Baldur's Gate: Vice

It Ends With Blood
Chapters 8 – Finale — Session 9

The heroes of Baldur’s Gate continued to follow up various leads while The Guild continued to hatch its kidnapping plot – in every case making delivery of payment as difficult as possible for the excuse to exterminate their victims.

J’ah Kreature continued his campaign for office and the hearts of the citizens, learning that the workers of the Outer City were agitating for acceptance into the city proper, and were planning a protest to get the attention of parliament. Aldric Longbeard furthered his study of the mindflayer captive, and during an accident with its containment, managed to acquire one of the creature’s eyes, for which he fashioned a magical telepathic scrying device on the following day. Pelagornis Sandersi IV served as the spearhead of The Flaming Fist’s Inquisitor initiative, following up on the activities of his fellow Inquisitors to ensure the quality of their work and the preservation of justice. While Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion found great success in his artificing, even reactivating an Iron Defender once employed by Imbraylm Skoond, he and Aldric found pressuring the public press to be a more difficult matter.

Together, Alan Whitcomb and young Tellus Casavir kept an eye on a longtime foe – House Bormul. It was discovered that family patriarch Riordan Bormul had left the city under quieted circumstances. A visit to the next eldest of the family, Rexus Bormul in his plush cell within The Seatower of Balduran yielded little information, given the rift between the brothers. It did, however, mark an end to the uncle’s comfortable lifestyle, and information that the Guild’s infamous leader Nine-Fingers was indeed, a woman.

Our heroes learned that that the ensuing peaceful protest was a target of the Guild – its agents working like a cancer among the crowd to spread discontent and violence. In anticipation, Kreature sought the aid of loyal Flaming Fist soldiers who were off duty, as well as help from a small band of adventurers: a human mage named Hunley and his cousin Nelthrope, along with their childhood friend Gregemar. On the morning of the march our heroes joined the crowd, slipping across the protest lines to reassure Ulder Ravengard. Reluctantly, the Fist’s leader agreed to hold back his riot squads in order to permit the peaceful crowd to have its sit-in. With Tellus summoning Duke Belynne Stelmane to hear the people’s grievances, it seemed the march would turn from a tension boiler to a political success.

Then shots were fired. Given an order by an armor-clad Guy Bormul, retainers of the various Patriar houses (including, much to Tellus’ chagrin, house Casavir) as well as heavily armed acolytes of Gond fired into the crowd. They would later make claims that they were summoned there to protect the upper city from a mob bent on looting, and lack of evidence and bought judges would later acquit most of the men of their heinous massacre. But our heroes sprung into action, calling on the Flaming Fist to form a shield wall around the protesters, and calming the protesters lest they attack the innocent Fist in confusion and anger. Tellus, Alan, and Pelagornis slipped across the wall into the upper city while a vengeful Nibbs attacked the patriar murderers with his self-made munitions. After a daring ruse, the party managed to capture an unconscious Guy Bormul, spiriting him away to the Seatower and learning through magically aided interrogation that his father had sought the aid of Bhaal in destroying Pelagornis and reestablishing a status quo against the social justice wrought by the party. What the young Bormul didn’t know was his father’s location.

Concerned that his own father was involved in the nefarious massacre, Tellus marched home despite his father’s warnings to the contrary. He blitzed passed the storm of questions fired off by his startled mother and household servants and stormed into Quentin Casavir‘s solar. He learned that a handful of their house retainers had mislead their patron into thinking that a band of ruffians would be slipping into the upper city to stage a riot, and they were to join a coalition of men seeking to stop it. Though confused that this wasn’t a matter for The Watch, Casavir was distracted by his impending election and so acquiesced to the request. It wasn’t until the unexpected arrival of his younger son that he realized the extent of the ruse, and promptly released the involved retainers at swordpoint.

Politics moved ahead with reckless abandon. Having leveraged his good public image, and alliance with Belynne Stelmane and a grudging Quentin Casavir, J’ah Kreature joined the elder Casavir in taking two open seats in the Parliament of Peers. Kreature soon used his newfound political status, along with some help and ghostwriting from a thoroughly sexually satisfied Coran to put forward a bill detailing policy regarding opposition to the Cult of Bhaal.

Meanwhile, a riot was beggining to explode in the Lower City docks, and while a well heeled Flaming Fist responded with appropriate force, soldiers from the Watch had been called in without Ravengard’s knowledge to “assist” in containing the violence. What could have turned into another bloodbath was eventually calmed by the party, though the confusion and difficulty in communicating meant that this public disaster was much more destructive than the protest. Lives were lost, property damage, goods destroyed, and increased enmity between the Lower and Upper cities. What hand the Guild had in it was unclear, but chaos meant profit to the confederacy of criminals.

The next day a statement was to be made – criminals convicted of capital offenses (including the sneaky Imbraylm Skoond were to be marched to the fortress at Wyrm’s Gate bridge and publicly hanged. At the same time, our heroes had gathered signatories who agreed to denounce house Bormul for Guy’s part in instigating a massacre. It was agreed that executing the Bormul heir would be impertinent at this time, and so he was left in a sparse cell alongside his uncle. With half of the party’s present to oversee the proceedings, the lawful executions began without a hitch, much to the delight of the crowd. Rapists, murderers, traitors and pirates found a long drop and a short stop waiting for them.

But news turned grim as a bedraggled private in the Flaming Fist arrived with news: there was a prison break at the Seatower. When the dust had settled, several jailers and soldiers, and a few criminals lay dead. Many escaped, including Rexus and Guy Bormul, who commandeered a ship after their exit and fled south, before changing course for the north.

During the scuffle, Rexus got his hands on a crossbow (thanks to assistance from Guild agents) and facilitated the jailbreak by killing Casondra Fairweather before she could get a sleep spell off. While the man had crafted a grudging friendship with the arcanist prison guard, he did not hesitate to put a bolt through her head when it meant his escape.

The tension in the city, despite the Herculean efforts of our heroes, had reached a tipping point. Finally acknowledging how bad things had become, Duke Torlin Silvershield, Marshal Ulder Ravengard, and Guild leader Nine-Fingers agreed to a carefully coordinated peace summit.

A settlement was reached, and each faction eased their attacks on the others as the entire city held its breath. The Feast of the Moon, a festival honoring and celebrating the lives of the dead was at hand, and members of each power bloc agreed that facilitating this moment of mirth might be a good first step toward recovery. The party remained wary.

A few days of preparation for the festival went off without incident. Indeed, our heroes might have even been tempted to relax a bit after a full day of merriment. But it was as they feared: a ruse. On the second night of the weekend long festival, they gathered at the unveiling of a mobile sculpture in their honor, to be shared with all parts of the city. As Duke Stelmane read a not from the artist, it became clear that something was amiss – the note was a fake, slipped in by Rilsa Rael. It contained a threat and named her the Chosen of Bhaal! At that time a grim storm cloud hung overhead, and took the supernatural shape of Bhaal’s seal. In the same instant, screams were heard in the crowd as masked and cloaked guild assassins began slaughtering festival goers, and Rilsa Rael – the Chosen of Bhaal, appeared on a rooftop dressed in the scavenged armor of Viekang.

