Recap March 29, 2019

The group decided to go and hear what the representative of Thay had to say.

Reid tells them that The Harpers keep a close watch on developments in Thay. It is an isolated and arid windswept plateau some twenty-five hundred miles east of Waterdeep, its dark skies constantly clouded by volcanic ash. This land is defined by the prevalence of undead within its borders. The supreme leader of Thay is the lich Szass Tam, whose council of advisers—the zulkirs—are powerful liches themselves. Everyone of consequence in Thay is a spellcaster, and necromancers are common there. Undead servants are everywhere, and many of the commanders in Thay’s armies are the free-thinking undead soldiers. Travelers to this land must be wary of its dark politics—rampant paranoia, a police-state mentality, and necromancers commanding the top of the social order—as much as the threats of the undead and Red Wizards that dwell here. Thay is a place filled with extraordinary danger.

Reid arranges for them to receive sealed warrants indicating that they are acting on behalf of the Lords of Waterdeep and the Lords’ Alliance. The party is under the protection of both groups, though such warrants are no guarantee of safety in Thay. Reid advises the characters to address anyone of importance deferentially and by title, never by name only. As well, characters who know any necromantic magic should feel free to show it off.

When the adventurers were ready to depart, Nyh Ilmichh teleported with them to Nethwatch Keep in the Tharch of Lapendrar, just inside the Thayan frontier to Nethwatch Keep. Nethwatch Keep is under the command of Tharchion (Governor) Eseldra Yeth. She has been tharchion of Lapendrar for nearly a century—long enough to have firsthand memories of the past rebellion.

At the fortress, the characters are assigned to luxurious individual rooms, though the doors have no locks. Nyh Ilmichh tells anyone who asks that they are utterly safe in the tharchion’s keep. The adventurers see no other living creatures until their audience with Tharchion Eseldra Yeth. All the servants and staff are undead, but the food and comforts of the fortress are of excellent quality and entirely safe.

They have a small meal before they are summoned to the audience chamber. In the chamber where the meeting took place, she was accompanied by 10 Red Wizards and 5 wight knights. Tharchion Yeth looks over their papers and then speaks:

“We find ourselves bound in common cause against common enemies. Those who sought to destroy us in ages past now seek to destroy you. Our thirst for vengeance is strong, as is your thirst for continued life.

“Our enemy has become your enemy. We know their weaknesses and the ways of destroying them forever, without destroying their usefulness. You have the opportunity to discover their hiding places in your struggle against their cult allies. Together, we can remove them as a threat to us both.

“Our agent, Nyh Ilmichh, will return with you to your city of Waterdeep, there to serve as our liaison to your council. What you learn of the enemy, she will relay to us by means of our own. You need only find the enemy. We will deal with them, as is our custom.

“I am authorized by our eternal master, Szass Tam, to say these things, for I act in his name.”

She waited for their response. The group feels that there really is no discussion as Tharchion Yeth has made things most clear but they do not say this out loud. Tharchion Yeth then asks what is known of the plot to release Tiamat and the Red Wizards aiding that plot. She asks questions to individuals, not to the group as a whole. Suddenly she says she will longer speak with Gilbee. He is surprised but he does not attempt to speak again.

Tharchion Yeth then dismisses them after a few more moments of conversation. Before being returned to their rooms they are fed a sumptuous evening meal of a variety of food and drink from all over Faerun. As they are leaving to go back to their rooms, Nyh Ilmichh tells them they will meet again in the morning.

They each go back to their rooms. They get ready for bed and soon they are all asleep.

All of them dream except Gilbee who does not need to sleep. The rest of them are confronted in a vision by a pale Red Wizard who says, “We have further questions for you.”

Thalaniel, Mason and Stumbleduck only remembered vague, disturbing dreams in the morning.

