Recap May 4, 2019

The group woke up the next morning and a letter and package had arrived for them. It had come with the normal deliveries for the Trollskull tavern but something about it was different.

They opened the letter and it read

To the Trollskull 6

Please accept this gift. You have definitely earned it after catching me last evening.

Vevette Blackwater

Inside the package was a Ring of Free Action

Suddenly it made sense as to how Vevette was so nimble in their chase across rooftops and through the streets of the Trade District and the Theater District.

The group thought about investigating Vevette. They were not sure about the ring. It might be a trap or some kind of tracking device. Instead, they decided to head back to Mistshore to see if they could find Agorn. They thought he may have stayed at his mother’s houseboat.

They took the double decker bus to the edge of Mistshore down in the Dock District. It had snowed almost 12 hours straight. The dungsweepers were out shoveling snow with heat enchanted shovels that helped to move the snow much quicker.

Mistshore was more active during the day but down at the docks where Agorn’s mother lived, they did not see many folks about. Riva knocked on the door and said “Agorn. Come out. You are needed.” No response to the knock or her voice. She knocked again and after hearing nothing she checked the door and found it was unlocked. Pixel stood near the door while Riva went inside. The rest of the group stayed back and tried to blend into the scenery. Catarack “found” a fishing pole and went to look for a bait shop.

The houseboat was small. Riva entered into a kitchen/dining area/sitting room. It was empty. The other half of the hold was part wall with an old curtain covering an opening into a back room. It was very quiet. Pixel guarded from the front door as Riva pulled back the curtain and entered a bedroom. Inside she saw someone lying on the bed, a pillow covering their face. She walked over and pulled the pillow off and saw an elderly woman lying still, a pained, surprised look frozen on her face.

Someone, probably, Agorn had smothered his mother. He was nowhere to be seen. Riva motioned for Pixel to come in and together they searched the houseboat. Hetty came in and assisted. Behind the bed Hetty found a nice perfume-scented enveloped. It looked like it had been dropped by accident. She open it up and it read:

Agorn,

I will hold on to this as you hold on to my heart

Amath

Yellowspire

They remembered from the previous night that the cab driver that had brought Agorn to Mistshore was headed to Castle Ward to pick up her remaining fare. Was Ameth that remaining fare? Hetty went to the nearest City Watch station to report the crime while the rest of the group took a cab to the Castle Ward. Their driver knew exactly where Yellowspire was. He said “You cannot miss it.”

Hetty came into the watch station and sternly stated “I am here to report an abomination.” The station was small, with only a counter, a desk and a holding cell big enough for one human or three halflings. The guard replied: “Look, There is no such thing as a Xanathar. I don’t know what you saw but maybe it would be best to lay off the drink and/or other mind-altering items.” Hetty went to describe what they had found at the houseboat. The guard knew of Agorn. He took her statement, her name and address as well as Riva’s information. He said that both of them may need to go under the effects of a Zone of Truth spell. Hetty said that was fine with her. He thanked her and said that a group of city watch would be at the houseboat in around 15 minutes. She thanked him and left to hail a cab to meet up with the rest of the group at Yellowspire.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group arrived at Yellowspire. It could not be missed. The tower’s bricks had a pale yellow tinge to them. The tower was bright even on a cloudy day but looked like a bright yellow torch on sunny day. There was a scaffolding going up the side of the tower around 30ft leading to a door. Heinrich went first and quickly navigated his way up the snow and ice covered scaffolding platforms. He let down a rope to assist the others. Riva had an especially tough time. She swore that she was going to buy ice claws for her boots. Hetty arrived and went up the scaffolding while Riva stayed down below. They gathered around the door. It was locked but soon Hetty had it picked. Heinrich opened the door. It was dimly lit. Catarack could tell it was a continual light spell that was covered with dust and perhaps had been glowing for over 100 years. Flying in front of them were three flying black snakes who moved to attack the intruders barging into their area. Catarack cast Faerie Fire on the snakes and it did not take too long and the snakes were killed.

The tower was quiet but something felt off to Catarack. Jasper agreed and they did a quick search of the tower’s first floor. There was only a set of stairs going up. Heinrich took the lead with Riva backing him up. The others followed closely behind. About halfway up the stairs they noticed black hand prints on the wall closest to the stairs. It was always the right hand. The other difference in the prints were the size of them. They increased in number as the group climbed up the stairs. Catarack knew he had seen something like this before. Jasper and Catarack realized at the same time, they were symbols of Bane - the deity of hatred, fear, and tyranny. The second floor was more brightly lit. Across from where the stairs were they saw a human male chained to a chair and he was blindfolded and gagged. Surrounding him were 5 others, 1 priest and 4 acolytes, all of Bane. Jasper realized they were attempting to use a ritual to break the man’s will, making him subservient to Bane and they seemed to be close. The Banites were so engrossed in their ritual they did not know what hit them as Heinrich rushed into the room and disturbed what they were attempting to do. The priest turned around and cast Guiding Bolt on Heinrich blasting him with radiant damage. Hetty moved around the left side and took out two of the acolytes. Pixel followed her and reached the chained man and was able to stabilize him. Jasper and Cataract went around to the right side and handled the other acolytes while Riva gave everyone support from her ranged attacks. The priest took a lot of damage but was able to heal herself in the battle. It was not enough and after a final few spells that did not seem to help her, she fell and that left one acolyte that they decided to capture and ask him questions.