A vicious battle ensued in which the crowd, emboldened by our heroes, fought back! They grabbed at the assassins and held them steady for J’ah Kreature and his allies to strike down. Though Rilsa’s Bhaal-granted supernatural abilities gave her an edge, she was no match for the Heroes of Baldur’s Gate. Though apprehended, she was swiftly and summarily executed by Pelagornis Sandersi IV.

The festival ended abruptly for the night, and efforts were made by the Flaming Fist to recover some semblance of calm. With the heroes aid, the festival concluded with some measure of normalcy, and in the coming days our heroes found their efforts to restore peace and sanity easier to accomplish – noting that both Duke Torlin Silvershield and Ulder Ravengard had their actions significantly influenced by Bhaal’s evil presence.

Recovery began. Peace and progress were given a chance thanks to the triumphant heroes of Baldur’s Gate. Bhaal may be resurrected, but it would be a long time before he could threaten the world in earnest, and his efforts to re-establish worship of the murder God were entirely stymied.

But Bhaal was not the only Chosen walking Faêrun – and the champions of other evil gods were working to sew chaos along the Sword Coast. Our heroes had cut their teeth averting a citywide bloodbath, but could they weather the coming storm?

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The Tightening of Nooses
Mid-Session Downtime Interlude

Day 1: It’s a late start for you, given the fact that you’ve been up the better part of the night detaining a horrifying Illithid. Duke Belynne Stelmane is a gracious host, offering you a hearty and exotic breakfast before you head out for the morning’s activities (though after those map,e pancakes, all you REALLY want to do is go back to sleep). Baldur’s Mouth does have “off-schedule” days, so there is no new broadsheet this morning.

Nibs: It’s a long day at the High House of Wonders, but you do manage to finish work on the Iron Defender and get it working and allied with you. You are surprised when one of the Gondar acolytes comes to you with thanks for your part in stopping the terror attack on the Ducal Palace. He explains that the acolytes and a few priests scraped together and got you a proper smokepowder tool kit. Using this kit, you can make x2 grenades per day of downtime spent working on munitions. Alan: Biri is eager to head back, and happy to get the order from you. She knows that the efforts of Neverwinter’s Oghmans can use her help, and she’s eager to share the word. She asks that you be sure to send a letter and let her know how things go. She has a line to the Harpers, so if need be, that’s an angle you can work (though she explains she prefers not to involve the nosey network.)

Following around Gran Duke Dilliard Portyr is an exercise in patience. As (technically) the most powerful man int he city, he sure seems to be in no hurry to do anything, and you spend a lot of time sitting around the corner from him at cafes and restaurants, listening to him prattle on about grandchildren or how his drawing room is too drafty. What’s noteworthy is that he seems to consult Duke Torlin Silvershield in almost every case. It’s clear that they rarely disagree, and Silvershield knows exactly how to push his buttons. They are both informed that day of Duke Stelmane’s recovery, and it takes some doing to evade being introduced to the two men by your well-meaning new “pet duke.”

Aldric: The Sage’s Guild sends for an expert interrogator from Mintarn Island, but decides to move forward with questioning the creature themselves in the meantime. Using some mental shielding spells and potions, you are present as they ply the slimy creature for information. It makes various offers to you if you release it, and comes up with a plethora of surprisingly well structured lies, but its desperation shows. What you learn is that it has been “topside” for a few years, and prefers living in the sunlit world, where it claims (you think truthfully) to have many contacts around Faêrun. Whatever it is up to, Baldur’s Gate is just a fragment of that. You are, however, pretty convinced it is unrelated to the Bhaal cult. That evening you have dinner with the Duke, who is still very grateful, to you in particular, for her rescue. (No! Not THAT grateful!) Tellus: Silvershield seems like a shady fuck, why not tail him? So you do. Silvershield seems pretty deflated. He’s very distracted during parliament meetings and doesn’t really push when his political opponents challenge him. What’s most interesting, is that he spent a lot of time in a private meeting room with Riordan Bormul – Parliament member and patriarch of House Bormul. You also can’t help but notice that toward the end of the day, you overhear some of the parliament lackeys speaking well of your father’s chances in the coming election – likely thanks to the influence of Duke Stelmane. J’ah Kreature: Your popularity continues to grow! The interesting thing you find is that all the uproar lately has put people on edge. They’re jumpy, anxious, and poorly informed. Rumors are rampant and few know what’s really going on. But the work you’ve done in being charitable and heroic has given you a real power over the masses. You even stopped an impending bar-brawl with just a few words – no violence necessary! It seems like your message of peace is getting through to people…but a lot of that has to do with your calming presence. There are a lot of questions regarding what the Sundering really means, but the rumors are out there. People are getting wary of potential Bhaal cultists, and are almost equally wary of the Flaming Fist for continuing to focus on the Guild when a greater threat is present (there’s also a lot of animosity toward the Guild for capitalizing on the chaos). Long story short, you are making a difference, but not everyone is completely zen yet. Pelagornis: Since I didn’t hear back from Jake on this yet, I’ll make the assumption that he takes up doing the Batman thing and patrolling the streets in his capacity as a Flaming Fist Inquisitor? If this is incorrect, lemme know what you would rather be addressing. That seems to help as well – focusing law enforcement on actual criminals and not jumping to conclusions is getting trouble off the streets and reducing civilian animosity. Furthermore, the other Inquisitors seem to be following your lead – a few have even sent criminals guilty of capital offenses to the Seatower for a last chance to confess (Which they don’t actually have to do). They’ve conferred with Ravengard and agree that publicly executing capital criminals, rather than hacking them down in the streets, might bolster the people’s confidence that the Fist’s new power isn’t being abused and to remain somewhat transparent in their operations. As far as you can tell, all the death-row inmates have earned their sentence in accordance to the law, (assuming you aren’t too rankled by the fact that BG has a death penalty on the books). Plus, medieval people LOVE a good execution.

Day 2: The most important thing to remember is that you are celebrities. Clothing, boots, artwork depicting you, songs in your name, puppet shows, food, food, food (a whole lot of pies) the common folk, outer city poor, and patriars all are heaping gifts on you.
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Nibs: Your choice – make 2 bombs or work on sweet Pelagornis’ new arm-gun?

Aldric: The brunt of your day will be spent helping the Sages. Interrogation isn’t getting them far, but research indicates there is some harvesting they can do while the thing is still alive, especially given your “special methods.” While Mindflayer brain juice is a potent poison, its a lesser known fact that their spinal fluid can be used to concoct a psionic truth serum. It’s iffy work, and you almost kill the thing twice, but you manage to “milk” spinal fluid from your victim, and wind up with x2 vials of truth serum (Lasts 10 minutes, victim has Disadvantage on bluff checks, and is in visible pain if it succeeds in lying).

