~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.
As the group discussed what was next, several constables and some city guards arrived.
The List is Long
After leaving the Cathedral the group returned to Troll Skull, reentering thru the sewers from a few blocks away. Shermdog remained behind, conferring with the Force Grey soldiers that showed up at the cathedral with the city guards.
Entering the tavern from the basement, the group encountered Otis, the half orc bartender, from the Yawning Portal, behind the bar. He handed a sealed note from Mokon to Odettis and began to explain.
“Mokon hired me to mind the bar for you. I fink ‘he’ll be out for a few days and....” He was suddenly interrupted by shouting from the door,
“OI!!! Git OUT!! We is NOT open for bizuness as of yet!! Trespassers GIT . OUT!!! OTIS! Git themz gone!!”
As a very slight Halfling, brightly dressed in fancy albeit mismatched clothing, came barreling at the group, broom raised as a jousting pole.
Otis leaned in and lifted the Halfling by the coat as he ran by.
“Elvis! These be the bosses! ‘Ats howe themes came to be inside thru the basement stair!”
Flustered the Halfling did a double take and shook himself free of Otis.
“Begging your pardons sirs and madam. I was hired by Mokon to look after the manor, quite a frightening state that it was in. Also my prime directive is to bar entry to all as the establishment is not yet open. Allow me to introduce myself.
I am Elvis von FizzleCrowne, of the southern FizzleCrowne’s, usher and tinkerer, at your service. He bows low, sweeping his comically large hat across the floor with a flourish.
At this the group looked around the room and saw for the first time that the tavern had been rearranged. The setup was much more conducive to traffic of a restaurant and Tavern and besides that the entire place was 100% shined and Polished.
At the news up at the news that the halflings have been hired by Mo Khan along with Otis the group gave them both a very warm welcome and did check with Otis to make sure they were not stepping on turning his toes by hiring him.
“oh no”, he said.” Durnan don't mind not one bit”.
Odettis, worrying about Calcryx, asked if the Halfling had been upstairs with a worried look.
“Oh, absolutely he said I cleaned the upstairs first those rooms were such a fright. don't you worry one bit about all of your precious possessions up there us FizzleCrowne take great pride in our discretion.
Concerned, Odettis asked if he had seen any of their pets. Only your great Bear and the horses, mighty fine animals. Before going upstairs to check on Calcryx herself. Odettis remembered the letter from Mokon. opening it she read it aloud to the group.
“Hey everybody sorry about the short notice in the form of this missive, but Calcryx decided Eddie had to leave town for a bit. The fireball in the alley has drawn unwanted attention and magical curiosity to the area. Calcryx is a bit worried about this. She decided that heading into the mountains for a little while might be a good idea. I am escorting Calcryx and hobo Joan up into the mountains. I should be back in a few days. However, Calcryx asks, that you promise not to try and follow it could lead to unwanted discovery. The Tavern is in Otis’s capable hands.
A bit surprised by this everyone decided that it made quite good sense. Although they did worry about who would be the one to tell Shermdog that Calcryx had split.
After digesting this news and a few pints everyone decided to call it a day and went up to their rooms to sleep.
The next morning everyone met downstairs for a fine breakfast cooked up by Elvis of bacon potatoes and eggs and more bacon. The group discussed their course of action for the day. They decided they wanted to call on Ludwig for some supplies and also go check on the shop in the Swordmaiden. After that they would head down chords the center of town and the yawning portal to check in with Bolo. and while they were at it they would also perhaps take the Nimblewright finder for a spin.
activating it in the tavern it either did not detect anything and therefore had no motion or noise or it simply did not work no one could decide.
Heading over to Ludwig's he was quite happy to see them. I know Dennis also wanted to check in with Bob, the door. Unfortunately, Bob was resting trying to recover from the damage taken by the building the previous day from the fireball attack. Bill, Ludvig explained, is the house. Odettis fell even more in love with Bob, knowing now that he was actually a whole house, not just a door. Fellow even more in love with Bill knowing now that he was actually a whole house not just a door.
Haalbru purchased an alchemy set, Odettis bought a box of magical paper birds for sending messages. Everyone ended up getting something or other. Ludvig is also making a document sending satchel for her to communicate with Volo. It is always a pleasure to hang out with Ludwig.