They woke him up and at first he was not cooperating. Riva had her ways and soon he was talking. The priest’s name was Amath. He did not know where Agorn was. Had not seen him since the day before. The man’s name was Shan Chien and he was a broadsheet publisher. They were trying to convert him to Bane and then have him start publishing positive stories about the Zhentarim. Heinrich searched Amath and found a strange greenish gray stone about the size of his hand. He picked it up and heard a voice inside his head: “Hello. I am the stone of Golorr and I know where it is.” He also found what would later be revealed to be a +1 mace. The group also found 11gp total on the bodies.

Heinrich was soon attuned to the Stone of Golorr and it began to speak to Heinrich:

“The Vault of Dragons is located beneath the Brandath family mausoleum in the City of the Dead, here in Waterdeep. You will need three keys in order to enter the Vault:

A beholder eye stalk

A painting of a dwarf miner

A green flame brazier

Through Heinrich they asked questions about the keys. Any beholder stalk could be used. The painting did have a minimum value that was needed for it to work. The stone was more vague about the green flame brazier.

The group asked what was in the Vault. The Stone replied 500,000 gold pieces. And an adult gold dragon named Aurinax guards the Vault.

The group looked around the room and found a secret door. It slid open to reveal a set of stairs leading down. They secured the Banite acolyte in the chains in the chair that once held Shan and making sure Shan was okay, they proceeded down the stairs. Jasper estimated they went down somewhere between 90 and 110ft, well below street level. They came to what could only be described as a wizard’s study. There were bookshelves lining the walls but they were all empty. Yet the room was the cleanest room they had encountered so far. On the far side of the room was a magical circle on the floor. They investigated it but made sure not to step in it. Heinrich threw a copper piece in the circle. A man appeared inside the circle, caught the copper piece, looked directly at Heinrich and spoke. “Give me the Stone. Now.” The man was in robes, had a hooded cloak and his left arm was made of metal.

Heinrich was not about to hand the stone over so combat began.

The mage Polymorphed Heinrich turning him into a newt. The Stone of Golorr was not effected and it rolled onto the floor. Riva went to the right into the room and started shooting arrows at the mage. Hetty went left and also took out her short bow to fire arrows. Pixel cast Dispel Magic on Heinrich returning him to his normal self. She then pawed the Stone of Golorr outside the room, picked it up with in her mouth and ran 30ft up the stairs. The Stone talked to her along the way. “Hello. I know where it is.” Catarack cast a spell but it was Counterspelled by the mage. The mage then cast Mirror Image creating 4 images of himself. The group slowly picked off the mirror images. The mage cast a giant grasping hand on Riva and it began to squeeze her. He said once more “I want the Stone or she will be crushed. He then cast Fire Bolt at Hetty. Pixel handed off the Stone to Catarack and then summoned a sabertooth tiger and sent it to attack the mage. Heinrich moved forward and to one side to get flank on the mage. Riva, after a struggle was able to break free of the giant hand and the hand dissipated. She then returned firing arrows at the mage. Hetty moved around to the opposite side of where Heinrich was standing and the three of them, Hetty, sabertooth tiger and Heinrich all were in flank against the mage. The mage cast Wall of Force on the entrance, splitting the group with Pixel, Jasper and Catarack now outside of the wizard’s lab. They were not able to get anything physical through the barrier but Catarack was able to heal those inside with Healing Word and give them Bardic Inspiration. Jasper cast magic missile on the mage. The mage hit the sabertooth tiger with his metal arm while casting shocking grasp. The mage then used Misty Step to teleport to the other side of the room where he cast Lighting Bolt, getting Hetty and Heinrich into the strike. Hetty was able to twist around the bolt and did not take the full damage while Heinrich took the brunt of the attack. Heinrich then ran across the room and attempted to grapple the mage. The mage held his own and neither of them could get the upper hand into a full-on grapple. Heinrich tried again to get a hold on the mage but the mage cast Shocking grasp and Heinrich fell. Hetty, Riva and the sabertooth tiger kept attacking the mage until the Wall of Force fell from the entrance. Pixel rushed in and healed Heinrich who stood back up and started his attacks on the mage again. Jasper cast Ray of Frost and Catarack gave Bardic inspiration to those fighting with most of them going to Heinrich. The mage Misty Stepped back into the circle and with a few more hits, the mage disappeared.