Alan: Looking in on Duke Stelmane, you find that she’s in need of some assistance getting her bearings politically. You lend her a hand in negotiations and informing her of what has been transpiring behind the scenes. The duke is CERTAIN there is some link between her attacker and the cult (despite a lack of evidence) and is pretty aggressive in helping search for cultists. Some of her people figure out that there was indeed more Bhaalite paraphanellia in the city, namely in an old evidence lockup used by the Watch. It was collected shortly after Abdel defeated the Iron Throne and his half-brother Sarevok then mostly forgotten. Since Alan is also keeping an eye on things Dukewise, you eventually run into him, and share this information.

Tellus: It’s looking like there’s little more to be gained following the dukes (other than preventing any possible assassins who might show up). In the early afternoon, however, Alan tells you about a possible lead on some old Bhaalite accoutrements in a storage area of the Watch Citadel. A hastily scribed writ from Duke Stelmane is all you need to get in and poke around. You do indeed find two robes like the ones found in the old temple, as well as candlesticks, a bowl for containing…you assume blood during rituals. What is MISSING from the box, according to the evidence manifest is a holy symbol, and a Bhaal cult primer. The Watch officer on duty has no record of anyone entering that storage area in a while (indeed, he had trouble even finding the key). The only person who could have gotten in would need to be a ranking watch officer, or someone with a lot of pull – like a Patriar or a Duke.

Kreature: You keep up the routine of being the folk hero, and today it’s attracting lower ranking Flaming Fist soldiers. This provides you with an opportunity to preach a gospel of nonviolence and level headed crisis intervention. Clearly, some men are miffed at being excluded from the Inquisitors, and the career soldiers among them want to know how to get in (there is, after all, a substantial pay increase). It seems like you’re getting through to these mercenaries that being a police force and a military are two different things.

Also you keep pushing Kreature for Duke. Also telling bitches that the Sundering is all up in their shit.

Pelagornis: Same as before, keeping the streets free of scum. Today you come across an incident where a man with Guild tattoos is trying to ignite a tense but non-violent dispute among dockworkers. When he doesn’t get the desired results, he follows one of the men from the argument and stabs him a few times before you handily disarm the thug and drag him into custody. The victim survives, shaken but not mortally wounded.
Under questioning, the thug explains that Guild agents have orders to ignite the flames of revolution by sewing chaos in the city. He hoped the other sailors would seek revenge for a murdered companion. When you search the ruffian, you find that “igniting flames” makes for a good distraction to someone who wants to lift some merchandise from a ship’s cargo. Unless you choose to execute him, or free him, he gets locked up in the Seatower for attempted murder.

Towards the end of the evening, You are informed by Flaming Fist officers to keep an eye out for possible kidnappings. News was slow in getting to the Fist, (these appeared to be random murders at first) but two are already dead in seemingly related cases. The first was the son of a stonecarver, found two nights ago outside the harbormaster’s office, strangled to death with a garrote (His father scrambled to assemble the outrageous ransom ordered by a note slipped under his door. He was a minute too late). The following day one of the co-owners of the “Silky Boy” was found bludgeoned to death behind Elfsong tavern (His business partner closed the store early that day, and never found the kidnapper’s note until the morning). The Fist can’t ascertain who might be next, as there is no connection between the men. This is obviously part of the plot the Guild agents near the underground temple alluded to. Their target is under 24 hour surveillance.

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The Hands That Pull The Strings
Chapters 6 - 8 — Session 8

Having agreed to join The Flaming Fist as Lieutenants (or ‘Fists’) at the behest of the mercenary commander Marshal Ulder Ravengard, our heroes set up their new headquarters in the same place they were once Imprisoned: The Seatower of Balduran. J’ah Kreature returned to his companions with news of another possible Bhaal Cult link – information given to him by a Guild informant.

The following day, our heroes took the time to pursue some personal projects. Kreature and Alan Whitcomb began a steak-out of the building fingered by the guild informant. Stealthily, they infiltrated the former thieves guild headquarters, and followed a halfling Guild agent through a secret entrance to an underground cavern. There they explored an ancient, convoluted maze, and marked off a route through the winding corridors for future navigation. They came to an enormous underground cavern and lake, located below the water table and beneath the docks above. The chamber was once part of the city until seismic action sunk it below where it was eventually built over. Among the ruins was a more or less intact temple.

Smoke to the south marked the presence of Guild members using this underground chamber as a safehouse. As they crept closer to eavesdrop, the two discovered that skeletons had been skulking about the ruins, and that a few still lay in wait. Passing these foes by,t hey discovered that the Guild operatives were associated with some kind of kidnapping plot. Furthermore, one of them had discovered that the intact temple was the old temple to Bhaal, and she had begun proselytizing for the Lord of Murder to her skeptical friends.

Creeping back topside they rejoined their allies. News came forward that the speedily arranged trials for the Guild arsonists yielded only two convictions, with most of the other attackers getting off thanks to the Guild’s blackmailing of legal officials. That evening the party attended a meeting with Ulder Ravengard and a cabal of Flaming Fist officer and legal authorities. Ravengard seeks to enact “The Court of the Fist” – an impromptu military tribunal that can convene and try criminals anywhere in the city – requiring only the presence of a Flaming Fist officer. Incensed that Ravengard would advance his heavy-handed tactics to the amendment of habeus corpus, they launched into a heated debate. Despite Ravengard’s adamant assertion that this measure would allow the Fist to carry out justice without the interference of the Guild, he was convinced to limit the extent of his new authority – granting the ability to carry out supreme legal authority to only a hand picked group of officers. Ravengard agreed to withhold this measure in order to create his list of elite “Inquistors” with the help of Pelagornis Sandersi IV.

Almost as an afterthought, Ravengard proceeded to get the team’s opinion in regards to another project – an investigation of the local news outlet, Baldur’s Mouth. Informants were claiming that the Guild was using the paper to transmit secret messages. Reluctantly, the party admitted knowledge of the system to Ravengard in order to get him to relent in his over-zealous intentions to shut down the free press.

Before turning in, they took the time to psychologically torture their star witness and captive: The terrorist Imbraylm Skoond. Already unhinged from his time spent in solitary confinement, Skoond was somewhat pliant – at first denying a link to the alchemist making barrels of smokepowder under his home before admitting involvement. Skoond claimed that he was acting in the interest of old allies back in his home city of Athkatla – that murdering the Dukes and Parliament meant a position for himself among the Council of Four and instability in the city that its neighbors could benefit from. Though they concluded the interrogation (which our heroes have become experts at) Alan Whitcomb would take time later to tail Duke Torlin Silvershield and discover that he had attempted to get Skoond extradited to Athkatala, but failed to secure his underling’s exile.

