Waterdeep: Dragon Heist

24 October 2020


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk
  • Gombert

The characters, none of whom know each other, are all present in The Yawning Portal. This inn is well known to be the place to be in Waterdeep if you're looking for work as an adventurer, which all our heroes are.

In the middle of the large common room is what looks like an enormous (and incredibly deep) well. This unusual feature is the inn's claim to fame: an open entrance into the great dungeon called Undermountain. Every couple of days or so, some adventurers decide to be lowered into the dungeon in the hopes of returning with fabulous treasure. Most are not successful, but the ones that are return with such riches that the dungeons keeps attracting new adventurers.

While our heroes are tending to their drinks (or pursuing other tavern-related endeavours), a sailor with a bald head full of eye-shaped tattoos shouts a vague accusation of murder to a tall female half-orc and throws a nasty punch. The half-orc easily outmatches him, but when four of the sailor's friends join in, she no longer stands a chance.

Teppö and Gopher start to even the odds when suddenly, a haggard looking troll climbs out of the well in the middle of the inn. Strange bat-like creatures are attached to its back and several more of the bat-creatures comes flying after it.

The troll starts rampaging through the inn, while some of the bat-like creatures attach to people and start sucking their blood. A great panic arises and people try to get out of the inn.

The heroes decide to fight the monsters. Together with the innkeeper (who is a former adventurer of some renown) they manage to kill the troll and drive off the bat-creatures (later identified as stirges). Teppö is especially effective, though the troll does knock him out.

After the fight, the heroes get thanked by the half-orc. The sailor and his friends have fled during the commotion. Gopher asks what the fight was about, but gets a vague answer.

While people are cleaning up and tending to the wounded, a flamboyant man called Volothamp Geddarm approaches the heroes. He lavishes them with praise, buys them some refreshments, and then asks them to help him. Two nights ago, he went carousing with a friend called Floon Blagmaar, whom he describes as having better looks than brains. After that night, Floon has gone missing. Volo last saw Floon when he left him at the Skewered Dragon inn, where they had been engaged in drinking and gambling. He has tried to involve the watch, but not enough time has passed for them to investigate the situation. He offers the heroes 10 gp each, and promises them an additional 100 gp each when Floon is safe.

The heroes decide to accept the mission and set off toward the Skewered Dragon. They take a dray (a large double-decker carriage that runs along the main thoroughfares) to the Dock Ward and continue on foot. On their way to the tavern, they pass a violent crime scene. Two groups of people appear to have gotten into a swordfight. Several dead bodies lie in the street, which has been cordoned off by the watch. Nine has a polite conversation with the officers present, but doesn't learn much. He does notice that one of the bodies has a tattoo shaped like a circle with spokes radiating outward (sort of like a sun).

Shortly before arriving at their destination, the group notices an odd shop called the Old Xoblob Shop, which appears to have a stuffed beholder in its window. They resolve to pay it a visit after their business has concluded.

7 November 2020


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk
  • Gombert

The group arrives at the Skewered Dragon. The place looks like a ruin. Both windows are smashed and a ship's anchor is lodged in the roof.

After spending some hours drinking beer, eating snacks (the grilled fish is pretty good; the other food isn't), and cozying up to the barkeep and the local bookie (Goran), the group learns that after Volo left, Floon met up with one Renaer Neverember. Renaer is the son of Dagult Neverember, the previous Open Lord of Waterdeep, who was exiled from the city for corruption and other abuses of power. The regulars in the Skewered Dragon call Renaer a "chip of the old block", and "just another spoiled noble".

When Renaer and Floon left the tavern, they were followed by 5 shady men, and none of them have been seen since. The shady fellows are known to frequent a warehouse on Candle Lane that is marked with a snake symbol on the door. The party decides to check it out.

Candle Lane turns out to be a narrow, smelly, gloomy, odorous alley. As it usual for the Dock Ward, all street lamps are vandalized. One candle-like light still shines, though: a continual flame spell that some wizard must have cast on one of the streetlamps.

Fortunately, the warehouse the heroes are looking for turns out to be just opposite this light. The snake-like symbol turns out to depict a winged snake. Nine realizes that this is the symbol of the Zhentarim, a mercantile organization that has a reputation for dealing in various illicit goods and services.

The warehouse stands across a fenced off outer yard. It is two stories tall and rather ramshackle. Its windows are painted over. There is a large loading door and a regular door with a sliding peephole.

It doesn't take the party very long to find out that the gate in the fence isn't locked. The door is though. While the rest of the party deliberates, Nine masterfully picks the lock and slips inside.

Inside the warehouse is a big mess. Tables and chairs have been carelessly tossed across the floor. The corpses of a dozen humans lie along the walls. After a few moments, Nine is assaulted by 5 short, avian creatures with long beaks and black feathers. They have human postures and and wear hooded cloaks and wield short swords.

A vicious fight ensues. Strangely, the avian creatures (which are later realized to be Kenku) speak with voices that sound variously like big men, old women, children, and more. The party eventually subdues the creatures. Once again, Teppö is highly effective, but gets knocked out. After the fight, Gopher scolds Nine for going in without deliberating with the rest of the group. Nine says he's sorry.

Searching the place, the party discovers Renaer hiding in a closet beneath the stairs. He claims that Floon and he were kidnapped by Zhentarim. He thinks they may have mistaken Floon for him, as the man is of little consequence.

Five of the corpses have a black tattoo of a winged snake. One of the others has a tattoo of a circle with radiating spoken. Nine realizes that it is the same tattoo he saw at the crime scene.

Askenaz finds a hidden room that contains two wooden crates. (When the room is opened, tiny bells in the office on the second floor ring.) Each crate is marked as belonging to a merchant house. The first contains four painting wrapped in leather. The second contains 15 10-pound silver trade bars, black with corrosion, but still highly valuable.

At this point, a shout of "This is the Watch!" is heard near the entrance, followed by the stomping of many boots.

28 November 2020


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Dirk
  • Eve
  • Gombert
  • Martin

A large force of the Watch enters the warehouse. Nine goes over to greet them and let them know that there is already a member of the Watch present. The rest of the party quickly debates whether to hide the goods they found in the secret room, but decides to give them up and hope for a reward.

The Watch, who are led by a somewhat stuffy captain by the name of Staget, takes custody of the prisoners and secures the warehouse. Once he notices that a noble is involved, he clearly decides to be on his best behavior and do everything by the book. He thanks the party for their efforts, assuring them that he will overlook whatever small indiscretions they may have committed while coming to the aid of sir Neverember, but insists that they leave the scene and let the Watch take it from here.

The party, Laudes in particular, try to convince the captain to let them participate in the investigation, but he cannot be swayed. The captain can't prevent them from talking to Renaer though. When the party asks him about the situation, he explains that the Zhentarim believe that his father embezzled a large amount of gold while he was Open Lord. They believe that they need an artifact called the Stone of Golorr to retrieve this gold. This artifact was in the hands of the Xanathar guild, but it has apparently been stolen. The Zhentarim seem to believe that he knows more about the situation, but he hasn't talked to his father in years. In any case, the Zhentarim who kidnapped Floon and him were attacked by the Xanathar guild, who must have taken Floon, whom both groups mistook for Renaer. (He gets a lot of gifts from various ladies, and because of this dresses far above his means.)

Renaer, who feels very bad for what has happened to Floon, intercedes with the captain, and the party are allowed to talk to the captured kenku until the prisoner transport arrives.

Nine and Orlen interrogate the creatures, who communicate only in mimicked voices and sentences. They eventually manage to learn that Floon was taken to a Xanathar hideout via the sewers. A yellow sign will indicate the way.

The party sets off towards the nearest manhole. On the way there, they find several people who saw a bound man being forced into that direction, as well as tracks matching Floon's fashionable shoes.

Down in the pitch black sewers (which smell as awful as one might expect), the party finds a yellow sign shaped like a circle with 10 spikes radiating out of its circumference. This is the same sign that was tattooed on one of the dead Xanathar thugs in the warehouse. Going in the direction of this sign, the party navigates the labyrinthine network for over an hour, each time encountering a similar yellow sign when a choice in direction has to be made.

Below another manhole, a grapefruit-sized floating creature with a large central eye, razor sharp teeth, and 4 eyestalks attacks them. While mimicking the voices of the party in a somewhat high pitched mocking voice, the creature races at them, all the while shooting magical rays from its eyes. One ray strikes Askenaz and makes him feel strangely sympathetic towards the creature. Another strikes Nine and makes him recoil in fear.

Orlen blasts the creature with eldritch energy, and Nine pulls a gun from a compartment in his leg, blowing the creature into a million bits of blood and gore. Askenaz studies the remains and determines that it is likely a "gazer"; a small and fairly dim witted type of beholder which may have a psychic tie to the beholder that created it.

The party debates whether to retreat, but decides to press on.

The sign now directs them through a tunnel filled with a foot of putrid waste water. After several minutes of utterly disgusting travel, the party arrives (from an easterly direction) in a circular room with tunnels going off to the north and south. A ledge with a stone door is visible to the west. Alarmingly, so are arrow slits in the north western and south eastern walls.

12 December 2020


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk
  • Gombert

Gopher eats some moss and mushrooms that he finds growing around. He doesn't like the taste of the moss, but the mushrooms are okay. The party spends much time sneaking around near the arrow slits. They do not find any Xanathar sign and eventually stop being sneaky.

After checking for traps and such, the stone door is opened, revealing a short corridor going north. At the end is another arrow slit and a door in the west wall. Teppö sneaks to the arrow slit and hears some high-pitched snoring. He takes a look and spots a goblin. When the party fails to stay sneaky, the goblin awakens, but he is quickly felled by an arrow from Teppö and some magical flames from Gopher.

Nine spots a trap on the door. It is a mouse trap. Presumably they are quite a problem here in the sewers.

On the other side of the door, the party finds a sort of supply room to the south, and a corridor going north. The supply room contains only rusted weapons and other junk. Some clothing here seems to be used for travelling through the sewers. The corridor north ends on a fight of stairs going down. To the east is an open room containing the recently killed goblin. The north-western arrow slit in the sewers also connects to this room.

The party goes down the stairs. After a little while, the corridor turns to the east and opens into a room containing six human-sized straw mattresses. The east wall has a wooden door. When the party listen at the door, they hear what sounds like furniture being moved, and two male voices arguing. One voice sounds like a dwarf. The other, who exclaims that "It's no use. Use the blankets!" sounds an awful lot like the sailor with the eye tattoo, who started the fight in The Yawning Portal.

The group quietly enters the room, totally unnoticed by arguing sailor and his duergar companion. The dwarf is busy barricading a door in the eastern wall. In the same wall, but a bit to the south is another wooden door. The room is otherwise similar to the previous one, containing six straw mattresses.

The party asks the two if they can be of assistance. The duo is very surprised. The sailor is unsure of what to do, but his dwarven companion charges the party. A nasty fight develops. The sailor appears to be an excellent shot with his bow, and the dwarf magically enlarges himself, after which he strikes a terrible blow with his war pick. The party kill the dwarf, after which the sailor flees through the southern door. Behind this door is a corridor going south, eventually ending in stairs going up. The party shoots the sailor dead before he can ascend the stairs.

Though they are now quite wounded, the group is in no immediate danger and quite curious why the two were barricading the northern door. Teppö gets down flat on the floor to look under the door. He spots a small room with a hole in the floor, some pitted weapons of goblinoid design, and bones that seem to float in the air. Before he has much of a chance to think about the situation he is struck by a semi-translucent pseudopod that slithers under the door. The appendage hits him with quite a lot of force, and even worse, is highly caustic! The unfortunate gnome is rendered unconscious, and may soon become engulfed by more of the slimy creature.

Pulling the gnome away from the ooze could be disastrous if the creature manages to hit him while he is unable to defend himself. The party instead try to kill the creature as quickly as possible. They manage to do so before it can make another attack. Askenaz gathers some of the ooze in some glass flasks.

Battered and worn out, the group wants to get out of the area to rest and recuperate. Askenaz decides to first listen at the bottom of the stairs that the sailor fled toward. When he arrives there, he sees the characteristic light of flames, and he hears a man cry out in pain. The group was about to leave, but with this news decide to risk taking a look at the top of the stairs.

Orlen and Nine, being less wounded than Teppö and Gopher, ascend the stairs. They see a robed half-orc with flames dancing around his fingers standing over a terribly wounded man matching Floon's desciption. Even more disconcerning is a horrendous being with purple tentacles coming from his face. The otherwise humanoid creature is dressed in black robes and seated on a sort of throne. It spots the party, calmly puts a creature resembling a brain with clawed feet on the ground, and glides through a set of double doors in the west of the room. The brain-creature runs towards to party with tremendous speed. It seems confused by Nine and decides to jump Orlen, attacking him with its claws and some sort of mind attack.

The party is absolutely terrified and withdraws. While doing so, Nine takes an incredibly lucky shot with his pistol on the brain-creature and blows it to bits. The casters exchange bolts of magic with the half-orc and take him down, enabling Floon to flee with the party.

The group leaves the sewers via the manhole where they previously encountered the gazer beholder. It opens into the cellar of The Spouting Fish tavern. Askenaz uses magic to clean the party. A flabbergasted waitress shows the party out.

Back at The Yawning Portal Inn, Volo is immensely releaved to see Floon again. (As is Renaer when he arrives after being notified by a messenger.) He pays a resident healer to perform magical first aid on the party, but afterward has to confess that his finances are not sufficient to pay the party the 100gp per person reward that he has promised them. He instead offers them something which he claims to be far more valuable: the deed to a manor in Waterdeep's exclusive North Ward!

The building, being situated in Trollskull Alley, is generally refered to as Trollskull Manor. Though it is dilapidated, it clearly was once quite a fancy manor. Volo acquired it for research purposes for his next book: Volo's Guide to Spirits and Specters. It may indeed be hunted. According to Volo, this shouldn't worry you too much, as it would make it a most entertaining attraction.

Volo takes the party to a magistrate to make the transfer of ownership official. The 25gp fee is customarily paid by the new owner. Fortunately, the party has sufficient finances to cover this. Trollskull Manor is officially theirs.

The party advances to level 2.

21 December 2020


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk
  • Gombert

The party explores their mansion. Inside is a big mess of broken furniture, cobwebs, and spoiled supplies. The building certainly needs a lot of cleaning as well as overdue maintainance, but it is spacious and structurally sound. Teppö estimates that it will cost the party some 800 gp to get the manor back in shape.