They return to the tavern to drop off their goods purchased, and hitch the war horse, Belinda, to the group's wagon and loaded in the large paintings and some other Goods they wanted to get identified in the city today. heading south towards the sword maiden statue they activated the Nimblewright detector which they were told covers of swaths of 500 feet to either side. However, during their travel to the statue, it again neither moved nor shrieked. In addition to its range, they have been told that the device would move faster and get louder as it gained proximity to any Nimblewright other than its maker, Nim.
Once at the Swordmaiden shop, the group inquired about several items. They discovered their silver horseshoe was a magical horseshoe for their horse, The purchased 7 vials of quicksilver Haalbru needed for making potions. They also had the paintings identified that they had found in the harbor wreck. Two, it turns out, are part of a set commissioned over a hundred years ago by a famed artist. 2 of the set disappeared and have been feared lost for over 80 years. 3 were of unidentified origin of dwarven provenance. One is a depiction of the famed Gauntelgrym and possibly the others were of Gauntelgrym itself.
After leaving the shop they headed over to the city cemetery and then to the yawning portal for some pints to talk to Volo.
Odettis sent a Paper bird message asking him to meet them outside the portal when they arrived. she did this knowing that paintings are valuable and did not want them to be seen in public. The Volo then came down and took them to a warehouse of his across the street from the tavern.
These paintings are highly valuable, noted that the paint in the street scenes of Waterdeep are quite magical and that the dwarven crypt painting appears to be a map. He would like to take time to further study the Dwarven paintings as well as the items and notes and Scrolls that the group discovered earlier in their Adventures that may have come from the missing Dwarven Caravan. There are a lot of Dwarven relics in one place to be a coincidence.
From the yawning portal, the group decided on a course of action for searching with a Nimblewright detector. they would head towards the outer wall of the city and proceed counterclockwise around the Inside Edge of the outer wall. They would search the city in this pattern, spiraling the center over the course of several days today's pass would take them near TrollSkull at the end of the day so they could rest there.
At Evening Rainier Neverember showed up at the tavern that evening as Volo had sent him over thinking he might have some information regarding the missing Nimblewright and their search. Volo was quite correct. It turns out that Rainier is almost certain that the dead gnome from the fireball was one of his father's spies that have been sent to the city to spy on him. He really can't stand his father. He thinks that the Black Network was chasing the gnome when they were all hit by the Fireball. He thinks that perhaps The Gnome had found the Stone of Gloor and was in route to the group to hire them to safely transport him and the stone northward to his father's City and never remember no Neverwinter. The stone, Rainier tells them seems to be linked to a cache of missing gold here in Waterdeep. It is likely the key to the mystery. The Stone of Gloor is an ancient magical creature turned into a fist sized stone, it is sentient.
Elvis Shoed Belinda with the Horseshoe of swiftness,
Dr Scot is now working on an enchantment that will help hide Odettis from her mysterious pursuers.
Shadows and Stories
Our Heroes, having obtained the Nimblewright detector , consulting with Volo and having made a plan to search the city in counterclockwise circles from the outer walls towards the center in their cart with the whole group either in it or nearby, get a good night's rest at TrollSkull Manor before setting out.
For a full day they traverse the city, encountering all manner of townsfolk and interesting situations, find no sign of the construct. Some in the party are beginning to doubt the effectiveness of the Detector, or if it even works at all.
Returning to the manor, Odettis’s “Raven Watcher” projects the comings and goings at the tavern for the day, with nothing more than Elvis chasing off random looky loos.
Heading out to the east of the Manor, the detector almost immediately came to life with a soft whirr. Spreading out, the monks headed to the rooftops, Odettis, Haalbru and ketos took the lead and they proceeded as the whirring increased to an eventual fevered pitch outside of a walled compound obscuring a large manor house.
Using hand signs, the monks on high and the rest coordinated their plan. The main gate locked and no signs of life in the manor, the group discussed a plan, nearby. Suddenly they saw that Ketos had picked the lock whilst they debated and was inside the walled compound.
They followed her in. A grand mansion sat in the corner with several entrances and a carriage house all surrounded by gardens, and several large stands of trees. A single guard dog took a passing interest until Haalbru charmed the hound with his beer-soaked jerky. Haalbru and Dr Scott followed it to the large carriage house. The rest of the group followed Ketos to an unlocked side entrance of the manor, which eerily still had no signs of life.
