~The intrepid travelers reconnected at the dawn of the lockdown (March 2020) to meet weekly for D&D.
A few players are returning to the game after decades, and some venturing to learn for the first time. These friends brought new ones to the game. Some with small children, some in college, some looking for a distraction, some miles apart in locale and views; however, this alliance has become family for one night a week.
Be patient; someday, this plan will work ~ Havocs for Hire
The Cards and The Dragon
Having rested from their return from the Fey Wild, the party took the morning to tie up some loose ends and explore some neighborhood shops. Dr Scot bragged about a Tattoo of protection he had recently gotten to upgrade his AC. Odettis, doubting hum, shot him with her crossbow over the table of waffles hitting him. “It seems overrated “ , she declared.
Afterwards, the group headed thru the north Ward on their way to Obaya temple and then the Dock Ward to investigate the Bronze Dragon recently having taken up residence in the Waterdeep Harbor dragon.
Passing the ruins of the Waterdeep Swordmaiden Statue, they noticed for the first time a door in the statues head with a sign over it for “Thorts Findings”. On entering they discovered a cavernous room crisscrossed with walkways and overstuffed bookshelves with every sort of Knick knack, flotsam and jetsam one could imagine, with a dash of oddities and strange ends.
Greeted by the eccentric owner, Thort, they rummage and explore finding a few items and a few suggestions from Thort. Odettis got a miniature statue of the honorable knight statue and had him identify an item she already had, a small raven statuette. He grinned and told her if she rubs it belly it will animate and flay about and she can also leave it in a room after doing this and it would record who comes and goes until she returns!
Dr Scot got an amulet that is a salamander sprit animal, it will animate and remain near him.
They then headed to the temple.
Obaya was pleased to see the whole group again and in one piece. Her friend Wilfred Tarhawk had arrived the day before from the mountains in the east and sat with Odettis to read the cards with her.
The short story of the reading boils down to this:
While not having made the original reading, he was able to get the essence of the two cards previously given to Odettis and after searching her soul, Wilfred was able to recreate it and give her some interpretation and wisdom.
That there are Three Crown cards present in their positions indicates that Odettis and the group ore on a path that is part of events larger than just them. The crowns tie the event together and that cards representing most of the group seems to signify their bond to each together.
The quest seems to be to counter the goals of a massive dark presence, represented by the Darklord Card. These dark plans reach over dozens of years and seem nearing their culmination. Each Card has yet to be played out, However The Raven and Executioner represent events already unfolding.
After the reading, Wilfred is exhausted and nods off where he sits. Odettis thanks Obdaya and gives her some fruit and a note. Obdaya clasps Odettis in her arms, “Fear not Child, this is a lot but with your friends with you, I sense great strength and support within you.
Reaching the docks, they meet with a Force Grey agent, who gives them each a 1-hour water breathing potion. They hire a boat to the center of the harbor and jump in. Sinking to the bottom and no sign of the dragon, the group sends one crew to the south and another a few hundred feet to the North.
Odettis spy’s movement at submerged ruin and headed towards it and combat began! The group had run across a scavenging team of Sahuagin. After a pitched battle where nearly, every adventurer scored at least one hash mark for The Chalkboard, Zelifarn The Young, A Bronze Dragon, appeared and finished the battle with a nice coup de gras of the last remaining Sahuagin.
Zellfran, a very over caffeinated and very enthusiastic young dragon, reassured the party that indeed, he is only interested in shiny gold bits and protecting the harbor (from anyone else who is after shiny gold bits to be totally honest).
Because the Havoc 4 Hire adventurers have a cool name and seem like swell folks, Zelifarn leads them to a submerged wreck that has magical protections that he could not get into, he’s too big, in exchange for a share of gold shiny bits. Thinking that there might be stuff of values in the wreck, the group went in to investigate.
Indeed, after searching the water-logged wreck and getting additional water breathing time from Dr Scot, the group were able to do a thorough search. They found enough coin to share 2000 gold each as well as some fine gems, fine art in sealed crates and a number of interesting magic items.
With help from Zelifarn they managed it all up to the docks and parted with him as friends.
WHO NEEDS A PLAN - aka - FIREBALL
Waking up the morning after the adventure underneath Waterdeep Harbor, the adventurers wake slowly in their rooms at TrollSkull alley with all the requisite aches and pains of having had a battle the previous day.
Converging for bacon and breakfast in the finished but as of yet not open for public business tavern at TrollSkull they greet each other. There is a pile of gold and assorted loot in the center of the main room, waiting to be divided up.
Mokon had spent the evening sorting and tallying. Each party member would get 2000 Gold Dragons plus an item or two from the magical items and other items of interest. After dividing the loot, this left 5000 GD worth in assorted gems, notably some 300gd diamonds, 4 large paintings and an ivory monkey statue to be put in the underground vault.
Several large paintings, originally headed to the Waterdeep Museum of Arts, had been recovered. Two oils of Waterdeep done in great detail, one showing the Swordmaiden before she was toppled. Also 3 large oils depicting scenes inside and outside large dwarven cities in the north, of which depicted a large underground mausoleum area. These were set to hang in the tavern and various adventurers’ rooms.
Mokon announced to the group that he had found a temple in the city to study his clerical arts at. He would be laying off of the adventurer’s road for a while. He would donate most of his recent share to the Tavern itself and volunteered to manage the Tavern while the others pursued their different paths.
As the group sat finishing their Breakfast there was a massive explosion and a flash of light directly out front of the Tavern!