The next day our heroes stormed the underground temple to Bhaal. With the assistance of a Flaming Fist special assault squad officer: Flame Pointman Harlaw Jenkins, they quietly entered the underground chamber, dispatched the lurking skeletons, apprehended and interrogated the Guild agents, then crept into the temple itself. Falling apart and smelling of incense and mustiness, the great stone-and-marble structure was still a foreboding place. Our heroes battled a would-be tiefling cultist and Guild assassin named Shondra, who was aided by the undead corpses of former Bhaalites – indeed, foes defeated by a young Duke Abdel Adrian when the wretches worked for his half-brother Sarevok. One wight was ‘killed’ when a statue exploded beneath his feet, sending the creature careening into a pit. Glyph traps exploded under our heroes feet as they tried their best to outmaneuver hostile spells and grasping claws. Thanks to the quick thinking and smokeppowder application of Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion, and the valor and cunning of Kreature and Tellus Casavir the deathless horrors were laid low.

Interrogating the cultist, Shondra revealed that she had been tutored in the worship of Bhaal by the undead acolytes that had been lurking int he temple for over 100 years. They told her of Bhaal’s return, and that he sought a “Chosen” to be his mortal agent while the God himself recovered his strength. Though Shondra sought to become Bhaal’s Chosen, she revealed that the Lord of Murder had yet to choose his earthly vessel and would look among the powerful and devious of the city for his choice. Regardless, there was no mistaking: Bhaal communicated to his undead devotees that he intended to make his presence known in Baldur’s Gate – by rewarding the city that had denied him his rebirth with a blodbath.

Having no further leads to cult activity, our heroes reluctantly accepted that they must wait for Bhaal and his agents to make the next move and reveal themselves. Meanwhile, our heroes reported what they had learned about a Guild kidnapping plot to Ravengard, and made a report on their takedown of the cult cell. In return, Ravengard rewarded them with extensive access to the quartermaster’s supplies, and set in motion a special research and development side-project for Nibbs.

True to his word, Coran rewarded the confiscation of Skoond’s pillow by setting in motion the necessary bribes that would end the sanitation strike. All throughout this day Baldurians breathed a sigh of relief, and without a damp cloth covering their faces, as Outer City sanitation crews worked on the double to remove the days of accumulation refuse.

The next day, the newly dubbed Flaming Fist Inquisitors stepped into the streets for the first time with one thought on their minds: “I AM the Law!” J’ah Kreature and Pelagornis Sandersi IV took to the streets to keep an eye on their fellow Inquisitors and mete out rational justice with their own hands. Meanwhile, Tellus Casavir went to the High House of Parliament in order to research the voting records of one of the other Dukes, the unfortunate Belynne Stelmane.

Meanwhile, Aldric Longbeard made a all on Stelmane’s estate to chat with the Duke and offer his services as a physician. While there, he discovered that the extent of her injuries seemed exaggerated, and in doing so was immediately attacked by a mental blast which he resisted. Aldric caught sight of a dreaded Mindflayer fleeing out of the room, and made to do likewise before the silently pleading Duke suddenly resumed her stricken countenance and ordered him out.

Calling on the aid of some very motivated street urchins and lamplads, Aldric gathered his friends for a hurried attack on the beast that was controlling Stelmane’s mind. The party consulted Coran, who offered to get them into the Upper City after hours. With stealth at first, and then some outright speed and power, the party rushed in to confront the Underdark horror. It turned Stelmane’s house guards against them, and a desperate struggled amid telekinetically flying debris ensued. Though Pelagornis came somewhat close to having his mind flayed, our heroes managed to non-lethally subdue the guards, and even apprehend the Mindflayer. Members of the sage’s guild collected the specimen for interrogation and study (with some difficulty) and our heroes spent the night as guests of a very grateful Duke.

REWARDS
EXP: 450 Each
GOLD: Ruby worth 200gp, 10 Platinum Pieces (some of this may have been spent already)

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The Smokepowder Traitor
Capters 6 (7-9) — Session 7

In a flash of blades and grinding steal, the party leapt into action against Imbraylm Skoond’s mansion guards. Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion set aside his “eurekah” moment of inspiration long enough to attempt to disable one of the dog-like golems currently trying to shred his allies to pieces with their serrated steel fangs. While one of the house watchmen was battling the party, a second was activating a gift that Skoond had received from his patron Duke Torlin Silvershield: a ten foot tall ironclad golem with a wicked sword on one arm and a spinning sawblade on the other. The iron Eviscerator. A desperate struggle ensued as every man threw his all against this prototype Pelagornis.

Meanwhile, the actual Pelagornis Sandersi IV held up the rear guard against a fire mephit no doubt summoned by Skoond. The chittering elemental laid the bold paladin to waste with a deadly spell of scorching rays. Nibbs ran to his aid but was deterred when the mephit enchanted the iron man’s body – heating his metal frame to unfathomable degrees. With a splash of water and no small amount of courage, Nibbs grabbed hold of a steaming Pelagornis to cast a spell of mending that saved the Gondar warrior’s continued existence.

Alan Whitcomb was felled while boldly striking the eviscerator and the tide of battle seemed to be turning against our heroes. With his crossbow broken, nibbs saw little choice in defeating the mephit but to toss a small handful of smokepowder onto the creature – the resulting explosion destroyed the summoned beast and laid the hapless elf flat on his back, bleeding internally. Fortunately, the others had worn down the deadly golem, whose spinning and bloodsoaked blades finally stopped their terrifying whirr. Aldric Longbeard set to the task of sealing wounds and getting his charges back on their feet. Everyone was exhausted from their lack of sleep and their near shave with defeat in their toughest battle yet.

Barely on his feet, Nibbs launched into a fevered explanation of his plan to create and even more intensified cold-war between The Guild and The Flaming Fist using the recovered smokepowder to give the Guild a terrifying advantage over the Fist, and offering the Fist Rilsa’s identity as a bargaining chip. The plot was incredibly complex, and required a kidnapping, the moving of Smokepowder across the city, and no small amount of faith on the party of the other adventurers. Votes stood 5 – 1 against.

Investigation of Skoond’s mansion turned up no evidence linking him to the Bhaal cult, but did result in ample loot. A suit of magic armor and a wand (as yet unidentified), three extremely rare tomes of knowledge, Skoond’s own spellbook, and a cache of gold, gems, art, and other valuables.

The party was stalled in their exit as Nobbs continued to insist on his plan of “mutually assured destruction.” Through the distraction the sound of a creaking front door was heard, and soon, Imbralym Skoond himself was upon our heroes, demanding to know why they were intruding on his property. He attempted to flee soon after, seeing the odds against him, and failed to get off a spell before Alan Whitcomb’s magic put the treacherous wizard to sleep.

Our heroes spent the next few hours emptying barrels of smokepowder into the sewer and rendering the dangerous explosive inert. All the while, Skoond and his accomplices watched from where they were bound and gagged in the secret basement laboratory. Folk hero J’ah Kreature rushed off to share a message via catbowl dead-drop with Ulder Ravengard – they had cuaght Skoond as the mastermind of a deadly terrorist plot.

