The Heirs

Session 1: Into Goldworker's Hold
New Dawn Burning Part I

Garmek had made another strange brew, and he wanted everyone to try it.

In the woods outside New Dawn, Garmek and Saradoc led Tobias and Kaloy toward Ooga’s secluded hut, ostensibly for a tasting party. Of course, he only really wanted to see if it would knock Tobias on his butt again, or if Ooga could even stomach it.

Shortly after arriving at Ooga’s hut, however, they were waylaid by strange plants, sentient and humanoid, covered in thorns and vines and needles. After striking them down, Tobias attempted to sense where they had come from. Following the lingering trail of their evil presence, the heroes worked through the woods until they came upon Erlathis’s farmstead. Unfortunately, they found that the old farmer had been slain by the very same creatures that attacked them.

Ooga found the tracks the malevolent plants had left behind, and Garmek noted it seemed to point toward Goldworker’s Hold, another dwarven stronghold abandoned centuries ago. As they approached the hold, an oppressive, evil feeling settled over them. Something unnatural had settled in.

They found a hole that led into Goldworker’s Hold. Descending into the darkness, their clumsiness and their noise attracted a giant centipede, skittering across the ceiling. Tobias and Saradoc dispatched the bug quickly with a rock and and arrow.

Following the halls of the Hold, they arrived at the vaults, guarded by a magical door with the face of a dwarf. It spoke to them, blocking their path. Kaloy tricked it into saying “gold” and the door suddenly opened.

Inside the vaults, the intense feeling of evil reached its peak. Tobias pointed toward the vault that seemed to hold the source of it all. Saradoc began to formulate a plan to try something sneaky, but Ooga pushed the door open instead, surprising everyone.

Inside, they found Boolikark, an insane bugbear who calls himself the Defiler, and even more monstrous plants. In the center of the room was a black fire that seemed to absorb all light that touched it. Boolikark attacked the heroes, calling them heretics, but Kaloy swiftly tricked the bugbear into calming down with a charm spell. Swayed, Boolikark instead treated them as friends and called off the monstrous plants.

Boolikark revealed he worshipped someone named Abraham. Tobias recalled mentions of a black fire in conjunction with the God of Tyranny, Bane, but did not know much more about how to extinguish the black fires or who Abraham was.

Trying to figure out more about the fire, Kaloy tossed a pebble with a light spell cast on it and Ooga tried throwing in a rock on a rope. Both disappeared into the fire, and an eye revealed itself from inside and then disappeared.

Boolikark said Abraham was looking for “the heirs” and that they were needed for worship. Just who and what the heirs are, he didn’t know exactly, though he did sprinkle blood from a severed dwarf’s arm onto the fire.

Realizing that Garmek might be a target for Abraham because of his bloodline, Saradoc quickly got him out of the room. Garmek said it might all still be worth it, if they could find one thing. Leading Saradoc further into the vaults, they came to a stop in front of one door. Saradoc unlocked the vault and Garmek rushed inside.

Meanwhile, Kaloy, Tobias, and Ooga backed away from the insane Boolikark, shutting the door and leaving him alone at the strange, black fire and joined Saradoc and Garmek.

Inside the vault, Garmek held up a small stone triangle with a hole cut into the middle. He claims its worth is greater than gold …

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Session 2: Finding Silverhammer Hall
New Dawn Burning Part II

After making their way into Goldworker’s Hold, the heroes discovered a crazed bugbear named Boolikark, worshiping someone named Abraham at a black fire, saying he was seeking . Dispatching him, they return home with a strange triangular stone taken from the vaults that Garmek Silverhammer claims to be very important.

Six months pass, and nothing happens.

Finally, Garmek announces he knows where Silverhammer Hall is, but on the morning the expedition is about to set out, he goes missing. Investigating his home, the heroes discovered it had been ransacked. Saradoc and Kaloy examined a map while Tobias attempted to sense where Garmek had been taken. A similar signature of evil had passed through the village of New Dawn. After Kaloy discovered a set of musical notes at the bottom of the map, Ooga found the trail of Garmek’s kidnappers.

Along the way to the Lost Peaks, they came across two orcs in the woods, Gurak and Thezz. Initially dubious, they discovered they had a common enemy in Abraham—the orcs were escaping his hold while the heroes were going toward it. They shared food from Tobias’ bag of snacks and warned the heroes to avoid the strange lights in Silverhammer Hall.

The heroes climbed into the Lost Peaks and discovered the entrance to Garmek’s ancestral home, guarded in front by a group of goblins and kobolds and orcs. Saradoc scouted the camp, trying to find a way around. Ooga settled on a safer idea—he called upon a heavy fog to obscure the camp, and the heroes successful sneaked through and into the door.

Descending down a long set of stairs, they entered Silverhammer Hall and were greeted by three mysterious adventurers: a halfling named Camilia, a human named Dimitri, and an elf named Jakobe. They seemed very excited to be in the hall. No one, of course, trusted them. When the heroes walked away, the mysterious adventurers disappeared.

Further into the hall, walking through the main road of the abandoned city, the heroes came to an intersection. One way led toward the temple district, where a strange light glowed in the distance. The mysterious adventurers appeared again. While Dimitri went toward the lights, the heroes decided against it and forged ahead instead.

A good thing, too.

When they came upon a gated bridge leading across a dark chasm, Kaloy played the musical phrase she saw in the map. The gate opened, and the mysterious adventurers reappeared—or at least, one of them did. The halfling, Camille, the last survivor of the three adventurers, pressed on. It became very clear to the heroes that she was Not Normal.

Across the bridge, they finally came upon Silverhammer Keep. Inside, they found Garmek restrained above a black fire, guarded by a few goblins. Making quick work of them, the heroes got Garmek down and restored him to consciousness, only to discover their work wasn’t done yet. Two more orcs appeared from behind the throne, one of them a shaman in charge of sacrificing Garmek.

After a hard-fought battle, the orcs finally fell. The heroes were left in Silverhammer Hall with an injured Garmek and another black fire …

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Session 3: The Scouring of New Dawn
New Dawn Burning Part III

Following the rescue of Garmek, the heroes were confronted by none other than Abraham, speaking through a dead goblin. He threatened their home with fire and told them to deliver a message: “Tell the Harpers I’m free.”