Sherm was out back trying to concentrate on a magic helm, Odettis ran out back to the safety of the large tree she had planted with an unframed painting, Scot and Ketos held fast in the tavern and Jeffro, Vax and Halibru dashed out the front doors of the tavern towards the danger!
It was very apparent to Haalbru that a Fireball had exploded in the street. There was smoke and dust and bloody bodies everywhere in the aftermath. Vax, Jeffro and Halibru ran to the impact to check for survivors. Finding some they pulled them to safety. It was Chaos.
As the dust settled, Ketos came outside and took charge of setting up a triage area around the corner. Haalbru and Mokon healed those that they could. A very shocked Constable helped secure the area thanking them for their help, telling them that help was on the way.
Several people were found that had eyewitness accounts. Some only terrified mumbles but one had seen a figure running away in the aftermath, dressed in black like two of the three dead humans.
Zentharim, The Black Network! There were two dead humans and a dead gnome at the blast site. Charred. Odettis checked on them after the dust settled, especially the gnome, fearing the acrobats and another card. However, she found nothing on him but an empty pouch.
Vax ran south and climbed the nearby buildings to get a vantage point on the alley, where a woman on a balcony told him what she had seen, and definitely a man in black ran south.
Sherm aided Vax on the ground searching the alley.
More Constables began to arrive securing the area.
Coming up empty handed Sherm returned to the Tavern, where he found a Halfling in colorful garb shivering in fear, singed, hiding behind a rain barrel.
He had been with his friends when some men rushed past them chasing a gnome, when BLAM hell unleashed. He had taken cover behind this barrel in the alley when he lost sight of his friends. Something had fallen into the barrel as he took cover, so with Halfling curiosity he reached in to find what it was, getting soaked. He handed Sherm a necklace with two beads on it.
Sherm took him into the tavern to recover and went in search of the halflings friends. He found them both in Ketos’s triage area and took them to reunite with their pal. Odettis saw them and heard Sherm’s tale and immediately distrusted their story, fearing the Cards!
Regrouping, they shared information and it seems that a small “toy soldier” or “puppet” had been seen throwing something from a roof in the alley before the explosion. Vax went up on Troll Skull Manors Roof to look for clues.
Two detectives arrived, Saeth Cromley and a Magist Guild member, Barabas Blastwind. With them a platoon of city guard. Recognizing the Force Grey badge on Sherm the warmed up to him amid his skepticism of the day. Cordoning off the alley they questioned everyone who a witness was. Finally getting around to the group in the tavern, they were somewhat put off by the awkward compliance of the group.
They found the groups recounting of events to be not quite seamless and felt they were hiding something (they were, the 1st Halfling and the necklace were sequestered in the basement with Dr Scott). Reminding the troupe that interfering with or withholding information was a crime punishable by fines and /or jail. Thanking them, they asked them to remain in the Tavern while they finished their investigation.
ON THE HUNT
Odettis slipped on her ring of invisibility and followed them. She learned a few new clues and confirmed that their finding matched the detectives as well. Also, that the detectives ordered a watch kept on the crew.
All of the clues seemed to point to the House of Inspired hands to search for information on any wayward construct, puppets, or toy soldiers.
The group slipped away through the sewers just far enough from the alley to not be seen and not long enough to become smelly scourges.
Dr Scott's shape changed and slipped out the back to follow up with some witnesses, who it turned out had been taken to the HQ of City Guard for follow ups by Barnaba’s.
He went directly to the Inspired hands Cathedral Compound and set watch disguised as an old man.
As the rest of the party arrived to the west, a small construct appeared on the roof and threw something at them. The Party scattered and the tiny metal bird shattered harmlessly on the ground.
Odettis had slipped away into a side door of the Cathedral prior to this. With her ring of invisibility, she found a beautiful towering round domed room full of the glory of mechanical wonder. Displays of great construct feats stood on pedestals. She slipped through a side door into an administrative hallway and into a laboratory work room, empty of people at the end of the work day.
With the sun setting, Shermdog, annoyed by the day's events and angry, stormed into the Cathedral, demanding answers from the acolytes who greeted him. Quite put off by this, they grew agitated.
Odettis began to search the lab and left, creating a diversion? Throwing small constructs thru open doors. Suddenly she was confronted by a very serene headmistress of the order who attempted to reason with her and calm her.
The group followed Shermdog inside and Haalbru attempted to smooth things over. Unsuccessfully.
Just as things were about to boil over, the Headmistress appeared in the Main hall, having left Odettis in her office, an acolyte making tea.
She too attempted to reason and sooth the Shermdog, both of them being Dragonborn. To no avail. His Force Grey credentials have no sway in her house of worship. She invited Haalbru to tea and had the acolytes summon the city guard.
Over tea, Hal and Odettis recounted the day's event and why they had come to her. An insightful woman, the headmistress saw the grins of what she knew could only be the work of NIM, a Nimblewright she had taken in and was sequestered in the attic of the Cathedral compound. He liked to invent things (too much) and the “ toy soldier “ had all the markings of his work…
She led them upstairs to his room where they questioned him. Indeed, he had created the construct that likely threw the fireball in the alley. He was so very sorry, but it had escaped him months ago and he had meant to tell the headmistress.…
He provided them with a Nimblewright detector device he had invented, and the headmistress offered them a reward for the eventual destruction or capture of the renegade.
Heading downstairs, they relayed this info to the group. Shem had been sent outside and had climbed the outer wall of the compound in their absence.