Teppö and Gopher climb on the roof to fix some displaced tiles. Their labor attracts the attention of a passing neighbor, who stops to meet the new owners and give some advice. His name is Talisolvanar "Tally" Fellbranch, a half-elf carpenter and woodcarver, who runs a nearby shop called "The Bent Nail", where he sells ornate wooden furniture, sculptures, and all kinds of wooden weapons and armor. (Including a selection of bows and crossbows.)

Tally tells the party that the Manor has been empty for many years, passing through the hands of many owners. It was a tavern many years ago, and an orphanage before that. The orphanage shut down suddenly. (It was not run by two gentlemen who only came out at night.) Before that it had also been a tavern. It was owned by a group of dwarves and towards the end they seemed to have fallen on hard times. He occassionally sees one of them walking down a street, but they don't live in the neighborhood.

The party asks Tally to take a look in the building and give them his opinion on the quality of the woodwork. He doesn't see any problems that seriously threaten the structure. He offers to get the party in touch with the Carpenters', Roofers', and Plaisterers' Guild. It may also be helpful to get the Cellarers' and Plumbers' Guild involved. If they want the run the tavern again, they should probably also contact the Launderers' Guild; the Dungsweepers' Guild; the Loyal Order of Street Laborers; the Guild of Butchers; the Vintners', Distillers', and Brewers' Guild; the Bakers' Guild, ... Getting licensed and contracted with all the necessary guilds will probably cost at least 200 gp.

The party buys some (well made) beds from Tally and goes shopping for mattresses and sheets. They meet Fala Lefaliir, an androgenous elf who runs a herbalism shop called Corellon's Crown across the street, and Rishaal the Page-Turner, a dragon born with golden scales, who runs a bookstore (and spell copying service) called Book Wyrm's Treasure. They also see a sewer entrace and a nearby building where great amounts of smoke and steam billow from all windows. They spot two men inside the latter; one with burning eyes and hair that looks like flames; the other with hair that flows as though underwater.

The group returns to the Dock Ward to collect on the bet that they places with the bookie in The Skewered Dragon. The troll won the fight, and Askenaz collects his 1 gp winnings. On the way they stop at the Old Xoblob Shop. The story is filled to the brim with trinkets, each of a deep violet color. The proprietor is an eccentric Deep Gnome. He bought the store years ago. It was already called the Old Xoblob Shop and already had the stuffed beholder in the window. He tried renaming it, but everyone kept calling it the Old Xoblob Shop, so he eventually gave in. The party sees several interesting trinkets, but doesn't like the prices.

Nine visits Istrid Horn in a well-guarded warehouse in the Dock Ward to make one of his scheduled payments. Returning back to the Manor, he spots a building near the manor with a an unusual mark near the door. It is orange and black and seems to depict a pair of cat's eyes. Nine does not recognise it as a gang mark, and decides to let it be.

A representative of the Carpenters', Roofers', and Plaisterers' Guild arrives at the manor. After a lot of disapproving comments about the state of the building, he concludes a thorough inspection. He estimates that it will his guild and the Cellarers' and Plumbers' Guild about 2 weeks to restore the building to the kind of shape you'd want a repectable manor or tavern to be in. The cost would be around 1000 gp, which is considerably more than the party has available.

Orlen visits The Yawning Portal Inn in the hopes of landing a lucrative adventuring job. He finds two jobs, but both seem unsuitable. The first one involves fighting a true giant, which is probably suicide. The second one pays incredibly well: 1000 gp. It would require the party to get on a boat to Luskan at dawn the next morning. The goal is to rescue someone from barbarians in the Spine of the World mountains some 400 miles to the north. The party considers the offer. Nine admits that he is not currently allowed to leave the city because of an investigation that he is not allowed to discuss. It doesn't really matter, because some deliberation, the party suspects the job is a con job. Luskan is a known pirate haven and the job pays suspiciously well.

Nine asks a contact in the Watch if there are some "off the books" jobs that the party might do. His contact might have something, but he needs to confer first. He promises to get back to Nine tomorrow.

When the party decides to go to bed, they discover that Orlen's bedsheets have been stuck in one of the privies. It is hardly a fun joke, so they expect the mansion may indeed by haunted. Their suspicions are confirmed during the night. Furniture gets moved around, doors get slammed open and closed, and the message "closing time" gets written on the wall in what smells like stale beer. The party tries communicating with whatever being is haunting them, but to no avail. They decide that they probably need a priest to deal with the situation, and so the following morning, they pay a visit to the temple of Lathander: The Morninglord.

Lathander's temple is an impressive building in the Sea Ward, the fanciest part of town. It is a three-story cathedral of pink marble, capped by seven spires of copper, gold, and silver that beautifully capture the light of the rising sun. The building is known as the Spires of the Morning.

It does not take long to find a helpful priest. Lathander is a great enemy of the undead, so his priests are happy to provide advice. Although, since whatever is haunting the mansion does not seem to pose a risk to the general public, they will not risk their lives unless the party makes a generous donation.

The priest thinks the mansion is haunted by a ghost or poltergeist of some sort. Such a creature is tied to this world by some unfulfilled need or desire. The party can try to resolve this need, or attempt to destroy the being. The first will require them to discover what it is that the being desires, which may be difficult, as it is not very communicative. The second option may be dangerous, and, depending on the type of undead, may not be permanent.

9 January 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk

The party tries to find out more about the haunting. Gopher hypothesizes that the spirit most likely either wants the inn/tavern to be restored or destroyed. He talks to Tally in the hope of getting some more information. He learns that the mansion used to be a tavern, not an inn. The last time it was active, it was owned by a half-elf, though he was not very involved in the business. The place was run by the barkeep, who was another half-elf. Other than that, Tally doesn't really know anything about the situation. Nine commissions a ouija board.

Teppö goes looking for a budget priest to communicate with the poltergeist. He talks to a halfling priest at Holyhands House, a former mansion in North Ward that has been turned into a temple to all gods. The priest is willing to talk to the spirit, though he doesn't think he'll be able to do much more than the party has already attemped. His rate is 2 gp, which the gnome is unwilling to pay.

Nine visits the local Watch station to try and find if they have any records about Trollskull Mansion. He finds an old dwarven sergeant who used to frequent the tavern. According to him, the tavern used to have good dwarven beer when it was being run by dwarves, before it became an orphanage. He doesn't know why the orphanage shut down exactly, but it somehow involved Waterdeep's mages guild, the Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors, which is unusual. He doesn't know much about the half-elf run tavern, except that it seemed pretty successful until it suddenly shut down. He didn't like the beer as much though. He knows another regular from the old times who did like the half-elf run tavern. He'll check with him to see if he knows more.

Askenaz, who is a member of the Watchful Order, and Teppö go and visit the Order's headquarters in the Castle Ward. On the way there they pass an enormous statue that appears to be slumped on the ground. This one of Waterdeep's Walking Statues that are said to guard the city when it is in great need.

The Tower of the Order is an impressive building surrounded by a fence of green magical force. Askenaz and Teppö (wearing a "visitor's necklace" that will prevent him from entering unauthorized areas) make their way to the archives. The archivist on duty is not allowed to tell them the details of what went on between the Order and the orphanage, but promises to contact one of the mages involved in the situation on their behalf. It will be up to her to decide if and what the party is allowed to know about the situation.

The Watch sergeant pays a visit to the mansion. The half-elf-run tavern shut down not long after the barkeep suddenly died of a heart attack. Though he did not own the place, he had been the driving force behind the business. His name was Lif. He didn't live in the mansion (the owner did). He had tried to make the tavern a social hub of the community, but he died before that had really taken off. His death was ruled to be of natural causes.

Nine asks if the sergeant knows what the cat-eye symbol on one of the nearby houses means. The sergeant tells him that it is the office of a private investigator called Vincent. As far as the sergeant knows, he is a competent fellow.

Gopher tries to engage the spirit in the taproom, with some success, though also at the risk of bodily harm. (He gets a mug flung at his head, which he fortunately manages to dodge.) The spirit rings a bell when asked if he is Lif. It does not react well when asked if he wants the place to be turned into something other than a tavern. When Gopher declares that the party will make an effort to turn the place back into a nice tavern, this is met with unpleasant laughter. The party surmises that the spirit is likely Lif, that he probably wants to tavern restored, and that his death may not have been of natural causes.

Late in the afternoon, an old dwarven woman whose face is stuck in a perpetual scowl knocks at the door. Behind her stands a giant walking construct of some sort. She introduces herself als Ulkoria Stonemarrow and asks to see the owners of the mansion. After the party proves their ownership and express their intent to improve the place, she opens up. She used to own the mansion a great many years ago. She sold it to a group of dwarves who turned it into the first tavern, which was quite successful. They nevertheless ran into money problems and were forced to sell the place.

The next owner started an orphanage. Unfortunately, she turned out to be a hag who cooked and ate the children in her care. When this was discovered, Ulkoria personally led the Order's intervention. The hag was chased out of the city and killed. The remaining children were placed in legitimate orphanages. The mansion was sold to a half-elf who turned it into a tavern again. This was the tavern that employed Lif. After that tavern closed, ownership passed to people outside of Waterdeep, and Ulkoria lost track. She likes the idea of the place once again becoming a tavern, and promises to visit. When she departs, she does so by teleporting away.

The party sleeps in the mansion. This time without being bothered much by the ghost.

During Nine's watch, a winged serpent with a piece of parchment tied to its body comes flying toward him. He raises the alarm, but it turns out to be just a message. A person called Davil Starsong promises a beneficial opportunity. He can be contacted at The Yawning Portal Inn. The serpent flies away after the parchment has been removed.

The party checks it out the next day. They are greeted by the half-orc whom they helped in the bar fight a few days ago. She leads the party to a sun elf dressed in bright clothes who introduces himself as Davil Starsong. Davil informs the party that in the past days, three elves and half-elves have been found decapitated in the Dock Ward. As an elf, he is concerned about this situation, and thinks the Watch could use some help in this matter. If the party manage to stop whoever is doing this before there is a new victim, he will pay each of them 50 gold pieces. The party accepts the offer, and Askenaz draws up a simple contract, which both parties sign. Nine asks how Davil came to contact the party and is told that it was in fact his contact at the Watch who let Davil know that the party was looking for work. Davil declares that he greatly appreciates the enterprising nature of the party, and is sure that there will be many more mutually beneficial opportunities in the future.

16 January 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk
  • Gombert

Nine and Teppö will go to the Watch to find out what is already known about the murders. In preparation, they bake some excellent doughnuts to use as encouragement.

Because Nine is on a leave of absense, the Watch is not supposed to give him any details about an ongoing investigation. Nonetheless, they manage to persuade the sergeant in charge of the case to share some information. The Watch is taking the situation seriously, but so far they have no good leads. Things like a Speak with Dead spell could prove very helpful, but that is very powerful - and therefore expensive - magic, and so far the required funds have not been allotted.

The first body was found 7 days ago at night in Shrimp Street, near Snail Street, which is one of the main thoroughfares in the center of Dock Ward. The victim is an elven sailor whose last job was on a ship that has returned to Baldur's Gate a few weeks ago.

The second body was found early in the morning, 4 days ago, in Fishgut Alley in the southeastern end of the Dock Ward. The victim is a half-elf sailor who sailed on a rather shabby ship that is still docked in the northwestern part of the harbor.

The third body was 2 days ago at night in Fishgut Court, which confusingly is nowhere near Fishgut Alley, but all the way in the northwestern part, near Mount Waterdeep. The victim is an elven sailor from a rather nice elven ship that is also still docked in the northwestern part of the harbor.

The Watch has not found any connection between the victims, other than the fact that they all have elven blood, and have each been killed in the same rather gruesome fashion. In each case their decapitated heads were found near the body. The half-elf had some recent bruises, but other than that, none of the victims had any wounds other than the clean cut that removed their heads. The act may have been done with an axe or a very sharp sword.

The party checks out the two ships. The boatsman of the elven ship is distressed by the situation. He knows of no reason why the sailor might have run into trouble. He only spent a few days a year in Waterdeep. He probably went to Selune's Smile, which is a nice tavern close to where his body was found. After some persuasion, the boatsman would be willing to act as a lure for the murderer, as long as the party will do their utmost to protect him.

The boatsman of the other ship is completely disinterested in helping. The party eventually gives up on trying to get anything out of him.

The party checks out the locations where the bodies were found. They eventually find convenient hiding places that the murderer could have used near each of the locations. In one of these locations they find a small amount of smokepower and very faint tracks of boots that have surprisingly few distinguishing characteristics. In another location they find a singly blue thread. Smokepowder is quite rare and expensive. It is used in firearms, fireworks, and occassionally to cause large explosions. The substance is for the most part banned in Waterdeep, though some people (mostly related to the Watch and the church of Gond) have permits for its use.

The party decides to report back to Davil, and hopefully get some more information out of him. They are once again greeted by the half-orc and escorted to Davil. The elf is quite interested in what the party has found out so far, but claims to have no additional information. He seems sincere. Nine suspects that the half-orc, and by extension Davil, may be connected to the Zhentarim.

23 January 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Gombert
  • Martijn

Orlen, Nine, and Nonagonn check out the area where the first elf was found, to look for the nearest tavern. They find a tavern called The Bloody Fist. The place seems okay at first, but Orlen notices that the furniture is noticeably barfight-resistant, and there are a lot of signs of recent repairs. With some persuasion, the bartender doesn't not remember that the elf was present at the night when his body was found. It was quite clear that he didn't have any money, and he didn't notice anyone following him outside. (Meanwhile, Nine is drinking poor whiskey, and Nonagonn is entertaining a harlot.)

The party gets back together. They don't have much to go on, but they have noticed that victims all seem to have been killed shortly after leaving a tavern. Those taverns are suspiciously spread out across the Dock Ward, so they decide to patrol an area where no victim has yet been found. They pick a route that takes them from Gut Alley to Blackstar Lane to Dust Alley, and then via Three Daggers Alley and Spiderway Alley back to where they started.

When they enter Three Daggers Alley, they are suddenly accosted by three spectral daggers with no obvious origin. The party quickly retreats and while the daggers pursue, they don't do so very far. When they ask a local about the situation, they hear that there is an ancient curse on the alley that occassionally causes three daggers to accost people (or animals) for no apparent reason. It is apparently a somewhat rare occurrence.

After regrouping, the party continues their patrol. In Spiderway Alley, they notice a tipsy half-elven sailor. As the sneakiest party member, Nine will tail him, and the rest will follow at some distance.