The heroes convinced Garmek that maybe sticking around inside the ruins of Silverhammer Hall wasn’t a particularly good idea at the moment. Upon trying to leave the ruins, however, an extremely curious Saradoc decided to investigate the strange glowing lights from the temple district. There, he found the temple of the dwarven god Moradin, desecrated with the symbol of Myrkul, god of death. Upon trying to sneak closer, he alerted its guardian—an enormous minotaur skeleton. The heroes fought it briefly, but decided that a retreat was preferable to death by goring.

They rested, undisturbed by the skeleton, wondering whatever became of Camille, the halfling adventurer entity they encountered before.

The heroes began their journey back to New Dawn. Halfway there, they were greeted by Saradoc’s brother Droldo and Tobias’ brother Cor, together with a horse and carriage looking for them—New Dawn was burning. They were under attack from the undead and a red dragon.

Speeding back, aided by Ooga, who turned into a trusty horse, they fell into a trap on the outskirts of town. The wagon overturned and they were attacked by skeletons. Cor ineptly tried to prove his worth, especially to Kaloy. Ooga trampled skeletons over in horse form, while the others handily dispatched their assailants.

Following the fight, they found the injured Captain Farfeather, who said she had been held captive for weeks and that someone was posing as her. Cor, Droldo, and Garmek stayed behind to protect her while the heroes went into town to confront the red dragon.

In town, they followed the dragon’s path of destruction. When they passed Saradoc’s burning home, however, they heard a scream from inside. Saradoc rushed in to investigate while Ooga called forth rain to douse some of the flames.

Inside, they found the Captain Farfeather impersonator, trying to get to Saradoc’s mother. Ooga engulfed the home in fog and Saradoc crept forward to rescue his mother, summoning a power from within he didn’t know he had. Unfortunately, he was attacked from behind and knocked unconscious. As he fought his way back to life, a strange voice whispered in his mind, teasing him.

The heroes sprung into action. Kaloy stabbed the shapechanger to the ground with her rapier and probed its mind for answers. She discovered another disciple of Abraham named Zalthair was pulling the strings in New Dawn, searching for heirs—including Garmek and Kaloy.

Tobias plunged forward to save both Saradoc and his mother while Kaloy finished the shapechanger off. The red dragon flew away, but the damage was already done. New Dawn had been destroyed.

The heroes helped with the effort to put out the fires and save those who could be saved throughout the night. The following morning, with as many lives saved as possible, Ooga invited everyone back to his retreat in the forest.

When they arrived, they found an elf waiting for them, saying she had been looking for them.

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Session 4: The Crown of the North
The Waterdeep Crisis Part I

At Ooga’s hideaway, the heroes were greeted by a traveling bookseller named Tyaene. While she appeared a little out there, selling books of no more than common value, she gave the heroes a strange note saying to go to Waterdeep, to the backroom of a tavern where they would have to give a secret knock to enter. She also left behind a small gift—a wand of healing, before continuing on her way.

Before heading off to Waterdeep, the heroes checked in at the ruins of New Dawn and watched as a caravan bearing the standards of the Lord’s Alliance approached, carrying aid for the refugees. A halfling named Goss Hollowhand conversed with the town’s leaders, and also made time to speak to the heroes about the events that transpired. He mentioned a similar thing was reportedly happening in many other places around the Realms—their best bet was possibly to speak with Lady Mil’baer in Waterdeep.

Garmek wanted to inquire about regaining an official title to Silverhammer Hall, but the heroes argued against him—the ruins were still too dangerous, and there were more pressing matters to attend to. Upset, Garmek stormed away in a huff and did not join the heroes on their journey to Waterdeep.

Goss provided the heroes with their own wagon, and they headed off to Waterdeep, the City of Splendors, the Crown of the North. Seeing the ocean, Kaloy jumped off the wagon and ran straight for the harbor, pursued closely behind by Saradoc. Tobias and Ooga, meanwhile, tried to navigate the busy streets with the wagon, and Tobias ended up crashing into an important-looking wagon instead. At the harbor, Kaloy jumped into the water, bringing Saradoc along with her, before Tobias and Ooga finally caught up.

Later, after they’d dried off, the heroes went to the tavern Tyaene had mentioned. The tavern was empty except for the barkeep and a drunkard, sleeping in a corner. They went to the backroom and tried out the secret knock. Inside, they found a lone man in a black cloak, reading a book with infernal writing. Overpowering him, they discovered he was part of the Zhentarim, a network of mercenaries and saboteurs with apparent ties to Bane, God of Tyranny. They also found a list of names, including Magister Cyvarian, an important judge in the courts of Waterdeep. After unhelpfully interrogating the barkeep and the drunkard, they turned their attention to the black cloak and executed him.

Not knowing where to find Magister Cyvarian, they pursued their other objective—speaking with Lady Mil’baer. In the North Ward, they charmed their way through the gates to an extravagant party celebrating the summer. It turned out, Varia Mil’baer appeared to be an adventurer who had grown rich from her exploits and now lived in a manor in the most affluent section of the city. When they brought their concerns to her, she spoke with them privately in her library and offered to help in any way she could.

Magister Cyvarian, it turned out, was at the party as well. The heroes searched the manor for him and discovered that he’d slipped away with one of the maids. Ooga cast a spell to help them slip past his bodyguards, into a secluded part of the manor, where they heard Cyvarian and the maid having a very, very good time. Tobias detected that these guards were evil—very evil indeed.

As they signaled to each other to hatch their murderous plot, Saradoc broke cover and tried to use his new powers to put the guards to sleep.The others broke cover as well and began their attack. The guards, slipping into action, began a strange, infernal incantation. The heroes made quick work of them before the situation could escalate—Kaloy ended the battle with a definitive note by destroying a small section of Varia’s home. Cyvarian came outside, buck naked, to see the aftermath, and Varia offered the heroes drinks to celebrate their victory.

Varia also gave the heroes a place to stay in her manor for the time. Many, many questions remain, but at least they seem to have a strong new ally. She mentioned a friend and a library that may prove useful …

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Session 5: The Bailey Collection
The Waterdeep Crisis Part II

A few days after the attempt on Magister Cyvarian’s life, Lady Mil’baer took the heroes to meet with her acquaintance, Lord Bailey, who had a special collection of books that might help their quest. Leaving to attend to her own business, Varia placed the heroes in the care of a friend, Tyaene Autumnfire, last scene sending them to do the dirty work of dealing with the Zhentarim in Waterdeep.