At the carriage house, Dr Scot sensed something was not right. Moving forward carefully they found ordinary horses and a single thoroughbred kitted out in splendorous livery, ready to ride. Past the tack room they found the groundskeeper in his quarters, asleep with another dog. As Dr Scot investigated the groundskeeper woke, only not an ordinary human and dog, they rose as Shadows. Haalbru and Dr Scott were able to vanquish the shadows.
At the main house, Ketos and the group found the side door unlocked and entered the guard’s quarters, for up to 20 beds, all empty with no one about. Moving on to the pantry and kitchen they found a horrific site. Several humanoids in servants livery and one guard, dead. Murdered with stab wounds in their backs.
Ketos investigated further and found the next room, the great hall of the manor house, with a pile of more dead bodies, a dozen or more and two Black Network Thugs, facing the front entry, waiting for their next victims. There were also the sounds of a frenzied battle coming from up the main staircase.
Shermdog told the group to let him attack the two and that the rest should head up the main stair. With that he roared and charged in surprising the baddies and launching forward in a barbarian’s rage, he attacked!
The rest sprinted up the stair, Vax and Jeffro arriving with Ketos and Odettis at the top of the stair at the same time. Rounding a corner they found a bloody mess. Bodies on the stair and in the upper hall, there were a few liveried house guards making a last stand at a ornate pair of doors. The black Network thugs were oblivious to the danger at their backs as the Monks launched a ferocious surprise attack.
Odettis fired her crossbow in support, eschewing her magic for fear of the volatile Fey energy going awry and alerting the outside world to their presence here. The city guard and investigators already had the group on radar and being discovered at this bloody massacre could spell disaster for the group.
The battle in close quarters was well suited to the Monks, Jeffro and Vax doing great damage. Downstairs, Sherm eliminated one guard and Haalbru and DR Scot caught up just in time for the second to meet his end. The battle upstairs ended not long after.
Ketos set to work on the locked doors of the upper hall. Opening one they found Urstul Floxin , a swarthy human with singed clothing and fresh burn wounds, tied to a chair. After some quick questioning it was determined that this was the survivor of the fireball attack at Trollskull and that he was reluctant to speak.
Lady Gruelhund came out from her barricades with her personal guard, a dark foreboding half orc. She thanked the group for her rescue and swiftly moved to head downstairs to check on the safety of any remaining members of her household. Leaving a guard to help the group clear the upper floor.
They soon discovered only two of her children, locked in a closet for safety and The lord Gruelhund himself, barricaded in his own sweet of rooms. It quickly became clear that Lady G had given the group the slip and had left the house.
Lord G explained that the shadows were creations she had commissioned for protection and that the Black Network had been in cahoots with her, he was ignorant of this until today. She was attempting to get the Stone of Gloor and trade it to the Black Network in trade for their support to get her a seat at the table with the Masked Lords. The mercenaries the Black Network had provided them “in kindness” had been under Urstul Floxin’s employ and were loyal to him. The Grounds had discovered their imminent treachery and had taken him hostage hoping that would dismay the thugs. It had not. They had launched a sneak attack on the guards only 20 minutes earlier and begun to massacre the servants and he had locked himself in his room.
Thanking the group for their assistance, delicately ignoring the question of how they came to be in his house, he promised that he would keep their involvement a secret. This he would do in hopes their paths would not cross again at his house.
As this discussion happened, Ketos and Odettis tossed the Lay Graelhund’s rooms, finding a map hidden in a wardrobe and some interesting vestments and robes and carved figurines in a locked chest.
Hearing the approach of the city guard, the remaining house guards having raised the alarm, the group realized it was time to make a hasty retreat.
Party in the Portal
In the basement on the other side of Dr Scot's lab, the prisoner Urstull Floxin is tied to a chair. The screaming for the other side of the door is Shermdog "interrogating another prisoner. In reality, it is the severed head he brought home a prize that he can add to his ever-growing skull collection. His flair for the dramatics was very believable, with screams and yelps of the pretend prisoner's pain. Urstull knowing that if he gave any information, he would be hunted in this life and the next, he decided to welcome death at his choosing. Shermdog, about to grab another souvenir, is abruptly stopped by Dr Scot, who has been patiently waiting to do a spell he has learned. Using the flesh from the trophy skull, Dr. Scot was able to summons two imps. The Havocs swiftly ran through the door and slammed it shut. All that could be heard was the Imps enjoying their meal and a little cry from Urstull. And like that, he was gone.
