Wednesday Night D&D Recap: Murder in Baldur’s Gate Session V

Oct 30

FR_Sundering001

This article comes later than I planned; on Monday, I was put on antibiotics, and one of the unfortunate side effects is extreme amounts of sleep. Session V will be published now, Session VI will be posted Wednesday, and Session VII will be posted on Thursday because of this.

Session V started off on a bit of a weird moment. It had been a couple of days since the capture of the Patriars who vandalised the Beloved Ranger. The party had repaired the statue with a Mend spell or two, which was well received by the citizens of Baldur’s Gate, and it appeared that things were finally settling down in the city.

Of course, being that it is Baldur’s Gate…they weren’t.

Although it took those few days for it to become noticeable, the Upper and Lower Cities were experiencing quite an ugly problem. Usually, trash was collected by the goldflow carriers while the various sewage drains and systems were cared for by the nightsoil carriers, however it appeared that neither had done their jobs in several days. Trash piles were growing quite large, covering their drop points and expanding into the streets, while the drains clogged with sewage that no one cleared; soon the Lower City’s streets were awash with a film of sewage and the smells of rubbish filled the air. While there seemed to be a decrease in hauling in the Outer City, the smells blend in with the already existing unpleasant smells of the tanneries, butcheries, and stables.

While the party wasn’t thrilled about the situation, they had other things to attend to. When they woke in the morning, they were summoned by Ravengard. The Marshal wished to speak with them to discuss things he would rather not have milling about the Rock’s rumours, and asked the party to join him at the Hissing Stones, which is a Seatower bathhouse; it was rumoured that Abdel Adrian once used the bathhouse not only for relaxation, but to conduct meetings he did not want uninvited parties overhearing – given the nature of bath houses, it’s very difficult for people to hide things like weapons and magic items.

The party agreed to do so, however they got a little sidetracked while making their way to the Seatower to investigate the Stones before the meeting.

While travelling through Bloomridge, the party noticed something odd glistening in one of the trash heaps. Upon closer inspection, they found an incredibly well made alchemical bowl that was stained with residue that smelled like sulphur and smoke – smells that were a bit uncommon, even in trash heaps. They managed to get the ceramic bowl out of the trash, discovering that it was discarded due to being cracked; they also discovered that the letters F E L O G Y R / B G were scratched into the underside of the bowl, likely before it was even fired in a kiln.

One of the places of note in Baldur’s Gate was Felogyr’s Fireworks, one of the few places allowed to make Smokepowder, and the only place in Baldur’s Gate that was permitted to manufacture the compound. The shop wasn’t even in Bloomridge, so the characters were a little concerned about the fact a bowl used for smokepowder was so far from its home. The party set off for the Steeps, intent on questioning the shop about the broken bowl.

Felogyr’s Fireworks had not been rung by Felogyr in many years, was open for business, and a few busy apprentices worked behind the counter as our adventurer’s arrived. They quickly got the attention of the proprietor, Afery Sonshal, who was just as confused about the discarded bowl as they were.

Sonshal had his apprentices bring out all the mixing bowls, and verified that all the bowls the shop had currently, and had for the past several months, were present and accounted for. When all of them were there, he checked to make sure any bowls from before that time had been disposed of properly, and each one was accounted for there as well. All of the apprentices were questioned, and none of them had taken any bowls or ordered any new ones without Sonshal’s request.

He explained that the bowls used in his shop were all made by a Rivington potter named Tacy Sands, to exact specifications, right down to the inscription of Sonshal’s ancestor’s name and the initials of the city where the shop was; alchemists do get together from time to time to trade secrets, and almost all of them have the same sort of branding on their equipment in case they end up in another alchemist’s packs afterwards. It had been some time since he’d been to one of these meetings, and the bowl was a bit too new to have been lost at one – nevermind the fact that he hadn’t left any behind before.

All of this lead to Sonshal recalling that a gentleman had been in the shop about a month ago. The man, who despite Sonshal’s detailed description was about as average as you could get, had asked about the bowls, expressing interest in their quality. It wasn’t the first time someone asked about who made all the ceramics the shop used, so Sonshal told him about Sands’ shop; it was, however, the first time anyone had given him money for the information. The man had claimed it was a “thank you” and “finder’s fee”, and left the shop.

Although this made the party curious, they needed to meet Ravengard at the Hissing Stones. They thanked Sonshal for his cooperation, and promised that the Flaming Fist would keep an eye on the shop in case the gentlemen in question returned or sought to harm Sonshal for giving information to the Fist. The party left the Steeps, and headed towards Seatower and the bathhouse.

The characters stripped down and then wrapped themselves in towels, as Ravengard was waiting for them in one of the private saunas. He offered little in pleasantries, and got straight to the matter at hand once the group was settled on the benches.