After a few hundred yards, Nine notices a figure in a dark blue cloak emerging from a side alley just behind the sailor. The figure is wielding a wickedly sharp looking scimitar. Nine calls out in alarm and dashes towards the figure, chaining his own arm to one of the figure's with a set of manacles. Before the rest of the party can arrive, the figure, who turns out to be a drow, creates a zone of magical darkness around himself.

A fight ensues in which the drow turns out to be a very slippery fellow. He manages to escape the manacles, and uses levitation magic to get on a roof while the party tries to subdue him. This is made all the harder due to the drow taking shots at them with a pistol that appears to be shooting poisoned bullets.

The party finally manages to take the drow down, just before he can make his escape via the rooftops. Unfortunately, they are forced to kill him.

Gopher casts Detect Magic on the drow's possessions and discovers that his boots are magical. They are clearly of drow manufacture. The drow also carried a pistol and 3 full packets of smokepowder and one that is now empty. The party does not find anything else of interest.

While the party is still discussing how to proceed, the thudding sound of approaching boots (likely the Watch) can be heard...

30 January 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk
  • Gombert
  • Martijn

The party decides to wait for the Watch to arrive, though they do abscond with the drow's boots and 3 packets of smokepowder. The Watch takes the situation quite seriously, but with Nine being one of their own (albeit a detective), they are predisposed to believe the party at their word. Nonetheless, they are escorted to a Watch station where their official statements get taken. The whole process takes a few hours, but the Watch is pretty sure that the party did the Dock Ward a great favor, so they don't dig too deeply, and are happy to let them go with the unofficial thanks of the Watch.

The next day, Nine pays a visit to the Watch sergeant who previously gave him some details about the investigation. He hands her a fully typed up report of the situation, with the author field left blank, which she is happy to accept. She doesn't expect the Lords of the city to retroactively put up a bounty for the drow, though she has a little hope that they may allocate some funds for a Speak with Dead spell so they can find out the killer's motives. She conspicuously leaves a set of guard manacles out for Nine to discreetly take, to replace his set which the drow damaged with a gunshot.

The party next visits The Yawning Portal Inn to collect their reward from Davil. Nonagonn recognises the half-orc as a mercenary called Yagra Stonefirst.

Davil is very happy with the party's results, though he would have liked to learn the killer's motives. He pays the party a total of 400 gp. (50 gp per current party member, as promised.) Nine suspects both Davil and Yagra of being members of the Zhentarim, and Gopher decides to just ask Davil.

The elf admits that he is indeed a member of that organization, but tells the party that the Zhentarim of today are quite different from what the organization was like in the past. Two centuries ago, the Zhentarim were determined to take control of much of Faerun, but changes in management have caused the organization to become much more mercantile and no longer interested in conquest and domination. As he describes it, the Zhentarim just wants its members to make a profit and help each other to do so.

Unfortunately, the Zhentarim have only recently become re-established in Waterdeep and there are currently two factions active in the city. Davil is aligned with what he calls the legitimate Zhents, who operate with the backing of Darkhold, the headquarters of the Dark Network. (Orlen notes that they could do with some rebranding.) The other faction seems to want to push the Zhentarim back to the way the organization was run in the distant past. According to Davil, they are the ones who are in conflict with the Xanathar guild.

Davil sees a lot of mutually profitable opportunities in the party's future, and the party would be happy to accept more jobs. Davil offers the group membership in the Zhents. They wouldn't even have to go to Darkhold for the normal training program! The party is rather hesitant and would like to be seen as independent contractors, at most. They leave with their status being somewhat uncertain.

The party uses most of the money they just received to pay for doing the most urgent repairs at Trollskull Manor. Teppö attempts to use the ouija board to communicate with the spirit, but to little effect. He does at one point feel something hitting the back of his head. It turns out to be a folded paper bird with a message written on it. The message states that Renaer speaks highly of the recipient, and that he should see Mirt tonight in his private box at the opera. There are sufficient tickets enclosed for the entire party, but they are warned to dress appropriately.

None of the party member are regulars at the opera, so they have to make some effort to get suitable clothing. Gopher decides to sit this one out, as his appearance is inherently unrespectable. Nine decides to go with his dress uniform. Teppö finds a tailor who makes him a pretty nice costume. (Not quite what high society would consider fine clothes, but pretty close.) Askenaz, Orlen, and Nonagonn each rent some very nice outfits.

The opera takes place in a theater in the Sea Ward, which is Waterdeep's fanciest ward. Both the building and the attendees are a sight to behold. The performance is a tragic piece about an evil dragon and a hero destined to defeat him, but to perish in the process.

The party visits Mirt during the intermission. Mirt turn out to be a large, boisterous man. He tells the characters that Renaer spoke highly of them, and that he is happy to hear that they seem to be opposed to evil. He asks each party member questions about how important they feel the fight against evil to be, and whether they would consider breaking the law if evil hid behind it. If a character indicates that the law or material concerns might be more important than the fight against evil, then he invites them to go to the lobby and order some refreshments on his tab. Eventually, only Teppö is left.

Mirt explains that he is a member of an organization called The Harpers. They are loosely organized, with most members knowing only a few others. All are dedicated to fighting evil, and will, if necessary, use covert and illegal means to fight it. Being a Harper is not, for most, a full time occupation. They cannot pay their members a salary. All they can do is assist each other in making the world a better place. He invites Teppö to join them, as he seems to share their ideals. Teppö accepts, though he stresses that he and the rest of the party are currently quite occupied with getting the tavern up and running. Mirt is fine with that. The Harpers will occassionally ask for assistance. If the party is unable to provide it, then so be it. He does offer to give them a loan. (He is a money lender, after all.) Teppö has to think about it.

Mirt has a task that Teppö can help with. One of the drays in the city is pulled by a talking mare called Maxeene. He would like Teppö to locate and talk to her to see if she has learned the identity of any Zhents operating in the city, and if so, to determine their whereabouts. Teppö accepts, and also tells Mirt all about the situation with Davil, which Mirt is very interested to learn.

13 February 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Gombert

The party spends a relatively quiet night in Trollskull Manor. The next day they are woken by knocking on the door. A lady has come to thank them for recovering her uncle's paintings. (The party found them in the Zhentarim hideout.) She offers one of them as a reward. The party picks the one depicting Neverwinter Night, but asks her to hold on to it for now until the Tavern is renovated. She is fine with this and leaves her address.

After this has been settled, Orlen and Nine head go to The Yawning Portal Inn to look for work, while Gopher and Teppö go looking for Maxeene.

Gopher and Teppö have little trouble tracking down the horse in the Castle Ward, but they need to find an opportunity to take to her without blowing her cover. (Gopher's ability to telepathically talk to intelligent beings came in quite helpful in determining which of the horses pulling the dray is Maxeene.) They discover the time and location where the Dray will park for a bit to allow the horses to feed and rest before doing another round.

While searching the Sea Ward for the dray, they run into Ahghairon's tower just across from Piergeiron's Palace. (The residence of the Open Lord, named after Piergeiron Paladinson, who was Open Lord some two centuries ago.). A human skeleton with his hands raised stands just outside this tower. A small official looking signpost next to it warns that it is forbidden to disturb the skeleton. Teppö goes to investigate and is soon intercepted by a guard who explains that Ahghairon was once a mighty wizard and the first Open Lord. On his death his apprentices sealed his tower with very powerful wards. Centuries ago a wizard tried to break through these wards, but succeeded only in breaking through the first once. His was still working on the second one when the first ward came back and trapped him between the two. Over time his flesh and clothes rotted away and now only his skeleton remains. Local youths liked to disturb the bones by poking them with sticks. (Over time they always drift back together.) Open Lord Piergeiron thought this disrepectful and forbade it. Teppö is clearly fascinated but leaves it be for now.

Gopher and Teppö go to the resting place just before the dray is set to arrive. While Gopher distracts the driver, Teppö talks to the mare. Maxeene tells him that she discovered two Zhentarim. They match the description of Davil and Yagra and took the dray to The Yawning Portal a few days ago. They talked about hiring spies to infiltrate the Xanathar Guild so they could learn the locations of they hideouts. Maxeene has not learned anything else.

Gopher inquires if Maxeene is happy continuing with her current mission. She is okay with it, though she looks forward to stopping. She says that Mirt will arrange for her to get out in a few days. When asked how she is able to speak, she tells that a druid gave her the ability. Life has become more complicated since that time, though she doesn't want to go back to her old intelligence and inability to speak.

Teppö and Gopher take their leave and go to Mirt's mansion. The building is quite fancy, though a bit run down. At first it seems like noone is home, but eventually Mirt opens the door. He is quite interested to learn what Maxeene has discovered. He asks various questions about Gopher's beliefs and concludes that he might make a good Harper. Gopher accepts the offer, and both he and Teppö get a small silver pin in the shape of a harp. They can use it to identify themselves to other Harpers, who will be likely to offer them assistance. Mirt does warn that the Harpers have foes too, and they will likely react badly to the pin. The Harpers are not a rich organization (they are more a loose association than an organization anyway), but Mirt would be happy to give the party a loan with favorable terms if the party could use it. Teppö and Gopher decline the offer for now.

The party discovers that a human called Emmek Frewn means to open a tavern called Frewn's Brews in another building on Trollskull Alley. They don't really know what to make of it.

Teppö decides to do some research and heads to the temple of Deneir, the scribe of Oghma. After answering many questions about Teppö heritage and the things he has seen in his life, they confirm most of the things the party has been told about the Zhentarim (used to be very bad, now morally gray), the Harpers (generally a force for good), and the Xanathar Guild (criminals).

Orlen is approached by a cleric of Gond, the god of craft and invention. They will be testing a new device tomorrow in the street just outside Gond's great temple, the House of Inspired Hands. They would like the party to keep people at a safe distance. The job will pay 5 gp per person if everything goes smoothly and 10 gp per person if things go badly and the party has to do more than just simple crowd control. Orlen accepts the job.

20 February 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie

The party again tries to communicate with the ghost haunting the tavern. Teppö readies the ouija board, Nine draws a summoning circle which he sort of remembers his erstwhile master using, and Gopher burns all kinds of herbs. The ritual doesn't summon the ghost, but does summon some members of Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors, who enter the building casting various water summoning spells.

The ritual did create quite a bit of smoke, but this response seems a bit exaggerated. The party notices a crowd outside and realizes that their competitor-to-be Frewn is among them. It is soon realized that he is the one who notified the Watchful Order. Gopher goes outside and manages to turn the crowd against Frewn, who quickly leaves.

After some cleanup, the party makes another attempt to communicate with the ghost, this time without the summoning circle (which according to the Watchful Order is meant to demons) and the herbs. Teppö is very convincing and gets the ghost to confirm that he is indeed the spirit of Lif. He doesn't think he's been murdered and would like the Inn to be restored. The party promises to make this happen.

The party finally gets to spend a quiet night in the manor. The next day they head to the temple of Gond. (Known to gnomes as a manifestation of Nebelun the Meddler; god of invention, construction, and luck.)

The House of Inspired Hands is a cross between a temple and a great workshop. As the party arrives a bit early, they get to spend some time exploring the Hall of Exemplary Inventions, where they meet with Valetta, a dragonborn cleric. Among other things, they see:

Eventually the experiment is about to start. The party heads outside to Gondwatch Alley, just outside the temple's entrance. A number of clerics of Gond erect wooden prop trees in which they hang real apples. They then bring a sort of gondola on wheels. They explain that this device will revolutionize the picking of fruit. Teppö, who had volunteered to pilot the device, climbs aboard while clerics of Gond hang heavy bags of sand on the device. Then four clerics, who have heavy bits of metal hanging on their outfits, arrive holding large balloons covered with sheets of cloth. The balloons are attached to the gondola, and after Teppö carefully drops some of the sand, the gondola starts to float!

After a little practice Teppö is able to get quite close to the fruit, and with a simple mechanical claw he can pick it quite easily. Getting to the next tree proves harder than anticipated by the Gondians, but after Teppö suggests giving him a pole to move the gondola forward, this problem is effectively solved and the gnomes takes the gondola on a small journey across the alley.

A complication arises when one of the sheets is displaced by a sudden gust of wind at just the wrong moment. The balloon underneath looks an awful lot like a beholder. It has a big central eye and a bunch of stalks on top. Teppö uses his mechanical claw to put the sheet back, but the crowd gets restless. Some people are clearly worried.

Gopher thinks the balloon may actually be some kind of mushroom. He can't put his finger on it exactly, but it seems very mushroomy to him, and he definitely has a feel for that sort of thing. He and Nine try to calm the crowd down and are fairly succesful. One person does arrive with a crossbow to shoot the beholder down, but he is talked out of it while the clerics quickly pull the gondola back to earth and wheel it back into the temple.

After things have calmed down, Gopher asks the clerics about the balloons. They admit that they are in fact mushrooms. They claim they are harmless, but are clearly quite worried. Gopher suspects they may actually be poisonous, and may have brought Teppö (and perhaps the crowd) in quite a bit of danger. He suggests the party's discretion would be well worth an additional 5 gp per person, and the clerics seem to agree. The party gets paid 15 gp per person.

27 February 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Gombert

Work on the manor progresses. The roof is in pretty good shape now, and some of the weaker spots in the walls have been repaired. The party still needs some 500 gp to complete the repairs. They briefly discuss getting a loan, as both Mirt and Davil have offered to arrange for one. They decide that it isn't necessary right now, as they've been pretty successful at making money doing adventuring work.

The party heads to The Yawning Portal to enjoy some drinks and perhaps find some work. The succeed at the former, but not the latter. They spend an uneventful night at the manor.

The next morning workers from the Cellarers' and Plumbers' Guild arrive to renovate the sewer access. Teppö decides that people knocking on the door is unsatisfactory and he crafts a doorbell that plays a simpe gnomish tune on some small steam whistles.

A little while after Orlen has headed back to The Yawning Portal, Nine receives a mental message summoning him and his friends to Blackstaff Tower. Nine explains to the party that the Blackstaff is Waterdeep's archmage. They decide to head to the tower, with a detour to pick up Orlen.

The party heads to Castle Ward, where Blackstaff Tower is located. The tower seems to be about three stories tall, but it is hard to judge, as it is entirely made of a smooth black stone with no visible doors or windows. Nine seems to know where the entrance is though, and when he announces himself a magical doorway appears. He seems a little nervous to enter.

Inside the party is greeted by the Blackstaff's assistant, Atheron. They are lead up stairs, which, surprisingly given the exterior of the tower, has has quite a few windows. On closer inspection, some of these windows show vistas that are not directly outside of the tower, or in which the city is clearly in a different season. The tower also seems to be taller on the inside than on the outside.