The group decided to wander over to the Yawning Portal, utilizing the Nimble wright detector along the way. No signs were detected. Odettis went straight to Volo to show him the map she and Ketos found in the wardrobe at Gruelhund manor. Grinda dabbled in inventions and has made a device that crawls underwater with breathable air inside. Could she be hiding in this underwater machine.
Shermdog asks Durnan if they could go down the portal, and he agrees for a price of five gold each. Durnan believes the Havocs are ready to battle what lives down under. Each one engraves their name on the walls as they descend, adding to the gloriously graffiti walls.
The first room is filled with water with something moving in it. It takes a swipe at Shermdog and deals some damage. Shermdog is incredibly angry and takes out the Grey ooze right before it was striking Odettis. The next room had a soldier in the wall with a sword. Shermdog, feeling frisky after the kill, grabs it out of the wall. The sword immediately glows. Incredibly pleased with himself, he stows it in his belt. There are markings on the walls that say certain death this way, so they go that way.
The last room wall a hall of mirrors. Odettis immediately smashes one and finds shelving behind it and grabs a bronze mask.
Dr Scot smashes the rest whilst Shermdog is trying to remove his new helmet. Dr Scot informs him that it is definitely cursed. The last mirror falls to dust, and two shadow monsters appear. Odettis pulls fluffy balls from her bag of tricks. One turns into a giant Goat and the other a giant Boar. The two shadow monsters are dust between the giant animals, Shermdog slashing and raging, and Dr Scot applying his wizardry. On the climb back up, they carve more naughty things into the walls. Durnan has the group transported back to Trullskul, not wanting to explain the Giant Goat and Giant Boar to the townsfolk.
Odettis is hanging with her new pets because they will be gone at sunrise.
We Need Some Whit
There is a knock on the door. In walked another Tiefling! He introduced himself as Whit, a bard from the docks. He is a good friend of Volo's, and he sent him to give a hand because he is familiar with all things at the ports. Whit knows all about the underwater crawling machine of Grinda's; however, Odettis forgot to tell the rest of the Havoc about this critical information, probably due to the two new pets she has till tomorrow. She does show them the map, and unanimously, they decide to head to the docks. They pack the wagon, Goat, Boar, and Bayora and head south with the ready Nimblewright detector. The detector is reeling with a loud noise, which means they are close but afraid that the noise will announce them, switch the volume, and watch the spinner spin. Ketos and Odettis Really think that it is underwater, so they swim out and dive down to call Zellfran the Young- the bronze dragon they befriend3ed a few days back. Zellfran has not seen it but thinks that it is near the stinky part of town. We promise to go back and visit the lonely dragon when we get a chance.
JeffroD has seen the feet of the Nimblewright out by the trash bins, cover by an overcoat. Odettis puts on her ring of invisibility and approaches with a rope at the ready. She wraps the rope around its feet and pulls it free from the trash. Weird that it has been dumped in the trash. It takes a swipe at Odettis and deals some damage. While this is happening, Ketos grabs its big red hat. It is stunned and grappled by JeffroD. Haalbru questions the Nimblewright about the Stone of Glor. He spouts that his mission was complete, he delivered the package, and now the mistress did not need him no longer and left him here in the bin. Odettis grabs his satchel, and it has the map that she and ketos found at the Gruelhund house.
Ketos and Odettis look over the map again and notice that the compass. They are looking in the wrong spot.
They saw in unison, "it's at the smelly spot at the northwest curve of the bay."
Decisions! Do we proceed to look for the underwater crawling machine and the mistress or return the Nimblewright back to the church> It is the job we have been hired to do… did they say bring him back alive??
Till next time.
” I sing you a tale of an angry dwarf,
And his Xanatharian cohorts down by the wharf”
Tales of an Angry Dwarf
In the aftermath of the short-lived battle and interrogation of the renegade Nimblewright the crew are faced with several choices. Based on the intel from their map and the construct they know that the location they are looking for is in Mistshore, a quite smelly, dregs of the city dockside neighborhood with the lowest of reputations. They could head directly there.
