Recap October 20, 2018

Heddy, Riva, Heinrich, Jasper and Ryan had just spent several weeks traveling with a merchant caravan owned by Thiago, from Neverwinter to Waterdeep. It was a mostly uneventful trip with a couple of adventures along the way that will be told in another place. Somewhere along the route, the had picked up a stray calico cat. Riva fed her from time to time and it seems to want to have company as it traveled. When they arrived in Waterdeep, the cat had disappeared.

The caravan pulled into Waterdeep and as the caravan and its members were signed in the group decided what they wanted to do with their hard earned money in the City of Splendors. Heinrich wanted to buy a new suit of armor so they knew they would be going to the Trade District. Jasper wanted to find out more about the Delian Order that he had recently become a member of when he was given a magical sword. Ryan wanted to go to the sleaziest dive bar in the city. They asked around and heard of a place called the Skewered Dragon down in the southern part of the Docks District. Taking one of the double-decker buses that is used as public transportation they first stop by the Castle Ward to ask in one of the many temples about the Delian Order. He found that it was either an offshoot of the Lords’ Alliance or had been incorporated into the Lords’ Alliance many years ago. The Lords’ Alliance is a coalition of rulers from cities and towns across Faerûn (primarily in the North), who collectively agree that some solidarity is needed to keep evil at bay. Leaders of Waterdeep and Neverwinter were members of the Lords’ Alliance.

They then went to the Trade District so Heinrich could find a suit of splint mail. He found a suit that fit and they set off to find the Skewered Dragon in the Docks District. It was not that difficult to find. Ryan went in and asked for the strongest drink they had. The bartender said we only have one drink. He brought up a pitcher and poured a purplish looking liquid into a cup. Ryan drank it all in one gulp. It tasted like the ocean and he was instantly drunk. He climbed on the bard and began to play his lute. Everyone in the bar stopped what they were doing to look at Ryan. The bartender looked up at him and said “We do not have live music here. Our entertainment is gambling only. If you want to play music go to someplace like the Yawning Portal Inn. Ryan came down off the bar and swung his lute on his back. The group left. Crossing the street they saw an odd store. It was various shades of purple and had a purple stuffed beholder in its front windows. Intrigue they went inside to check things out. A hairless gnome sat behind a counter. He was smoking a purple pipe that had purple smoke coming out of it. Along the purple walls were shelves of trinkets of all kinds, all in various shades of purple. The gnome said “Welcome! What are you looking for today?” The group looked and each one found a trinket that they liked, either the item itself or the shade of purple. After awhile they left and decided to check out the Yawning Portal Inn.

Once again taking the public transit they made easy time to the Yawning Portal Inn. They arrived in the late afternoon just in time for dinner. The place was packed with all kinds of folk, from the upper class to the lower class, all enjoying the atmosphere. In the middle of the large first floor of the inn was a large well opening. Above the open area was a rope and pulley system. Jasper remembered that this was one of the many openings to Undermountain, one of the most famous dungeons in all of Faerun. Adventurers would pay to be let down into the well that led to the entrance of the 1st level of Undermountain. Regulars to the Yawning Portal would make bets on how long a group would stay in the dungeon. A group had just gone down there 3 days before so bets were in a holding pattern.

A moustached man behind the counter said to them You here for a meal, for entertainment or do you need a room?” “All three.” the group shouted back. Good! Have a seat over at that table and I will send over Bonnie to take your order. I’m Durnan. Welcome to the Yawning Portal!”

They sat down and soon plates of fish and chips arrived with pints of Shadowdark ale to wash it all down. A bard had started to play over near the fireplace and Ryan joined in playing along with him. They finished playing and he came back and sat down with the group. He mentioned that he was pretty sure that calico cat from the road had found her way to the inn and was sleeping over by the fire. Sure enough they saw her curled up close to the fire.

Then all the noise was eclipsed by a shout: “Ya pig! Like killin me mates does ya? Then a seven foot tall half-orc is hit by a wild, swinging punch from a male human whose shaved head was covered with eye-shaped tattoos. Four other humans stand behind him, ready to jump into the fray. The half-orc cracks her knuckles, roars, and leaps at the tattooed figure. Soon a crowd of spectators clusters around the brawl making it impossible for the group to see what is going on.

They got up from the table and started to make their way over to the forming circle around the fight. Heddy crawled under and table and soon had a front row seat for the action. The half-orc has the human male pinned to ground but is flipped over by the human’s friends and soon she is being pummeled by the 5 humans. 4 more humans join in concentrating on pulling tattooed man out from the pile. Heddy is ready to assist when from behind her she hears shouts of alarm suddenly ring out as a hulking creature climbs out of the well shaft in the middle of the taproom - a monster with warty green skin, a tangled nest of wiry black hair,a long carrot nose and bloodshot eyes. As it bares its yellow teeth and howls, a half-dozen bat-like creatures are attached to its body with three more circling above it like flies. Everyone in the tavern reacts in fear except Durnan the barkeep who shouts “Troll!”