Nameless and Susan each experienced a similar nightmare. They are paralyzed and magically bound within a mystic cauldron among animated chains and tentacles. A dozen Red Wizards observe placidly while three more Red Wizards subject the helpless character to agonizing tortures. Among the questions asked are:

What do they know of Severin’s plots? What do they know of Rath Modar? How do they feel about Szass Tam?

Nameless is asked about Flynrich and Mattwise. He is called the Memoryless and is told he knows more than he is letting on.

Susan is asked about how she ended up with this group as she was only recently a pickpocket and thief.

Several times they both are struck by pain so severe that they are briefly incapacitated. They suffer excruciating pain as a Red Wizard shouts out a tally of their failures.

The nightmare ends. Nameless slept fitfully the rest of the night. Susan woke up screaming and drenched in sweat. They each took psychic damage from their ordeal.

The next morning when they others saw them Susan and Nameless both had a deathly pallor and dark, hollow looking eyes. They looked like they had not slept in weeks. They all had another delicious meal and then are ushered back to the audience chamber. Eseldra Yeth is not there. Instead, they’re greeted by Nyh Ilmichh and one of the Red Wizards present at the audience the previous day.

Nyh Ilmichh spoke: Tharchion Yeth thanks them for their information, but that Thay’s attention is commanded by matters within its own borders and the Red Wizards cannot help. Before the characters can react, the other Red Wizard waves his hand and a previously invisible magic circle on the floor around the characters flares to life. A moment later, the adventurers are standing in an abandoned and ruined farmhouse a mile or two east of Waterdeep just beyond the farmlands. The barely visible outline of a Thayan teleportation circle fades around them and their neatly packed belongings. The closest gate is the River Gate somewhat in the middle of Waterdeep. They decided to telelport back to the Plumber’s Union as the circles in Waterdeep Castle have been disabled.

They get back to Castle Waterdeep and ask for an audience with Lady Laeral. An aide says he will send the message and she will come to where they are staying. They say they will be at King Malandrech’s rooms. 30 minutes later she arrives and they updated her. She is puzzled as to why after all that Thay did to make a meeting happen, they then suddenly shut it down. They all eat a light meal and then she says you all need rest. I will let you know when the next Council meets. She leaves.

Susan and Nameless leave to get sleep. Mason went to the Triad Temple and prays to Bahamut for guidance. He only hears “Your time will come. My time will come.” over and over. It was strangely comforting.

Robin Goodfellow messaged Gilbee to let him know that there was two people ahead of them in line. Gilbee used his compass to determine where the closest fey gate was now that all the gates had been closed in Castle Waterdeep. It pointed to the west. King Maladrech said come with me. They went down a long corridor to a door that Gilbee had not seen before. He followed the King through an elaborate tunnel. They soon were in another building and then shown another smaller set of rooms similar to the king’s rooms back at Castle Waterdeep. In the corner was a fey gate. Gilbee went through and by that time only one person was ahead of them.

Queen Tatiana welcome Elrogard back and asked his petition to the court. He explained the situation and she replied what you ask is dangerous but I think we have no choice to assist. Where will the other places be? He said at an undisclosed place in Waterdeep and with Flynrich. She said please give us time to prepare a place. He thanked her and then went back to Waterdeep.

The next day Thalaniel, Nameless, Gilbee and Stumbleduck go to Phandalin to pick up a cloak Thalaniel has asked Gundren to make for him. Nameless and Thalaniel cast the last remaining spells on it and it was complete. Nameless looked of Mattwise at the Manor House but he was not there. They checked in on the folks in Phandalin and all seemed to be going well. They then went back to Waterdeep.

Reid approaches the group once more with information that the Harpers have gathered. The Harpers had learned of a Thay exile known as The Ritualist. Her name was Mero Ganim and she had been hiding in Candlekeep where she has joined the ranks of the Avowed (The Monks of Candlekeep). The Alliance went to Candlekeep and brought he back. She told the Council about a book called “An Avatar’s Tools: The Histories of Divine Artifacts Through the Ages” that she was certain has information on the Dragon Masks.

