Baldur's Gate: Vice

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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