The walls along the stairs contain many alcoves with all kinds of exotic and magical objects. Teppö actively refrains from touching any of them.

At the top of the stairs is a large hall full of floating doors. Atheron opens one of these and bids to party to enter. On the other side is what appears to be a study. A fairly young woman (perhaps early 30s?) holding a large black staff introduces herself as Vajra Safahr, the Blackstaff.

Vajra informs the party that she has heard good things about them from her friend Renaer. She has also heard that the party found a considerable number of silver trade bars that are now held in trust by the city, waiting for the rightful owner to claim them. The trade company that owns them is out of business, so in due time the bars will be divided by the city and and the finders. This will likely take several months. If the party is willing to help her with a delicate matter, she will make sure that the party gets all the bars (worth some 750 gp) on short notice.

Nine responds that this would certainly interest the party, assuming the bars will be transfered legally. Varja tells the party that she has in fact acquired the legal rights to the trade company that owns the bars, so it is entirely above board.

Vajra wants the party to discreetly explore a secret vault of the Ilvastarr noble family. She suspects that it contains a set of magic items called the Griffontack of Belabranta. If this is the case, the party is to retrieve these items for her.

House Belabranta is famous for breeding griffons and has produced many prominent griffon riders. Many centuries ago one of their members greatly distinguished himself in the Second Trollwar, which lead to the family being raised to the nobility. To commemorate this, he commisioned a set of magic items which were to be passed on as heirlooms. This set was lost about a century later in an attack on the city by the Black Claw orc horde. The head of the family and his steed were shot down by the orc archers, and their remains fell down among the orcs. After the battle, the Ilvastarrs found the body, but claimed the fleeing orcs had already taken the griffontack. The Belabrantas have always believed that the Ilvastarrs stole the items.

The Ilvastarrs are a slightly younger and somewhat less prominent house than the Belabrantas. They are famous monster hunters and also own culinary interests that specialize in exotic meats. They have long owned a small mausoleum on Mount Waterdeep, before the area was declared military grounds. Varja thinks the mausoleum may also function as a vault, and suspects it holds the Griffontack. She cannot be sure, however, as the place is heavily warded against divination magic, so she has been unable to learn much about its interior.

Varja believes the Belabrantas also suspect that the Griffontack is held in the mausoleum. There is no telling what the consequences will be if they manage to explore the place and find the items, but it is unlikely to be good for the city. Hence she would like the party to discreetly retrieve the items before the Belabrantas have a chance to act.

Citizens are not supposed to hang around on Mount Waterdeep, but Vajra will provide an excuse for the party to do so. The party is to visit a monk called Hlam, who lives in a cave not far from the mausoleum, and ask him on her behalf if he's learned of any threats to the city. If the City Guard stops them, they can say they are on assignment from the Blackstaff. Few would dare to falsely make such a claim, so the Guard will most likely accept this answer. Should the party get caught doing something illegal however, Vajra will disavow them.

The party should expect to encounter magical and mundane defenses in the mausoleum. At a minimum there will be locks, but it will likely go beyond that. It would also make sense for there to be some sort of alarm system, so they should be very careful.

The Griffontack consists of five pieces, all engraved with the Belabranta crest. They include a caparison, a bit and bridle for griffonriding, a ring, a lance, and a griffon lancesaddle. The latter has magical compartments suitable for cpnveniently storing a lance in.

The party accepts the job and starts preparing. They buy a large chest suitable for storing the Griffontack in, and fill it with the kind of supplies that a monk might need.

Nine explores the first part of the route to the mausoleum. The Cliffride road leads to a small number of building that are situated on the northern reaches of Mount Waterdeep. This is the wrong side of the mountain, but it is by far the easiest way to climb up the steep cliffs at its base. The party's presence on the road should not draw much attention, as the road leads to a popular festhall called Silavene's. While exploring, Nine encounters two of Waterdeep's Walking Statues: the ones called The Sahuagin Humbled, and The Lady Dreaming.

The party starts their ascent the next day. The climb is steep and very exhausting. It is especially hard on Teppö with his short limbs.

On the way to Hlam's cave, they go past the mausoleum and take a short rest there. It is an ancient structure, but it appears to have a well maintained lock.

The session ends when the party reaches Hlam's cave. Vajra has warned them to be polite and not overstay their welcome.

13 March 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Gombert

The party calls for Hlam, who comes out of his cave. The monk is not super excited about having visitors over, but he is not unfriendly. When the party announce that they've been sent by the Blackstaff to hear if he's learned of any threats to Waterdeep he responds with: "Evil's twin hides its face for now. Expect that to change before winter's end."

Warned not to overstay their welcome, the party hand over the supplies they've brought (Hlam thanks them, but tells them that they can keep the vodka; Nine quickly takes possession of the stuff) and take their leave.

Back at the mausoleum, after checking for any guards that may be keeping tabs on them, the party starts the search for the Griffontack. Though the massive stone door has a high quality lock in good condition, Nine has little trouble bypassing it. Inside is a well-maintained room with walls full of alcoves filled with ancient urns. At the back of the room is a metal gate behind which stone stairs descend deeper into the mountain.

After an inspection of the room that doesn't uncover anything interesting, Nine unlocks the door in the gate and the party descends.

The stairs terminate at a solid wooden door. The lock here is apparently much more sophisticated, as Nine is unable to defeat it, even after several attempt, and with the help of Teppö. He still must have gotten it mostly unlocked though, as Orlen, despite being a novice at lockpicking, does manage to defeat the lock.

At the other side of the door is a room with a vaulted roof and a few large pillars. In the middle is a low octagonal platform on which a statue of a humanoid figure with draconic features stands. Gopher's Detect Magic spell indicates that the floor behind the door is enchanted with a divination effect and the statue with a conjuration effect.

The party tries to use their (limited) arcane knowledge to remove the effect on the floor, but are successful. The walls are too regular to climb, so they eventually just try to jump across. Sadly, one of the party members fails to clear the distance, though it has no visible effect.

The group splits with Gopher and Orlen going along the east wall and Teppö and Nine going along the west wall. The latter group activates a trap where a double door in the floor opens up, exposing a deep fall onto sharp stakes. Fortunately, both manage to jump to safety. After this incident the group is very careful in case of further traps. They tie themselves together with rope and use 10 foot poles to check the floor. In this way they uncover two more traps. One that is almost exactly the same as the first trap, and another one that is much smaller near the south-eastern opening.

When the party jumps across this latter trap, they get accosted by four watchspiders. These large and fairly intelligent (similar to a dog) spiders are originally from the island of Tharsult. Nobles along the Sword Coast buy trained specimens to guard cellars and vaults and such.

The four spiders are almost too much for the party. Several party members quickly get stuck in webs shot by the spiders, and the beasts have nasty bites with a potent poison. Gopher goes down, but is revivied by Teppö. Unfortunately, the spiders then manage to take Orlen and the gnome down. Nine is stuck in webbing and about to get knocked out, but he and the heavily wounded Gopher manage to take out the last of the spiders.

After some emergency healing, the party explores the southern room. It is mostly empty, but the floor is strewn with a great number of bones. Many of these are clearly of humanoid origin. Nine searches for secret doors. He doesn't find any, but he does find various coins among the bones (5 gp total).

Gopher has the inspired idea to check the untriggered trap for secrets. The party triggers it and finds that while it still has a deep pit, it doesn't have any spikes. Nine investigates and discovers a secret door in the wall near the bottom. Behind this door is a narrow corridor going east and then bending sharply north. At the end of this is a carving of a grotesque visage, illuminated by a flickering torch in the wall. The visage has an outstretched tongue on which lies a dark black tome. Though Gopher's Detect Magic spell has long since ended, there is clearly magic involved here, likely of a dark kind.

Teppö recognizes the visage as a depiction of Gormauth Souldrinker; an aspect of the dark deity Gargauth. This is a mysterious demigod of greed and betrayal who is rumoured to have once been an archdevil before ascending to godhood ages ago. The deity has fallen silent in recent decades for unknown reasons.

Gopher, Orlen, and Nine want nothing to do with the tome, but Teppö can't resist taking a look at the title. He doesn't get a chance to do so, however, for as soon as he rounds the corner, he is stuck by a terrible fear.

The party returns to the area near the statue. After investigating the platform, Teppö discovers that it can be rotated around an axis at the western end. It can rotate in both directions, but signs of wear indicate that it has mostly been rotated counterclockwise.

With great effort the party manages to rotate it ever so slightly counterclockwise. As soon as there is any movement, the statue on the platform starts to animate. The party immediately flees up the stairs, making some effort to jump over the area affected by magic. Shortly after the party has left the room, the statue returns to its original position.

20 March 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Gombert

The group debates whether to take a long or short rest and whether this rest should be near the mausoleum. Nine advocates leaving someone behind inside the mausoleum. If the divination effect is some sort of alarm, then this person could psy on whoever comes to check the alarm. The rest of the party doesn't like this idea, judging it too risky. In the end, the group takes a short rest from a hidden position that allows them to spy on the approach up the mountain.

After their rest, having spied no people coming up the mountain, the group returns to the mausoleum. Teppö and Gopher jump (mostly) across the divination effect and they start pushing against the platform on which the statue stands. As soon as the statue starts moving, Orlen blasts it with eldritch energy, knocking it into the pit trap south of the platform.

The upper part of the trap slopes, and the statue manages to keep itself from falling deeper, though it doesn't have much success getting out of the trap. Teppö uses a (for him quite oversized) maul to loosen its grip. Eventually the statue drops down onto the spikes, and this demonstrates that the trap is even nastier than initially thought, as a horizontal door closes over the statue, preventing it (for now at least) from climbing out of the spikes.

With the statue off the platform, it now rotates easily. Underneath it is a flight of stairs leading to a lower level with a vaulted room full of frescoes depicting heroic figures capturing dangerous exotic creatures. In the north are short corridors leading east and west. After checking for traps, the part heads west. Behind the locked door, the party encounters a room with a stone bier on which rests a set of full plate armor. Behind it hands a shield depicting a heraldic crest clearly related to that of the Ilvastarr family. Nine recognizes it as the personal crest of Lord Haran Ilvastarr, a granduncle of the current lord. He was a noted paladin of Helm and a ward civilar (captain) of the Watch. During a violent guild conflict, he deliberately withdrew Watch forces from a neighborhood, enabling an allied merchant family to burn the villa of a rival to the ground. This act was eventually discovered, and Lord Haran was sentenced to death and hung. His body was turned over to his family, and it is not publicly known what they did with it.

The party suspects the armor holds the body of Lord Haran and doesn't want to disturb his tomb, so they close the door and head to the eastern room.

When they listen at the door, they hear some very faint noises. They open the door carefully and are greeted by a gravelly voice that strangely comes from above the doorway: "Uninvited guests, I presume? Please do not force me to destroy you."

The room beyond the doorway is vaulted and there are a dozen chests on the floor as well as on tables. Using a small mirror, the party discovers that the roof extends to the west over the corridor they are standing in. They conclude that whoever the voice belongs to must be hiding there.

Fortunately, though it claims to want to be left alone, the voice is easy to engage in dialogue. It states that its name is Qilnax and that it has guarded this place for some 86 years. It cannot be persuaded to allow the party to enter the room, or to take anything from it. The party tries to do so anyway, using lassos, but this results in the ropes being whithered away by rays coming from above the doorway.

Eventually Orlen comes up with a plan and he very defly throws a grappling hook into the area over the doorway by hooking the rope under the lintel. He snags Qilnax and pulls him down, revealing that the creature is some sort of beholder. Nine closes the party's chest (mostly) around the creature, which is now both outraged and much less able to defend itself. It shoots some rays at the party, but gets killed with little trouble.

The group inspects the chests in the room. Ten are mostly the same. They check one and it turns out to contain lots of papers, mostly related to business transactions. The two other chests are larger. One contains the Griffontack, and the other contains dozens of silver trade bars. Orlen suggests the party take a few of these, but the others feel they should only take the Griffontack, as that at least is wrongfully held by the Ilvastarrs.

With Gopher wildshaped into a pony, the party descends the mountain carrying the Griffontack and the body of Qilnax; both hidden as best as the party is able to. They safely make it to Blackstaff Tower, though they are very tired.

Vajra is happy to hear of their success, and to receive Qilnax' body. She is concerned by the news about the altar(?) to Gargauth, but worshipping infernal entities is sadly not illegal in Waterdeep. (Though certainly frowned upon.) She transfers ownership of the trade company with the rights to the silver bars to the party, and offers them membership in the Grey Hands. These are a sort of semi-official security force commanded by the Blackstaff in the defense of Waterdeep. The party accepts, though they make it clear that perhaps at some point they will want to leave the organization, which the Blackstaff is fine with.

After being teleported to Trollskull Manor to save the party a tiresome journey, they prepare for the night. Gopher tells Lif that they will soon have a lot of money which they will invest into the tavern, but they really need a good night's sleep. Lif seems to understand, as he tucks everyone in for the night.

The next day, the party claims and receives the silver bars. They are worth a total of 750 gp.

10 April 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Gombert

The group sets aside enough money to pay for the repairs to the manor and divides most of the rest among its members. They will need more money to get the place up and running as a tavern, but they plan to get that through adventuring jobs. To that end, Orlen heads to the Yawning Portal Inn and Gopher to Mirt, both looking for work.

Gopher finds Mirt at his mansion. The moneylender does indeed have a job for him, though it isn't a paid one. The Harpers owe a favor to an old woman called Urza Solizeph, who runs book store out of a narrow 3-story building on Sorn Street in the Trades Ward. She has called on the Harpers to help her with a monster in her shop. Urza is known for telling tall tales, so it might be nothing, but Mirt owes it to her to check it out, and he would be grateful for the party's help, which Gopher is happy to provide (though he can't speak for the entire group.)

Gopher gathers the rest of the party and they head to Felzoun's Folly, a tavern where Urza is waiting. The group is shocked to find the woman sobbing uncontrolably. She tells the group that she spotted a floating round monster with eyes on stalks. She quickly fled her shop and closed the door and windows blinds, only to realize that her beloved cat Pookie is still inside.

The group realizes this monster might be some sort of beholder, and the situation may be serious. They promise to help and ask to be led to the store. Once there Teppö and Orlen carefully open the blinds, and Orlen spots a floating orb moving out of the light. The group quickly enters the building and closes the door behind them.

Inside is a big mess of overturned bookcases. The group splits up to cover more ground and Gopher quickly spots the orb on the first floor, where it seems to be chasing the cat. The group has little trouble taking it down. It appears to be another gazer, which the group previously encountered in the sewers. This one spoke a little. It said the word "halfling" in a high, mocking voice.

