W:DH Week 15 – Wait, did we just get the Stone?

Tonight was the night for our soft opening.  We have been so busy chasing the elusive Stone of Golorr all over Waterdeep, that we’ve barely had time to prepare.  Luckily, Renaer did much of the heavy lifting for us.  Before the guests began to arrive, Barrage came asking about the body of Urstul Floxin.  He suggested it would be best to remove the body as Crawley would be attending in his official capacity as a member of the watch.  We reluctantly conceded, unsure of how Crawley would react.  We agreed to meet the Harpers at midnight to get answers from Floxin’s corpse.

As the guests began to arrive, things were going smoothly.  Our plans to run a successful tavern just may work out.  Boaz gave an amazing performance from the stage, and the guests seemed to be enjoying themselves.  Then Crawley arrived.  As predicted, he was in uniform accompanied by Barnibus Blastwind.  We feigned ignorance of any dead body in our possession, and Crawley fumed at us.  He left in a rage. I have serious concerns for our ongoing relationship with him.  It will be a complication to be sure. 

Jumanji met a woman that needed a place to lie low for a while.  He agreed to let her stay up in the attic. Trench, from the Tiger’s Eye was in attendance.  He mentioned that he dug up some information on the Shard Shunners.  It seems they were working for Emmek Frewn.  We must ask Volo about this man as soon as possible.  Trench also introduced us to a woman named Vevette, who works for a trading guild.  Boaz took this in from the stage and noted that Vevette seemed to get nervous at the sight of Crawley.  She immediately made her way to the kitchen.  Jumanji followed and found her outside the servant’s entrance.  She confided that she was worried that the watch may be looking for her.

Barnabus was finally distracted from his drinking when he became curious about the area where Vevette was previously seated.  Again, Boaz noted this from the stage.  He stopped playing and approached the man to ask what he was looking for.  We convened in our private room.  Barnabus told us that Vevette had a powerful magic item on her person – so powerful that he could still sense where she had carried it.  He also mentioned that we might make peace with Crawley if we help him with the investigation into the fireball in our alley.  As we left Barnabus, Tobby shared an idea he had.  He suggested inviting Crawley to the Floxin questioning tonight.  It was brilliant.  I left to get permission from the Harpers immediately.  There was no time to lose!  Mirt gave his blessing for Crawley’s attendance under strict guidelines.  Shava and Jumanji left to meet Barnabus for a meeting at 10:00.  Things were happening quickly.

We received a note from a cab driver dispatched by Shava and Jumanji that they were following Vevette, and we raced to join them.  When we arrived, a chase ensued.  Shava and Tobby were racing after Vevette who was leaping from rooftop to rooftop.  They were just barely able to keep up.  We watched from the ground below and did our best not to lose them.  At one point Vevette jumped from a roof and landed in the back of a moving wagon.  Moments later she rolled from the wagon and continued to flee and made her way into a building.  Boaz, Shava and I followed.  There was a distracted
matre d’ in the lobby, so Boaz and Shava wisely snuck past the man.  I am not the quietest person, so I opted to toss the man a coin, hoping for the best.  Behind a black curtain, there seemed to be a meeting filled with black-hooded people gathered in a darkened room.  I attempted to use magic to gain an appearance close to theirs.  If only I were better at concealing myself when casting the spell, it might have worked.  At least i was a distraction for Boaz and Shava who made their way to the kitchen.  The cooks were already in an alarmed state.  They followed the sound of commotion up a set of stairs.  There they found a ladder to the roof.  They witnessed someone get kicked in the face , then falling to the ground.  They climbed and ended up cornering Vevette on the roof.  Shava determined that Vevette had the Stone of Golorr, and convinced her to trade it for a cache of valuable gems.  The trade complete, Vevette fled once again.  We brought the Stone back to our manor in order for Shava to determine just what the thing is.

With time running out, Tobby made his way to the home of Crawley.  He was still upset, but ultimately agreed to the terms of the meeting.  Perhaps we haven’t completely torched our bridge with the man after all.