Reid continues: Szass Tam’s (leader of Thay) rule sent large numbers of Thayan wizards and scholars fleeing from his rule. Many of those possessed extremely rare books and knowledge. Of particular interest to the Alliance are the three Thayan exiles who each own one of the three surviving copies of “An Avatar’s Tools: The Histories of Divine Artifacts Through the Ages”. According to the information discovered by the Harpers, the Arcane Brotherhood and from talking to Mero Ganim, this book details other appearances of the Dragon Masks in Faerun. The Harpers are also certain that the Dragon Cult doesn’t know that this book exists. He asks the group to retrieve these books or see if the wizards will join the Alliance before the cult discovers both the existence of them and the book.

Harper agents have found where the three wizards are located, one is in Waterdeep, one is in Neverwinter, and one is in Luskan.

The group agrees and decides to take care of the one in Waterdeep first.

Reid says the wizard in Waterdeep is known as the Wizard of the Red-Feathered Hood. He makes his living as an information broker and investigator. He also has the reputation of being extremely cautious in arranging his contacts, and in conducting his investigations. The contact with the Wizard of the Red-Feathered Hood all start with contacting him and then waiting for a response on yhe the posting board at the Yawning Portal in the Waterdeep Castle Ward.

They send the message and then go to the Yawning Portal to wait. They arrived and find an envelope on the board with their names on it. Inside reads “What can point in every direction but can’t reach the destination by itself.” They group says a compass but nothing happened. Stumbleduck then said “A finger” and at the bottom of the latter it reads go to Nestaur the Ropemaker.

They asked the woman behind the bar where Nestaur the Ropemaker was located. She said not far from here in the Dock Ward and give them the address. They walked to the Dock Ward and found Nestaur the Ropemaker’s. When they identify themselves, Nestaur gives them 25ft of coiled up rope. Susan was not sure what to do with it and then saw that there was letters, no words written on the rope. She uncoiled it and then they read the message to go to the Old Monster Shop in the South Ward and ask for Morvin.

(The Old Monster Shop: A place where monsters of all shapes, sizes and most states of being (no undead) can be procured. A favorite spot for those new to Waterdeep to visit, hoping to find a suitably strange keepsake to take home with them.)

They arrived and while the shop was open it seemed to be empty. Susan asked for Morvin. 5 minutes later a faerie dragon appeared from the back of the shop. It told them to go to The House of the Homeless in the City of the Dead. They go to the City of the Dead and see a large sign with directions to the areas inside. They see an arrow pointing towards where the House of the Homeless is located. About halfway down the path they see a middle aged man in shiny plate armor riding a horse. He looks to be a guard of some kind.

As they get close to the The House of the Homeless they see a funeral taking place and an usher outside handing out bulletins. They take one and on the inside it reads:

What runs but never walks, has a mouth but cannot talk, has a head but doesn’t think and has a bed but refuses to sleep?

Susan says a river and Go to the River Gate in the Trades Ward appears. They go to the gate and look around for anyone that may be their next contact. They go outside the gate and see a farmer carrying a broken chair on his back. He comes up to them and asks if they could take this chair to get it fixed at the Bent Nail. He needs to get back to his wife who is sick. Mason agrees and in trying to find a good way to carry it to the Bent Nail, several members of the group see a piece of paper attached to the bottom of the chair. They look at it and it is a letter of introduction of everyone.

They got to Trollskull Alley and then over to the Bent Nail.

A half-elf welcomes them. I am Tally. How can I help you? Mason hands him the chair and says an old farmer needs this fixed. Tally says I can do it and takes the chair into the back. A few minutes later a robed and hooded figure carrying a crystal ball come from the back and sits down at a table. The figure waves its hand over the crystal back and suddenly another robed and hooded figure appears. They noticed that the hood was covered in red feathers. The Wizard of the Red-Feathered Hood asks them why they are interested in this book. They give some details about why they need it. He says that he will sell it for 1500gp. Pay the robed person they and the book will be delivered to the Yawning Portal. Ask for Bonnie. They go back to the Yawning Portal and ask for Bonnie who gives them the book. That was when they noticed it was Volume 2 of 3. They would need to find the other wizards.