After some searching, the group spots a sewer entrance with a loose grate that would be big enough to allow the gazer in. They find the situation worrying. If more gazers are coming into the city from the sewers, that would be most alarming.

Urza is very pleased with all the party's help. (They even spend some time tidying up the place.) She gives them a used spellbook containing 4 level one and 3 level 2 spells. (Mostly rituals.)

The group reports back to Mirt, who shares their concern and wonders if the Xanathar guild is up to something. As he is often not at his mansion, he tells Gopher of another influential Harper: lady Remalia Haventree. She lives in Ulbrinter Villa, just south of Trollskull Alley.

Gopher meets with lady Haventree in her villa. She is a sun elf who has lived in the area for a considerable time. She vaguely remembers Lif from back when the manor was still a tavern. She also believes he would like the place to once again become a tavern. In any case, she will keep an eye on the party and the manor.

The group also reports to the office of the Blackstaff. The archmage is unavailable, but her assistant thanks them for the news about the gazer. He is also concerned about the Xanathar doing something nefarious. The group offers the gazer corpse to the mages for free, but the assistant insists on paying a fair price for spell components, which the group certainly doesn't mind. When asked if the Grey Hands might have a job for the group, he tells them that he doesn't have any paying jobs, but if they would like to help, then they could check out a sighting of a young bronze dragon in the harbor. It hasn't hurt anyone, but it has frightened some sailors, and the Blackstaff would like to know its intentions. The group promises to check it out and the assistant gives each party member a potion of Waterbreathing to help them in their task. (Including Nine, who doesn't need it, as he doesn't breathe.)

24 April 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Gombert

After chatting with the Blackstaff's assistant until he comes up with an excuse to get away from the party, the group heads to the docks to gather information. The party eventually ends up at The Copper Cup; a complex of a number of connected former warehouses that now serves as a large inn, tavern, and festhall. This is a very popular place, so an excellent spot for gathering information. After buying (and consuming) a few rounds of drinks, the party finds a sailor from a ship called The King of Cormyr, who saw the dragon fly out of the water of the harbor, between the western end of Deepwater Isle and the dock at Sternpost Street. (This dock is where The King of Cormy is currently moored.)

Gopher, having learned from Atheron that Bronze Dragons eat fish and sea plants, looks for a store that sells seaweed. He hopes to use this to ply the dragon. (With fish not being an option, as he considers it barbaric to eat animals.) He ends up at Aurora's Realm Shop in Slut Street. This is an unassuming (though well guarded) shop containing little more than a counter that nonetheless appears to sell almost anything. The clerk magically materializes whatever goods are bought; in this case an impressive selection of various sea plants.

Teppö is worried about the effectiveness of his swords under water. He decides to buy a pitchfork and also ends up at Aurora's. The gnome tries to find out about the system behind the magically appearing goods, but the clerk is not talkative. Back at the manor, he decides to check the effectiveness of his crossbow in the bath tub. The bow fires without issue, but the metal tub deflects the bolt into the ceiling, where it gets lodged beyond the gnome's reach. He tries to get it loose by whacking it with a broom, but this causes the bolt to break, leaving a small bit sticking out of the ceiling.

The night is uneventful. The next day while taking a bath, Orlen discovers the damage done by the crossbow test. He pays the workers to take care of it.

The group eventually heads to the docks, where they unsuccessfully try to borrow a dinghy from The King of Cormyr. They eventually rent a row boat instead. An anchor is improvised out of ropes and a big rock, which Teppö discovers near the entrance of a home. The owner is quite upset when the gnome tries to take it. Orlen claims to be a collector and convinces the man to sell it to him.

The party heads out to the part of the harbor where the dragon was seen flying out of the water. They drop the anchor, quaff their potions, and go down. Gopher talks to a fish and learns that the dragon often hangs around some nearby shipwrecks. When they head in that direction, a large reptilian comes swimming toward them at great speed...

22 May 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie

Gopher pushes a bale of seaweed towards the dragon and contact it telepathically stating that the party comes in peace. The dragon accepts the gift and the group strikes up a conversation. The dragon is called Zelifarn and has decided to settle in Waterdeep's harbor in the hopes of finding treasure in the wrecks of sunken ships. Unfortunately, it seems that the mermen who also live there have already collected any such treasure. Gopher explains that the seamen are quite scared of the dragon. If Zelifarn were to make an effort not to startle them too much, and perhaps help out every now and then, then the party will try to spread the news and try to get the seamen to toss some coins into the water for the dragon. He could become a point of civic pride for the city!

Zelifarn likes the idea and will give it a shot. He is curious about the city and its treasure and asks a number of questions. Nine invites the dragon to visit Trollskull Manor once it is opened as a tavern. Gopher and the dragon are unsure whether that would be wise. After some more chit chat the group says their goodbyes and heads back to the shore.

The party uses the name of the Blackstaff to get access to the harbormaster. They explain the situation and propose the plan they made. The harbormaster is relieved, but is worried that the offerings to the dragon might offend Umberlee, the goddess of the sea, who is often called the Bitch Queen for her terrible temper and unreliability. Once a year, at the Fair Seas Festival at the end of the month of Fleetswake, tithings to Umberlee are tossed into the deepest part of the harbor to appease the goddess. Similar tithings to the dragon might offend her.

The party reconsiders their plan of contacting a number of broadsheets popular with seafarers to publish the idea of dropping coins for the dragon in the water. Instead they think it might be wise to go to the Queenspire, Umberlee's temple, just outside the city. The harbormaster isn't fond of talking to the Bitch Queen's priests. Apparently, they're a hard bunch to deal with. This makes thee party decide to first head back to Blackstaff tower.

Atheron is glad to hear that the dragon doesn't mean to cause trouble. He thanks the party and says that he will leave it up to the Blackstaff to deal with the politics. The party is glad of it.

The party returns to the manor where the work is progressing nicely. There is a discussion about the colors in which the building should be painted. Once of the painters, a gnome called Zollo, asks (mainly to Teppö) if the group has considered installing a water organ. When Teppö loves the idea, he comes with several other outlandish suggestions. Gopher is not amused and nearly chases him off the property.

The group checks out Frewn's Brews. Their competitor is also renovating his buildig, though he appears to do at least part of the work himself. Some ideas for sabotage are floated, but no actions are undertaken.

In the evening the group heads to The Yawning Portal to get some drinks and perhaps find some work. They are approached by Yagra, who leads the group to Davil. The elf asks again if the group would be interested in joining the Zhentarim, which they all politely decline, though they are happy to take on some jobs. Davil happens to have a job right now. A package of potions needs to be discreetly delived from a store called Weirdbottle's Concoctions to a woman waiting at the God Catcher, once of Waterdeep's giant statues. If the party handles this straightforward job, they can keep the tip. The group asks if they should expect others to be after the potions or other problems, but Davil doesn't expect any. The job is time sensitve however, so the group should handle it immediately.

The group accepts the job and heads to Weirdbottle's Concoctions in the Trades Ward. The store is small and full of glass devices full of colorful liquids. It's proprietor, a gnome called Skeemo Weirdbottle, hands a small box to Nine, which the warforged stores in a compartment in his chest. He asks if the group has ties to Askenaz, whom he claims to occasionally do business with. The group admits that they do and he asks that they give his regards.

The group heads to the God Catcher, where they arrive without issues. The enormous statue seems to be sunken into the group. Its right arm reaches for a globe that floats in the air a little higher. A house seems to be built on top of the statue.

A woman in a wide purple cloak sits in the back of a rental coach and seems to be waiting. Gopher contacts her telepathically to asks if she is waiting for a package, which she confirms with a nod. Nine approaches the coach and opens his compartment. The woman exchanges the box for a small black velvet pouch, and signals the driver to drive the coach away. The pouch contains 15 platinum pieces, which the group decides to use to get all the contracts sorted for licensing the manor as a tavern and setting up ties with the various guilds. With a small loan from Gopher, they now have all the startup costs covered. (But not yet the running expenses.)

29 May 2021


  • Arjan
  • Brinkie

The group arranges for all the guild contracts to be signed and paid. They can now run a tavern with the full cooperation of all relevant guilds. The repairs to the manor are almost complete too, so the tavern is close to becoming operational. The only things to be taken care of are the running expenses for the first tenday (some 60 gp or half that if the party does the cooking and serving and such themselves) and of course the publicity for opening day!

Gopher looks into ways of promoting the opening. Advertising in some local broadsheets seems promising. The cost is basically whatever you want to spend. It will require the tavern to have a name though. (For now the group settles on Trollskull Tavern.) The group also looks into arranging for some live music. There are lots of freelance musicians in the city, so the problem is mostly which ones to choose. Nine has some favorites from his drinking holes. The Council of Musicians, Instrument-Makers, & Choristers (often just called the Musicians Guild) can supply certified entertainers for 6 gp per day each, which is a little on the pricey side, but they rarely disappoint.

To cover the costs for the opening and first tenday, the group looks for another job. To this end, and also so Nine can visit his favorite barmaid Bonnie, they visit the Yawning Portal Inn. It is fairly early in the day and there doesn't seem to be anyone looking for a adventurers. Gopher asks Durnan, the innkeeper, to be sure, but the adventuring business can't be predicted and it just happens to be a little slow right now.

After chatting with Bonnie for a bit, they ask her if she might have a job for them. She mentions that a guy called Mattrim Mereg has been coming to the inn quite often, and seems to make a point of talking to her. He asks her all kinds of things, including how she feels about people and situations. He seems nice enough, but she wonders if he's up to something and would like the party to find out if he's to be trusted. Though he doesn't tell this to Bonnie, Gopher suspects the young man may have a romantic interest in the barmaid. A prospect which clearly upsets Nine... (As a warforged, he can't blush, but he gives the impression that he would be blushing otherwise.) They promise to check it out, in any case.

When Mattrim shows up, Gopher approaches him, pretending to both be in on some shady job. Mattrim is confused, but discreetly shows that he is wearing a silver brooch in the shape of a harp. Gopher got a very similar one from Mirt to indentify himself as a Harper, which he now does. He chats a bit with Mattrim, who is trying to advance the Harper cause, but doesn't currently have a job for the party. Before leaving him, Gopher hints that Bonnie might be receptive to his advances.

Gopher tells Nine and Bonnie that he is absolutely certain that Mattrim can be trusted, though he isn't allowed to say why exactly. Nine reluctantly accepts this, but he still doesn't like the young man. When Nine can't hear him, Gopher wispers to Bonnie that the young man would make a much better match than any robot ever could.

Nine asks after Mattrim with his Watch buddies. He has never been charged with anything, but he sure shows up a lot near crime scenes and unsavory people like the Zhents. Nine doesn't like it at all, but has no good reason to harass the young man. Before leaving, he spreads the news that their tavern will open soon. His buddies promise to pay a visit.

Gopher visits Remalia Haventree to see if she might have a job, which she doesn't right now. He asks after Mattrim and she confirms that he is a Harper in good standing. She too promises to pay a visit to the tavern when it is opened.

12 June 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie

The group makes the final preparations to open the tavern. By pooling all their resources they manage to get enough budget to pay for the operating expenses in the first tenday, and do some promotion for the opening.

Nine heads to the Musicians Guild to book one of his favorite performers and a small band. Gopher puts an ad in a number of local broadsheets and arranges a large tent so an additional 20 visitors can be received. (It is autumn, so the weather will likely be pretty dismal.) Gopher also tries to purchase a (violet) troll skull from the Old Xoblob Shop, but balks at the asking price of 6 gp. He eventually barters it down to 5 gp, but that will still require a loan. To that end he tries to contact Mirt. The moneylender is not at his mansion, so Gopher goes looking for him at The Yawning Portal, which he is known to frequent. Mirt is indeed at this place, and would be happy to lend the money, but when he hears what it is for, he reminds Gopher that the party defeated a troll not very long ago in this very inn! Durnan, whom Mirt refers to as a good friend, still has the skull as well as some bones, and is willing to part with them. Gopher cancels his order at the Old Xoblob Shop and even manages to sell the troll bones for 6 gp.

The grand opening of the tavern goes very well. The party takes care of the food and service and does a good job. The promotion seems to have worked well, for the place is packed. Nine's guard buddies, lady Remalia, Mirt, Renaer, the neighbors, and many other familiar faces show up. Even their competitor Frewn makes an appearance. The party makes a tidy profit in their first tenday, which enables them to hire a staff so they can continue being adventurers.

The staff they hire include a trio of halflings. Kelso Fiddlewick is a competent cook, his sister Danika an experienced waitress, and their acquaintance Dasher Snobeedle an experienced barkeep. None of them are guild members, but they (somewhat reluctantly due to the guild fees) agree to join, which will take about a month of after-work training.

Frewn's Brews opens in the second week and the party attends the opening. No expenses seem to have been spared on entertainment. There is even a gnomish duo with a portable steam organ. The interior of the pub is very fancy on first sight, but on closer inspection there are quite a few cut corners. It certainly doesn't seem like guild work.

Dispite the opening of their competitor, business is still good in the second week. But someone does spot a rat running around in the tavern. When the party investigates, they discover a hole has been made in the tavern wall, and what's more: it seems to have been made from the inside, and baited with cheese! The party suspects Frewn, but is also suspicious of the halflings they hired.

10 July 2021


  • Arjan
  • Brinkie
  • Gombert

Nine recalls that there is a private investigator in another building on the alley. He and Orlen decide to pay him a visit and see if he might be able to help with the rat hole situation.

When they knock on the door, it is opened by a tall, thin man smoking a pipe, who introduces himself als Vincent Trench. After asking various question about the situation, he is willing to take on the case for a 50 gp fee. For that he will investigate for a tenday or until the situation has been resolved. Nine and Orlen accept.

Vincent puts on an unsual kind of coat with the arms emerging from beneath a sort of cape, as well as a hat with earflaps that are tied together at the top of the hat when not in use. He heads over to the tavern and investigates the hole with a magnifying glass and interviews the personnel. (To the annoyance of Gopher, who had expected him to perform the investigation covertly.)

While Vincent continues his investigation, Gopher and Orlen go out to hire musicians and arrange for some promotion for the tavern, and also to find more adventuring work. They leave explicit instructions with the barman (one of the halflings) that Nine is not allowed access to the whiskey while he is cooking.

The duo heads to the Musicians' Guild and hires the same musicians who were at the opening of the tavern to play one day in each of the next four weekends, as well as a harpist to play on the other day of those weekends. They also arrange for a duo of acrobats to promote the tavern during their show. They try finding work at the Yawning Portal and at the Blackstaff, but with no luck.