Varia and Tyaene exchanged a few terse words about Varia’s mother. Tyaene revealed herself as a Harper. Saradoc brought up the heroes’ mission—conveying the message about Abraham. Tyaene showed recognition at the name but had no other obvious reaction. Kaloy expressed her distrust of Tyaene and her methods. Nonetheless, the Harper brought them to Bailey’s library, the entrance to which was a door in the middle of an outcropping of rock outside of Waterdeep.

Entering the door, they found themselves transported to perhaps another plane entirely, with a strange, alien sky outside the windows. Except, they noticed, that the library was empty, and all the books and shelves were gone. The door closed, the room descended into darkness, and the heroes dissolved and faded somewhere else entirely.

Finding themselves in a dark space with a pedestal and an orb, Saradoc attempted to discern the nature of whatever strange magic was at work. Odd things began to happen. Experimenting with small cantrips seemed to release bizarre, random effects.

Including a fireball that exploded at his feet, nearly killing him and severely injuring the others. As he struggled to regain consciousness, a woman’s ethereal voice revisited him—’Again? This is getting to be very disappointing…"

Tobias grabbed the orb on the pedestal, trying to figure out what was happening. A face appeared on the inside—the whimsical and likely insane Lord Bailey, who informed them that the security system in his library had been triggered and all they needed to do was place a prism back on the pedestal and everything would go back to normal. Except that the prism was nowhere in sight.

Suddenly, they dissolved and reappeared again in an entirely different place—a peaceful clearing, where they were greeted by a very friendly, very cute, very, very slow sloth. While Tobias played with it, the party rested, attempting to regain their strength from the bout of magic gone wrong.

The heroes found themselves largely at the mercy of wild magic unbound, whisked to strange places as they tried to find shards of the broken, missing prism. They came to a cavern behind a frozen waterfall, where they met Mel, an impatient and unfriendly beholder who acted as the library’s archivist. They landed atop a flooded ruin, miles off the shore of a mysterious island, guarded by violent sahuagin, where Kaloy swam and Ooga turned into a shark. They found themselves on a meteor in space on a collision course with Faerun. They returned to the original entrance, where they tried to figure out what was going on with Tyaene, who told her she suspected the Zhentarim had sabotaged the library.

They even arrived in what may have possibly been one of the many layers of hell, where Kaloy attempted unsuccessfully to trick a snake-bearded devil into giving her the shard of the prism he held. As Kaloy stumbled away from a brutal attack, Tobias surged a holy energy to frighten it and Ooga turned into an invisible quasit to wrest the shard from the devil’s hand. Before the heroes were transported away from this hellish plane, the devil saw Saradoc and regarded him with a look of recognition …

All the while, the heroes stumbled upon a sleeping gargantuan monster, which stirred awake whenever they were near.

Probably not good news.

In the end, they recaptured all the shard pieces in a bag of holding given to them by Mel and restored the prism to its place. Lord Bailey, Mel, and Tyaene all appeared with the heroes back in the original library space … but all the books were still missing.

Varia’s chauffeur burst into the library bearing grave news: the Open Lord of Waterdeep was dead, murdered by terrible magic. Tyaene suspected the Zhentarim, and the heroes decided their next course of action was to bring down the Black Network’s operations in Waterdeep.

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Session 6: The Port of Shadows
The Waterdeep Crisis Part III

Following their investigation into just who Lady Varia Mil’baer is, Saradoc was invited to speak with Lord Alwyn, leader of the Jewelers’ Guild, who said he may be able to trade information for information. He and Kaloy took the nobleman up on his offer and sat down for wine at his manor, where he revealed that the Skullport was perhaps a base of operations for the Zhentarim, confirming Tyaene’s thoughts. In exchange, he asked them to find out just what Varia’s lineage was.

The party decides to head to Skullport, though Tyaene is adamantly against the decision. Pressured on why she doesn’t want to go there, she mentions the Thirteen Skulls, floating skulls that rule the underground port who are to be avoided at all costs. Her activities as a Harper are too well known in Skullport and she’s afraid of what might happen if she returns.

Nonetheless, she leads them there, utilizing a series of ladders and decrepit corridors in an abandoned warehouse near the docks, which outlet onto a dark alley far beneath Waterdeep. Upon arriving, the party comes across a gathered crowd, watching as one of the Thirteen Skulls doles out punishment on a helpless man, turning him into a rat that scurries away into the market.

Chasing after the rat, they track it into a dead end alleyway. Saradoc picks it up, but it scratches at him violently. Ooga soothes it instead, and Tobias tries to talk with it through magic.

The rat reveals his name is Anther, and that he is a spy working for the Lords’ Alliance. He’s tracked activity related to Zalthair, who seems to be behind many ill actions throughout the region, here in the Skullport but was discovered by the Skulls. He knows of a cleric, Andalar, who may be able to transform him back to his human self. The last he heard, Andalar was in a town called Loudwater, east of Waterdeep.

Ooga places Anther atop his head, and all together, they head to the High Tide alehouse to gather more information. Kaloy works the room, and the musicians point her to a man sitting alone at a table. Attempting to be subtle in her approach, she comes to his table with an offering of rum but the stranger, Mason Lockright, has already picked up on who she and the others are. He says he can help them, but only if they can win a small wager.

Outside of the tavern, he challenges Saradoc to shoot a series of empty bottles with a prototype flintlock pistol he “got from some crazy tinkerer gnomes near Arabel.” The party imbues Saradoc with blessings to guide his aim, and the magical aid helps indeed. Saradoc is able to shoot bottle after bottle, but it becomes more apparent that Mason just wanted to see how much they could entertain him.

Winning the wager with a few well-placed shots, the party learned of a blind man who traded in rumors and secrets in Skullport named Rhosius Vane. They headed to the Scuppery, where Rhosius would be waiting. Ooga stayed outside while the rest shuffled in, on the lookout for the blind man. Finding him, they asked for information regarding the Zhentarim. Rhosius told them exactly where they were meeting and how to get in, and in exchange asked them to discover what Varia’s lineage was, just like Lord Alwyn. Kaloy promised him the answer, though she’s not entirely sure if they’ll decide to truly deliver.

