Dragon Heist session twenty-seven: The Hangover
Alan was surrounded. His chips were down. In desperation, he hurled Alton, still manacled, towards his attackers. The wererats became tangled amongst each other. They hissed and snarled, spitting insults and vitriol at the lone ranger. He fled. Running blindly down the first alley he could, he ran straight into a brick wall. Trapped. He tried to scale the wall. Adrenaline pumping, hands and feet scrabbling for purchase, he ascended quickly. Not quick enough. He heard the crossbow triggers release. Then felt the impact of four bolts hitting his back. Then he fell.
Last night was the 27th session in our online Waterdeep Dragon Heist D&D campaign and it began with half the party totally unaware of Alan’s predicament.
The Dragon Heist setup
We have been playing Dragon Heist via Skype and using Trello and D&D Beyond to keep track of characters and share campaign information, and streaming our sessions on Twitch.
Additional Dragon Heist supplements I’m using for this campaign:
Residents of Trollskull Alley
Waterdeep: Expanded Faction Missions
Scrying into his handkerchief
The Press of Waterdeep
Dragon Heist: Expanded Faction Missions
Shard Shunners: a Zhentarim Faction Mission and DM’s ResourceShard Shunners: a Zhentarim Faction Mission and DM’s Resource
The party (level 3):
Dugg, Earth Genasi Fighter – dungsweeper and estranged son from House Roznar.
Alan Crabpopper, Human Ranger – a private investigator and member of the Harpers.
Arvene Galanodel, Half-Elf Cleric – priestess of Tymora, fake harper. Resurrected.
Little Joe, Drow Sorcerer – channeling the spirit of John Wayne, secret member of Bregan D’earth.
Previously in Dragon Heist
After a failed faction mission, the party had to find a way to resurrect their fallen cleric Arvene. Turning to the sisters of the temple of Tymora they managed to revivify their friend, but she now has to face the turmoil and physical repercussions of dying in service.
Meanwhile, the party received a tip-off that the wererat gang they have been searching for, the Shard Shunners, could be found lurking around a tavern in the Dock Ward. Following this lead, Alan arranged to meet a Halfling called Alton at midnight for more information. When he got there, he was ambushed and the wererats went in for the kill.
Not (very) dead
His consciousness faded as he fell to the ground. Alan saw flashing images of lost memories, old friends, and missing family. He relived terrified days on the battlefronts and was orphaned all over again in the seconds before he hit the ground. The darkness swallowed him. He was infinite, eternal, and non-existent. Then there was nothing.
BANG. What was that? Perhaps he wasn’t so dead after all. Suddenly he plunged downward, spinning into a bright light. The glory and pain of living was his once more. Cold water soaked his face and he felt alive. From the brink he returned. Laying on hard ground, he daren’t open his eyes. He could feel his body aching from every aspect. Bruised inside and out. He felt tired. So very tired. He could hear voices.
Last week’s Dragon Heist session ended on a cliffhanger. Three quarters of the group were drunk at a party, while Alan Crabhopper, intrepid private investigator, was beset out by a gang of wererats he was trying to infiltrate. So before our session began last night, I caught up with Alan’s player via text to see what happened to him next.
Alan had been rescued by Fel’rekt Lafeen and Kreddyg Masq’il’yr, two drow gunslingers that had been shadowing the party ever since Little Joe made a pact with Zardoz Zord, their captain. At first he tried to feign unconsciousness and listen in to what they said. A good perception check (18), and he caught a few hurried words, “… must send a message to Zardoz … scared them off … root them out.”
Hearing drow accents, Alan thought Little Joe had come to save him. He was relieved when he realized he hadn’t. “Not Joe, dead man. Name’s Kred, this is Fel’rekt. Here drink this.”
Alan accepted the healing potion and thanked the drow for saving him. The drow had scared off the wererats with their guns and offered their help in rooting them out. Alan insisted on returning to Trollskull Manor first, so he could rest and gather his companions before setting off. The drow agreed and helped Alan up.
“Hey what’s that on your neck, dead man?” asked Kred. “Did you get bit?” Alan reached up and found two puncture marks on his neck. Constitution saving throw: 5. He didn’t know it yet, but Alan had contracted wererat lycanthropy.
“Nah, it’s nothing,” said Alan. “Just a scratch from the fall.”
Meanwhile, and with sore heads…
While Alan was getting bitten by—and then rescued from—the wererats, Arvene, Dugg, and Joe were having a great time. So great in fact that, after their failed combined constitution rolls (8, 11, and 4), none of them could remember anything that happened. Joe was the least inebriated and could recall a conga line with a chicken, and failing to pick the pocket of a very large man. But Arvene and Dugg had drunk so much that the next day their hangovers woke up before they did.
When they eventually came down, bleary eyed, to the tavern room of Trollskull Manor, barging and bumping past the 40 Luskan refugees that now lived and worked there, Alan and his two new drow friends were already there.