When they return to the tavern, Orlen discovers that Nine managed to get his hands on one of the bottles of whiskey, and used about half of it in his cooking, and the other half to "refill his fuel".

Orlen is still berating Nine when Vincent returns. He has learned from his contacts that the three halflings are members of a gang called the Shard Shunners who operate from the Dock Ward, and whose members include wererats. He has checked their résumés and though their previous employers confirmed the halflings' stories, he is not convinced that they are entirely truthful. They are certainly not the kind of people who would refuse a bribe to embellish a résumé. He will tail the halflings and hopefully find out more.

17 July 2021


  • Arjan
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk

Askenaz and Nine go to Fellowship Hall, the guild hall of the Fellowship of Innkeepers. Besides being the headquarters of the guild, it is also an inn, open once each tenday and serving only guild members. (So they have a chance to experience the customer side of their profession.) They put out job postings for "additional" (really replacement) staff.

Later that day applicants arrive at the tavern. The group hires a young barkeep called Teun Joriszoon, who impressed them when Nine faked a Watch investigation. Rather than fleeing the scene, Teun went looking for the suspects. He is an experienced barkeep from a rural village, who wants to experience city (night) life. Potbellied and broadshouldered, he can pull double duty as a bouncer. He is a guild member in good standing.

The group also hires a cook called Hagar Bloodsausage. This female half-orc may be more formidable than Teun. She doesn't know many recipies, but what she does, she does well. Like Teun, she is a guild member in good standing.

Gopher informs Lif about the sabotage situation. The ghost will keep an eye out.

Vincent return at the end of the afternoon. He has tailed the halfling staff and discovered that they stay at a nameless halfling hostel on Spices Street in the Dock Ward. He believes the place to be the base of operations of the Shard Shunners. Askenaz asks what sort of crimes the gang is involved in. Vincent tells him they are mainly involved with theft.

Gopher wants to make the halfling staff talk, but Askenaz is not entirely convinced that Vincent's findings can be trusted. The detective does warn Gopher not to do anything illegal. Nine spots a barely perceptible start of a smile when he says this.

The group continues to discuss the situation after Vincent leaves. They have not yet decided how to proceed when they hear a whooshing sound, followed by a thunderous clap and the shaking of glass in the windows. When they go outside to investigate, they hear cries of pain and anguish and they see black, acrid smoke, scorch marks, and burned bodies in the alley, just yards south of their tavern.

31 July 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Dirk
  • Gombert

Teppö rushes to the wounded and sets up an emergency hospital at the tavern. Nine stands aside and observes, searching for anyone who might have caused the explosion or is otherwise a little too interested in the result. When he doesn't spot any such person, he eventually starts helping victims near the center of the explosion, where a dozen or corpses lie.

After a few minutes the Watch arrives and cordons the alley off. More and more patrols arrive and a Griffin Cavalry rider can be seen circling the area. After about 20 minutes a City Watch sergeant and a mage arrive and take charge of the situation. Constables start knocking on doors to take statements. The duo personally heads to the tavern where they introduce themselves are sergeant Saeth Cromley and Barnibus Blastwind of the Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors. They ask the group (now also including Askenaz, who had previously been occupied elsewhere) if they have any idea why a Fireball spell might have been detonated just outside their tavern, which the group does not. Barnibus then describes a certain gnome and asks if he has visited the tavern, but the group has never seen this person. When asked if they might have any enemies the group answers noncommitally. Barnibus specifically asks if the group might have had any dealings with the Zhentarim and this prompts Nine to give him a full report. Barnibus has no further questions and the duo leaves the tavern.

Many people from the neighboring community gather in the tavern to discuss what happened and to steady their nerves. The group arranges for everyone to get a free drink of warm milk.

Orlen (who was also previously occupied) arrives. He is none too pleased with Nine rapporting all the party's dealings with the Zhentarim. He goes looking for Barnibus and Saeth, who are still taking statements. He offers them the party's services, but Barnibus politely declines, stating that it would introduce more variables in an already complicated situation.

Back at the tavern, Fala Lefaliir, who runs nearby Corellon's Crown (the building with the greenhouse on top) attempts to strike up a conversation about the situation with various party members, but none are interested. Fala's mentioning of the soot settling down on the plants in the greenhouse (some of the windows were blown out by the blast) does cause Orlen to purchase a ladder at The Bent Nail.

28 August 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie

The next day the party heads to the Yawning Portal to look for work. On the way there they buy an issue of the broadsheet The Vigilant Citizen, which makes mention of the explosion in Trollskull Alley.

At the Yawning Portal, Bonnie is clearly infatuated with Mattrim. Gopher is happy for them and tries to hide the situation from from Nine, but the latter eventually finds out, which causes him to become quite tense. Teppö suspects that if Nine were to drink some water in his current state, he would literally produce steam from his ears. Sadly, Nine never drinks water, and Teppö is unable to persuade him to do so.

When it becomes clear that nobody is looking to hire adventurers, the group leaves the inn. They decide to take a look at the halfling hostel in Spices Street, where the Shard Shunners are said to have a hideout. The place looks quite cosy and pleasant, though the party spots some halflings who seem to keep an eye on the goings on in the street and the entrance to the hostel in particular.

When the group starts to leave the street, they receive a signal from Vincent Trench, who had been keeping an eye on the building from behind a broadsheet with eye holes cut into it. He reports that he has seen the halfling staff from Trollskull Tavern leave the hostel. Interestingly, they and members of the Shard Shunners leave the hostel more often than they enter. He suspects they have a secret entrance, probably via the sewers. He leads the party to the nearest sewer entrance, which turns out to be a familiar one: the one in the cellar of the Spouting Fish, through which the party left the sewers after the raid on the Xanathar hideout where Floon was being kept.

Gopher bribes one of the waitresses, who admits that certain halfling pay them for discrete access to their cellar. The group is now quite convinced that their halfling staff is involved with the Shard Shunners. They are not entirely sure how to proceed, though they consider using violence on the halflings to get some answers.

When the group returns to Trollskull Manor, they find Renaer waiting for them with disconcerning news. A gnome called Dalakhar, who was a trusted and loyal spymaster to Renaer's father, the former Open Lord of Waterdeep, has recently gone missing. When Renaer investigated, he discovered that the gnome died in the fireball in Trollskull Alley. Renaer's investigations have led him to believe that Dalakhar was in possession of the Stone of Golorr (said to allow access to the enormous fortune that Renaer's father stole from the city). The gnome believed he was being chased by both the Zhentarim and the Xanathar's Guild. Renaer believes he was probably on his way to the party to enlist their help in getting the Stone to Lord Neverember. After all, they already saved Lord Neverember's son from the Zhentarim, so they have proven themselves to be competent and may well be willing to help Lord Neverember again.

11 September 2021


  • Arjan
  • Brinkie
  • Guido

The party is concerned. If Dalakhar was assassinated by the Zhents or Xanathars while about to visit the party, then those groups (who already have reason to dislike the party) may well come after them too.

Renaer, who discreetly shows a Harper badge to Gopher, will try and find out where Dalakhar's body is being kept. The party may be able to question it using priestly magic. The group has no access to any such magic themselves and they are well aware of how much clerics tend to ask for their services. Renaer suggests calling in some favors.

The group asks Renaer where Dalakhar might have been living. Renaer doesn't know if Dalakhar had a permanent address. He certainly used to when Lord Neverember was still Open Lord, but after he was ousted, Dalakhar sold his house. The gnome was a very competent spy, so it is likely that he was no longer staying in any one place for long.

It seems to Renaer that the party could use some help. He recommends that they contact a friend of his called Fraggle, who should be willing to join up with them. He is currently staying in a run down appartment over a fishmonger's shop in the Dock Ward.

The group heads to the docks to talk to Fraggle. Renaer promises to return to the manor if he discovers any more leads.

After buying some cockles (which Gopher doesn't realise are animals) at the fishmonger, the group heads upstairs and knocks on Fraggle's door. Fraggle is a young gnome (barely an adult) who has been living hand to mouth in the streets of Waterdeep after losing his family in a vicious orc raid led by a warlock. Fraggle was captured, but managed to escape and eventually made his way to Waterdeep. He is very good at getting into places and also knows some magic. After passing the "orphanage test", he joins the party and is invited to stay at the manor.

Back at the manor, Renaer tells the party that the body is being kept in a morgue at a Watch patrol post here in the North Ward. If the party arrives with a reputable priest, they should be allowed access to the body. (Just because they are dead doesn't mean that they aren't allowed visitors.) All known associates of Dalakhar have gone into hiding. Renaer suspects that they fear to also become victims of whoever killed Dalakhar.

The party still needs to procure the services of a priest. The group has good relations with the Blackstaff, who certainly has access to all kinds of magic. They head to Blackstaff Tower and speak to Atheron, the Blackstaff's assistent. (He explains that the Blackstaff is currently out of town.) Atheron is concerned to hear that the explosion in Trollskull Alley was caused by a Fireball spell and that the Zhentarim and Xanathars are involved. He is glad to help the party resolve the situation and hands them a letter that they can bring to the temple of Oghma to gain the service of a priest that can cast Speak With Dead.

18 September 2021


  • Arjan
  • Brinkie
  • Guido

The party goes to The Font of Knowledge, Waterdeep's main temple of Oghma, and one of the grandest temples in the city. There, they gain the services of a priest called Yasolos, who is soon quite tired of Gopher. He will meet the group at the Watch post early the next morning.

The temple is essentially an enormous library with information on all conceivable subjects, though a significant portion is not accessible to the public. Fraggle hopes to find out if Dalakhar was a mage, but any such information would be in the restricted areas. Nine and he explore options to gain access, but eventually decide that they would be unlikely to succeed. The receptionist does advise them to try the Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors, Waterdeep's guild of arcane casters.

Waterdeep encourages all arcane casters to join the guild, as the organization has a vested interested in upholding the good reputation of its members and their shared profession. They keep troublesome mages in check and generally help the Watch out in situations where some spellcasting would clearly benefit the city. (Such as putting out a fire with magic.) Fraggle had never really given it much thought, but now considers joining.

The party heads to the Tower of the Order, which is conveniently quite nearby. The building is impressively decorated with mosaics (some of them said to be arcane defenses) and is surrounded by a fence of sparkling green magical energy in the shapes of the symbols of Mystra and Azuth. (The goddess of All Magic and the god of Arcane Magic.)

Gopher doesn't want to get anywhere near the fence, and Nine is in no hurry to enter either. Fraggle does enter and joins the guild. The admittance is a fairly simple affair, mostly consisting of a test of Fraggle's magical abilities and the recitation of some oaths. After this, he is allowed to go through the membership records. The last Dalakhar to be a member was a human well over a century ago.

As it is now quite late, the group returns to the manor and goes to sleep. Early in the morning they are woken by Lif, who pulls away their bedsheets (except for Nine, whose hat gets pulled of his head). The ghost leads them to the tavern, where a huge number of rats are crawling across the floor. Nine gets the ouija board and Lif explains that he was removing a stain from the floor when the door was suddenly opened and rats came pouring in. As a Forest Gnome, Fraggle is able to speak with small animals. He gains the attention of one with the help of some bacon. The rat explains that it was brought here in a bag full of other rats. It rather likes the tavern and sees no need to leave. The party, of course, has other plans, and together with Lif tosses the rats outside. They are not quite finished with the job when they have to leave to meet Yasolos at the Watch post. Lif will continue the work.

Yasolos is already waiting at the Watch post. The group has no problems accessing the mortuary. All the victims of the Fireball are lying on stone slabs. Under the watchful eye of the mortician, Yasolos starts a long ritual that will enable communication with Dalakhar. When the priest is finished, the badly burned corpse takes on a more lifelike color and the eyes open. The party had prepared some questions, which Gopher poses to the corpse:

Why did you come to us? You already rescued the son of the Lord; you would now have the chance to secure his treasure.

How do we gain access to the treasure? The Stone of Golorr is the key.

Where is the Stone? I had it on me.

Who probably killed you? Servants of the beholder, or the Black Network.

Where did you live? I had no residence.

While Yasolos and Gopher are questioning the corpse, Nine and Fraggle try to find out more about the progress of the investigation. Fraggle uses magic to disguise himself as a dwarf and pretends to be the victim of a robbery, whom Nine is helping to report the crime to the Watch. Their plan was to lead most of the officers away with doughnuts, giving Fraggle a chance to break into the archives. It works out a little differently: a Watch sergeant stays behind, but Nine manages to persuade him to get the report out of the archives and report the most relevant parts aloud.

The group learns that Fala Lefaliir, the owner of Corellon's Crown, (who had been trying to speak with pretty much all party members after the attack) saw someone take something off Dalakhar's body after the attack, and then limp away in the direction of the Bent Nail. Also, a very distressed woman called Jezrynne Hornraven, who had been leaving the Tiger's Eye, saw a figure on the rooftops whom she described as being not a man, but more like a man-shaped puppet without strings. She claims it hurled something into the crowd that caused the explosion.

The last pertinent bit of information the Watch sergeant mentions is that two of the victims bear tattoos that indicate that they are members of the Zhentarim. They wore leather armor and carried longswords. Very few people in Waterdeep carry weapons, though it is not illegal to do so.

The group heads to Corellon's Crown to speak with Fala. The elf confirms what she told the Watch. She could not see what was taken off of Dalakhar's body. The man who took it was severely injured. He was dressed in dark clothes covered by a black cloak and he carried a longsword.

9 October 2021


  • Arjan
  • Brinkie
  • Guido

Fala saw the black garbed man leave the scene in easterly direction. The group explores this area and checks with Tally Fellbranch, the proprietor of the Bent Nail. After the explosion, he left his store to check out what had happened. On his way towards the disaster area, he passed a wounded man matching the description. There were quite a few other wounded people and as the man seemed able to fend for himself, Tally paid him no further attention.

Further to the east are a passage to a main street and a manhole leading into the sewers. The black garbed man could have left the alley through either of these. The group decides to investigate the manhole. They pretend to be a maintenance crew and Fraggle (who has Darkvision) goes down and looks for tracks. The footpath next to the stream of sewage must have gotten flooded not terribly long ago, and there are clearly several sets of tracks in the sludge. There is also a mooring post that has been used fairly recently. Presumably someone had tied a small boat to it. It is unclear whether this was done by a maintenance crew from the Cellarers' & Plumbers' Guild, or by the black garbed man.