Meanwhile, outside, Ooga was accosted by bounty hunters searching specifically for him. He was successfully able to convince one he wasn’t the half-orc he was looking for, but the second was a little more adamant. A brief scuffle occurred, and Ooga brought the bounty hunter down with the help of Anther the human-rodent.

The party asked Ooga who these men were, and why they were hunting him. He has a pretty substantial bounty on his head.

Taking the information from Rhosius, the party headed to the abandoned fishery where the Zhentarim were meeting.

They came upon the Zhentarim preparing another infernal ritual, requiring one of their own to sacrifice their own life. Kaloy, disguised in a black cloak while the others hid in the shadows, volunteered.

When the ritual began, the lead Zhentarim stood behind Kaloy and prepared to slit her throat. Just then, the others sprung forth into action.

The black cloaks were quickly dealt with. Kaloy interrogated the last remaining one by reading his mind, only to discover that the Zhentarim had indeed destroyed Lord Bailey’s collection and that Lord Alwyn appears to be behind it. Inside one of the dead Zhentarim agents’ pockets, they found another list of names, apparently containing the identities of the Masked Lords of Waterdeep, whom the Zhentarim were targeting. Most of the names had been crossed out already … except Magister Cyvarian, Rhys Cottonfield the baker, Avaraquis Quilt, who had gone into hiding, and Lady Varia Mil’baer.

The party now heads back to Waterdeep with their new information to warn the Masked Lords their identities have been compromised.

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Session 7: No Gith's Sky
The Waterdeep Crisis Part IV

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It’s been a hectic last day.

After finding the list of names from the Zhentarim, the heroes decided to warn the remaining names they could find. Saradoc tried to speak with Magister Cyvarian, who cockily and defiantly expressed apathy. Tobias spoke with the baker Rhys, who was concerned and asked if there was anything he could do. Kaloy spoke with Varia, who did not deny she was a Masked Lord and decided to fill the power vacuum by announcing herself as the new Open Lord.

The heroes accompany Varia to Castle Waterdeep, where she intends to reveal herself as the new Open Lord at the Lords’ Court, the most public appearance for the Masked Lords. Arriving at Castle Waterdeep, a large crowd had already gathered. Only one other Masked Lord sat at the high table in the Audience Chamber. Cyvarian, who normally sat with the magisters, was nowhere in sight.

As Varia addressed the gathered crowd, on the precipice of revealing herself as the new Open Lord, explosions rocked opposite ends of the city. Lt. Arjahn of the Watch arrived and filled the Masked Lords and the heroes in on the situation. The city was under attack by the Gith. An airship flew over the Dock Ward, firing upon the city. Gith warriors had begun to attack the Markets. To make things even worse, the undead in the City of the Dead had been riled up and were trying to force their way out.

The heroes tried to figure out what to do next and decided to go to Skullport to enlist Captain Lockright’s help. Tobias is conflicted however and argues that he can do the most good in the City of the Dead, fighting back the undead. The party convinces him they need his help in the air, and he begrudgingly comes along.

Varia’s chauffeur, the gnome Archibald, takes the heroes in a carriage and races to the entrance to the Skullport they know about. Dodging through the fleeing crowds, the carriage is struck by a cannonball from the airship overhead, destroying it outright. The heroes escaped relatively unhurt. As they continued on to Skullport, Archibald disappeared into the chaos to retrieve the fleeing horses.

The heroes navigated the secret passage back down to Skullport and arrived in the same alley as before. However, rather than entering the city unnoticed, they instead came upon Rhosius Vane waiting for them at the end of the alley. He asked if they had any information for him regarding Varia’s lineage. Kaloy responded honestly that they didn’t. Rhosius said he liked them well enough not to kill them outright and let them slip past. But everyone was aware of the strange, evil aura he exuded.

In the High Tide alehouse, they found Mason at the same table again. Imploring for his help, he at first reacted apathetically … until another halfling arrived at the table demanding to know if the heroes were paying clients and if they could pay them. When the heroes responded that, indeed, they could bankroll Lockright’s crew with Lady Mil’baer’s patronage, the halfling forced Lockright to agree to do whatever they wanted.

The heroes walked with Lockright and the halfling, Laelyn, the “trade negotiator” of the crew, to the Gypsy Dawn at the Port of Shadows. There, they met the rest of Lockright’s dysfunctional crew: his aggressive sister Carbry, the harpooner half-orc Skruk, and their helmsman Skinny the Skeleton.

The Gypsy Dawn hovered out of the Port of Shadows by way of a portal in the cavern’s ceiling, arriving on the other side of a rock just outside of Waterdeep. Flying straight to the attacking airship, Lockright identified it as the Scurvy Scamp, an airship operated by Captain Maergrette. While Saradoc jury-rigged the Gypsy Dawn’s only remaining (and broken) canon, the Scurvy Scamp fired upon them. Dodging the cannonballs, the two airships arrived up close to one another.

The Scurvy Scamp was flown by a crew of Zhentarim and Gith, working together. While the Black Cloaks waited on the deck for the heroes to attack, the Gith piloted the ship, further over the city of Waterdeep.

Ooga cast an ice storm over the Scurvy Scamp, covering the deck in ice and pelting everyone aboard with snow and hail. Saradoc, Kaloy, and Tobias jumped aboard to handle the Zhentarim. However, when the ship lurched as the gith lost control due to Ooga’s spell, Kaloy fell and was rescued at the last possible moment by Saradoc.

They made quick work of the Zhentarim, tearing up the deck in the process, and made their way to the remaining Gith. Fighting through the ice storm and the wildly rocking ship, they attacked one Gith while the other steered the ship. When the Gith was finally taken down, the last remaining survivor set the airship on a nosedive for the city. Thinking quickly, Kaloy cast suggestion on the Gith and had him stabilize the ship.

Having successfully commandeered the Scurvy Scamp, they surveyed the damage to the ship and the city. Tobias found the bodies of the Scamp’s original crew below deck, murdered when the Zhentarim and Gith took it over. The fighting in the Markets and the City of the Dead had mostly wrapped out but with many, many casualties. Tobias grew upset at what he saw, convinced that he could have made a difference if he had gone to help in the graveyard instead.

Unsure of how to proceed, Saradoc called to the voice that spoke to him when he was near death, begging for help. The voice responded: “The pawns of the gods are in play at Castle Waterdeep.”