W:DH Week 14 – The slippery Stone

We asked the cab driver to take us to the city of the dead, but he asked more questions of us than the usual cabby does.  Tobby investigated the contents of his pockets while the man continued with his questions.  He found a storage-box key, not unlike the type used by the lamp-lighters guild.  We exited the cab, and made our way to where to the lock-boxes are located.  We needed to examine the contents before the cab driver realized his key was missing.  Inside the locker, we found a note with instructions to keep an eye on some unnamed group, with a promise of payment.  It was signed by someone named Frewn.  We can now safely guess that this Frewn was paying the cab driver to watch us.  For what, we don’t know, but we may have more than one reason for people to be interested in us!  If memory serves, Volo may have mentioned someone named Frewn in relation to our manor.  Perhaps we should revisit the topic when we see him again.

We returned to the city of the dead once again to follow our map.  It led us to a mausoleum that Tobby unlocked for us.  I stayed outside to keep watch while the others entered.  I decided to act as if I was relaxing under a tree right across the street.  Something seemed odd about the tree and as I investigated, an incredible thing happened.  The tree began to converse with me!  It told me that it had protected the city from trolls long ago.  It mentioned that a metal man had entered the mausoleum we were investigating along with many other people.  Some people had since left.  As the group fetched me to investigate the lower level of the crypt, the tree mentioned its name – Branite.  I shall have to return to this spot in the future.

As we descended the stairs, we followed a trail of blood.  Foul deeds had been carried out here.  We found not one, but two corpses along the way.  Assuming we would find nothing but death, we were startled to hear a faint cry for help from farther down a passage.  We approached and found an injured woman clinging to sanity.  Boaz offered some healing and her eyes focused on us.  She said that she works for the Casselanters.  She was apparently here with members of other families, but she would not tell us which.  She did mention two other individuals – Arn and Seffia, who were here, but had since left with the Stone.  She seems certain that they would take the Stone to a windmill hideout in the Southward.  As we put her in a cab, Tobby listened for the address of her destination to confirm her story.

We arrived at this windmill hideout and encountered a number of homeless families.  I spoke with one, and determined that our quarry was likely in a room near the top of the structure.  We made our way up the stairs and when we opened the correct door, we were immediately set upon by two men with daggers!  There were also three flying monstrosities hovering just outside a window.  One of the men moved to the window and handed a stone to one of the creatures outside. The other two creatures climbed in to join the fight.  We fought well, and slew those in the room, but the remaining creature with the stone had escaped.  Tobby scanned the skies and spotted the thing flying in the direction of Mt. Waterdeep.  The Stone seems to have slipped from our grasp once again.

While deciding what action to take next, I was struck with the feeling that we may have forgotten something…

-Our tavern is holding its soft opening tonight! 

W:DH Week 13 – City of the Dead

We’re taking a late-evening stroll in the City of the Dead.  There’s no harm in that, right?

Our goals: Find and question Urstul Floxin – and – don’t get arrested

Without any other source of direction, we decided to use the Nimrod to give us a clue, and it worked!  The thing was spinning quite rapidly.  We followed it for a bit and located a mausoleum that seemed to be the source of the Nimrod’s flurry of action.  We noticed movement up on top of the structure so we split up to approach.  Shava snuck around one side while I snuck around the other.  The rest of our party approached from the front.  Tobby stealthily made his way to the entrance of the structure, and waited.  When Shava and I met at the back, we realized that our silent approach was fairly loud, as the noises up above had stopped.  Shava cast invisibility on me, and I climbed to the top of the structure.  My ascent to the roof was a bit too noisy, and the man on top spun to look for me.  He seemed to be holding down the Nimblewright in a threatening manner.  I used a cleric trick and amazingly, it worked!  The man rushed for my illusion and fell from the top of the structure.  The others saw this and rushed to confront him.  As I approached the Nimblewright, it stood and leapt an incredible distance off the roof.  I swear it was easily a 60 foot jump!  I made my way to the edge of the structure and again used some cleric abilities to convince the man that I was his friend.  The man turned out to be Urstul, and we convinced him that we were looking to trade information for safe passage out of the city.  He agreed and gave us his info, he also mentioned a map the Nimblewright had that would lead to the Stone of Golorr.  I quickly realized the error in using a spell to convince the man.  When the spell wears off, he will probably be a bit upset at me.  There was no time to lose.  We needed to get him to Sgt. Crawley quickly. 