The group goes to the Tiger's Eye to speak with Vincent Trench, who fortunately happens to be in his office. Gopher relates what the party has been investigating and why, and asks Vincent for the address of Jezrynne Hornraven. Vincent can neither confirm nor deny that Jezrynne has visited him, but if she is a client of his, then he will let her know that the party would like to speak to her. He himself was doing paperwork when the explosion occurred. When he got outside after securing the confidential information in his office, he didn't see an assailant. Surmising that whoever was responsible had already slipped away, he tended to the victims. He hadn't noticed the black clad man whom Fala described, but it is quite possible that he was already gone when Vincent arrived outside.

The party asks if Vincent might be able to help in their investigation. He would certainly be willing to do so, but his contract with the group is about to end. This makes the group consider the halfling/rat situation again. Gopher in particular wants to fire the halflings ASAP, but without them they would be understaffed. They decide to send another "help wanted" message to the guild to attract more certified staff.

Fraggle suggests hiring some of his street urchin friends. There are not as many of them in the North Ward as in some of the less fancy wards, but he does know one called "Jam" (as in jelly), whom he brings to the tavern. The boy claims to be 18, but looks more like 13. He is very interested in food and booze, but not so much in doing actual work. They briefly give him a job in the kitchen, but Hagar almost immediately tosses him out for picking his nose while working with food. Gopher gives him some coins for his time and sends him away. Jam immediately tries to buy some booze in the tavern, but is turned away for being too young. Not to be deterred, he heads for Frewn's Brews.

After a few hours, a clearly inebriated Jam returns and warns the group that people in Frewn's Brews are talking about a serious rat problem in Trollskull Tavern. Fraggle disguises himself and takes a look. The barkeep doesn't need much prompting to spin tales of rats running all over Trollskull Taver. He claims that several people, including staff at Frewn's Brews have seen it with their own eyes, but the party knows that this is a lie.

Nine makes another payment at Istrid Horn's place. He spots a flying snake hidden in the outfit of one of the guards, leading him to suspect that the outfit is run by the Zhentarim.

The next morning, Jezrynne visits the manor. The noblewoman (who politely corrects Gopher when he addresses her in a too familiar fashion) is clearly haunted by the sight a number of halflings getting burned alive in the explosion. She describes how, when she left the Tiger's Eye, her gaze happened to be drawn by some movement on one of the nearby rooftops. She saw a figure throw something down that caused the explosion. She describes this figure as having roughly the shape of a man, but being more like a marionette without strings. Its proportions were off and its movement unnatural. Similar to Nine, but more ornate. It wore a wide red hat some sort of garment (perhaps a tabard) in the same color. Some in the party recall having seen similar kinds of construct in the parade on the Day of Wonders; a yearly feast in which the inventions of the followers of Gond are paraded through the city.

23 October 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie

Gopher is fed up with the halflings. He calls a meeting in which he fires them and warns them that they had best reconsider pissing off a band of seasoned adventurers. He does emphasize that the person they are working for has caused trouble both for them and the party. He would be willing to discuss the situation with their leader. The halflings are clearly intimidated and quickly leave.

A middle aged human woman named Sariah Volendeth is hired as a waitress. She is a member of the guild in good standing and seems quite competent.

The group decides to investigate the location where Jezrynne saw the weird puppet-like figure. They buy a 30 foot retracting ladder and investigate the rooftops, where they find markings leading east. These eventually reach a busy thoroughfare at the end of the block, after which no new tracks can be found. The figure likely either entered a carriage, or crossed the street into the walled garden of Jardeth Villa. The Jardeths are a noble family well known for providing trained soldiers and guards. Conceivably, these might include mechanical soldiers. The group briefly examines the exterior of the villa, which looks to be in good repair, but doesn't offer any clues.

Unsure how to proceed, the group decides to visit Blackstaff Tower and the temple of Gond, starting with the former. When they explain the situation to Atheron, he agrees that the figure appears similar to the figures often seen on the Day of Wonders, and recommends that the party continue their investigation at the temple of Gond.

20 November 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk
  • Guido

The party heads to the House of Inspired Hands, Waterdeep's main temple of Gond. When they approach the building, which looks like a cross between a temple and a workshop, they spot a figure matching the description given by Jezrynne on the roof of the building. It releases a metal sparrow in the air, which, after doing a few loops in the air, veers towards the party and smashes into the cobblestones, narrowly missing Teppö. In the commotion, the figure moves out of sight.

The party scatters, some heading for cover, while others head into the temple. Those who went into cover eventually investigate the metal sparrow. It is a clockwork construction and was broken by the impact. The point of the beak is somewhat sharp, similar to the nib of a quill. No poisons or explosives are detected.

Inside the reception area of the temple, Teppö causes a commotion. Valetta, the cleric the party had previously met in the same area, is mostly concerned with getting the gnome to stop shouting. (Overexcited gnomes are probably a common occurrence in the temple of Gond.) Meanwhile, Fraggle tries to sneak deeper into the temple, but is caught. He manages to bluff himself out of trouble by claiming that he was looking for "his dad", Teppö.

Eventually the group manages to explain what is going on. Valetta states that they must have seen Nim, a construct gifted to the temple by a gnomish guild from Lantan, an island well known for its advanced technology. She claims it wouldn't have wanted to cause any harm and was probably just testing the bird when something went awry. She leads the unconviced party up to Nim's dwelling place in the attic of the temple to get some answers.

When the group arrives at the entrance to Nim's room, they find it locked. Nim does not respond to Valetta's orders to open the door, but fortunately Fraggle is able to open the lock. Inside the room is a large mess of mechnical parts and devices. Nim is eventually found hiding among them.

Nim cannot speak, but he can communicate with Valetta in a sort of sign language. It states that it was testing the mechanical sparrow and did not mean any harm to the party. It claims to have no knowledge of the fireball attack in Trollskull Alley. After some persuading, it confesses to have built a companion similar to itself, as it was feeling lonely. This companion fled a while ago. It was acting very confused at the time. Nim has built a Nimblewright Detector with which to find it, but it found out that its programming prevents it from leaving the temple. When used correctly, the detector can detect any Nimblewright (the name for the type of construct that Nim is) within 500 feet. It spins faster when the Nimblewright is closer.

Valetta is very annoyed at everything Nim has done and punishes him by having acolytes take away the things from his room. Nim looks very defeated. Nine in particular feels sorry for the construct and offers to come visit him to play chess. Nim clearly likes the idea and Valetta seems fine with it.

Valetta doesn't like the idea of having a rogue Nimblewright going around causing trouble. She offers a reward of 500 gp. The party surmises that she is probably concerned about negative publicity and pushes her into a contract for 3 mechanical taps with a 10 year maintenance contract.

The party takes the Nimblewright Detector and goes looking for the rogue construct. They start at their tavern and then move to Jardeth Villa. They don't detect anything until Teppö (who operates the detector) walks around the block that Jardeth Villa is a part of. At the other side of the villa, the umbrella on the detector starts to slowly rotate. Moving in the direction that makes the detector rotate faster, they eventually arrive at Gralhund Villa.

The villa and its grounds are located on the edge of a block. There are busy roads on 3 sides and gardens of private residences on the 4th side. The villa itself is on the very edge of the block, with roads right next to it on three sides. It is two tall stories high (20 feet each) and has no street entrance. There is a separate (as far as the party can see) coach house on the side of the neighboring residences. It is one story high and has a large sliding door with a high quality padlock. The grounds are surrounded by a 12 foot high thick stone wall. There is a metal gate in the north-east wall. It too has a high quality lock. (This one is integrated in the gate.) Through the gate, the party can see a small garden with several large trees and two footpaths. One of these leads from the gate into the villa, the other branches from this path in the direction of the coach house.

The party is unsure how to proceed. They ask Atheron, Mattrim, and Remalia Haventree for information on the Gralhunds. They are an old noble family, originally from Tethyr. The family is known to include tieflings with blood ties to Gargauth. (Which probably explains their family crest.) Their main business interests are in hiring out mercenaries and weapons manufacture. Remalia has long suspected that they may have dealings with the Zhentarim, but she has no proof of this. The current lord is Orond Gralhund. His wife is lady Yalah. They have 3 children, aged 10, 13, and 18. Lady Yalah is often accompanied by a half-orc bodyguard called Hrabbaz.

If caught sneaking inside, the Gralhunds could create a lot of trouble for the party with the City Watch. Perhaps the Watch could be persuaded to investigate the situation themselves? But would the benefits of that outweigh the drawbacks?

27 November 2021


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk
  • Guido

The party decides that they want to investigate the villa themselves. Time is of the essence, but they could sure use some more information. As a compromise, they will stake out the villa for a day and a night, and then make a move.

During the day, Teppö keeps tabs on the building from the north west and Gopher from the south east. According to the detector, the Nimblewright is still somewhere in the villa. Gopher eventually spots someone (perhaps kitchen personnel) leaving the building from a narrow hidden door in the south east corner of the main building. Upon inspection, this door proves to be well hidden indeed.

Nine meanwhile pays a a visit to the Watch and learns that the villa is connected to the sewers via a secondary pipe that is too narrow for all except perhaps Fraggle. Even for him, it would be very tight and extremely uncomfortable.

During the night, Fraggle takes Teppö's place. Nine climbs onto a building to the east of the villa. He spots a balcony on the north side of the villa. Despite having a good view of most of the grounds, he doesn't spot any activity or guards. The Nimblewright is still being detected.

Having learned less than they'd hoped, the party decides that they can't wait any longer. Gopher shows the secret door to Fraggle and Nine, who manage to open it by sawing through the bar that keeps it closed. Meanwhile, Askenaz and Teppö are having trouble crossing the street unseen. When they finally do succeed, Gopher enters the villa. Here he is greeted by a grizzly sight. On the floor of the pantry behind the door are two bloody corpses. One belongs to an older male human, who may have been a butler. The other to a younger male halfling, who was likely a cook. Both have clearly been stabbed several times. The sounds of fighting can be heard from behind a door to the west.

After some quick deliberation, the group storms through the door, where they encounter and fight two black clad thugs wielding bloody maces. The floor is strewn with corpses, most of them human guards in the colors of House Gralhund, though a few corpses are wearing black outfits similar to those of the thugs. The sounds of battle come from upstairs.

While the party defeats the two thugs (who are quite tough), Nine signals the Watch by blowing his whistle and firing his gun into the air outside the secret door. The fight then moves upstairs, where four wounded House Gralhund guards are fighting three of the black clad thugs, trying to keep them from entering a room to the east. A female voice in that room shouts that the Watch is coming. From a room to the south, sounds emerge that suggest that someone is trying to smash down a door.

With the aid of the party, the guards quickly take down the thugs. Fraggle checks out the room to the south and spots a wounded, but still powerful looking man clad in black kicking against a door to the south. He decides to perform a sneak attack. While this is successful, it is not enough to take the man down. Though a dangerous fighter, when the rest of the party (and one of the guards) enters the fight, he stands little chance and is knocked out.

Meanwhile, from the room being guarded near the top of the stairs, lady Yalah Gralhund emerges. Gopher asks her about the Nimblewright, which according to the detector has left the villa. She claims not to know anything about that and encourages the party to accompany her guards to secure the rest of the villa. Gopher and Teppö reluctantly pretend to go along with this, but stick around on the staircase.

At some point, an attempt is made by Teppö to chase after the Nimblewright, whose signal keeps getting weaker. Without a clear direction the gnome has no chance of keeping up with the construct and the signal is lost. The construct likely headed south.

Eventually the Watch arrives in large numbers. The party is separated and their statements get taken. Gopher in particular is quite offended by the way the party is being treated and demands to speak to the Gralhunds. The lord and lady do arrive to speak to the party. They thank them for their aid and reward them each 100 gp. Lady Gralhund (who does most of the talking) now claims that the Nimblewright arrived a while ago. The Gralhunds assumed it must belong to a neighboring wizard and took it in until its owner could claim it. Sadly, a few days before the explosion in Trollskull Alley, it took off, having stolen lady Gralhund's Necklace of Fireballs. Each jewel on this magical item can be thrown to cause the effect of a Fireball spell. Six such jewels remained on the necklace when it was stolen. Nine feels that lady Gralhund is not sincere. In any case, the party detected the Nimblewright's presense until shortly before they entered the villa, though they cannot prove this.

As to the current situation in the villa, the Gralhunds claim to have been attacked by Zhentarim. No doubt looking for riches; perhaps planning to ransom the Gralhunds. The party didn't see any markings on the black clad figures that indicate that they are indeed Zhentarim. Gopher finds it quite suspicious that the Gralhunds made that connection.

8 January 2022


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Dirk
  • Gombert
  • Guido

As it is quite late at night, the group heads back to the manor to get some sleep.

While other party members take the Nimblewright detector to various places in an (unsuccessful) attempt to find the nimblewright, Nine bakes a fresh batch of donuts and takes it to the Watch. Both groups notice that boardsheets are already reporting on what they call "The Gralhund Villa Bloodbath". The press doesn't seem to know more than the party already does, though some are speculating wildly. Perhaps inspired by this, Orlen decides to invest 10 gp into advertising the tavern in a respectable local broadsheet.

At the Watch, Nine manages to speak to Barnibus Blastwind and Saeth Cromley, who are in charge of the investigation into the bloodbath. As the investigation is still ongoing, they must decline to answer most questions, though Barnibus does volunteer that the powerful man attemping to kick in the door to lord Gralhund had scorch marks on his black clothes. (The party wonders if he was caught in the explosion in Trollskull Alley.) Nine offers the use of the party's Nimblewright Detector, though he makes it seem that the device is somewhat complicated to operate, so it would be best if Teppö did this. As the nimblewright is connected to two serious cases, Barnibus accepts this proposal and requests that Teppö visits him. Before Nine leaves, Barnibus advises the party to keep some distance from any Zhentarim contacts they may have.

The Harper duo Gopher and Teppö visit Mirt's mansion, but the door is not answered, so they instead visit lady Remalia. She does not know of any ties between the Zhentarim and the Gralhunds, though as both make a business of supplying muscle, they certainly have shared interests that could drive them into cooperation or competition. Lady Remalia is unsure if there are two distinct factions in the Zhentarim, but it is quite possible as the group is not yet very well established in Waterdeep.

Gopher and Teppö wonder if Lord Neverember may have hidden the stolen treasure on Gralhund grounds. As Open Lord, lord Neverember certainly had dealing with the Gralhunds, but he did not seem particularly close to them. Then again, lord Neverember is known to be smart and deceptive, so perhaps they are secret allies. In any case, the group would like to speak Renaer, his estranged son, and lady Remalia promises to ask him to pay the party a visit.