Carbry navigated the Scamp over Waterdeep to the castle. Above the courtyard, they could see the corpses of many dead Watchmen strewn about, all of them killed bloodlessly. Rather than charging in head on, the heroes infiltrated by way of one of its rooks. Descending through the rooms, they found the castle completely empty, completely devoid of life. None of the servants who maintained the castle were about, and there were no signs of any other inhabitants.

Arriving in the audience chamber where the Lords’ Court was held, they found it empty except for Lord Alwyn, in pain, his eyes glowing a fiery red. They questioned him about what happened, and Alwyn responded that “our plans had to accelerate.” Suddenly, where Alwyn once was, a shadow demon took his place. The heroes were able to successfully fight him off, blasting him into oblivion with a burst of radiant energy.

Before proceeding toward the Seat of the Open Lord in the next room, Saradoc tried to sense the magic in the area and discovered another, familiar evil presence making its way toward them from the opposite direction. Ignoring it, the heroes went forward and burst into the next chamber to find a Black Fire open before them. Two Masked Lords were bound on the ground before it, with a Gith Mage behind them.

“One of you is among the Martyrs’ Progeny,” he said to his hostages. “If you tell me which one of you it is, I will make the torture stop. And maybe I won’t kill everyone.” Kaloy openly challenged the GIth, at which point he struck one of the Masked Lords. Not wanting to hold back anymore, the heroes moved to make their attack on the Gith but he was able to get a spell off first. The Gith and the two Masked Lords disappeared into a bright flash of light.

Just then, Rhosius appeared from behind. “Too bad,” he said. “If only you’d just told me what I wanted to know, I could have just killed Varia outright and saved us all the trouble.”

The heroes threatened to kill him instead but he countered: “If you kill me, then how will you find out where the Gith went with his hostages?”

He’s prepared to offer another deal, if the heroes are willing.

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Session 8: The Pawns of the Gods
The Waterdeep Crisis Part V

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Interludes

Fairy tales

On the morning of Lady Varia’s attempted announcement on becoming the Open Lord, the Kaloy, Saradoc, and OOGA traveled to Lord Bailey’s library again while Tobias went to the Spires of the Morning, the magnificent temple of Lathander in Waterdeep.

At the library, they informed Lord Bailey and Mel that the Zhentarim had destroyed all the books. Mel, however, suggested that some books could have “escaped” and might even be making their way home now. Kaloy gave Bailey another book, a collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes about the sea, to restart the library. Bailey, astounded, took the book with great fascination. “I may have something for you,” he said. “Come back later.”

Of course, he could have meant three years from now. Or yesterday.

Breaking and entering

On the way back to Varia’s manor, Kaloy, Saradoc, and OOGA stopped at the home of Avarquis Quilt, the chancellor of education in Waterdeep. From a cursory glance through the windows, the estate was empty, and a slight layer of dust could be found. Unread correspondences at the front door indicated that Avaraquis had been gone since at least before the previous Open Lord was killed.

Breaking into the house through the second story window, they investigated inside to see what they could find. Their clues pointed toward Snowdown, an island in the Moonshae Isles, a short boat ride southwest of Waterdeep. Saradoc found clues about his relative, Tolman, apparently a servant in Avaraquis’ household.

They also found a note in a locked safe reading, “Can’t wait to see you again! So much to catch up on! -C”

The Spires of the Morning

Meanwhile, Tobias went to the Spires of the Morning, where the worshippers of Lathander gather. In the garden, he met a rambunctious child named Wendel who had skinned his knee playing alone in the garden. Tobias offered snacks and befriended the child in the brief moment they had together.

Dawnbringer Starret arrived. As a cleric of Lathander, he told Tobias that Wendel was an orphan the church was raising to be one of their own. He welcomed Tobias back to the temple anytime he felt he needed guidance.

Rhosius’ bargain.

“You have until sundown …”

Following the events of the previous session, with the Gith mage disappearing with the two Masked Lords, Rhosius arrived with an offer to the heroes. He could tell them exactly where the Gith had gone, but he wanted something else in return. He gave them until sundown to make their decision.

The party split momentarily, as Tobias went back to the Spires and Kaloy, Saradoc, and OOGA reconnected with Tyaene at Magister Cyvarian’s residence.

At the Spires, Tobias found that Dawnbringer Starret had helped the City Guard with the repelling of the undead in the City of the Dead. Tobias shared his doubts for his path with the cleric, but Starret advised him to remain on the path. Something was awry—the agents of powerful, evil gods were at play, and other gods like Lathander, Torm, and Tyr had remained silent. Perhaps Tobias is meant to be Lathander’s force for good in the world, even if the path may seem to lead him into strange and dark places.

Meanwhile, Tyaene informed the others that Magister Cyvarian was happy, safe, and drunk. And entertaining more and more thoughts about announcing himself as the Open Lord, because why not?

The party filled Tyaene in on what was going on, and mentioned Rhosius’ offer. Tyaene’s cool demeanor was suddenly shaken when she realized who they were talking about. Rhosius Vane was someone she had apparently killed years ago. He had killed a friend of hers, and he had also killed her husband.

She implored them not to take Rhosius’s offer, saying that maybe they could get help from Lord Bailey instead. After some debate, the party entertained the idea of chatting with Bailey to see what he might be able to do instead. They picked up Tobias along the way, and Tyaene said she would meet them later for the rescue effort—she needed to get something special.

With a little “help” from Lord Bailey …

Back at Bailey’s library, the heroes recruited the help of the mad wizard—though, he still needed time with whatever he was figuring out with the book Kaloy gave him. They returned to Castle Waterdeep, picking up Tyaene along the way.

Lord Bailey traced the Gith’s planar shift, but he needed time to do it—and time was running out as sundown approached. Kaloy and Saradoc meanwhile attempted to find out more about the mysterious Black Fire. Again, they saw glimpses of Black Fires elsewhere, though their locations remained obscured. However, they also glimpsed a fleet of ships moving across the Astral Sea, in a different plane of existence entirely. Finally, they glimpsed Abraham again, and he acknowledged their presence.

