24 October 2020
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
- A 4-foot tall working model of a clock tower made of wood, iron, bronze, and glass, with brass bells and delicate hands formed from solid
- A weird helmet with small articulated metal hands.
- A miniature model of a red submarine shaped like a manta ray. A brass plate reads "The Scarlet Marpenoth. Lantanese submersible. Launched in
- A wooden flying machine with flapping wings.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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 unsuccesfully 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
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
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
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
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 Raventree 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Zentharim 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
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
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
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
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.