Hills of the Lost Campaign Episodes 10-15
GUNS TO A FISTFIGHT
Having arrived in Waterdeep, The City Of Wonders, late on a rainy afternoon our heroes secured rooms at the Inn at the Yawning Portal and then proceeded directly to the Tavern.
The Yawning Portal, Rainrun St., Castle Ward, Waterdeep
The tavern, The Yawning Portal, is a vast stone construct, round and built around the remains of a sunken ancient tower built long ago by the wizard, Halaster Blackcloak. In 1306 DR A three (ish) story edifice was built over the sunken ruins and the tavern is now host to adventurers from throughout the realms as well as notable local luminaries and underworld figures. We cater to all”, says Durnan the retired adventurer of some renown and the current proprietor.
Three floors of art, fireplaces, meeting rooms, bards, beverages and the organized chaos familiar to any grate watering hole of renown in any world. Not to be overlooked of course, is the Yawning Portal itself. A deep, dark pit forty feet across and 140 feet deep that dominates the center of the tavern, visible to all of the open floors above it. This is the sole (known, public) access to The Undermountain, a vast network under the city of old dungeons, warrens and mines that is said to extend a thousand feet deep. Rumored to be full of treasure, monsters, and magic, it is the source of many adventures and the doom of many.
A Spring evening on the 1st day of Tarshak
Our session began with the party outside the Taverns front doors, wide open and 20 feet tall with the bustling taverns sounds and smells pouring out to the street. Hobo Jane made a dash (as she does) inside to secure an open table, right next to the pit. For the most part, with some wandering and gawking at the scope of the over 100’ round tavern, the party joins her. Vax and Ketos disappear upstairs, investigating.
The Lay of the Land
The cleric, Haalbru Stoutson and the Dragonborn , Shermdog, secured the party drink and vittles as the barkeep gave them the low down on the basics of the portal as he served up a small keg of local Shadowdark ale. Ketos found an off-duty jester and plied him for information on notable families. A it standoffish, as he values his status as a confidential confidant (and his head), he eventually is forthcoming with a description of the power structure in the city. There is the Open Lord, the leader and figurehead, Laeral Silverhand, as well as a half dozen Masked Lords, who share power in a form of checks and balances whilst remaining anonymous.
By way of warning the enterprising young rogue, he tells Ketos his opinion of the most dangerous or evil noble families whom to avoid, The Cassalanters and the Gralhlhund’s. Neither are recommended to cross.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Scot idly tosses a magic pebble down the well. What could possibly go wrong…
Odettis headed over to the massive oak bar at the back of the tavern, manned by Durnan himself, and Otis, his half orc bar back. She orders a water for Scot and Durnan strikes up a conversation with her, in his thick eastern mountain accent he declares his intrigue at meeting a Blue Tiefling, indeed not a common sight. Asking about the wondrous tall walking statues he lets her know that there is a fine view of The Honorable Knight from the taverns third floor and directs her there.
Upon finding the third-floor great bay window in his office she becomes distracted by a gregarious, round human with great red mustachios. Compared to her 6’3” the man seems almost dwarfish at his 4’10”. The jovial and distracted individual turns out to be Volothamp Geddarm, the noted Waterdavean author, adventurer, man of science and uncle of the ill-fated adventurer the party found in the sunken citadel. The very man whom the party was going to try and contact once in Waterdeep.
Un able to stop herself, in a rush of emotion, Odettis poured forth the story of finding Volo’s nephew and his compatriots in the sunken citadel, of the note they found and the return of his body to Anoroc. Amidst her compassion for the likable man’s pain, she held back the whole story, keeping mention of Calcryx out of the story. Volo described that the young man, not the most adept adventurer, though intelligent, had been on a research mission for him. The young man had been looking into the story of a white dragon egg, stolen from the dragons at the Greypeak Mountains and possibly having passed thru the area of the village, Anoroc.
Odettis, recognizes the pain in his eyes and enveloped him in an compassionate, sisterly hug. Instantly taking a liking to one another, Volo offered her a position as research assistant. There may have been some encouragement to this idea from Odettis… Volothamp sealed the deal with the time-honored tradition of spitting in his palm and sealing the deal with a handshake.
Guns to a Fistfight
When Odettis ventured back downstairs to the group, a tavern brawl broke out on the West grand staircase, several Xanathar bandits were pummeling a half orc female who was grappled with a bald man, seemingly their leader. More bandits converged from the first floor.
Odettis yelled, “ They are kicking a girl!”. And that is all that it took for Shermdog, Jane, JeffroD and the rest to leap to action. Vax and Ketos swung in from the railing of the second level. Never has a tavern fist fight ended so abruptly and one inequitably matched as that particular evening when the group brought bows, swords, Hail of Thorns, and Guiding Bolt to a fist fight. No sooner had they efficiently vanquished the Xanathar thugs and rescued Yagra Stonefist, when there was a sudden silence as the portals alarm of silence was tripped, and Durnan shouted “ Trolls”!
Two Trolls appeared, crawling out of the pit and a swarm of vile Stirges flew up and out past them, several still attached to the trolls, sucking out their blood. With Durnan leaping over the bar in a single bound, brandishing a glowing and no doubt magical two-handed sword, Shermdog took one step and blasted the Stirges from existence with a cone of his Dragonborn acid breath. Spells, swords and axes followed in the mayhem.