Showdown

While Lord Bailey continued to try tracing the Gith’s path, Rhosius arrived in the Castle. He said his offer was still valid—he would tell the heroes exactly where the Gith mage had gone, but in exchange he wanted them to give him Tyaene. To sweeten the deal, he offered even more if they would kill Tyaene themselves.

It appeared that they seriously considered the option, much to Tyaene’s surprise.

In the end, however, they fought Rhosius together instead, finding him to be more than just a formidable foe—he was nigh indestructible. Their initial attacks did almost nothing, and when Kaloy tried to attack him with lightning, he absorbed it. Tyaene gave them some aid, offering a magical short sword to Saradoc and allowing Kaloy to borrow Varia’s own rapier.

Saradoc finally delivered the blow that knocked Rhosius down, keeping him alive but rendering him immobile. Kaloy attempted to gain more information by reading Rhosius’ thoughts. In his mind, she found more Rhosiuses, around the world. Pressing further, she discovered that the captive Masked Lords had been taken to a specific ship on the Astral Sea. Finally, another face came into view, one that they had not encountered before.

They interrogated Rhosius further, asking what his angle was. Rhosius stated that the god Cyric was coming to reclaim what was his, that Abraham’s mission was pointless because he was trying to please Bane, his father, who had rejected him in the first place.

Overwhelmed with anger, Tyaene tried to push past everyone to finally kill Rhosius. She trampled over Saradoc but Ooga caught her instead. Screaming and frothing from the mouth, “Murderer!” and accusing him of killing her husband, Tyaene couldn’t get break free to finish the job.

Kaloy, Saradoc, and Tobias debated whether they should attempt to keep Rhosius alive, if maybe keeping his head they would be able to gain more information later—he was a construct, after all. After much debate, they decided to kill him. Kaloy wanted Tyaene to deliver the final blow, but Tobias snapped the construct’s neck instead, to save Tyaene from having more blood on her hands.

Tyaene wept, finally relieved. Tobias offered her some comfort. Saradoc removed Rhosius’ head and found it completely dead. He threw it into the Black Fire, and a moment later, an eye stared out at them. Abraham spoke: “Thank for the offering. I’m looking forward to meeting you sometime. You’re proving to be very, very entertaining.”

Kaloy boasted that they were coming for him soon.

Lord Bailey finished his trace on the Gith’s path. The heroes all joined hands, ready to rescue the Masked Lords. As Bailey shifted them out of the Material Plane, he offered a final warning—“By the way, the spell won’t last—”

Adrift on the Astral Sea

Oops.

The heroes arrived inside a boat on the Astral Sea, atop a table surrounded by Gith in the middle of dinner. Everyone looked at each other in surprise for a moment, before rushing into action. The heroes made quick work of them. While Saradoc disguised his face as a Gith and the others donned the cloaks of the Zhentarim, Tyaene used Varia’s sword to try to figure out where she and Rhys were being held.

Another pair of Gith came by to investigate the noise they just heard. Saradoc lied, and lied very, very well. Thinking nothing was wrong, the Gith turned and left the heroes to their own devices.

Rescue and Return

The heroes found the hold where the Masked Lords were being tortured, alone, by the same Gith mage that had kidnapped them. Saradoc attempted to trick the mage away from the hostages, but when he revealed his face, the Gith immediately knew something was up. Tobias teleported into the room and began the assault.

While Ooga entangled the mage helplessly, Tyaene and Saradoc peppered him with their swords and Kaloy destroyed his mind with her spell of dissonant whispers.

The heroes untied the Masked Lords. Varia revealed herself and Tyaene greeted her with a strong embrace. The other Masked Lord wasn’t moving. Tobias tried to use his healing wand on him but there was no effect.

Lord Bailey’s spell wore off and the heroes returned to Castle Waterdeep along with Tyaene, Varia, and the other Masked Lord. Varia confirmed it was Rhys, and that he had died of his injuries staying silent.

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Session 9: Avert Your Gaze

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Interludes.

Some revelations over breakfast.

With Lady Varia established as the new Open Lady of Waterdeep, the heroes finally allowed some dust to settle as they recovered from the events of the failed Gith attack on the city. A few days later, having breakast with Varia and Tyaene, the heroes asked if they had anymore information about the Heirs that they hadn’t shared yet.

Varia said the Gith torturer had mentioned the Martyr’s Progeny, the youths in the city of Tantras who were spared when Torm called for the souls of his followers to defeat Bane. Tyaene reiterated that they should speak with someone who was more connected to the Harpers’ previous bout with Abraham. She suggested Varia’s mother, Alania, now a High Harper, but Varia shot that down. She also suggested Lachlan, Varia’s ex-fiance, son of Doan Firemane, another adventurer from the company that helped the Harpers take down Abraham before.

After Varia left to attend to her new duties as Open Lady, the heroes decided on their next course of action—heading to Loudwater to find the cleric Andalar, who might be able to help them restore Anther to his original, human form.

Saradoc recruited the help of his friends to try to learn more about one of his curses—his skeletal hand. Guided by their inspiration and blessing, he concentrated his magic on his hand to discover any clues about it. The hand burned with an unholy fire, connected to a cursed coin that he kept on his person. Another voice reached out to him, saying that he was perfect.

But perfect for what?

Guidance from Starret.

Tobias, meanwhile, made another trip to the Spires of the Morning to seek advice from Dawnbringer Starret once again. He came across the priest in the garden, planting flowers for all the soldiers he could not save during the attack on Waterdeep.

Starret could not fathom why the gods were remaining silent, especially with the revelations that both Bane and Cyric were involved. Why would the gods do nothing, with conflict such as this on the rise?

The priest did offer some advice to Tobias, however, regarding his relationship with Saradoc—he should not abandon his friend, especially in times of need, even if he may be compelled to do evil against his will. He must still help bring people to the light, no matter how difficult that road may be.

Farewell to Waterdeep … for now.

Hiring a crew.

With Tyaene more forthcoming and apparently even somewhat friendlier, now that Rhosius had been dealt with, Kaloy tried to charm Tyaene to kindle a friendship. The Harper responded awkwardly, no longer used to such gestures of kindness.

Leaving Anther with Tyaene, the heroes decided their best course of action was to hire out the Gypsy Dawn crew, perhaps under an “official” capacity for the Open Lady of Waterdeep. They found Captain Lockright once again at the alehouse. He explained that yes, they did take the other airship, but no, they didn’t sell it—he gave it to the previous captain’s next of kin. A bit of honor among airship captains.