Durnan grabs a greatsword from behind the bar counter and runs to engage the troll. He shouts to the group, which are the only people left in the area, to handle the stirges. He will take care of the troll. Oh and find and bring oil and fire to burn the troll once he damages it.

Heddy looks over at the half-orc. She only has 3 of the humans on her. She has knocked out the tattooed man she started the fight with but she is now unconscious on the floor. Heddy points this out to Riva who uses her ring to cast Healing Touch giving the half-orc enough hit points to wake up. Heddy goes to engage two of the stirges but notices the calico cat pawing at the half-orc on the floor. Is the cat healing the half-orc? Heddy turns and takes out the stirge in front of her. Jasper casts Chromatic Orb at the troll but misses. Ryan runs across tables picking up candles and oil as he goes. Riva lights one her arrows and waits for the oil to be thrown on the troll. Heinrich gets some oil on the troll but not enough. Ryan empties two bottles on the troll. Riva fires a fire arrow and catches some of the oil on fire but it is not a large area. Ryan throws two candles and they both hit the troll’s chest. Soon the troll is on fire but still hitting out connecting with Durnan a couple of times. Jasper casts Ray of Frost, Riva continues to fire arrows, Heddy tries to hit the troll with her shortsword but does not connect so she uses her unarmed strike. Soon the troll and the remaining stirges are all burned to ash. Durnan walks back to the bar with his greatsword over his shoulder. “You fought well. Dinner is on the house and your rooms are at discount.”

As the crowd began to come back into the inn a man in fancy clothes pushes through the crowd lavishing praise at the group calling them heroes. He then says “You be adventurers, am I right? I could use your help. Let’s find a table to talk, shall we?”

“Volothamp Geddarm, chronicler, wizard, and celebrity, at your service. I trust you’ve noticed the violence in our fair city these past ten days. I haven’t seen so much blood since my last visit to Baldur’s Gate! But now I fear I have misplaced a friend amid this odious malevolence.”

My friend’s name is Floon Blagmaar. He’s got more beauty than brains, and I worry he took a bad way home a couple nights ago and was kidnapped - or worse. If you agree to track him down with all due haste, I can offer you ten dragons(gold) now, and I can give you each ten times that when you find Floon. May I prevail upon you in my hour of need?”

He places a pouch on the table in front of each of them including an extra one for the calico who is now under the table. Jasper feels that Volo may not be able to pay what he is offering but does want to help Volo find his friend.

The group asks what Floon looks like. Volo says that he is in his early 30s, handsome with wavy red-blond hair. He was dressed in princely garb when Volo last saw him. Two nights ago, before Floon disappeared, he and Volo had been drinking and merrymaking at the Skewered Dragon, a dark, bawdy tavern in the Dock Ward. They all agreed that that would be the best place to start their search. Having already been there, they did not need directions and they immediately set out.

The plan was that a couple of them would gamble with the regulars while the other would see what information they could get from the bartender and/or anyone else they could strike up a conversation with. Ryan promised not to play any music but he was not happy about that. A few of them went to their friend at Xoblob’s It took awhile but they got a few leads.

The regulars remembered that two men matching the descriptions of Volo and Floon were at the tavern drinking and gambling two nights ago. Soon after Volo left another gentleman came in, Renaer Neverember son of Dagult, former Open Lord of Waterdeep. Floon and Ranaer drank and played a few rounds of Three Dragon Ante before leaving around midnight. Five men followed them out. The men who left shortly after Floon and Ranaer have not been seen since but they are known to frequent a warehouse on Candle Lane. “Look for the snake symbol on the door.”

At Xoblob’s, the gnome did not know Floon by name but he recognized the description. He says that Floon and another man of similar appearance were jumped by several men dressed black 2 nights ago. If I did not know better I could could have sworn they were related. Brothers perhaps. There were maybe 5 atatcks and one of them had a black tattoo of a winged snake on his neck.

They regrouped and shared the information they had found. They knew they needed to go to Candle Lane. Getting directions to the street they set out. They also knew they needed to be careful. The attackers sounded dangerous.

Gloom envelops a narrow alley as dark as a dungeon - and as odorous as one, too. Nearly all of the streetlamps have been smashed. The only light that pierces the darkness is a faint flickering from down the lane, like a distant candle.

They stealthily as possible made their way down the alley towards the light. As they got closer they saw a Continual Light spell had been cast on the streetlight. The light shone almost directly on a large building just across the street from the light. It was a warehouse and they could see the winged snake symbol on the building. It was a symbol of the Zhentarim, faction of Faerun looking to take over the Sword Coast by any means necessary. They put forth a public image of doing things within the law but it was a well known secret they were criminals.