Dr Scot, as Odettis calls him, pulled a book seemingly out of his wrist bracer, and pointed at the Yawning Portal and uttered a few words and a layer of water five feet thick sealed the rim of the portal. With a flourish he waved his other hand and a giant tentacle reached out of the water and snared one troll, pulling it down into the water. Haalbru cast a spell, arrows flew and suddenly Jane was leaping by Durnan onto the troll’s shoulders and driving his thumb into the troll eye! Durnan yelled to the group to douse it with oil, anything flammable. Mokon shot a flaming arrow as Odettis tossed a Molotov cocktail of the Sword Coasts finest vodka, shouting “Duck”!
Durnan yanked Jane free, kicking the troll. Mokon's arrow and the cocktail hit the troll together and it burst into the flames just as Scot cancelled his spell and the trolls plummeted to the pit together.
Welcome to Waterdeep
Just like that, it was over. Looking at Durnan - covered in Troll blood, holding his magical sword in one hand and grasping Joan in the other, a troll eye dangling from her fist, - from the second level railing, Mokon said over the silence, “Well, somebody get that man a drink!”.
Shortly the general hub bub returned to the tavern and Durnan turned to the group, “Welcome to Waterdeep, City of Wonders”. In thanks for their efforts, he offered them a round on the house, indeed for the whole tavern. As well as help with whatever they need this evening and ushered them to a private room on the third floor to decompress, unwind and feast. Promising to handle both the constables then were no doubt on their way, and the hogtied Xanathar agent on the stairs.
Ketos, in the chaos of the fights searched the dead Xanathar bandits and found some coin and a partial map of the city’s sewers. Relaxing in the quiet, the group pondered their next move as Odettis relayed her meeting with Volo.
See you next week.
Hills of The Lost Campaign
Into The Sewers
In the aftermath of the troll battle, our adventurers are in a private meeting room on the third level of the Tavern at the Yawning Portal. The room provided by Durnan to keep them out of the way when the city guard come to investigate reports of the recent fracas.
Questions are raised about Dr Scots (Odettis’s new moniker for him) use of arcane powers and he submits to friendly questioning, 3 questions that he would answer honestly. He answers most, and their sub questions, but not all, he admits he has only just met the group and does not fully trust them with his secrets. Understandably.
He reveals that his powers are given to him, not learned. Also, that he is not a threat to the group. Asked about the spell book that he pulled out of thin air, “I have a tiny pocket dimension in my wrist band”, he replies with no fanfare. More importantly he reveals that he indeed not a human. He is a creature called a changeling, that can take form of anyone he has seen. He demonstrates and transforms briefly into the leader of the Xanathar thugs they bested earlier.
He is searching for someone named Peregost.
The Honorable Knight
Odettis fills the group in on her findings prior to the battle, and her interest in the wondrous walking statues of Waterdeep. She wants to climb the Honorable Knight, whom you can see from the windows of the Yawning Portal. Otis, the bartender, comments that
1. Not a good idea in Daylight and,
2. The speed record for climbing the Knight stands at 16 and ½ seconds, set over 8 years ago!
Hobo Joan declares a race and she would like to try as well. This is to be taken up at the first available evening, not tonight as all are knackered from traveling and troll fighting.
Volo Makes An Appearance
They ask Otis to see if Volo is still about and he heads downstairs, also to get tea for Vax. Sherm had words with Calcryx and learned that there is warding against dragons entering the city, not for wyrmling’s apparently, and he agrees that the group should remain mum on his presence for now. Sometime later, Volothamp Geddarm arrives and makes his acquaintance with the group. He hears the story of the harrowing adventure in and out of the citadel including the finding of his nephew. He declares it a capital adventure and thinks that in the future he may record it down for one of his books. Looking at the Dwarven scroll tube and its associated notes he is intrigued. Very Ancient stuff indeed. Authentic.
The notes inside bear even more intrigue. Unsealing the tube, he and Scot interpret the contents, in most ancient dwarfish. Dr Scots eyes glow and he understands the writing more than reading it. The dwarven scroll inside has five ancient runes on it, their meanings:
Between the Plea from Elminster and the intriguing runes on the scroll Volo is most fascinated.
“This will bear more intense research! He declares.
He thanks the crew for bringing all of this and the news of his nephew. He offers that he would like to reward the crew and if they can also help with the disappearance of a friend. A case of mistaken identity. It seems that an underworld group kidnapped a friend, Floon Blagmar and a local noble’s son, Renaer Neverember. Neverember is the son of the former Open Lord of Waterdeep.
It seems that some detectives hired by Volo found a warehouse where the two had been held. It had been raided by a rival gang a, Xanathar’s, and the abductees were again abducted and taken away. The Xanathar’s from the recent fight, Volo suspects had followed the detectives to the tavern.
Offering 100 gold per team member for the rescue and 100 gold in advance, he seems eager for the group to help. The adventurers however have other plans. Vax and Shermdog negotiate strongly for 200 gold dragons each and a contract. In the end he acquiesces, perhaps having lost a touch of his love for them.
Ketos had found a map on the Xanatharian leader, guiding to a hideout in the sewer system, Volo confirmed that they have hideouts throughout the city in undesirable places. The Xanathar’s are ruled by a mystical being, Xanathar, who is a Beholder. Enormously powerful and dangerous, beholders have immense magic and abilities, their heads have many eyestalks that shoot psychic and magical rays. This thought does deter some in the group.
Volo reassures the group that as a crime lord in a city, and region as big as this, Xanathar would not be personally involved and the chances of meeting him would be negligible…
Jeffro and Dr Scot head out to find an item for Scot and Odettis spends the night comforting Cal