While Pelagornis stayed behind to aid the authorities, the rest of the party struck off for The High Hall’s cellars. With the expensive aid of The Fetcher (an ally who would no doubt be denied to them as soon as word of their betrayal of the Guild spread) our heroes found their way into the chambers beneath the palace. Quickly, Aldric spotted Newley constructed columns that hid the remaining barrels of smokepowder. In secret, and under the weight of sleep deprivation they worked, emptying barrels into the aqueducts below the city. Though there were a few close calls…none other thank their urchin guides were the wiser.

Back at Seskergates the Flaming Fist had begun a lightly manned investigation of the traitor’s estate. Marshal Ravengard was impressed with the heroes work, and extremely grateful (as much as the stern man could be) for their diligence in averting a catastrophe. Ravengard assured them that his men were lying in wait for the Guild arsonists who would be attacking the city later that day, and offered them ranks among the Flaming Fist, now that their tenure as the vice squad had necessarily ended. Reluctant to commit to this affiliation, regardless of its lack of responsibilities, our heroes shelved the matter, instead opting to testify alongside Ravengard in a private hearing with Skoond’s patron, Duke Torlin Silvershield.though bedraggled, Alan was quite pleased to see the plucky prison guard mage, Casondra Fairweather. Impressed with his part in the takedown, she offered to make him dinner that night, at her apartment in the Seatower District.

Skoond spoke little even behind closed doors, and though Silvershield was quick to defend his underling, it soon became clear that the depth of this betrayal was unforgivable, especially for a ruling member of the council of four. The resulting jurisdictional arm-wrestling was nudged in Ravengard’s favor thanks to our heroes input. It was decided: The Flaming Fist would hold Skoond until his trial – and a sentence of execution seemed very likely.

In reward for all their hard work – our heroes finally got the chance to crawl into bed and let their burdens wash away in the darkness of sleep.

Upon waking the news had broken: the Guild’s arson campaign was a flop. Guild agents scampered across the rainsdrenched cobbles attempting to break in and drop off Nibb’s sabotaged bombs. But eahc group found Flaming Fist soldiers either lying in wait or closing off their escape routes. Multiple areests occured, one agent escaped, and two died as they went through with their fire and were killed when they could not escape. It was a major victory for The Fist and the likely ending of any relations the vice squad might have with Rilsa Rael.

J’ah Kreature left the relative safety of the fortress at Wyrm’s Corssing to stop by the team’s former headquarters, The Blade and Stars Inn. Before entering, he was approached by a furtive guild agent who guided him to a secluded alley. The man, who’s name was Ditkin, explained that he and his guild cell had recently obtained a new safehouse, and discovered that the building’s had a mysterious basement floor. Further investigation revealed a passage to a strange underground section of the city that lay in ruins – all save for an intimidating temple. Ditkin assumed this had some connection to the Bhaal cult and decided to inform his “allies.” It seemed that the news of the afternoon’s raids failed to reach him.

Kreature recovered his gambling winnings, as well as a package that had been laid aside for Tellus Casavir by the young noble’s cook. Upon returning to his companions, Tellus gingerly opened the mysterious gift to find that it was not a baguette, but in fact, an enchanted rapier. The gift came with a note from his father, Quentin Casavir, explaining that while he could not publicly support his son (more for fear of his wife’s reprisals than political embarrassment) he was proud that the boy was following in his father’s footsteps – facing down peril and danger in the name of adventure. This sword had been with him during the early days of his time spent as a corsair of the Sword Coast, and would serve to protect his son as unrest in Baldur’s Gate heralded dark days to come.

REWARDS
MAGIC ITEMS: Wand of Enemy Detection (UNIDENTIFIED), Glamoured Studded Leather of the Chameleon (UNIDENTIFIED), Epee of the Duelist (+1 Rapier that grants +1 AC on any round in which the “Attack” action is not used).
EXP: 225 Each
Gold: Uhhh, relying on your character sheets on this one. A lot changed hands between fencing, paying off The Fetcher, and robbing Skoond.

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Smokepowder, Treasons, and Plots
Chapters 6 (7-9) — Session 6

Across the city our heroes were engaged in battle. Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion pushed through a crowd to discover that a Patriar Duelist from the venerated House Eltan had been stopped from skewering a lamplad in a one-sided duel by none other than the iron man, Pelagornis Sandersi IV. While the folk hero J’ah Kreature tried to keep the peace, Pelagornis squared off, seizing the initiative and skewering his foe to the spine. “First Blood,” in this case, meant instant death – a fate no doubt reserved for the terrified lamplad. While most of the young patriar’s friends were content to abate their bloodlust and take their friend for burial, a duelist named Percival became incensed. Agitated by Nibbs, he challenged the artificer to a duel after he had been deftly disarmed of his rapier. Nibbs attempted to lure the man into a trap that would cost him the duel with minimal bodily harm, while Kreature did his best to prevent the duel entirely. Amidst confusion and tear-gas the scuffle was eventually defused. Kreature and Pelagornis took the opportunity to work the crowd, speaking out against the violence and chaos erupting in Baldur’s Gate, all while furthering the legend of J’ah Kreature. The speech painted Kreature as an almost messianic figure, and word soon spread that the party was using a multi-pointed iron star, a caltrop, as their iconic emblem.

Meanwhile, outside the secret sewer entrance to the basement of Imbraylm Skoond’s manor Seskergates, another struggle was taking place. Aldric Longbeard, Alan Whitcomb, and Tellus Casavir squared off against the an ambushing were-rat and his horde of squeaking vermin. Thinking quickly, Aldric put most of the squeaking horde to sleep as the others sprang into action, flanking the were-beast and cutting off its escape. Some fine blade work and no small amount of help from combat-lamplass Tilda Dunbeigh saw their foes destroyed. Beyond the secret door was a mysterious lab, staffed by two robed alchemists. The party agreed to hold off the investigation until they could bring their full strength to bear under cover of darkness.

Both parties reunited at the Calimshan Jewel Emporium to meet with their Guild handler, Rilsa Rael. She had assigned Nibbs to work on several firebombs for her as part of a plan to drive business into the Outer City, and take revenge on guilds and merchants that discriminated against its citizens. The plot was to set fires in Lower and Upper city establishments in order to force a need for goods from outside the city walls – a plan Nibbs would facilitate by making small firebombs designed to minimize lasting fires and collateral damage.

Despite assurances, our heroes knew that setting fire in a city as dense as Baldur’s Gate posed too much of a risk. They agreed to confer, and then get back to Rilsa with their decision: whether to participate in the arson plan that Nibbs was overseeing or not.

Our heroes reconvened in the evening at the tea and herbalist shop “The Silky Boy,” enjoying the relative privacy of the establishments upper deck patio seating. Despite his efforts to contain the Guild’s penchant for destruction, and his conviction that appearing to aid Rilsa would yield further intelligence on her activities, the party ultimately decided that this was the last straw. The timely arrival of a snooping Coran brought further news – someone had been ordering vast quantities of components necessary for smokepowder production. Coran further offered to aid the party in resolving the ongoing sanitation strike if they would bring him a token from the suspicious Imbraylm Skoond‘s mansion – namely his pillow. Having put in his advice, and making several verbal advances towards J’ah Kreature, the nobleman scoundrel took his leave.