We took Urstul to our manor and Tobby locked him in the basement with a bit of quick thinking.  I must admit, I didn’t like having this man in Lif’s space.  I ran to fetch Sgt Crawley, leaving behind the sounds of Urstul trying to batter his way to freedom.  I ended up interrupting Crawley in the middle of his duties and he agreed to meet us at our manor shortly.  I returned to the manor to find that thankfully, Urstul had given up his attempt to escape as all was silent in the cellar.  When Crawley arrived, we opened the cellar door and found Urstul dead – crushed by some of our stock.  I knew Lif would not appreciate the intrusion, but this was a rather intense reaction!  Crawley immediately suspected us, but we convinced him that it must have been an accident.  He will return in 24 hours to meet with us again.

-The other half of our party-

Shava and Jumanji took the Nimrod to try and find the Nimblewright.  They followed the signal back to the Temple of Gond.  There, they spoke with Valetta who took them to see Nim.  It turns out that the Nimblewright had returned, and Nim had disassembled it.  They convinced Nim to give them the map it was carrying.  They looked over the map and returned to the City of the Dead to follow its directions.

Zhent Crackdown!!

They just walked in and starting grabbing everyone in black!

After last night’s North Ward bloodbath, the City Watch has finally found their misplaced manacles and have begun a sweep of known or suspected Zhentarim gathering places, snatching up anyone who might know something of the murderous assault on Villa Gralhund.

Even prominent locales such as the Yawning Portal were not immune from the sweep. “We were just having some drinks after mid-day when the Watch arrived in force. Some people began to scatter, but the Watch was everywhere. My friends and I just settled in and watched the fireworks!” one Portal regular reported.

This Season of Blood has seen open warfare between the Black Network and another faction that some believe is affiliated with the rumored Xanathar Guild. The body count was high all through the long, hot summer. Most Waterdhavians placed hope in an easing of hostilities once the snow began to fall.

Instead, the Zhents have now moved on to wholesale murder against even the nobles of the North. Can anyone think themselves safe?

What has prompted this Black Network campaign of death is unknown. What can they hope to achieve?

At least the Watch has finally, if too late for Lady Gralhund, determined that enough is enough.

“We consider it our highest duty to protect the lives and livelihoods of our citizens,” North Ward Watch Civilar Emmer Jundhyl stated.

Bloodbath at Gralhund!

They carted the bodies out, one after another…

Last night, this terrible Season of Blood stormed over a new location: Lord and Lady Gralhund’s villa. Neighbors reported hearing what they initially thought was another of the Gralhund’s famous parties being conducted at the lovely compound in the North Ward. However, the evening turned out to be anything but festive. Nearly a dozen armed men, clad in black leather armor (sound familiar, Dear Reader?) met their demise inside the walled villa, alongside an equal number of Gralhund’s own guards and employees.

Lady Yalah Gralhund herself was cruelly put to the sword by these assassins. Lord Orond sustained only minor wounds while trying heroically to defend his dear wife.

The City Watch, in an all-too-frequent refrain, report that they have no leads on the purpose of this murderous assault or on those who may have coordinated it. Citizens reported variously that an evil-appearing human male, tall, broad and clad in — guess what? — black leather armor, was seen fleeing the villa during or immediately after the vicious melee. Other reports suggest that, rather than a man, a mechanical creature departed the villa at that time, springing dozens of feet into the air. Or perhaps both?

It’s clear that the City Watch is unable to guarantee our security, in our City of Splendors during this dangerous time. Lock your doors, citizens. And beware the Black Clad!

W:DH Week 12 – Down to Business

As predicted, the watch wasted no time in questioning us.  As I cordially opened the front door for Captain Stagat, it seems the rest of the watch was poised to break all of our windows and leap inside.  Stagat had little interest in what we had to say and quickly took us to prison.  I had hoped to never see the inside of the place again…  We waited there for a hearing in front of a magistrate.  Tymora was with us, as Ranaer was there to plead our case.  He told the magistrate of our heroic deeds of late.  The Harpers came through for us as well, as we had several witnesses to back up our story.  The magistrate took this all in and decided to let us go.  Although it all turned out well, I fear we have strained our relationship with Ranaer

In order to let the heat die down with the city watch, we decided to focus on the matters of our manor.  We decided we needed someone to man our cab, and someone to bar-tend / man the everyday operations at Trollskull. 

