete the task assigned him by his patron.

Apparently the area had been ruined by a rampaging ork army and his ancestral home had been reduced to rubble during the incursion. The warlock pointed out that re-building a mansion and then filling it with appropriate servants and guards must be an expensive undertaking and enquired how exactly Tresender was going to afford such an undertaking. The lord then piqued Sprigs interest by stating that there was a treasure vault hidden beneath that had escaped the looting undiscovered and that he would be using this to both rebuild his home and appropriately reward his current bodyguards. He also mentioned that after the invasion had been repelled that much of the area had been resettled so there was a great deal to work with once he had put his own house into order.

During the conversation they had moved from the relatively well maintained and busier streets and were now approaching the much narrower and less populated areas nearer the dock and shipping areas. Noting that they were close to leaving the higher class areas of town and certain that he may be short of viable targets soon Sprig helped himself to a passing noble looking gentlemens coin pouch with a clever bit of sleight of hand. Of the party only Varis noticed the theft but did nothing as his time as a slave had given him a highly pragmatic view of acquiring things.

Apparently Torrik's tendencies towards petty theft weren't solely limited to stealing drinks in bars as  he decided to help himself to the hat of a passing gentlemen of means for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Lacking the subtlety and skill of Sprig the theft was noticed instantly and the inexplicably brave gentleman immediately confronted the sharkman about his sudden lack of headgear.

His claims that the hat was his all along were clearly preposterous as the hat in question wouldn't have fitted on his head regardless and the mans loud protests had attracted the attention of several nearby members of the city guard. As soon as guards became involved Sprig had made himself inconspicuous and Wrenn had taken a sudden interest in the contents of a nearby shop window. Varis watched for a moment longer knowing he had several ways of escaping should he need to but as the approaching pair of guards became half a dozen and more he sensibly moved on.

The latest recruit to the group simply known as Billy had missed the entire beginning of the escalating situation and was now somewhat naively attempting to negotiate with the guards for the hats return that his friend Torrik had no doubt acquired completely by accident. With the response now reaching overwhelming odds added to by Lord Tresender's stern admonishment that he wouldn't stand for such activities and would leave Torrik to deal with the situation alone the sharkman dropped the hat to the floor. Still completely unaware of the seriousness of the situation Billy picked up the hat and handed it back to the flustered original owner before wishing him a good day and moving on. As the situation was now somewhat defused the guards ushered all concerned on their way though issued several warnings about the consequences should there be a repeat of the incident.

Moving into the alleyways and side-streets of the approach to the dockside the group kept closer together with Saladin leading the way as before. Hanging back slightly Varis was paying a lot more attention to their surroundings than the rest as something about the situation was beginning to bother him and as he did he caught sight of two guards following them. These guards were however not from the group that had confronted Torrik but at least one of them was from the group of guards they'd first encountered upon entering the city and who had subsequently followed them for some time before they had found lodgings. The incident with the hat hadn't exactly inspired confidence in Varis concerning Torrik and the new recruit so he instead informed Sprig of the pursuit who in spite of being witnessed by the Warlock in half a dozen acts of theft had seemed fairly sensible in the area of coming up with plans of action. Sprig asked him to keep an eye on the pursuit and to let them know if the situation changed.

Saladin was beginning to have doubts about his ability to guide them all the way so paid one of the local urchins lurking on every corner to keep them on track. A service that all those paying attention noted that he seemed to have significantly overpaid for.

Note - The gold piece he paid the kid could more than likely have bought us an army of urchins and no doubt caused havoc with the local economy... 

Now guided by the child rather than Saladin they began to seemingly make swifter progress. While keeping his eye on the city guards shadowing them Varis also began to notice that the route they were taking seemed strangely familiar and after making particular note of certain landmarks and features became sure that the child was leading them in circles. Bringing the party to a halt the warlock confronted the young urchin and informed them in no uncertain terms that should there be any danger ahead that the first victim would be the child themselves. Seemingly taking the threat seriously the apparently terrified child radically changed route. Having been asked to keep him informed Varis let Sprig know that the guards were still following them. Sprig's solution to the problem was to recruit a few more urchins to disrupt the guards progress in whatever manner they saw fit and managed to recruit half a dozen for less than Saladin had paid for one. As soon as the urchins set off to perform this task the halfling blended in to the shadows expertly...

Note - Sprig is super stealthy and Varis isn't bad...the rest of our group might as well have a brass band with them...

Act Three - Ambush
The urchins tasked with disrupting the guards, several others who had been tagging along and more importantly their overpaid guide suddenly broke into a run and disappeared around the corner ahead of the adventurers and their employer. Seeing them sprinting away Saladin took off after them at a considerable pace as the two pursuing guards emerged behind the unsuspecting party with weapons drawn.