Nibbs left to sabotage his fire bombs and thus, the arson plan, while the others sought out caches of smokepowder that they feared were being used in conjunction with the Guild’s arson plans. Ultimately, there was no immediate link found between the plots.

While reporting in to Rilsa, Nibbs was informed that the Guild used secret messages encoded in Baldur’s Mouth to arrange meetings – one that party would be conspicuously absent from. He made the long trek through the night shrouded city and down into the sewers to join the others outside the secret door to Seskergates, with Tilda lighting the party’s way.

Busting through the door, our heroes apprehended two smokepowder makers – alchemists who claimed they were hired to produce barrels of explosives and then hand them over to hired ruffians who haul them away in wheel-barrows. The alchemists acknowledged that they work for Skoond; though Nibbs found incriminating documents concealed among their personal effects that tie them to the Guild. Satisfied with the interrogation, both were knocked unconscious and left bound and gagged int he secret laboratory. The party then proceeded to creep up the stairs to a concealed passage in a wall above.

They found themselves in the dreary, barely lived in manor called Seskergates. It was clear that at least one guard was posted, so with the utmost caution, our heroes investigated the estate – finding a map of the High House of parliament concealed in a chair that Skoond must have acquired from the High House of Wonders. The map was marked with red X’s.

As the party was about to slip into a different section of the manor, Alan Whitcomb peered around the corner at just the wrong moment – in time to be spotted by an iron-shod golem-dog, whose red eyes, alive with magical intelligence, focused on him, as the construct let out a grating, metallic growl…

REWARDS
EXP: 155 Each
GP: J’ah Kreature gets 125gp as the winnings of the wager he placed on Pelagornis’ duel (waiting at the Blade and Stars inn).

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The Masquerade
Chapter 4 - 5 — Session 5

While Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion continues his work on the arm mounted crossbow and Rilsa Rael‘s special project, the rest of the party pursues other goals. Research at the High Hall, the seat of parliament and government in the city, reveals that Imbraylm Skoond has recently purchased the manor called “Seskergates” in the lower city. The family now defunct, Skoond bought the tall, garish manor which is full of secret passages and winding tunnels. It was here that the cultist Villiers discovered the Bhaalite primer. Research indicates that one of the Seskergates family was a member of the Iron Throne, and thus an ally and acolyte of the Bhaalspawn Sarevok. It’s possible the book was his.

The next day, new from Baldur’s Mouth announces the capture of the cultist, the return of Bhaal, and the threat of more worshippers. Almost missed in the excitement is an outrageous increase in taxes on luxury goods that presses hard against the finances of the patriars. A Flaming Fist representative makes claims that the Guild seems a likely ally of the Bhaalites.

Our heroes make arrangements to meet their “handler” Ulder Ravengard at the Hissing Stones bathhouse. When completely disrobed, Their disdain for him shows, and is not missed by Ravengard. A tense meeting ensues wherein our heroes chide the. Marshal for his inattention to the problem of the Bhaal cult in pursuit of lesser troubles – while Ravengard presses them for more details about the Guild the leads they have followed. He offers them an assignment to blackmail a political rival – but rescinds the request when they debate the merits of investigating the cult and scoffing at the idea of allowing the quest to be handled by others. With no small frustration, Ravengard takes his report and leaves them to their work.

J’ah Kreature continued his wandering life, righting wrongs and encouraging peace. He spoke to the people of the Seatower district and calmed their fears a great deal. You may not be able to squeeze blood from a stone, but you sure can drink it from a boot.

Pelagornis Sandersi IV sought out the right to enter the The High House of Wonders – a privilege granted by his station as a paladin of Gond and a creation of the artificers within. He had paid a pretty penny to take on the hapless male dwarf prostitute, Lustbeard, and hired him on as squire to house Sandersi. With no small effort, after a few days he managed to talk Nibbs way into the House of Wonders as well…with the stipulation that Nibbs was never to leave his side, and must be watched at all times. Given the improved facilities, his upgrades progressed much faster.

After returning from the meeting with Ravengard, our heroes found an invitation to attend a ball held by the retired adventurer Coran. This masquerade and costume party would be decadent and extravagant – a last hurrah before the taxation on luxuries went into effect. The party assembled their costumes, Kreatures, Artemis Entreris, Dragons and Elminsters alike.

Festivities increased in their debauched velocity as the party met their host. Though sly, pompous, frivolous and playful, Coran was genuinely interested in the heroes. He offered them his services, both as advisor and safe-house, and gave the, what clues as he knew. He expressed a distrust for the newly arrived Skoond, concerns about mysterious shipments to the harbormaster, advice on Kreature’s half-wrought notion of running for Duke (against Silvershield and his adversary), and intention to support the Casavir bid for a Parliament of Peers seat.

While at the party, Aldric Longbeard floored the members of the Guild of Sages, and easily earned a patron within the organization. Alan Whitcomb grudgingly missed an opportunity to reconnect with the arcanist Flaming Fist officer Casondra Fairweather in order to use his guile to embarrass the heir to House Bormul with an illusion that the party ate up. In the confusion, Tellus Casavir was spotted by his father, though not directly confronted. Kreature was asked to pilfer a handful of letters off of the arrogant noble, and did so at the beginning of the night, thanks to no small assistance from Tellus and the spectacle of a dragon vs. Elminster cosplay.

When the letters were returned to Rilsa Rael, they revealed a re-aligning of assets that denied the Guild their spies and influences over the Bormuls – a frustrating discovery.

The next morning, political news yet worsened. The Dukes had decreed that the formerly defunct dueling laws of Baldur’s Gate’s earliest years were reinstated as law. Duels were now declared until first blood – and could continue at the consent of the wounded party. Like wise, interference in a duel permitted a duelists allies to intervene. Our heroes saw this as a recipe for a bloodbath, thus playing right into Bhaal’s hands.

While making strides to push forward a political career for J’ah Kreature, and end the now untenable garbage strike, (which might require a hefty bribe…) he and Pelagornis Sandersi IV happened upon an incredibly one-sided duel about to begin between an Eltan Patriar and an outmatched lamplad. The paladin stepped in to intervene, challenging the haughty swordsman himself ……

……..meanwhile, under the streets of the Lower City, Alan, Aldric, and Tellus sought out an entrance into the mysterious Seskergates mansion with the help of the lamplass grifter, Tilda Dunbeigh no sooner had they done so, they were set upon by a suspicious man, who barely resisted Aldric’s “Sleep” spell. The man pulled back his cowl and was revealed to be a vicious wererat! He moved into striking position, his remaining vermin squeaking nosily at his heels.

