That Dwarven Bastard
When we last left out heroes, everyone was asleep. Not entirely true; the bard had been knocked unconscious by an over-adrenalized bassoon player when she took to the stage in her kobold costume, the monk had eaten himself into a food coma, the fighter was looking after the bard, and the party was surprised to find out that their druid — who hadn’t boarded the ship with them — had been swimming along side in river dolphin form this whole time.
The ranger had received a sealed note emblazoned with the letter “G”, and had assumed it was for the fighter (whose name is Gina, by the way), so he had slid it under her door before heading off to bed.
On the third morning, the bard awoke with a headache, and everyone else stumbled out of their rooms to find a dreary Sword Coast morning, with rain clouds hovering over their destination. All of the passengers were sending the luggage off in the care of the stewards, and were saying their goodbyes.
The fighter read her note:
“Gina, I am sorry about the rude re-introduction brought about by my parents. PLEASE meet me in the engine room at noon. I must see you again before we disembark -R”
Happy that she had time for breakfast, the fighter spent the next four hours (apparently) eating until she found her way to the engine room.
Ruret was there, waiting for her, and was very pleased that she had decided to show up. However, he had bad news: he and his family were on this ship because they were headed to his politically arranged marriage further down the Sword Coast.
Saddened by this, the fighter opted to change her alignment from Neutral Good to full-on 100% Chaotic Evil, and contemplated blowing up the ship. Luckily it pulled into port before she could gather the required components.
Baldur’s Gate is a town in the grasp of teamsters. Because the streets of the city are narrow and the cobblestones are slick when it rains (which it does, a lot), it’s dangerous to move carts and pack animals through the city proper. That being the case, all commerce ends at the gates, and goods are either sold off and comparable goods re-purchased at another gate, or the teamsters union is hired to move goods through the city from one gate to wagons waiting at another.
The party had received word that they should look up a man named Selebon, who operates a supply business outside the north wall in a district called Blackgate. Selebon’s establishment was bustling, as it is close to the caravan staging area for points north.
The bard approached Selebon with inquiries about work, and he directed them to a tavern down the street and around the corner where such business was conducted.
Upon arriving, the party found a “job fair” type atmosphere: merchants or their representatives were holding down tables or wandering the floor while mercenaries of all stripes bounced around making inquiries. The first table that the party approached was handled by the bard, and the merchant there was less than impressed with her sales pitch. The second table was taken by the ranger, who made an aggressive show of force, but was told by the potential employer that he wasn’t looking for a whole party.
Out of nowhere, a gnome appeared, standing on the stool next to the ranger. “Whatcha’ lookin’ for?” he asked. When he heard they were a party of five, looking for security work, the gnome told them that he was hired to recruit security for a young elvish woman who was taking two carts of ancient hardwood to Waterdeep (which happened to be in the direction they needed to go). The price was struck at 50gp each, and they were given a staging area to report to in the morning.
On their way to find an inn closer to the staging area, the ranger stopped short when he recognized a face in the crowd outside of Selebon’s shop. This individual was conversing with an unseen figure being borne around in a palanquin, with shades drawn. After some time, the palanquin moved away to the north at speed, and the recognized face began working with others who were loading some carriages and collecting goods from Selebon’s shop.
The face recognized, of course, was that of a dragon cultist that the ranger remembered from Greenest.
There was some debate about how to ensure that they didn’t lose track of the cultists, and in the end the bard constructed a clockwork rat that hid itself among the cultist’s provisions. At any rate, there was only one major road north, and the journey to Waterdeep — assuming the cultists were heading there any not deviating from the main road — would take two months at a decent traveling speed. There would be plenty of time to formulate a more solid plan.
* * *
This week, the party was back to full strength! It’s always a challenge to weave a lapsed player back into the narrative, but thankfully this group is prone to bouts of silliness, so it wasn’t a big deal that the druid suddenly appeared as if he had always been there.
The Ruret subplot took a rather disappointing turn, but the bad blood between the two families is really strong, so there wasn’t a lot of leeway here. It has been decades since Gina and Ruret last saw one another, and it made sense that during that time Ruret’s parents would be looking to cement a formidable and profitable alliance for themselves with another noble family, and political marriages are still a good way to do that. Gina didn’t seem overly upset about it; not sure if she’s serious about changing alignment, but if so, and if because of this, she might want to consider changing her background to match.
Reading ahead, I was a bit taken back by the fact that the trip to Waterdeep was going to take about two months. That’s a lot of filler content opportunities — which the module addresses — and although we’re not going to play that out in real time, it still seemed like a lot of time to spend “doing stuff” on the road.