The cab guild sent over a man named Abraxis.  We interviewed him, and he seemed a decent man.  Maxine gave him a passing grade as well, so we made an agreement with him.  He would stable the cab and Maxine at his place and would work the hours we requested

Ranaer sent a man named Calahan to interview for the management of our tavern area.  He would tend bar and hire the professionals to wait tables and cook.  He detailed prospective costs and earnings for our establishment, and he agreed not to smoke his horrible-smelling cigars in the tavern.

While our interviews were taking place, a Sgt. Crawley came to ask some off-the-record questions for his investigation.  He was leading the investigation into the explosion near our place, and wanted to know if we had anything we could share that we might not officially want to reveal to the watch.  He gave us some information to help spur our responses.  The name of the Zhent who survived the explosion is Urstul Floxin.  This Floxin had apparently been at Gralhund Villa.  Crawley wants to know what caused the violence between the Zhents and the Gralhunds.  He told us that the watch was now cracking down on known Zhent members.  If we uncovered any information we would like to pass on, we agreed on a plan. We would meet at a designated location when either of us placed a specific mark on our cab as a signal to the other.

We later returned to the Yawning Portal to speak with Ranaer.  We told him of our progress and plans for the manor.  He seemed genuinely excited about the project.  He has plans of his own as well.  He hoped for a grand opening with street performers out front.  We mentioned our desire to host our neighbors and came up with the idea of an early cold-open for them tomorrow night.  We split up to invite the locals in preparation.

Boaz finally convinced us to purchase respectable clothing.  He has a point.  We will now be hosting guests instead of slaying monsters in the sewers.  We should at least look the part!

W:DH Week 11 – What have we done?

Stepping past the dead servants, we opened the door between us and the sounds of battle.  We found two Zhents on the other side and immediately sprang into action.  Thankfully Boaz was there to bring Jumanji and I back from the brink of death.  After dealing with the Zhents, we followed the sounds of combat upstairs.  We found house guards fighting more Zhents.  I voiced allegiance with the guards as we stepped in to help slay the apparent invaders.  As we fought, a female voice called out that the city watch was on its way.  One Zhent fled downstairs.  As the last Zhent upstairs fell to the combined might of our group and the house guard, the female voice called out again, “Kill them too.”  The guards turned on us!  Tobby sprinted into the woman’s room and quickly dispatched her.  Her half-orc bodyguard shut and locked the door separating them from us.  Moments later, he opened the door and joined the fight against us while blocking our passage into the room.  Tobby’s unconscious body lay bleeding just behind him.

A small man opened another door to our space and poked his head out.  He glanced around with a terrified expression on his face and slammed the door shut again.

The fight was going badly for us.  The guards and the half-orc were proving too much to handle.  Luckily, Shava was there to work her magic.  She slipped past the half-orc and disguised herself as the dead lady in the other room, knocking a screen over the corpse to conceal it.  She dumped a healing potion down Tobby’s throat just as his life was slipping away.  Then she ordered the half-orc to pursue the lone Zhent who fled downstairs.  For a moment, I didn’t think he would obey.  He then sullenly stomped off to do as ordered.

The small man checked the fight again and quickly shut his door.

Shava then ordered the remaining house guard to follow downstairs to kill the Zhent. They obeyed as well.  Tobby expertly opened a chest in the woman’s room and found a concealed compartment.  It contained ceremonial robes and holy symbols.  Curious – were those symbols of Asmodeus?  We confronted the slight man who was keeping tabs on our battle from his room.  His name is Orund.  Shava took the lead with her disguise still up and Orund addressed her as Yalla.  We convinced him to show us a quick way out as the city watch was coming.  We certainly didn’t need to be seen with more dead Zhents.  As we made our way, we questioned Orund, and he indicated that Yalla had sent the Stone of Golorr away with the Nimblewright.  It appears we had just missed both.  We escaped just as the city watch was arriving.

The next morning we had a guest.  The Harpers sent this man, Barrage, to help us with the absolute mess we had made at Gralhund Villa.  It turns out the woman we killed the previous night was a Lord of Waterdeep.  The watch will be investigating, and we do not want to be implicated.  We came up with a story and alibi, and Barrage departed to arrange the other parts of our story.

Tymora watch over us.