Nonetheless, the heroes (and Laelyn) convinced him to at least hear out the proposition of privateering for Waterdeep and acting as their personal transport. He came topside with the heroes for a meeting with Lady Varia.

At the courts, the dragonborn Lt. Arjahn greeted them at the door, treating Tobias like a brother. They meet with Lady Varia, accompanied by Goss Hollowhand and two Masked Lords—their identities, of course, obscured. The heroes present their idea to Varia, that Lockright’s ship should be commissioned to privateer for Waterdeep. Varia already seems to know who Captain Lockright is. She asks everyone to clear the room.

Outside, the heroes asked Goss for an update on what’s happening at New Dawn. The town is being rebuilt, slowly but surely. Saradoc’s mother, Celadina, had taken on a position of leadership, acting as perhaps the de facto mayor of the town now. Meanwhile, Garmek had recruited Tobias’ brother Cor and a few others to try to reclaim Silverhammer Hall.

After the update, Lockright burst from the room and announced, abruptly, that the ship would fly officially for Waterdeep. Lealyn chased after him, not knowing whether they were even getting paid for their services. The heroes returned to Varia, who acted very casually after whatever had happened behind closed doors. She charged them with one more task: find out more about the Black Fires … but most importantly, how to extinguish them. Waterdeep needs its seat of power back.

Parting ways.

The heroes gathered their things and prepared to board the Gypsy Dawn, docked at the harbor. Tyaene met them at the ship to say goodbye. If they returned to Waterdeep anytime soon, she wouldn’t be around—Varia had asked her to investigate the whereabouts of the red dragon harassing the Sword Coast. She said she was heading to Baldur’s Gate to meet up with another Harper in the area.

Tyaene and Kaloy shook hands awkwardly, Tyaene still unused to gestures of friendship.

Ooga’s story.

The trip to Loudwater would still take a day by airship. The heroes stretched out on the ship, taking in some of the most beautiful sights they’d ever seen—they had never been so high up.

Ooga struck up a conversation with the helmsman, Skinny the Skeleton, which was to say that Ooga talked and Skinny listened as others came by. Ooga recounted a memory of playing with Saradoc’s family, involving them trying to wrestle him to the ground, and later seeing how far he could throw them.

The tourist trap.

A celebration.

They finally arrived in Loudwater the next morning. A carnival had been set up, and the town was alive with activity. They bought some funnel cake and enjoyed the atmosphere. Ooga tried his luck at testing his strength, using Saradoc as extra weight for the hammer. He won a stuffed golden dragon.

Another tent advertised meeting the Heroes of Loudwater, and inside a particularly horrible play went on recounting the events of the siege on Loudwater about thirty years ago. While they complained about the production, an older man approached from behind, agreeing that the choice in actors could have been much better. He introduced himself as Theran and departed.

The heroes enjoyed the carnival a little more, then decided they had official business to take care of.

A conversation with Lady Moonfire.

In their search for Andalar, they went to the local temple of Oghma. Patriarch Waeynne said that Andalar had indeed stopped by. He’d even perused their library but didn’t find anything particularly useful or interesting to whatever his object was. He actually frequented Lady Moonfire’s office more often.

The heroes then went to the town hall to speak with the lady of the town. They were stopped by a Drow guard, Demeter, who refused to let them through. Kaloy tried to convince her of their official mission, but Demeter wouldn’t budge. So Ooga leaned in to intimidate her instead. In a moment’s flinch, Saradoc saw an opportunity to sneak right by and open the door to Lady Moonfire’s office.

Inside, the tiefling Lady Felicia Moonfire greeted them, obsessed with how cute she found Saradoc and … perhaps even mistaking him for one of the performers at the carnival. When she saw Kaloy, she inquired about her clothes, obsessed with their intricate beauty. While they talked, Tobias decided to investigate a strange feeling of creeping evil that he had detected from the statue garden.

The investigation deepens.

Tobias, Saradoc, and Ooga examined the statues at the carnival. Talking with a groundskeeper, they found out that the statues were relatively recent and that they had been found discarded along the side of the road near the path leading to the Star Mounts. They detected traces of evil on them, as if some foul transmutation magic had befallen real people and turned them to stone.

Meanwhile, Kaloy spoke with Lady Moonfire, who admitted she had grown bored by Andalar very quickly. Her husband, Theran, was the one who spoke to him. When Theran arrived, Kaloy inquired further. Andalar, it turned out, was investigating something about the Black Fires. He’d gone into the Star Mounts with a few other adventurers he’d recruited, to an abandoned fortress on the mountain itself.

The heroes reconvened and decided to follow Andalar’s path.

The Star Mounts.

An old fortress.

Up the mountain, hiking up a hidden road, they came across the abandoned fortress. The walls were in disrepair, crumbling, and it looked like it hadn’t seen practical use in decades, maybe even centuries. Two stone statues sat outside a door, dressed in armor and armed like adventurers. Saradoc detected a magically trapped door, so they climbed in through the windows instead.

Searching around the dark, abandoned fortress, they found a secret room that may have served as the armory. Inside, most of the armaments had fallen into decay, but they also found two items that appeared to have been enchanted by magic—boots that made no sound, and a shield that seemed to know exactly where its user wanted to place it.

Avert your gaze.

Exploring further, they came across the barracks, where an elven man was chained to the back wall, guarded by a medusa whose thoughts revolved around a single sentence: “I am beautiful. I am beautiful. I am beautiful."

Deciding not to attack the medusa outright, the heroes instead thought of a smarter way to try to fight it. They found the mess hall, with a cabinet with mirrors for the display of fine dining sets. Ooga and Tobias lifted the cabinet and brought it back to where the medusa was.

Kaloy attempted a sneak attack with her spell of dissonant whispers, but it wasn’t as effective as she hoped it would be. Tobias rushed into the darkness in an attempt to attack the medusa. Kaloy brought light into the room, and Saradoc ran to the prisoner to free him. Ooga trapped the medusa in a web and the heroes dispatched it, leaving them with their newly-rescued elf.

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Session 10: A Mysterious Key

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Interlude.

Aboard the Gypsy Dawn.

After Ooga told his story of fun with Saradoc’s family years ago, Saradoc recounted a story of a halfling named Mira, whom he had affections for. She also lives in New Dawn.