They could head back to the North End and the Sea Ward and return their prisoner to Valetta for the reward and attempt to get further intel. It seems the hunt for the Stone Of Gloor is intensifying.
After some discussion they head North thru the city in the bleak evening rain. Arriving at the House of Inspired Hands Cathedral compound, they deem it wise for Shermdog to hang back. After their previous encounter here, it seems wise not to antagonize the locals straight away.
Entering they are immediately led to an audience with The Dragonborn headmistress, Valetta High priestess of Gond. She is astonished at their quick work and pleased that they returned the Nimblewright intact.
Indeed, she calls for Sherm to be brought in and apologies to her fellow Dragonborne for her short sightedness at their first encounter. Indeed, there were apologies all around. She offers them some further insight into Grinda Garloth, the magician and her flair for the Mechanical.
They also meet a gnome initiate of Gond, Calliope, who assists in removing a cursed helm from Sherm, that had been inhibiting his attacks in battle. Their paths may cross again.
Sending them on their way, 5000 Golden Dragons richer than before they arrived. Heading through the evening rain, the crew returns to the dock ward after a brief rest to confront Grinda.
On arriving, the Mistshore area resembles the map quite closely. In fact, the building they are looking for appears to be under assault by members of the Xanathar Guild as they arrive, led by a particularly swarthy dwarf with what seems to be a crossbow for an arm. It is quickly decided to deal with the Xanathar’s first and then investigate the building looking for Grinda. After taking a hasty moment to concoct a plan of action the group disperses. Dr Scot heads across the water, humming a creepy song, into the bay to try and eventually sneak up to the building from behind. Odettis, Haalbru and Whit, their new Bard Companion, hang back to use their ranged weapons.
Dr Scot has water walk on everyone. Ketos sneaks closer, Sherm and the Monks, Jeffro and Vax decide on the direct approach, timing their attacks to come together simultaneously. The attack begins with JeffroD using Thunderwaves and stunning their opponents. This coordinated attack works splendidly, surprise coming on their side and everyone dealing great damage. Another round of full combat leaves only the solid dwarf standing, taking damage from nearly everyone in the party, including Ketos’s needle of mending imbedding in his good shoulder.
Suddenly the tide turned. A Merrow, under Noska the Dwarfs command, attacks Dr Scot from the depths as a squad of paid bandits swarm out of the wreckage of the ruined ship, The Krakkens Folly. An all-out melee ensues, with damage being dealt to both sides in heavy measure. Sherm Splits his quarry in two and attacks Noska, although Haalbru, using an inspiration point and casting guiding bolt, eventually deals the killing blow. Odettis, from her perch, casts hellish rebuke at a bandit and her Fey Wild magic activates, causing the rebuke to be supercharged, exploding her target to fiery bits!
The bandits, although formidable, take enough damage that their halfhearted attacks do less and less damage and then finally, from the rooftop of her building, Grinda emerges and casts fireball at the clutch of bandits still on the Folly and they combust, the remaining bandits fade away.
It is evident that the Xanathar’s have joined the hunt for the Stone of Gloor. Grinda is incredibly grateful for the assistance, although she maintains that she had the situation under control. Her family has protected the stone for generations. Recently, it had been stolen from the family Mausoleum in the city of the dead. She had reached out to the Graelhund’s to help her locate it, however This was before realizing that Lady G was already hunting the stone as well. Only luck had brought the stone back to her today, the Nimblewright having found a map with Grinda’s name on it before fleeing the battle at the Gruelhund Mansion previously.
Alas, she tells the group, she sent The Stone away with her blue rat Familiar when she realized she was under attack. It has passed beyond her perception and she cannot communicate with it.
She sent it, she says, away to the outer wall of the city, to an ancient windmill, built long before the city rose up around it. She has a friend who frequents the place and if he is there, the rat will deliver the stone to him, Effrahm Dizlitz, an old mage whom she trusts. If he is not there, Blarnoff’s instructions are to hide and wait.
As the crew catches their breath, Whit began to strum and hum a tune.