W:DH Week 10 – Shadow Boxing

The nimrod whirred and spun as we left the temple of Gond.  We spent some time tracking down the source, trying to get closer, but determined that no matter how we searched, it would spin no faster.
We later met with Ranaer who had a proposition for us.  He wanted to speak with the dead from the explosion.  Shava volunteered to accompany him, and we started coming up with question for her to ask.  While this was happening, we realized that the contractors working on our manor were proceeding at an amazing rate.  It seems as if they may be finished soon.  The opportunity to make any changes to the place is rapidly closing.  Boaz and I brainstormed to make some positive changes to the layout, and the contractors quickly added it to their plans.  We added an interior set of stairs to the second level, a dedicated gaming space, a private room, and a stage.  Excellent.

Shava returned from her questioning and filled us in on some of the answers she received.  The dead gnome was Dalakhar.  When Shava spoke with him, he indicated that he was carrying the Stone of Golorr.  He was trying to deliver the Stone to us.  The Zhents were the ones chasing him.  The dead Zhent indicated that the destination of the Stone was Gralhund Villa.  The dead halfling seemed to be an innocent victim of the explosion.

We made our way to Gralhun Villa.  Tobby did a bit of shadowy scouting and reported that he heard a loud party taking place inside.  Was the nimrod spinning faster now?  We all made our way to a portion of the wall that seemed relatively easy to climb, and with the help of Jumanji, scaled it.  One, by one, we topped the wall and were hit with the sensation that we were being watched.  Boaz was the first to drop to the ground, and he was immediately attacked by shadow-dogs and a shadow-man.  Our group proved itself once more, as we vanquished the shadows in short order.  Tobby took the lead once more as we moved into the outer structures of the villa.  We found empty rooms – a barracks and a kitchen with a roaring fire.  As we made our way closer to the sounds of revelry, Tobby realized that the sounds were actually more like a battle!  We opened another door and found three recently murdered servants.

As we survey the scene, we are preparing for a fight with foes unknown.

W:DH Week 9 – Here today, Gond tomorrow.

Temple of Gond?

It appears that we have some friendly neighbors!

Fala stopped by to welcome us to the neighborhood.  She is the owner of Corellon’s Crown, an herbalist shop nearby with a greenhouse on top.  She was looking to trade stories with us regarding the recent explosion.  She told us that she saw a survivor dressed in black fleeing toward the Bent Nail.  Before we could depart, another of our neighbors approached. Rishaal, a golden dragonborn, also wanted to greet us.  He owns Bookworm’s Treasure.  He knew a bit of the history surrounding our manor.  He let us know that our friendly spirit is named Lif.  He also indicated that he could help us restore many of the damaged books in our library, should we want.

After the pleasantries with our neighbors were over, we made our way to the Bent Nail to investigate the path of the fleeing survivor.  Tobby learned of a nearby sewer entrance, but not before freaking out the owner a bit.  While this was happening, Boaz noticed some children playing a bizarre game nearby and asked them questions about what they may have seen the previous day.  One of them told Boaz that she saw the man leaving the scene of the explosion go to the sewer grate, knock, and then enter.  She also mentioned that he was carrying something that looked like a stone about the size of a loaf of bread that resembled a frog with lots of eyes.  Could this be the Stone of Golorr?  If it is, then the target of the explosion may have been Dalakhar.  We were told that he had stolen the Stone from the Zhents.  We had all the information we needed.  We were ready to head back into the sewers.  Tobby made sure there were no traps on the grate, we opened it up, and we found ourselves face-to-face with a city watchman.  Sgt. Walmis was not very pleased to find that we intended to enter the sewers.  I find it fitting that a man with such a foul attitude has been assigned to work in the filth of the city.  It’s quite fitting. As we talked, Vajra appeared to diffuse the situation, and we retreated to continue talks with her.

Vajra told us that we should let the investigation of the Zhent survivor go as the watch were already involved.  She suggested that we might follow up on the construct that appeared to have thrown the fireball.  She advised that we should tell the members of the temple of Gond that, “The Blackstaff will call in her favor.”  She seemed to think that relaying this message would pave our way.