REWARDS
Gold: Taken by Tellus
EXP: 50 each

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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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The Fate of Vandals
Chapter 2 - 4 — Session 3

Leaving the Seatower, our heroes decided to collect themselves and made arrangements at local inns before touching base with their “patron,” Rilsa Rael. While most of the party made their way to the Blade and Stars, Pelagornis Sandersi IV settled in at the violent, dangerous, and raucous establishment, The Blushing Mermaid. Rilsa was pleased with their actions, and made available to the party Guild contacts and the use of the Calimnshan Jewel Emporium’s upper floors as a safehouse.

Aldric Longbeard separated from his companions to handle some much needed legwork while the rest of the party tended to immediate threats.

During the night, Pelagornis found himself robbed by his (mandatory) bedmate, an unfortunate dwarven prostitute named Kerdrik Lustbeard (undoubtedly an assumed surname). After some negotiating, Kerdrik returned (most) of the gold, and would occupy the iron paladin’s room when he stayed.

The following days were awash with activity: Tellus Casavir, the Patriar prince, carefully extracted the note given over by the posh prisoner, Rexus of House Bormul. The letter stated his intent to serve as a spy and agent within The Seatower of Balduran for Duke Torlin Silvershield. The party agreed to pass this note along to Ulder Ravengardthrough the cat-dish deadrop.
Meanwhile, the party investigated leads into Bhaal cult activity, finding that Silvershield had already sent agents among the religious shrines of The Twinsongs District ostensibly to root out any supporters of the dead god – but more likely to spy on quite worldly opponents. J’ah Kreature made quite a name for himself in the Outer City slums, spending his wealth on the downtrodden and poor.
Alan Whitcomb joined Aldric at The Unrolling Scroll – Temple of Oghma to see what the Loremaster Most High Brevek had to say about recent goings on. The high priest had his own agenda: which included establishing a controlling share of space in the High House of Wonders. Alan was offered lodging at the temple, as well as a space on the crammed public forum schedule.

News began to filter in of petty acts of vandalism, and Tellus caught wind of a Guild plot to vandalize several of the statues around Baldur’s Gate. For the time, the party failed to deter their patron from proceeding with the citywide vandalism. Rilsa believed the incensed populous would turn on the patriars and Flaming Fist, and indeed, most of the Grafitti found int he city spoke out against authority. In response, the Fist began to abuse and eject outer city dockhands in suspicion that they were responsible for the destructive acts. Kreature, Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion, and Pelagornis confronted a patrol of Flaming Fist soldiers about to continue with these orders, but talked the overzealous mercenaries out of their abuse. When word of their disapproval traveled amongst the Fist, the practice ceased.

But the rash of vandalism spiraled out of control – this time with the defacing of the “Beloved Ranger” statue of the warrior Minsc. His hand (and hamster) missing, the citizens were furious. The party was approached by he man responsible for rectifying the situation: the Master of Cobbles and Roads, Esgurl Nerthammas. The up-and-coming young noble had a grim task: to find the culprits and put them to the sword to save the city the expense of a trial.

Consulting with Rilsa, the party discovered that Guild spies had a strong lead on potential culprits: a group of suspiciously missing Patriar youths, including the second son of House Bormul. Tellus Casavir followed the trail of the young vandals closely, and in spite of outrageous bribes to the lamplass kingpin Tilda Dunbeigh, he located the noble criminals at a potter’s shop on the south of Wyrm’s Bridge.

On the east side of the city, Nibbs and Pelagornis, hard at work on the second of three days developing a grappling hook attachment of the iron knight, received word from Tellus that the vandals were caught. On the other side of the city, a similar missive was sent to J’ah and Alan as the guarded the last remaining statue in that was yet to be harmed. While waiting for word, they attended a puppet show depicting the party’s heroics during the attack on Founder’s Day, and discovered that a posh elf named Coran had some interest in them.

Our heroes got the messages, and convened on the potter’s shop, deciding to rough up the rascally young nobles, fleece them of their valuables, and send all but Bryce Bormul home. Bormul was intimidated and blamed for the crime, threatened by the presence of his family’s old enemies, the Sandersis, and tied to The Beloved Ranger with his pants pulled down, make-up smeared on his face, and the missing hand tied round his neck. He was quickly found by the Watch, whose shouts attracted Patriar revelers. Though the crowd wanted blood, our heroes calmed the furious citizens, who settled for the boy’s public humiliation and arrest, much to Rael’s delight. Having essentially carried out the otherwise gruesome assignment of the Master of Cobbles and Roads, our heroes were richly reward for the completion of this duty and the return of the various statue’s missing hands.

Now called “The Heroes of Baldur’s Gate” by the local news outlet Baldur’s Mouth, our heroes began plotting their next moves while they waited to see what new disasters would befall the city. The possibility of cult activity un the undercity attracted our heroes attention. Meanwhile, a sanitation strike, and an outrageous Upper City curfew went into effect.

A note from Ulder Ravengard summoned the heroes to a discreet meeting at a Seatower district bathouse. What their vice handler wanted, the party could not say – but their conflicted loyalties and moral steadfastness made choosing who to aid a difficult task indeed.

While cult leads seemed cold, the political landscape -now including Ulder Ravengard vying for Dukedom and Tellus father campaigning for a place on the Parliament of Peers – was heating up. The city was far from free of danger.

REWARDS
EXP 55
GP 106

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Prisoners of the Seatower Dungeon
Chapter 1 — Session 2

Our heroes interrogated Abdel’s assassins and informed their spymaster, Ulder Ravengard that their questioning pointed to the Guild…leaving out any mention of the Bhaalspawn, prophecy, or the ominous “Sundering.” Having concluded their inquest, the plan to incarcerate our heroes in order to gain Guild favor went into effect. Ulder Ravenguard assured them he would afford what advantages he could – but for the ruse to work, they must be treated as roughly as any other dangerous criminals.

Immediately tempers flared as a half-orc Guild operative named Rand the Butcher spouted threats at our heroes. Unwilling to be cowed by the brute, they struck back quickly, and a brawl ensued that got them moved to an adjacent cell, while cementing a deadly rivalry with green-skinned felon.

Intimidation, theft, subterfuge, and the flashing of shivs carried the day as our heroes struggled to thrive in their cramped quarters. During their first evening, the party was brought before an influential inmate by the name of Rexus, of House Bormul. The stately inmate had a lavish cell fit for a prince, and commended the heroes on their actions during The Founder’s Day Massacre. He approached them with a business deal: offering to aid them in the future if they would deliver a sealed letter to the mage Imbraylm Skoond in order for it to reach Duke Torlin Silvershield. The party agreed with some reservations and the letter was kept with their belongings, while Pelagornis fumed at the encounter…literally.

Abuses in the form of urination nearly began another brawl that night. By the morning, Rexus’ influence managed to get Tellus moved to a posh cell in the upper prison, while the others nervously ate their bland grits during tense meals. It was here that one inmate planted another’s prized possession on Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion – at the behest of Rand.