Adrian’s death left a vacancy on the Council of Four, and traditionally that seat is held by someone who has strong ties to the Lower City and the Flaming Fist. While Ravengard has already assumed control of the Flaming Fist without any argument, he cannot grant himself the title of Duke – that title is granted by the Parliament of Peers via an election, and rumours were circulating that claimed the peers wanted to stack the council with a fourth patriar – specifically to keep the Fist out of the Council.

Ravengard claimed that he was concerned not because he desired to become a Duke, but because he was concerned that without the Fist to protect them, the middle and lower classes of the city would suffer greater abuses at the hands of the patriars and the Watch. It could also force the company to resort back to their origin, taking on mercenary contracts to keep Wyrm’s Rock afloat, which would slowly degrade their standing within the city.

There’s only one patriar with enough support in the Lower City for the Parliament’s plans to work, the alchemist and lumber baron, Wyllyck Caldwell. While he doesn’t hate Caldwell – Ravengard actually likes the man due to his anti-Guild views – he can’t let the man get in the way of the Fist being a part of the Council. The long and the short of it is that he wants the party to pressure Caldwell into turning down the nomination, which likely would come from Silvershield himself.

The caveat was that it could not be tied back to Ravengard or the Fist in any way, or their bid for the Council position was lost before it began.

Ravengard mentioned that there was an alchemist named Yssra Brackrel who was rather displeased with the patriars. She never liked them in the first place, and now had a reason to dislike Silvershield in particular; recently, she was jailed for several days on the word and order of Silvershield, and had just been released earlier in the day. He was certain that she’d help them foil any plan of Silvershield’s, although they would need to work out the details of it themselves – the less he knew, the better it was for the Fist.

Of course, the party agreed to do it. They immediately left for Brackrel’s shop, as it was getting late in the day, and Fie ended up using a disguise to speak to the woman. Ravengard was very correct – she was furious with Silvershield, and when she heard that the Duke was hoping to elevate another patriar to the council, she agreed to help the party stop that from happening. The party had forged a letter from a “concerned citizen” who claimed to have problems with the lumber he purchased from Caldwell, and Brackrel signed off on it. She even went as far as to claim the alchemical mixture used on that particular batch of lumber had the opposite effects from what Caldwell was known for, causing it to burn more easily and weaken faster than it ever should.

Yssra then was left to deliver the blackmail to Caldwell – however the party hasn’t ever looked back in on her to find out what exactly happened.

In the morning, the group went to ask Tacy Sands of Rivington about the bowl they found. Unfortunately, while Tacy was able to tell them that the same incredibly non-descriptive man had visited him, claiming to be one of Sonshal’s apprentices. He placed an order for more bowls, stating that a newer apprentice had broken several already, paying in advance and stating he’d pick them up several days later. He thought nothing of it, made the bowls, and allowed the man to take them once they were finished.

Lacking much more information, the party decided that they were sick of the stench that permeated the city, and headed off to find out why the trash collectors and sewage tenders weren’t doing their jobs. William had the brilliant idea of checking out the city’s dump, which was quite removed from the city proper.

They found several workers just lazing around the area, all of whom were rather tight lipped about things. The party hauled them all into the foreman’s office, only to discover that the foreman was allowing the behaviour. A gentleman with “the best interests of the Outer City at heart” had approached both the goldflow and nightsoil carriers, offering them almost eighty silver per day, per worker to stop hauling anything out of the Upper and Lower Cities, and to cut down on how often they cleared the Outer City so it didn’t look suspicious. The Foreman claimed it had nothing to do with the Guild when the party suggested such, although he wasn’t sure if the gentleman making the offers was a part of them.

William threatened to take them in for their treacheries, but the Foreman seemed completely unconcerned about the situation; he claimed their benefactor would keep them from being thrown in the Seatower, and basically implied there was little the party could do to harm them by turning them into the Fist.

To make a point, on the way across the bridge, William threatened the foreman with physical violence, shoving him into the waters below. The man merely began to swim away, at which point Lily was asked to start shooting him; he was hit several times, and although he didn’t die, Yhoma had to haul him out of the waters and bandage the Foreman up before they could actually take them in. His point made, the other men said nothing about being saved by their benefactor, and they were taken in to Wyrm’s Crossing.

The party made a report to the Fist, informing them of the fact that all the workers were being paid off. While the Fist worked on rounding the workers up to try and convince them to start working again, William contacted his group of urchins and asked them to start spreading the word that honest work was available for a price he thought the Guild wouldn’t try to counter.

And thus ended our fifth session, with the party waiting to hear if the urchins could find workers, and with a bit of a mystery on their hands. There was plenty of wild speculation, however as mentioned before, they don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle due to the nature of how this module is constructed. It will be interesting to see where their assumptions lead them!

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