The next day, Nine and Teppö visit Barnibus. The gnome insists that he is needed to operate the detector. Barnibus asks him if he is afraid of hights, for he will arrange for a Griffon Cavalrist to take the detector all over the city. The gnome is to report at Castle Waterdeep early the next morning.

Meanwhile, a flying snake carries a short message into the tavern. It reads "I would like to know more about what happened at Gralhund Villa. If you can spare the time, meet me at Ahghairon's Statue in the City of the Dead at highsun tomorrow. You'll be paid generously for your time and trouble." The City of the Dead is the city's cemetary, but it functions like a park and is large enough to be considered its own ward. clearly, whoever wrote the message wants to meet in a public place.

The next morning, when Teppö reports at Waterdeep Castle, he is greeted by a boisterous Griffon Cavalrist called Jorth. He introduces the gnome to a young griffon called Bronecrusher that has "nearly finished his training". The gnome has some trouble asserting dominance over Bonecrusher, so spends the rest of the morning training under Jorth. He promises to return with his colleague Fraggle after making a quick visit to the City of the Dead.

The group gathers near Ahghairon's Statue, where they meet a female dwarf called Istrid Horn. (Well known to Nine, though he only shares that she is a moneylender and not specifically wanted by the Watch.) She pays the party 10 platinum pieces and asks them what they know about the situation at Gralhund Villa. She explains that she has business ties to Davil Starsong, who has been arrested by the Watch, as have many other Zhentarim. She identifies the strong man in the Villa as Urstul, the leader of the "traditionalist" Zhentarim in the city. She does not know what he and his men were doing there. Perhaps he meant to kidnap the Gralhunds, or perhaps he was taking revenge for something. In any case, this move was particularly brazen, even for his faction. She clearly does not like the man at all.

She asks the party to hide her for a tenday, as she fears being harassed by the Watch. After some deliberation, they decide that if she were to rent accomodation and room service under a false name, they would have no reason to ask questions. She agrees and disguises herself as a male dwarf called Olaf.

Teppö and Fraggle return to Jorth. For some reason, Fraggle has little trouble coming to a working relationship with Bonecrusher.

15 January 2022


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Brinkie
  • Guido

Fraggle and Teppö continue their training. Teppö keeps struggling to connect to the griffon, but Fraggle does well, so it is decided that he will take the first flight. Unfortunately, during takeoff he makes a wrong move and gets bitten by Bonecrusher. Jorth lands the griffon and decides that they had best stop for the day. Teppö promises to bring Gopher along the next day, as while he is "not quite as good with the detector", he is much better with animals.

Fraggle makes a stop at the Watchful Order to buy a potion of Animal Friendshop, but cannot afford the price of 125 gp.

The next days, after some training and with the aid of some magic, Gopher proves to be a competent griffon passenger. The group had decided to first check out the Dock Ward, and it doesn't take long until Gopher detects a nimblewright somewhere on a trio of ships anchored in the harbor. (Not at the docks themselves.) The names of these ships are Heartbreaker, Hellraiser, and Eyecatcher.

The group heads to the harbor master to find out more about these ships. They learn that they hail from Luskan and belong to a traveling carnival called The Sea Maidens Faire. The group hires a small boat and pretends to be recreational fishermen, slightly upset at the three ships being in their favorite fishing spot.

Before they can pinpoint on which ship the nimblewright is present, they draw the attention of the crew the Heartbreaker. They strike up a conversation in which they claim to be entertainers themselves, perhaps interested in working for the carnival. The crew is quite jolly and invites them on board, where Teppö, Nine, and Fraggle impress them with a display of acrobatics. Meanwhile, Gopher strikes up a conversation with the captain, a human named Klarr Besham, who has a pet tarantula perched on his shoulder. Klarr explains that the Faire travels up and down the Sword Coast and is led by one Zardoz Zord. As the group claims to be interested in employment, he directs them to Zord, who is on the Eyecatcher.

At the Eyecatcher, the group is led to a truly extravagant dining cabin, where they are welcomed by a handsome, scantily clad man with bountiful chest hair, who introduces himself as Zardoz Zord. A magnificent feast is laid out on golden plates and Zord insists that the party eat and drink as much as they'd like. The quality is exceptional.

The party now claims to be looking for a "relative" of Nine called Jacques, who is a nimblewright and who is severely confused. They fear he may have snuck onto one of the ships and might cause terrible trouble. Zord reveals that he has recently purchased four nimblewrights on Lantan. He has no knowledge of any other nimblewrights, but gladly lets the party make sure of this. They quickly ascertain that the rogue nimblewright is not on any of the ships. After some more chitchat and an invitation for Zord to visit the tavern and perhaps rent out entertainment, the group leaves.

The group decides to complete the griffon mounted sweep of the Dock Ward. Right at the southeastern end, Gopher detects another nimblewright. It is somewhere in an alley in the nearby Southern Ward. The group enters from both sides and finds the nimblewright, now wearing a brown cloak, hidden beneath a pile of garbage. It immediately puts up a fight, but it is no match for the party. Nine disables it. (As a construct, it cannot be knocked out. It is currently broken, but can be repaired.)

Gopher discovers a map in the nimblewright's cloak. A location in an alley in the Trades Ward is marked with an X, accompanied by the name "Fenerus Stormcastle". The group rents a small cart to transport the nimblewright and heads north to the tavern. Since they pass quite near the marked location, they decide to take a quick peek. When they enter the alley, a cart full of apples comes careening downhill. A young tiefling boy with an eye patch is on top of it and shouts for people to look out. The cart misses the party and turns over. Two other urchins come running after it.

After giving the young tiefling a goodberry to heal his (minor) wounds, the party asks if the urchins know Fenerus Stormcastle. He turns out to be a lamplighter with a scarred face, who lives in the alley. The groups sends the urchins off and takes a look at Fenerus' house. They find the door open. The place is clearly ransacked. A circle with 10 equidistant lines radiating outward is drawn on the wall in blood...

22 January 2022


  • Arjan
  • Ben
  • Dirk
  • Guido

The group searches the tiny house, but doesn't find anything of interest except some small pools of almost dry blood. The blood on the wall is entirely dry.

Teppö visits the only direct neighbor (a bookstore). The proprietress had noticed some noise earlier in the day. It sounded like the neighbor was redecorating or moving. She didn't pay it much mind as she had just started reading a new book. She confirms that the inhabitant is a lamplighter named Fenerus. He doesn't interact much with the people in the neighborhood, but does receive visitors occasionally. The urchins are a familiar sight in the alley. She sees them every other week or so. Teppö pays her to send a messenger if the lamplighter shows up again.

When the group is about to leave the alley, they are approached by a stately woman in an emerald cloak. Teppö and Nine recognize her as none other than Laeral Silverhand, the Open Lord of Waterdeep, daughter of Mystra (the goddess of Magic), one of the legendary Seven Sisters, former Witch-Queen of the North, etc. etc. She is centuries old and a powerful mage. She tells the party that it appears that the Xanathar got to Fenerus before the party could, and that he was in possession of the Stone of Golorr. The Stone is a sentient magical item that can lead one to the treasure that was stolen from the city. She asks the party to retrieve it for the good of Waterdeep and bring it to her at the Seven Masks Theater in the Dock Ward. The party (Fraggle in particular) inquires after a reward, but Laeral will say no more than that the party will have the gratitude of the Open Lord. They also ask why Laeral doesn't handle this herself. She answers that there is much going on behind the scenes and that if she does her job, hopefully none of that will affect the party. When they ask why she trusts the party with this task, she answers that she is well aware of the owners of Trollskull Tavern, their activities, and their capabilities. Nine asks why they should bring the Stone to her and not, say, the Blackstaff. Her answer is that she is the highest ranking representative of the city and therefore the proper person. If the Stone is brought to the Blackstaff, she will just requisition it and the Blackstaff will certainly comply.

Before leaving, Laeral gives the party directions to a nearby Xanathar hideout in the Southern Ward. She believes it to be in a cellar, but doesn't know any details.

After some deliberation, the party decides to go after the Stone, as there is no telling what will happen if they wait. Teppö makes a deal with the proprietress of the bookstore to temporarily store the body of the nimblewright (minus the head, which Nine takes) in her warehouse. He pays well, which makes Miss Shur consider starting a storage business.

Laeral's directions take the party to a sewer entrance. (A rather nice one, with proper stairs and a locked door with a sign warning against unauthorized access.) After picking the lock and some exploration, in which Nine is forced to wade through 3 feet of sewage with 2 gnomes on his shoulders, the group spots a pair of secret doors. The southern one seems to have seen the most recent use, so they carefully open it and sneak inside.

The door opens into an old cellar. Inside is a dwarf working on what appears to be a mechanical beholder. Three armored grey dwarves are boredly watching the work. To the east, another cellar used to be separated from this area by a wall, but that has mostly collapsed. A corridor goes west and stairs go down to the south.

The group has not yet been spotted, but there is no place to hide in the relatively small room. With little opportunity to confer, someone decides to attack and a bloody fight erupts. Nine quickly kills the dwarf working on the mechanical beholder. One of the duergar grows to twice his normal size, while another goes invisible. The noise of the fight causes a pair of goblin archers to appear from the east, followed later by a very drunk half-ogre. Likewise, another invisible duergar appears from an unknown direction, and a trio of kobolds from the south. A gazer beholder doing a mocking imitation of Teppö's demand to surrender shoots rays from behind the mostly-collapsed wall.

The fighting is fierce. Fraggle burns one of a goblins (a suprisingly capable archer) to a crisp and puts many opponents into a magical sleep, before getting downed himself. While he lays dying on the floor, Nine and Teppö still have to deal with most of the duergar and the half-ogre. Nine's gun turns the tide of battle, though it does wake up the sleeping opponents. He even seems to have convinced the now badly wounded half-ogre to switch sides, but Teppö doesn't trust it and takes the giant out with some impressive combat manoeuvres. After this, the remaining duergar go invisible and flee, as does the trio of kobolds. Teppö is in decent shape, Nine is badly wounded, and Fraggle is stabilized in the nick of time. (Two successes and two failures on his death saves.)

The group carefully explores the complex. To the west is an L-shaped room with stairs leading up to a locked door. There are crates and barrels with foodstuffs on the floor, stairs leading down to the east, and a door to the west. Behind the door, Nine discovers a storage room containing mostly furniture, including a liquor cabinet. Teppö manages to quickly close the door, before Nine can take a good look. Some distant noises can be heard behind the door at the top of the stairs.

To the south is a room containing just a fairly big chair. Stairs lead up to a door, and a metal door leads east. The group hopes to find treasure behind the metal door, but discovers only a small room with meat hooks hanging from the ceiling. The door at the top of the stairs is unlocked and leads to a small alley behind a boarded-up house. The group suspects that the kobolds and perhaps the duergar fled this way.

To the east, the group discovers an entrance into the cellar complex, guarded by arrow slits. It opens into the same sewer pipe where they discovered the secret doors. The door is not hidden and is ajar. They also find a storage room containg six empty wine barrels. They surmise that this is where the half-ogre got drunk.

The group eventually explores the western stairs. Behind the locked door they find a small storage room containing brooms and the like and a door leading elsewhere. Fraggle's mouse companion explores ahead and it is discovered that this storage room belongs to a hostel.

Teppö attempts to activate the mechanical beholder, but is unsuccessful. When the bodies are searched, the Stone of Golorr is not found, but the dwarf mechanic turns out to wear a discreet broche in the shape of a harp...

29 January 2022


  • Arjan
  • Brinkie
  • Gombert
  • Guido

Gopher is quite dismayed by the sight of the dead dwarf with the Harper pin. There is nothing that can be done about it right now, so after healing Fraggle, the group decides to explore the northern secret door.

Immediately after Gopher opens the door, he is assaulted by lizardmen that spread a truly terrible stench. (Quite a feat in a sewer.) Though the halfling gets surrounded and receives a severe beating, the group manages to dispatch their opponents without too much trouble. (They even make a game out of splattering lizardmen gore over Gopher.)

The room they've entered appears to be a large cellar with thick pillars carrying the weight of the ceiling. The wall to an adjoining cellar is largely collapsed. In this connected room, stone stairs lead up. A short corridor leads east to a smaller room.

The group first explores the corridor. When they enter, they find that the floor is strangely sponge-like, though it looks like solid stone. In the room at the other end of the corridor is what initially seems to be a mound of dirt. When it is approached though, a great many eyes and mouths appear on the mound. The mouths, which are full of razor sharp teeth, babble constantly. Though the words are nonsense, they have a strange confusing effect on the party. Even weirder, the creature spits a glob of saliva that explodes in a flash of bright light. Fortunately, the strange creature is quite slow, and easily kept at by Orlen's Eldritch Blasts, which hit with so much force that they push the target back. Once it dies, the stones lose the sponge-like quality as though they never possessed it; those who got stuck in it find that they are now standing on top of perfectly normal stone.

The room the group is now in has a short corridor leading south to another small room. There they find a chest full of copper and silver pieces. It also contains a pendant in the form of a golden beholder with gems for eyes, as well as a spell scroll containing Darkvision.

The party next explores the stairs in the earlier room. They end at a bricked up doorway.

Not having found what they came for (the Stone of Golorr), the group makes another search through all the rooms, this time aided by a Detect Magic spell cast by Gopher. When they enter the supply room with the liquor cabinet, which Teppö previously quickly closed before Nine could indulge his alcoholism, they are accosted by the cabinet, which turns out to be a mimic. The creature shoots its sticky tongue, shaped like a wine bottle, at the party, and tries to eat them. Though a tough opponent, it is no match for the party. Nine tries to capture it, but the rest of the party is having none of that and kills it. This is probably for the best, for as soon as it dies, the creature reverts to its true form, in which it is clearly able to easily escape most bonds.

After everything has been searched and the name of the hostel has been determined (The Warm Hearth), the group decides that no more can be done here. They rent a cart and spend the rest of the day covertly making their way back to the tavern with the remains of the dwarf mechanic and the nimblewright.

The next day, Gopher visits Remalia Haventree to inform her about the unfortunate killing of the Harper dwarf. Lady Haventree is surprised. The dwarf is called Thorvin Twinbeard. He was a paid informer for the Harpers in the Xanathar Guild, but not actually a Harper himself. His death is certainly a loss, as his intel was reliable, but not as bad as losing an actual Harper. She does not know how he got the pin he carried on him. In any case, his unfortunate death is murder. It would probably be best if the body was never found. To this end, Gopher spends the rest of the day smuggling the corpse out of the city and burying it in a nearby forest. The rest of the party uses the day to burn the other corpes in the cellar complex.