Emerging stealthily from concealment Sprig drove his rapier into the closest of the would be assassins side a moment before hurling a dagger at the second. Saladin had managed to catch the rearmost of the Urchins but was now far to distant to hear the commotion. The closest of the party to hear the commotion was Billy who ran at the closest assailant sword drawn and though his first attack missed his second inflicted a glancing blow. Varis moved in to assist the new recruit and struck out with his pact weapon slicing his opponent deeply but was taken aback that he seemed to shrug off the wounds effects.

Seeing that both the attackers had survived vicious attacks without loss of effectiveness Wrenn decided to remove one as a threat by casting a spell of levitation upon him, lifting him high into the air. Far away from the action and with his closest foe now dozens of feet in the air Torrik charged towards the enemy remaining on the ground but was to far away to assist in the combat. The noble they were there to protect moved as far from danger as he could while still keeping his bodyguard in sight.

The assassin facing three of the party selected Varis as a target presumably as he had done the most damage but with Billy's assistance managed to fend off the counter-attack. The individual floating in the air sheathed his sword and produced a crossbow before unleashing a bolt towards the wizard Wrenn who used a shield spell to deflect the missile. Saladin with a struggling urchin tossed over his shoulder strolled around the corner and almost bumped into the retreating noble as he witnessed a full on battle that he had completely missed the beginning of. Varis drove his sword deep into the guard once more and yet again the enemy refused to die which the warlock was beginning to find extremely tedious.

Keen to avoid being shot at again Wrenn unleashed several magical missiles at the floating ambusher which struck him with unerring accuracy and unfortunately seemingly little effect. The Sharkman Torrik missed with both his maul and his attempt at tearing a chunk out of the foe with his teeth. Seemingly unwilling to continue against three opponents the guardd disengaged and moved towards Saladin and Lord Tresender. As he moved Sprig stabbed him once more before scattering caltrops in front of them to slow their progress further.

The floating crossbow armed attacker once again fired at Wrenn to which the wizards response was to drop him to the ground right on top of the scattered caltrops beneath him. The Warlock cast a hex upon the enemy who had disengaged from him but inexplicably the spell would not work so he instead hurled an eldritch blast into his back though without the additional effects the curse would have inflicted the magical blast failed to stop them. Uncaring of the spikes in his path Torrik ran straight through them and seemingly frenzied from the smell of blood tore into the retreating and now actually weakening opponent. In no desire to run through a floor of metal spikes as the sharkman had done Varis attempted to use a curse granted to him directly by his patron and this took effect without any problems. He followed this with an eldritch blast which enhanced by the curses effects tore into the assassin bringing him to the brink of death. This death was finally brought about as Torrik fell upon him and tore out his throat. The now lone assassin managed to unleash a bolt which struck Lord Tresender in the shoulder a moment before a lethal blow from Sprig pierced his heart.

Sprig liberated a shoulder bag from the fallen assassin before Torrik tore a bloody chunk of still warm flesh from the body and consumed it right on the spot. He also having had a closer look was now certain that this was one of the guards who had been shadowing them since the town gate. Varis retrieved his healing kit from his backpack and handed it to Saladin to bandage up the noble while he examined the second body. Underneath the dark cloak was an unmistakable guard uniform though it had been altered slightly in order to minimise the amount of metallic elements that might make a noise. A technique that both he and Sprig were familiar with though for somewhat different reasons...

Note - Sprig relieves people of their belongings, Varis relieves them of their lives...the planning process is however broadly similar, lol.

After pocketing a small pouch of coins from within Sprig handed Varis the bag he himself had retrieved. The two satchels were identically equipped with each containing a small notebook, a dirty scarlet cloak and a strange stone that Varis recognised as a magical means of communication. The notebooks contained detailed notes on Lord Tresenders movements dating back some months and also included several sketches of the man himself. One of these sets of notes seemed to follow his daily routine while the other followed his nightly activities. Varis transferred both the cloaks into a single satchel, pocketed the two sending stones and the remaining pouch before dumping the empty bag near their owners corpses.

While Sprig was dragging the bodies of the guards into the darkest corner he could find Varis began to interrogate the remaining urchin as Saladin was busy patching up their employer. Unfortunately he was somewhat too convincing with his threats and the urchin promptly passed out at his feet. In a vague attempt to divert the blame from themselves the monk removed a weapon from one of the would-be assassins, placed it in the urchins hand and left the unconscious and for all he knew dead child leaning against one of the dead assassins. With no other recourse left to them the group carried on with their journey...hopefully the remainder would be less eventful...

To be continued in Session Two - Part Two...

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