A Joyful Noise
[This post marks the return of Adventure Co. Brand Adventure Company to Levelcapped. I’ll be slowly moving the previous entries from the other blog back here. Slowly.]
When we last left our heroes, the ranger was loitering around the atrium, the bard and monk were sitting around the dinner table, and the fighter was in her cabin lamenting her lost love.
Having spent the majority of the cruise eating, the monk was suffering from an upset stomach and retired to his stateroom for the evening. The ranger, having bought the name of a potential employer from the concierge, returned to the dining room to relay the information to the bard. The name he’d acquired was that of Lai Angusstun, a gold-dwarf merchant who was on board the ship (one merchant of many, actually, but the concierge picked Lai’s name out of the hat). The party’s plan was to approach Angusstun and see if he had any need for security on his travels once they all reached Baldur’s Gate.
After prying the fighter from her cabin, the trio headed for the ballroom where the after-dinner crowd was gathering. Seizing the opportunity to regale the crowd with her soon-to-be-award-winning composition “The Sacking of Greenest”, the bard accompanied the small orchestra with the dulcet screaming of her herdy-gerdy. It was quickly suggested that she might enjoy the music from a more acoustically-favorable location anywhere else but the stage, so the bard graciously took a bow and accepted the applause (which was willfully given once the crowd was sure she wasn’t coming back).
Meanwhile, the ranger scoured the room for Mr. Angusstun. Although he lacked a description, the elf wondered how hard it could be, really, to find a gold dwarf merchant among a crowd…containing many dwarves…who were probably merchants themselves…really? In the process, the ranger learned many commodity trading tips, that several in attendance were cheating on their spouses, and that at least one passenger on the ship was unfamiliar with the purpose of soap and water.
The bard picked this exact moment to return to the limelight, but in a different fashion. Donning her well-worn kobold disguise, the bard crept around the back of the orchestra unseen, and then burst to the front of the stage to unleash a display of epic vaudevillian proportions. Her costume was a bit too good, as it set off a panic at this disco, and earned her a blow to the back of the head from a twitchy woodwind musician.
The party followed the crew-members as they brought the unconscious bard to the infirmary, where the fighter was able to use her overwhelming Persuasion abilities to convince the physician that this bard was the companion of a Mister Lai Angusstun, and that they would be more than happy to return her to his cabin if the physician could just point them in the right direction.
Leaving the bard at her own cabin, the fighter and ranger knocked on Mr. Angusstun’s door, with no result. Figuring that he must be with the herd that fled to the casino after the surprise visit from the kobold, the two headed down a level and scoped out the scene.
A helpful waiter was able to ID Mr. Angusstun, so the ranger took the seat beside him at the “whatever-game-D&D-characters-would-play-in-the-casino”. Angusstun was a fairly affable dwarf, chatting with the ranger up to the point where the ranger attempted to convince the merchant that he and his compatriots — dressed in formal finery and hob-nobbing with these wealthy passengers — were actually “freelance security” who were interested in protecting his assets. Angusstun wasn’t buying it, though, but even if he was interested he wouldn’t be sure what his situation would be until he arrived at Baldur’s Gate and contacted his warehouse. He did give the ranger the name of a man named Selebon who ran an equipage shop outside the northern gate of the city. Selebon could point them in the direction of a caravan that needed security. Angusstun left the table unsure as to whether the elf was either a wealthy businessman who liked to fight crime, or some criminally insane hobo who conned his way onto the boat.
Before he left the table, the ranger was approached by another dwarf (the ship stockpiles dwarves for use as flotation devices) who simply gave him a sealed letter emblazoned with the letter “G” before vanishing into the crowd.
* * *
The RP interlude continues with the party relaxing on The Serpent’s Tail as it wends it’s way down-river towards Baldur’s Gate. We were down by one player this time (technically, two players, since we’re still looking for a fifth to fill the “cursed party member” roll), so the remaining party members seemed eager to take it easy and just roll with the scene.
I liked the idea of the bard playing with the orchestra, since the fighter was getting her own mini-story as part of this sideboard. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that this was the correct crowd to approach with a herdy-gerdy and a song of pastoral brutality at the hands of a crazed dragon cult. This is a more…refined audience. The whole affair with the kobold costume came out of left field, and was dealt with appropriately if I do say so myself (and I do).
That Angusstun didn’t warm to the sales pitch could have gone differently. The players know they must sign up with a caravan, once they know where the dragon cult is and where it’s headed, and kudos to the party for being pro-active in this regard. But in terms of the immediate situation, it didn’t seem right that an apparently well-to-do group would be soliciting employment as sell-swords unless they were bored trust-fund kids who got a kick out of the danger of life on the road. Still, Angusstun could have easily just accepted the party at their word, and it would have ended up as a massive shortcut in the presentation of Baldur’s Gate. I did give the players a run-down of the situation in the city, though, with the porters ferrying goods through the city and the difficult situation caravans have to deal with.
The note was me remembering that there was another plot on-going that’s going to need some kind of better resolution (or temporary resolution). Unfortunately, the fighter player had to leave suddenly to deal with a sick child and wasn’t actually aware that this has happened.
Next time, the boat ride should conclude, and the players will be introduced to Baldur’s Gate.