Jasper examined the circle and determined it was indeed a teleportation circle. He was about to take his warhammer to it when he remembered that there was a chance that an arcane backlash could happen. They looked around and decided to pile several of the bookcases onto the circle. That would at least slow down whatever or whoever tried to come through the teleportation circle in the future.

The group needed to rest but first they headed to the nearest City Watch station with Shan and the Banite prisoner. They explained what had been going on in Yellowspire and asked that the City Watch keep an eye on the teleportation circle that they had found. The City Watch at this station knew who they were and this time did not come down hard on them. The group then took Shan to Hetty’s Temple of the Triad and left him there to get the healing he needed. Shan was the owner and publisher of the Targe a broadsheet that published vitriolic rants on all manner of local topics, including politics. He had been missing for three days. They went back to the Yawning Portal and messenger arrived and gave them a reward from the employees of The Targe. It was 1000 gp. They then headed to the Yawning Portal to see if they could find Volo to see if he knew who this mage was that they had encountered. Jasper had recognized him and and knew that he should know who this mage was. They arrived at the Yawning Portal to find that Volo was not there but they did see Duran who was behind the bar with Bonnie. They first asked him if he knew where Volo was. He did not and then they went on to tell him about their encounter at Yellowspire. Once they had described the mage, Durnan pulled over a chair and sat down, the first time any of them had seen him sit. He told them that all of Waterdeep was in grave danger if who they had fought was indeed who it sounded like it was.

Manshoon - a powerful wizard and the founder of the Zhentarim. He had long been an enemy to Waterdeep. He created many clones of himself fearing he would be caught and destroyed by the many enemies he had made over the years. Something went wrong and all of the clones awakened at once. Each believing they were the true Manshoon, the fought one another for years in what has become known as the Manshoon wars. It is thought that the true Manshoon was killed around 125 years ago by a coalition of adventurers that banded together to take out Manshoon and all of his clones. It was believed that all of the clones had been rooted out. It appears that that is not the case.

Hetty got the feeling that Durnan was telling this story from first-hand knowledge. This was the second time that the group had reason to believe that Durnan was much older than he appeared. She only brought this up later once the group had left The Yawning Portal.

They then decided to take up Mirt’s invitation to the opera later that evening. They had a short rest and then those who did not have formal attire went shopping for clothes for event. Pixel decided to wildshape into a mink so that Riva could wear her as a stole around her shoulders. They arrived at the Lightsinger Theater in the Sea Ward around 7pm that night and took their seats and watched the first act. At intermission they went to Mirt’s Private Box C. A servant, once they had introduced themselves, opened the door and introduced them to Mirt. Drinks were served and they talked briefly before Mirt said “One of the drays working in the city is pulled by a talking mare named Maxeene. Locate her, find out if she’s learned the identity of any Zhent operatives, and if so, determine their whereabouts. Report back to me once this is completed.”

They finished their drinks, said their goodbyes and went back to their seats to watch Act 2.

The next morning they started to look for Maxeene the talking horse. They started a wagon making place and spread out around the city looking for her. They had her description from Mirt but little else to go on. It took most of the morning but they located her. Pixel cast Speak with Animals and first spoke to her in Equine. She identified herself and then said in Common “Let us go for a ride”.

They asked her about any possible Zhent operatives. She replied: I recall giving a ride to a sun elf and his half-orc bodyguard two days ago; she picked them up at an intersection (she doesn’t recall which one) and dropped them off at the Yawning Portal. They talked about hiring spies to root out Xanathar Guild hideouts in the city. The description of the half-orc woman seemed to match Yagra Stonefist, the half-orc they had assisted that night in the Yawning Portal right before the troll and stirges came up out of the Well in the middle of the Yawning Portal’s main room. They thanked her and they all agreed on how they could get in touch with the others. Maxeene kept things cryptic but the group felt like they could get in touch with her when they needed to.

They dropped by the Yawning Portal again on the off chance Yagra was there. She was not there so they headed back to Trollskull Manor to determine their next moves.

They needed to report back to Mirt. It seems even with the crackdown on the Zhentarim there were still operatives plotting and scheming.

Do a background check on Agorn and see if they could find him. It looks like he has completely disappeared.

Do the same for Floxin. He too seems to have disappeared.

Hang out at the Yawning Portal to see if they can run into Yagra. And maybe even Volo to learn more about Manshoon.

Learn more about the Brandeth mausoleum.

Begin to gather the keys to the Dragon Vault. Or should they? What about giving the stone and the keys to someone else? Look into getting the painting of the dwarf miner first. Visit Xobolob to see about getting a beholder stalk. He does have a beholder in the front window of his shop. No idea how to go about finding a green flame brazier.

Research the Stone of Golorr. Is there any magic that could hide the stone from those who are looking for it?