Later, the prison’s enchanter jailor, Casondra Fairweather removed Alan Whitcomb from the cell and bid him to play for her. Though his recital was rough, he managed to charm the surprisingly lovely young mage, who was intent on using her station to arrange a romp with the imprisoned spy. He was willing, and thus gained valuable information about the danger to come,

Against their superior’s wishes (and the city’s laws) the jailors held and bet on bare-knuckle (theoretically) brawls between inmates. Wagers were made by all, (even the warden, Nordir Samulkin) and the fight was on. The Flaming Fist guards arranged the matches in order to be somewhat fair, or to exploit rivalries and further divide the inmates. Aldric Longbeard shamed the sociopathic tiefling Darkstar, Nibbs survived his bout with ravening rats by tossing one of his squealing opponents into the crowd of guards – earning some respect amongst the inmates, Alan was unfortunately defeated by a vicious dwarf brawler, while J’ah Kreature and Pelagornis demolished their competitors – including the vengeful Rand.

Finally, one of the Guild agents within their cell spoke up. She had learned through a corrupt guard that Rilsa Rael still hoped for them to join her faction, and set a task at their feet: to eliminate one of her own operatives, the out of control half-orc.

During their supposed last day in the prison, all hell broke loose. Rand executed a prison riot in an attempt to murder the warden, Nordir Samulkin and bring the guards to heel. With the aid of an old brigand trained in the art of magic, and a corrupt guard, he struck, sending his entire gang against the guards. Fortunately, our heroes were there to strike back, while the other inmates watched from the safety of their cells. In a flash, the battle was over as Alan drove one of Pelagornis’ crossbow bolts deep into the lungs of the sputtering half-orc brigand.

The heroes avoided any repercussions thanks to Ulder Ravenguard’s timely arrival. They were “cleared of charges,” recovered their equipment, and were set loose – to take the long walk back to shore, eager to find out what had transpired in the city during their last three days int he lightless dungeons of the Seatower of Balduran.

REWARDS:

EXP: 100 per player (after calculating combat, difficulty, quest, and social encounter rewards)
GP: Ulder Ravenguard left a 40gp stipend in each character’s pack before seeing them out of the Seatower.

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The Founder's Day Massacre
Introduction and Chapter 1 — Session 1

Fate conspired to have our heroes arrived in Baldur’s Gate at precisely the worst time: during the Founder’s Day celebrations. Pushing their way through the crowds with the assistant of the halfling butler, Chase Ginblossom, they sought out their patron, the hero of Baldur’s Gate, Duke Abdel Adrian. Eventually they tracked the Duke down to THE Gate itself, where a large podium was elected to support the speeches and musicians who would perform during the festivities.

In the meantime our heroes took in the sights: freeing exotic birds and learning more about one another and the city that would serve as their home while they were on retainer to the beloved Duke. The day was going quite well as Abdel took the stage to give the innaugural Founder’s Day speech…when all hell broke lose…

Assassin’s appeared from the rooftops, firing into the crowd and at Abdel. As if in a trance, the born leader and veteran of uncountable battles with mortal and otherworldly foes simply swayed indecisively, searching the crowd for some unseen presence.

Our heroes leapt into action, killing (or in the case of the peace-minded incapacitating) assassins firing from above, and concealed in the crowd below. Amidst the tumult civilians fled the scene, with an escaping lower city woman, and the daughter of a Patriar retainer being rescued during the melee, whilst a halfling sneak-thief used the tumult to loot a jeweler’s stall.

While the Watch attempted to subdue the snipers, the few Flaming Fist soldiers present were legally bound not to interfere and did little to aid our heroes until they were directly attacked.

Finally, a cowled man called Viekang emerged from the crowd and confronted Abdel as Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion and the ironclad paladin reached the Duke. Viekang, a fellow Bhaalspawn and thus, half-brother to the Duke exchanged words before crossing swords with the severely wounded hero. This villain was what the Duke was searching for amidst the crowd – a foe long thought dispatched. Despite feeling the bite of warforged steel and bolt, Viekang used his sorcery to evade death, and dealt the felling blow to Abdel.

No sooner had he slain the Duke – Viekang began a grotesque transformation that earped and destroyed his body, forcing him to become the Bhaalspawn Slayer, a creature of Bhaal’s legacy. Despite the beast’s lashing claws and gnashing, poison drenched fangs, our heroes succeeded in felling the monstrosity. A wave of blood mist erupted from the creature’s twisted body and signaled the end of the melee.

With the danger over and Abdel dead it was difficult to pick up the pieces. Hailed as heroes, the party was congratulated by the masses, and swiftly approached by the city’s most powerful and ambitious persons: Imbraylm Skoond arranged a meeting with his employer, the venerable statesman and holy man, Duke Torlin Silvershield. Likewise, the party was invited to hear an offer from Abdel’s second-in-command of the The Flaming Fist, the hard-bitten Ulder Ravengard. In disguise, the Guild agent Rilsa Rael warned the party of the other two would-be patrons and offered to meet them with alternate terms.

Agree to divide into teams of two, our heroes heard out each faction in turn and weighed their motivations, their dedication to the city, and their potential involvement in Abdel’s assassination.

Having met with each potential patron and conferring in the quiet of Abdel’s spartan Upper-City manse; a scheme was hatched. The heroes would offer to work for Ulder Ravenguard as undercover agents among the Guild, feeding the Fist information and foiling Guild operations from within. To preserve their cover (and retain the option to switch sides) they planned to act as triple-agents, feeding the Fist false or weak leads and moving their troops in ways favorable to Guild business. It was a dangerous game for a vice squad to play. And passing off the ruse meant paying their dues.

Before enacting the plan some research was done at Abdel’s mansion to get a clearer picture of the danger at hand. Clearly the reverberations of the Time of Troubles and the Bhaalspawn Incident were rocking Baldur’s Gate in the modern day, and causing Abdel to have doubts that he truly locked away Bhaal’s essence forever.

During the night, J’ah witnessed Alan meeting with one of his contacts, the Dragonborn paladin, Biri.

In the morning the plan was set in motion. Ulder Ravenguard agreed to the plot and our heroes were “arrested” in a lively (if somewhat staged) fracas. Carted through the streets and accused of being Guild agents, the adoration of the city would be short lived. Before being thrown into general lock-up in order to earn cred among incarcerated Guild members, our heroes took the liberty of interrogating the captured assassins. With spells, torture, and deception, they discovered that Viekang believed he could still achieve control of Bhaal’s essence by hunting down and killing Abdel Adrian. One of the assassin’s revealed that Viekang had premonitions that he would be “Bhaal’s Chosen” when “The Sundering” came to pass. This might explain the villain’s sudden change of heart and interest in striking down his long-lost half-brother. What all that truly means, is anyone’s guess.

Digging into “The Sundering” must wait for the time being. The scheme is to keep our heroes locked up for three days before “no evidence of Guild collusion” is discovered. Assuming they can survive hard time in the prison beneath the Flaming Fist headquarters…

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