The next wizard lived in Neverwinter. Her name was Sanura Hadad. She was known for her protective and time-keeping magics, and for her avid interest in history. She’s authored a number of highly regarded scholarly essays on history, but she makes her living selling magical timepieces. They teleport to Neverwinter, to the mage’s inn and bar. They ask the bartender where they could find Sanura Hadad. He says she lives in a walled mansion in the Bluelake District with a view of the Neverwinter River. She’s also known to be a bit reclusive. The mansion is also known to be very well defended and protected. They go to the mansion and knock on the door. Someone opens a small sliding door and asks their business. They reply they would like to see about purchasing a book and to look at her magical time-pieces. She say come on in and the door opens. “Third door on the right”

They walk down a hallway that has many door. They notice runes and glyphs all along the walls, ceiling and floors. They enter the room and it is well protected as well. They see at least a dozen traps, runes and glyphs. One is a glyph for a Symbol of Death.

Sanura Hadad enters and asks them to have a seat. She asks what book they are interested in. They explain to her about the Dragon Cultists and the Dragon Masks. She says I am reluctant to let that book go. It is a lot of information in it not just about the masks. She says I will ask 2400gp for it as long as you are interested in purchasing one of my magic time-pieces. Several of them are. She pauses…Did you hear that?

She stands and says follow me. They go down the hallway opposite of the front door. They are led into a room with a large window. Outside they see Dragon Cultists setting off a number of her traps including fireballs, lightning bolts, poisons and the Symbol of Death they had seen in her office area. She laughs and says I will need to reset those but that is part of the process. I have an arrangement with the Neverwinter Guard. They should be along soon to take the bodies away and arrest those who survived.

They go back down to the room and finished their business. She then said I am probably the most knowledgeable person I know about this book. Once you find all three volumes contact me and I will see what all information I can get out of them. They agreed and left to head to Luskan.

The Thayan exile in Luskan is the Sea-Wizard Erik Kontar. He’s attached himself to the power structure in Luskan as a member of Ship Taerl, and also serves as a Magistrate of Luskan. His primary responsibility is to help Taerl. When they arrived in Luskan they find out that he is located on the Ship Taerl in the harbor. They go there and are brought on board. The guard there tell them they are arrested under suspicion to attempt to assassinate the Sea-Wizard Erik Kontar. They are shocked and say we only want to meet with him about a book. The guards shake their heads and then lead them down into the ship and into a cabin. The Sea-Wizard Erik Kontar is there and begins to grill them about what they are doing in Luskan and that they have come to kill him. They say they are not. He then says then a Zone of Truth is needed. They agree and they go into another room. This one more like a jail cell. He asks them again and soon he realizes that they are telling the truth. He then asks what book are they looking for again? They tell him and he goes to check his list. One of the monks that helped with the Zone of Truth apologizes to the group for the Sea-Wizard’s behavior. He comes back and says I do have the book. I can sell it to you for 50,000gp. Or, you can do me a favor.

Ship Taerl wants to rebuild the Upstream Span, and reopen the Mirabar trade route along Blackford Road. But right now, the span is in the control of two street gangs and a group of monsters, and Taerl just doesn’t have the strength to spare to clear it. Maintain it, yes, but not clear it. If the characters are willing to do that, I’ll gladly give you the book. They ask about these groups and he replies:

One is the North Tower Gang. They control the tower gate on the north bank and two of the towers of the north wall. They are mostly made up of thugs but they have numbers.

The second is Kirat’s Guard. They are more organized including a number of pikeman. Those with polearms can be a bit more to handle.

The monsters are scrags, sea trolls and probably the most formidable of the three groups.

Take care of these groups and I will give you the book.