A new threat.

The bounty.

After rescuing Andalar from the clutches of the medusa, the heroes brought the unconscious cleric back to Loudwater to be healed. Leaving him in the care of Theran and Lady Moonfire, they decided to take their leave for the night in the hope that Andalar would be conscious again the following morning.

On the way to the tavern, they were stopped by a man named Granthes in an extreme panic. He approached Ooga, saying that a group of hobgoblin bounty hunters had taken his family hostage. If Ooga would show up at the theater at midnight, alone, his family would be released.

Naturally, the heroes were dubious of the man’s claims. After promising the man they would rescue his family, Ooga and Saradoc decided to scout out the theater to figure out what they could ahead of the meeting with the hobgoblins. Kaloy, meanwhile, went to the tavern to play songs.

The theater.

Ooga transformed himself into a rat to investigate the main theater with Anther, still in rat form, while Saradoc snuck into the back offices. The theater itself was empty, with nothing particularly suspiicious. Ooga left to collect Kaloy, while Saradoc remained behind in wait, ready to spring a surprise for the hobgoblins when they arrived.

A new friend.

Kaloy, meanwhile, played at the tavern, where she met a female dragonborn warrior named Casaadi, who also seemed to be looking for Kaloy. As it turned out, Casaadi had been one of Andalar’s companions into the Star Mounts. While the others fell into the trap of the medusa, Casaadi had separated from the party to chase down some Gith in the area.

Reassuring Casaadi that Andalar was safe, Kaloy invited the dragonborn to come with them to the town hall the following morning.

Meanwhile, there was the matter of the bounty hunters …

“We are civilized.”

Saradoc waited for the hobgoblins to arrive. They snuck in through a back entrance nad proceeded to try to set the theater to their advantage, extinguishing the lights that Saradoc set up all around. Saradoc even discreetly teased them with some minor magic, keeping some lights alive after the hobgoblins tried to extinguish them.

While they set up, Saradoc discovered that there were no hostages. The hobgoblins had hired an actor to convince Ooga to come—“We are civilized,” their leader said. “We don’t have to eat everyone.”

The heroes set up their ambush. Ooga transformed into a rat again and tried to surprise the hobgoblins with his magic, but they spotted him. Saradoc swung down from the rafters and Kaloy emerged from backstage. The melee was short, and Saradoc cut donw both the leader and one of the hobgoblins. The last one tried to escape, but Kaloy ended it with her magic, melting him in a puddle of acid.

Ooga rummaged through their possessions and found a note regarding the bounty. Whoever had sent these hobgoblins on them knew Ooga was traveling with companions, so soon after leaving Waterdeep—so soon that everyone was suspicious of the source of the information. The note was signed by someone named Malinthelid.

To the Greypeak Mountains.

Andalar speaks. Or, rather, writes.

The heroes went to the town hall the following morning, where they found Andalar already awake and enjoying breakfast with Theran and Casaadi. Saradoc provided a pencil and paper for Andalar to write with so that he could communicate with them.

Andalar revealed he was looking for a way to cleanse the black fires. They were appearing elsewhere, in both civilized places and forgotten ruins. He had chased down a Zhentarim agent in Llorkh, a town to the east of Waterdeep, and his clues led him to the Star Mounts. However, it turned out to be a trap. Andalar’s party was lost, and he was taken captive by the medusa, who was “saving” him for someone.

Andalar also revealed that he hadn’t been mute his entire life, only for the past couple of years. He attributes it to a cursed coin that he found, very similar to the one that Saradoc has. He does not know how it came into his possession, but he hasn’t been able to speak ever since.

The heroes deduced that the place Andalar was looking for was actually a fortress in the Greypeak Mountains instead. They decided to finish Andalar’s search, while Andalar and Tobias took Anther to the cleric to be restored to his human form. Casaadi volunteered to accompany the heroes into the mountains, if they would have her help.

In the realm of King Srothus.

A most unfortunate entrance.

The heroes boarded the Gypsy Dawn and flew several hours to the Greypeak Mountains, arriving under the cover of darkness as nighttime settled in. As the stars peeked out, a small fortress near the top of one peak shone, and the heroes decided this was their best shot.

The Gypsy Dawn landed near the fort, but the heroes needed to hike a little further. Scouting ahead, Saradoc found a large wall guarded by ogres, a large mural painted across the surface. Sneaking past them and grappling up the wall, he saw a courtyard full of giants and ogres, many of them engaged in sculpture, painting, and other forms of art, even in the moonlight.

Deciding that approaching from the front was a bad idea, they decided to try to find a back way in. They spotted windows on the side of the fortress, overlooking the sheer cliff face with no guards. Ooga transformed himself into a spider and brought a long length of rope across, allowing the heroes to infiltrate without incident.

Of course, they found themselves in the privvy. And it smelled.

Footsteps approached the privvy. Ooga cast a fog cloud, enshrouding the entire privvy in a brown, smelly haze. When the door opened, the giants decided that a different privvy would be better for their business and went away.

The heroes continued on undisturbed, following Saradoc’s Eldritch sight toward a mysterious magical item kept somewhere in the stronghold.

The vault.

Descending deeper into the fort, they came across two giants guarding a large vault door. Kaloy charmed them, then approached them with music. Treating her as a friend, they revealed that they and the other giants and ogres were here under King Srothus, a cloud giant.

King Srothus had been given a gift by two strangers. The strangers told himm that in this stronghold, he and his people were allowed to freely and peacefully express themselves through art and sculpture and feats of athleticism, undisturbed by the outside. So long as they kept the item in the vault safe.

Kaloy tricked them into thinking King Srothus had a present for them for their good service, and so they left the vault unguarded. Saradoc broke into the vault itself, and inside they found an ordinary-looking key that burned to the touch. Placing it in the Bag of Holding, they decided it was time to get out of there.

As they made their way back up into the main level of the fortress, they heard the giants crying, “INTRUDERS!” Kaloy sent a magical message to Captain Lockright to bring the ship around to the window they infiltrated through.

As giants and ogres closed in from all sides, the heroes made a mad dash for the privvy and jumped through the window, onto the waiting deck of the Gypsy Dawn. They flew away from the stronghold, a new magical item in hand.

Of course, what it’s supposed to do is still a mystery.

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