” I sing you a tale of an angry dwarf,
And his Xanatharian cohorts down by the wharf.
These thugs were found rattling window and door.
Looking for Grinda and the Stone of Gloor.
When they ran into the Havocs they should have fled.
Instead they are dead, many without heads!”
--Whit the Bard
“ONE STEP BEHIND”
With the spring rains, continuing to bathe the night with their chill dampness, the group assessed their situation. After dispatching the Xanatharian Dwarf, Noska and his band of thugs and talking for a bit with Grinda Garloth, the wizard recently in possession of The Stone of Gloor, the group discussed the necessity of “what's next”.
On the one hand the party, some more than others, had taken considerable damage and needed to rest. Indeed, most of Dr. Scot’s spells were used as were some of the cleric Haalbru. The sense of urgency to find The Stone before the Xanathar’s, The Black Network, The Graelhund’s and likely half of the city before long, was palpable.
It was decided that the group needed to press on to the North Wall of the Field Ward of the city to where the old windmill was located and to where the stone had been sent, with haste. They would forgo a long rest and some healing droughts were drunk and those that needed would take a short rest in the back of the wagon as they headed to the north end of the city, a little over an hour.
THE OLD WINDMILL
It was late evening when they reached the North Gate in the Field Ward, parking their wagon, Beora the bear and their horses by a closed shop on the Northward a stone's throw from the gate and its cluster of city guards. Those on the ground huddling from the rain by a burn barrel at the closed gate. The guards on the wall, faithfully looking out to the north.
Immediately to the left of the gate, nearly up against the north wall, sat the old windmill. A structure that looked somewhat like the old grinding windmill it once was. This old mill looked to have been built long before the city grew up around it. No windows or doors faced the east, so it was quite a foreboding if decrepit structure.
Odettis decided to do some recon and slipped on her ring of invisibility. Moving unnoticed in the rain she circumnavigated the building and discovered several doors and windows on the west side, and a small courtyard with several commoners, farmers huddled around fire. There was also one open door, and the view was of a tired family of peasants finishing a late meal. The room is furnished in shabby remnants of barrels and pallets for a table. Slinking away she went back to report to the group.
Haalbru and Jeffro also went on a recon. They approached the guard station and enquired about locating supplies for brewing and such, mentioning the Trollskull Tavern in the process. He led the conversation towards the old mill and the guards conveyed that they were aware of the building having been occupied by squatters, who posed no threat and kept to themselves, so they turned a blind eye.
Back at the group, it was decided that Haalbru and Jeffro would approach the residents of the mill to enquire on Effram, Grinda’s contact to whom she sent her Blue Rat Familiar with The Stone. Odettis went invisible again, intending to scale the mill, looking for a way in. The others took up positions where they could see the mills doorways and Haalbru activities.
Between the two of them, Haalbru and Jeffro came up with no new information about Effram. Indeed, the residents of the mill were quite standoffish in general and professed to know nothing of him. They proceeded to undertake a door-to-door canvass of the house, like two political activists in a hostile district.
Meanwhile, 60’ above them, Odettis fared better in the information game. Reaching the top of the old windmill, she entered the attic through the broken roof. Some light filtered up from the room below. She peered in and saw two human males, one bleeding on the ground, the other pacing and swearing. They were arguing about someone or something that was gone.
STONE FOUND; STONE GONE
Not one to waste time, Odettis lowered herself into what had been the mechanical room for the windmills spindle and opened the door to the human’s room. Volkarr Kibbens and Urlaster Ghann were quite surprised to see her and very defensive. However, she won over a bit of trust by bandaging Urlasters wounds and giving them beer. She questioned them about The Blue Rat and Effrahm, and they conveyed that they had been doing business with Losser Mirklav, a good customer, trading “goods” when a Blue Rat appeared, and their customer not only destroyed it but took something from its remains he thought was magic. He also then took the goods he was purchasing from them and attacked them. Volker had only just managed to run him off after Urlaster was stabbed. This, he said, had been over an hour ago.
DANDYMOPS WIG SHOP
Odettis “convinced “them to lead her to their customers' place of business, a hideout he had under a Dandymops Wig Shop, in the Trades ward. She offered the princely sum of 60 gold for them to escort the group there, although they said they would not set foot in the mage’s lair, “A right creepy bastard”, they said,'' building an army of skeletons he is”. It appears that the gentlemen Urlaster and Volker are grave robbers and frequently sell bones they dig up to the mage, Losser Mirklav.