As we approached the temple of Gond, Boaz noticed a mechanical arm extend from an upper window in our direction.  He then saw a mechanical bird flying down toward us.  That this artificial bird struck Jumanji was no surprise – artificial birds seem to be drawn to him, it was when the thing slammed into him and pierced his chest that we realized foul play was at hand.  We entered the temple and met a female dragonborn named Valetta.  We told her of the attack outside, and mentioned that we were calling in Blackstaff’s favor.  She immediately led us upstairs to meet the construct Nim.  Assuming that Nim was responsible for the explosion in our alley, we began to question the him.  It turn out that this construct has been creating other constucts.  Boaz asked if any had recently gone missing, and Nim admitted that one had been missing for some time.  He called it Nimblewright, and gave us a bizarre tool that would help us locate it.  It seems as if this Nimblewright must be working with others as it requires daily help to wind its gears.

Another lead – the investigation continues…

W:DH Week 8 – CSI Waterdeep

In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, we rushed into action. Some tried to assist the casualties, while others investigated the scene for clues.  The watch arrived shortly after the blast and started their own investigation.  They brought with them a mage by the name of Barnibus Blastwind.  Our efforts, and our later conversation with Barnibus revealed several findings:

  • 11 people died in the blast.
  • A puppet-like creature was seen tossing something down to the street immediately before the blast from atop the roof of the Tiger’s Eye building.
    • This construct was similar to those operated in parades and used by followers of Gond.
  •  A youth at the scene recovered a necklace of fireballs that likely was the source of the explosion.
    • Shava traded with the boy for the necklace.
    • 2 of the fireball beads were missing.
  • The likely target of the explosion was a gnome.
    • He was being chased by 3 Zhentarum, 1 of which lived and seemingly escaped.
    • The gnome was seen to be concealing something while being chased.
    • He had dried waste on his boots, suggesting possible recent sewer activity.
    • He had on his person a dagger and pouch, neither of which were likely to be what he was concealing.

After the excitement of the explosion began to wind down, we were approached by a man named Vincent Trench.  He told us that he works as an investigator for those that need to track down information.  He mentioned that he owns the Tiger’s Eye building, and he generally charges a flat fee of 50 gold.  We decided to talk over his offer and possibly seek him out in the future.

Shortly after, we agreed to follow up on a task previously given to us by Mirt.  We made our way to Felzoun’s Folly to find Uza, and assist her with the monster trapped in her bookstore.  Once we made contact, she readily agreed to escort us to her shop.  She described the monster trapped in the cellar as a floating head with many eyes.  This description left us a bit nervous. We are not equipped to handle a beholder.  We then realized that this woman had trapped it in a cellar, and our fears were somewhat alleviated.  Somewhat.  Uza also asked that we save her cat, which was likely still in the shop.  As we entered, we found the cellar door open, and heard cat noises from upstairs.  Jumanji immediately went for the cellar, and I followed.  Shava, Boaz and Tobby went upstairs to investigate the cat sounds.  Shortly after getting to the bottom of the stairs, Jumanji found Uza’s cat and we heard a shriek of terror from upstairs.  We rushed back up to find a scene that I found hard to believe.  Shava was clawing at the front door desperately trying to flee from something unseen.  I turned and saw Tobby casually walking down the stairs.  He said, “Goodbye” to us as he calmly strode to the exit as well.  It was at that point that I noticed Boaz seated in a chair, idly flipping through the pages of a book.  All three shortly shook off their enchantment and explained what was upstairs.  Many of us made attempts to kill the thing, but it was ultimately Tobby who eliminated the gazer with his arrows and daggers.  We exited the building to let Uza know that the monster was dead, and that her shop had only suffered minor damage from an errant fireblot.  She thanked us profusely.  I must say, this kind of work is rewarding – which is beneficial because as I understand it, there will be no other reward!

We returned to Mirt to tell the tale of the bookstore monster.  He was pleased and offered us another task if we were interested.  A man named Mattrim Mereg, that can be found at the Yawning Portal, wishes to invite a gang of doppelgangers into the Harpers.  Mirt would like us to investigate the worthiness of this gang.  Before we left, we asked Mirt about exchanging our silver bars for actual coin.  He agreed to pay us 40 gold for each bar.  We accepted, and exchanged the three bars we had with us.

I feel a new sense of affiliation with the Harpers, and I must say, I don’t like the idea of doppelgangers as members.  I’ll try to keep an open mind, but I have a bad feeling about this…