The warehouse stood at the back of an outer yard behind a high fence. The gate was locked but was easily picked. The calico jumped over the fence and checked out the front door. The building had three main entry points - a front door, large warehouse loading door and a painted over window. The doors and the window were all locked. They focused on the front door. Heddy was able to pick the locks on the front gate and the front door. They slowly opened the door to the warehouse. It was dark and not a sound came from inside. The calico, Heddy and Riva entered while Ryan, Jasper and Heinrich waited at or just outside the door. Heddy saw bodies to the left of the entrance. Five bodies dressed in black, one of them had the black winged snake tattoo on his neck. They had been placed there. She crept slowly across the warehouse floor towards set of stairs leading to an upper floor. The calico and Riva followed close behind Heddy. Ryan went right of the entrance and heard something in the darkness. He focused and saw it was that it was four short avian creatures with long beaks and black feathers. They look over in surprise from where they stand in the middle of the warehouse. Each wears a hooded cloak and wields a short sword and light crossbow. Just beyond the avian creatures Ryan could see at least 7 bodies lines along the back wall of the warehouse. He motioned to the others and they group prepared for an attack. The calico cast Faerie Fire outlining the kenku(the avian creatures) giving advantage on all attacks against them as well as providing some light for those who did not have Darkvision. Then the calico wild shaped into a Lion and bounded towards the kenku to attack. This transformation startled Riva and Heddy but Riva realized that their cat friend was a druid and telling Heddy they both concentrated on making their own attacks on the kenku. 3 more kenku appeared from the shadows. It did not take long before there were only two kenku left. They decided to capture one to see if they could get any information about Floon from it. Soon, there was only one kenku left and they tied him up and began to interrogate him. As they were doing so, Riva heard noises coming from below the stairs. Checking it out she found a locked door. Heddy picked it and soon the door was open. Underneath a tarp they found a man that matched Floon’s description! But then he spoke and they found it out it was Ranaer Neverember. He was covered in grime from being under the stairs for two days. He had some bruises but overall he was not hurt. They asked him what happened.

Ranaer - “I was concerned that Floon was too intoxicated to find his way home so I offered to escort him. We were jumped by 5 thugs as we left Filet Lane and headed north on Zastrow Street. I feel guilty for I think that the thugs confused us and took him when they thought they were taking me. I must ask, were you looking for me or for him? They explain that Volo had sent them to find Floon. Good he replies and I would like to join you to find him as I have an idea who took him. They agree and he stood up and armed himself with a rapier and a dagger.

He continued “The Zhentarim believe that my father embezzled a large amount of gold while he was Open Lord, and that he hid the dragons somewhere in the city. They think they can find it by using an artifact called the Stone of Golaar, which was in the hands of the Xanathar Guild until recently. Apparently, someone stole it. The Zhents thought I knew something about all of this, but I don’t. My father and I have not spoken in years.”

Jasper explained to the others who the Xanathar Guld was. Xanathar was their leader and he may have been a human, an elf or a beholder. Looking at the 7 men along the far wall they saw at least one giant eye tattoo. It seems they have stumbled into a gang war and Floon had been kidnapped by mistake.

Ryan questioned the kenku. The bird man answered in a scratchy voice: “No time to loot the place. Just get him to the boss.” Ryan repeated his question. This time it said in a thin nasally voice. “Tie up the pretty boy in the back room. Follow the yellow signs in the sewers.”

These two phrases were repeated several times. Then it replied in an orcish accent “Xanathar sends its regards.”

Jasper said it looks like we are headed to the sewers. Ranaer said I know of an entrance to the sewers that is out of the public eye we can use. Heinrich says if we are going to go exploring the sewers I need my heavier armor which I left in the Yawning Portal. Ranaer says well lets go. Heddy, Riva, the calico and Jasper stayed at the warehouse to check out the upper floor while Ranaer, Heinrich and Ryan went to the Yawning Portal. The there set out to find one of the buses and as luck would have it, Ranaer knew the driver and they made a beeline to the Inn.

Meanwhile Heddy and Riva went up the stairs and down the hallway towards a door. It was locked. Heddy picked the lock and the door swung open setting off an alarm. She saw the area was an office space and then they both turned to go downstairs. Suddenly the front door burst open and 13 members of the City Guard told everyone to stay exactly where they were. The City Guard were led by Captain Staget, a no-nonsense but uptight man. He wanted answers for what the group was doing in this warehouse at that time of night. They told their story about Floon being kidnapped and finding Ranaer. Staget did not believe them about Ranaer. He also told them that it was best not to meddle in criminal matters. Leave that to the City Watch. He continued not all City Watch are as nice as I am. It is best to keep the blood off the streets. Okay? (This was a common phrase used by the City Watch that meant that that cared more about what happened in the streets of the city that what happened below in the sewers. The group would hear this almost every time they had encounters with the City Watch)

Around 30 minutes later, Ranaer, Heinrich and Ryan arrived back at the warehouse. Those inside the warehouse heard Ranaer say “Staget, is that you in there?” Staget replied “It is, Ranaer” And went to meet him. Staget now believed the group story. But before the group left, he told them once again to leave criminal matters to the City Watch. Jasper replied “Keep the blood off the streets” and the group left with Ranaer to find the sewer entrance and hopefully to find Floon before it was too late. They were not sure what might happen to him once it was found out he was not Ranaer Neverember.