~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 thoroughbr