Baldur's Gate: Vice

Everybody Pays Up

Chapter 4 — Session 4

Our heroes assemble after their habitual breakfast to set off on the day’s assignments. Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion attends to the matter of Pelagornis Sandersi IV new weapon upgrades, while the ever popular J’ah Kreature strikes off to keep an eye on the Calimshan Jewel Emporium, and see just who frequently visits Rilsa Rael.

Meanwhile, the others convened to share notes before striking off to the Undercellar in the hopes of sniffing out the trail of the cult of Bhaal. Aldric Longbeard in his quest for knowledge, came across several references to “The Sundering” and a connection to the mysterious overgod Ao, and a now destroyed artifact of unimaginable power called the Tablets of Fate.

Alan Whitcomb made contact with his Oghman spy network contact, Biri, to discover what she learned while visiting Candlekeep. The dragonborn paladin was researching Bhaal’s presence and The Sundering, when she met an aged and limping paladin named Isteval. Seeing that they were on similar tracks, the old human explained what he had learned of the coming turmoil: The Sundering would be a climactic event in which Ao would rewrite the Tablets of Fate, thus causing a great re-ordering of the divine world.

In response, the Gods began to seek mortal champions – the “Chosen” – in the world (among them Isteval, hence his knowledge). These living agents of their Gods would work in order to preserve their patron’s legacies and forward their agendas in the world – lest the Sundering somehow undermine the gods.

Isteval was disturbed at what he heard about the Founder’s Day Massacre. Though the vagueness of Alaundo’s prophecy about the Bhaalspawn was not lost on him, isteval shared with Biri his fear that this event marks the resurrection of the Lord of Murder. If this were true, the vile god would be weak and unable to take direct action, instead subtly influencing persons of power who might be convinced to achieve his goals. He too would seek out a Chosen, and on a smaller scale, nudge the weak and cruel into refounding his worship.

Isteval’s best advice was to limit the violence and chaos in Baldur’s Gate – as every senseless death would feed Bhaal’s essence.

With this knowledge, our heroes descended into the Undercellar to weed out any possible cultists. They investigated the amiable, if dangerous and seedy feasthall that shared the same name. The bar owner, fond of the heroes for their efforts to protect the city, directed them to a man who can find whatever you need, the Guild kingpin known as “”/characters/fetcher" class=“wiki-content-link”>The Fetcher." Having known about their Guild connections, the portly criminal mastermind welcomed them warmly.

Our party’s goals and the Fetcher’s needs aligned: a shady character had been purchasing storage space in the Undercellar, and the guide sent to aide the men in getting to their cache (another fee charged by the Fetcher) was late in returning. When the Fetcher mentioned that his urchin helper in this matter was the irascible Tilda Dunbeigh, the heroes bolted to the girls aide.

Guided by an urchin named “Winesink,” our heroes caught up with the strange group using the tunnels. Sneaking closer, they discovered four men; two dockside toughs, an up and coming mage, and even a corrupt sergeant of the Upper City Watch. The wizard was proselytizing about Bhaal, explaining that a decrepit old primer he found would lead them to power under the once dead god’s patronage. Before he could elaborate, the heroes attacked!

Though surprise was on their side, the desperate would-be cultists fought laterally, taking Tilda hostage and threatening to detonate several casks of explosive smokepowder. Diligence, magic, and quick reflexes saved the girl and prevented the powder keg from erupting. The cultists were routed, disabled, and tied up for questioning.

Intimidation and ensorcellment revealed that the mage, Villiers, was the mastermind behind the operation. The four men were originally partners in a scam to steal some of the smokepowder that Villiers had been making for an unnamed patriar at an unidentified underground alchemy lab. Smokepowder is incredibly rare and closely monopolized by the The High House of Wonders and priests of Gond, so the smuggling endeavor would have been lucrative. But recently, Villiers fell upon a new scheme to introduce his conspirators to…

Villiers supposedly found a primer for the old worshippers of Bhaal, abandoned in the library of his new patron’s recently acquired mansion. The mansion itself was old, as was the book, and thus this story might just be accurate. Villiers reasoned that Bhaal was the fast road to power, allowing him to bypass years of magical study and being subject to nit-picking professors. His friends, he knew, were no strangers to murder, and seemed easy candidates. Fortunately, our heroes interdicted them before they could slay Tilda in a profane right to Bhaal.

With the Fetcher’s help, they arranged to have the men (and…one corpse) sent to the Flaming Fist for imprisonment as Bhaal cultists (mostly true) in order to redirect some of the Fists attention away from the Guild. If they were chasing a cult, they wouldn’t be chasing Rilsa or her people. In order to decrease some of the public attention on the party, our heroes arranged for an article in Baldur’s Mouth to announce that Kreature was the one who disabled the cult cell himself.

Enough smokepowder for two bombs was collected as a gift to Nibbs, vows to educate illiterate orphans were made by Aldric Longbeard, and questions were raised: were there more cells of the cult, or more paraphernalia in the mansion where Villiers found the primer? Also, who was this mysterious patron hiring alchemist mages to produce dangerous smokepowder en masse? Every answer only leads to more questions…

REWARDS
EXP: Each player gets 50 EXP (whether present or not…you were still DOING stuff).

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