Realizing that they are so close to the stone, the group hastens over to the Trades Ward, rolling up just after midnight to the wig shop that serves as the entrance to loser’s hideout/lair in the sewer tunnels of Waterdeep. For a moment they think they see a shadow move nearby, as if they are being watched. The rain abates as they travel and the midnight fog begins to roll into the city, further reducing visibility. Leaving Beora to keep watch over their “guides', the party breaks into the shop and descends into the basement.
THE SEWERS, AGAIN
As they approach a rear door, the familiar eau de sewage comes through. They steel themselves for the stench and pick the lock, entering the sewer tunnels once again.
Progressing along the tunnels per their directions they soon see a door ahead. However while investigating the path, they discover a secret door set into the wall before reaching the entrance on their hasty map.
ONE STEP BEHIND
Ketos picks the lock and Dr Scot pushes the door open, revealing a laboratory of sorts filled with smashed and standing skeletons and several Kenku bearing down on a halfling cowering in a corner. This can only be Losser. Busting in the party has a quick skirmish with the remaining skeletons and the Kenku. Several spells are cast and arrows fly, Shermdog smashing opponents left and right. No match for the group, the remaining Kenku flee and Losser reveals that they took his precious stone, his key to riches!
Seeing that they are close to their goal, the party dash one by one after the fleeing Kenku, leaving Whit the Bard to guard the Lab and Losser.
What follows is an intricate chase, a dance if you will with many twists and turns. With each party member dashing, misty stepping, and racing after the Kenku they catch the first one, revealing only a second Kenku with a quick handoff of the precious stone. Dr Scot spots one of Xanathar’s Gazers darting off in one direction. While the rest follow the Kenku, Dr Scot and Haalbru pursue the Gazer in the other direction.
Father down another alleyway, Sherm and Jeffro manage to tackle the Kenku and bring it down as Odettis casts Hunters Mark on it, just in case it escapes. Unfortunately, this activated the wild fey magic that has been vexing her, and along with her hunters’ mark, a ten wall of water engulfs Sherm, Jeffro and the Kenku. Submerged in the bubble they attack and then drag the Kenku free and pry its hands off of the stone, which rolls to the gutter of the alley. Picking it up they realize it is a fake.
Haalbru blasts the Gazer to whence it came, destroying it with his Spiritual Weapon ( a giant tankard) . Dr Scot catches up and they turn back toward the alleys where their friends are. Just in time they see the first assaulted Kenku get up and dash off to the left down another alley. They give chase. Rounding the corner, they can just see the Kenku disappearing into the fog, now having reduced visibility to 50’. Dr Scot cast Hex spell on it to be able to track Kenku for the next 8 hours. The rest of the party, waterlogged, catch up and they all pause to take a breath, worn out from the frenzied chase.
After a moment, they resumed the chase.
Moonbeams and Thunderwaves
Heading north then east, the chase of the Kenku advances. Dr Scot's hex is holding on to the Kenku, and he blasts through the fog to catch him. Fast on Scot's heels, Halibru smartly decides to drop crossbow arrows pointing the direction when he and Scot take a turn. In the thick fog, Shermdog spies the arrow clue and follows, yelling behind him for the others of the trail.
Scot senses that the Kenku has hidden in this tall tower. Halibru murmurs and paces trying to do the math of casting Moonbeam on the tower to halt the creature inside. Shermdog arrives and ignores the calculations of the Moonbeam and peaks in the door. The floor is dirt, and there is debris on the floor. It is a dark, dank dwelling. Halibru is about to cast Moonbeam when Sherm spins around to declare that there are children inside!
Halibru casts detect magic and sense none. Shermdog tasks Jeffro and Odettis to watch the rear of the tower. Two human kids are trembling just inside. Sherm announces that he is Force Grey and chases a creature that looks like a bird and man. The kids point upstairs and in a whimpering state that it took their friend.
The kids run out, and Dr Scot follows them. Spying Scot flash by, Odettis calls to Jeffro to join her whatever Scot is chasing.
Vax, Shermdog, and Halibru climb the winding staircase to find a large room at the top. The screeching Kenku is there holding the young Tiefling with a knife at his neck. Stone of Golor in one hand and knife in the other, Halibru commands the Kenku to drop it. It does not. Sherm wields his ax at the creature at the moment it slashes the boys' neck. The beast is dead, and Shermdog picks up the stone and runs downstairs.
Still in shock from what he saw, Halibru instinctively heals the boy and lays in on a rocker.
Back in the dungeon where Losser is being held by Whit and Dr Scot's bronze Skelton robot. Whit senses that the team needs him. He asks Losser if he wants to join him on the hunt, but Losser grimaces and chuckles. Whit gives him a choice of death or pay the price to live. Losser hears the City Guard and quickly chooses to pay. Runs into the next room and brings back a chest full of 500 gold and 10 platinum. The skeleton tugs on Whit’s shirt and says the Guard is coming and leads him out the back stairs. Whit follows the Skelton to the Havocs.
The two small children being chased by Scot, Jeffro, and Odettis are terrified and wish to find safety. Turning to see the blazing light blasting out of the top of the tower, Odettis grabs a fuzzy ball from her rusty bags and conquers a colossal panther. Grabs the group, and they ride the panther back to the tower.
Three creepy Gazers had appeared in the tower and presently tormenting Vax and Halibru. Frost damage is thrust on Halibru, and again, Vax is hit in the shoulder. Halibru is then tossed down the stairs tumbling to Shermdog’s feet.
Ketos has been guarding the front door and sees Whit and the bronze skeleton races her way. She is about to join them when three gazers appear outside. One charms her before she has a chance to pull a weapon. Ketos is charmed to sit on the ground. The group on the panther arrive at to scene. Odettis pulls Ketos back and behind her.
The Gazer then tries for Odettis, but she is able to cast a dreadful strike to stun it and whispers to the panther, "eat it."
Now upstairs with full rage, Shermdog stares into the Gazer's eyes and says he will find the wizard behind those eyes and kill it. Vax destroying the other Gazer with his finger, and Sherm makes dust out of the other.
Vax and Sherm run downstairs to see Ketos in a trance on the ground and what looks like Odettis covered in vines… I am in here help help… Ketos is now back to normal.
Whit and Jeffro take care of the Gazers that are left outside with a magnificent Thunderwave. Dr Scot burns vines to get Odettis out. Sherm asks what happened, and she replied, "a Faye hiccup."
The kids want to come home with us, and they are adorable in the costumes of warriors, so we take to Trullskul.
Sherm borrows a paper bird from Odettis and sends word to Jalester of the event of the evening.
The animals are retrieved, and the havocs head back to the tavern.
Surprise!! The Trullskullery is open, and it looks GOOD!
Mokon had gotten back, and with Elvis, they decided to do a soft open.
With the animals in the stables and the kids put to bed.
They decide that Jeffro is best to handle the task of understanding the stone.
Dr Scot and Jeffro go downstairs to investigate the stone and for Jeffro to attune to it.
Now morning, Scot and Odettis arrive in the tavern simultaneously; both shoot arrows at each other as their morning ritual. Both aim well and hope Halibru can do some morning healing.
After all is assembled. Jeffro explains what he has learned.
The stone is an intelligent alien being. Centuries-old that has been trapped in the stone. The group was destined to find it, and once Jeffro is fully attuned, he will be able to talk to it. He can detect that it is a creature that has been transformed, and it is the guardian of knowledge of Waterdeep. It can tell the tale of The vault of Dragon- of Lord Nevermember. The vault with 500,00 dragon pieces. The stone has the knowledge of where the vault is, the keys they will need, and the Dragon that guards it.
Jeffro is exhausted from the evening of being one with the stone And is exceptionally thirsty.
Till next time…..
Havocs for Hire
Shermdog - Dragonborne Barbarian
Ketos - Half Elf Rogue
Haalbru- Dwarf Cleric
Mokon- Elf Cleric
JeffroD- Eldrin Monk
Vax- Half Elf Monk
Dr Scot- Wizard
Odettis- Tiefling Ranger
Artwork Credit: Critical Role Fanart, Wizard's of the Coast, Hero Forge and Dungeons and Dragons 5E