They didn’t ask Alan how his date went—somehow last session Alan had managed to accidentally convince Arvene and Dugg that he was meeting an old flame and not investigating wererats—so Alan didn’t explain. His broken nose ad badly bandaged head went unremarked upon.
Joe recognized the two drow and they shared information on the wererats in the Dock Ward over a Mediterranean breakfast. Soon they hatched a plan for assailing the vermin, and even though both Arvene and Dugg were suffering greatly from recent events (Dugg would be rolling with -1 until his headache cleared, and Arvene is now at -3 from her recent death and resurrection), they agreed to head straight to the Dock Ward without delay.
Of course, because no Dragon Heist mission would be complete without a weapons montage, they first spent some time preparing to fight the lycanthropes. They knew that silvered or magical weapons worked best, so they ran over to the Forge to see if Avi and Embric had anything they could buy.
The two genasi were also still recovering from the party the night before. Embric had evidently upset Avi in his drunken state and there was palpable tension between the pair. But nonetheless, Avi was able to find a silvered rapier and silver hammer that the party could use against the wererats. They also had four silver daggers that Mirt had given them and a baseball bat that Dugg had spent half an hour hammering silver coins into to turn it into some sort of medieval club weapon.
Alan’s inspiring speech
They crossed the city by early afternoon and arrived at the Dock Ward. Alan lead the way with the two drow gunslingers, Kred and Fel’rekt, just behind. They had shown Alan where the wererats were gaining access to the sewers the night before, but they hadn’t shared this with the rest of the party. So, when Joe, Dugg, and Arvene realized they would be heading under the city once more, they weren’t best pleased. Both Dugg and Little Joe had not fared well the last time they fought in the sewers.
Alan, sensing they party needed a pep talk, stood up. “Okay everyone, I get it. We’ve all been humiliated by these wererats, but now’s our time. We are Alan’s Bureau of Investigators and that means something. It means we’re going down into these sewers. It means were going to find and kill all of the wererats we can. And it means we’re going to claim the 500gp reward for returning Dasher to his family. And we’re going to get our honor back!”
And with that, they descended into the dark, dank sewers.
Rivers of filth
The sewers were large brick-built tunnels that had a 10-foot-wide stream of filth running through the center. Arvene cast pass without a trace so they could be stealthy, and Little Joe cast dancing lights, giving them subtle illumination. Eventually they came to a crossroads which was spanned by a poorly contrived bridge. Joe went first and set off the trap, falling into 5 feet of sewage. He failed his constitution saving throw and contracted sewer plague—he does know this yet; it takes 1d4 days for any symptoms to arise.
Once they had all successfully crossed the bridge, they arrived at the rats next. They had built their den in an abandoned Cellarers and Plumbers subterranean workstation. There was a wooden door that was not locked that led deeper into the nest. Alan pushed the door gently. Because of Arvene’s stealth spell, this was not noticed by the two Halfling wererats in the hall beyond. Seeing the enemy ahead, the party decided to each attack, using the element of surprise.
The aim was to take out the two wererats silently before they realized what was going on. Unfortunately, the drow gunslingers’ guns were not silenced.
Little Joe went first and cast sleep on the wererats. He rolled well, good enough for one of the enemies to immediately pass out and fall to the floor snoring. Then Kred stepped forward and cocked his pistol, before letting loose a silver bullet. It hit the second wererat and the enormous sound of the gun boomed around the sewers. An instant later his companion Fel also fired a shot at the wererat was stuck again, and the cavern was once more filled with the cacophonous bellowing of the guns.
So, by the time Alan and Dugg took their turns, the wererats had taken 18 points of damage from silver bullets of the drow, but they had almost certainly aroused the attention of anyone else within the sewers. Their best chance to was to take out the remaining wererat and hide before anyone else arrived.
Alan and Dugg had the silvered weapons from Embric, and so their attacks both dealt damage, getting around the wererats invulnerabilities to non-silvered, non-magical weapons. They both hit the wererat with their surprise attacks and it was left with two hit points.
Ears still ringing, and body still wobbly from the events of the last 48 hours, Arvene stepped forward. She could see the wererat, beginning to recover from the surprise ambush, it was getting ready to turn tail and run. All that lay between her and it was 25 feet of stone paving and 5 feet of sewage. She raised her crossbow, drew back the trigger, and fired straight into the wall. The wererat snarled at her and ran for the door, ducking under the bolt, just at the sounds of approaching swords and gnashing teeth grew louder. END
I was excited this session to be able to use my reaper bones wererat minis that I had painted four months earlier. It’s taken an extra four months of playing to finally begin tying off the wererat thread that all started as an improvised mission when one of my players couldn’t turn up.
After the end of last session, with Alan at 0hp on the floor and surrounded by villains, I gave his player two options. He could carry on playing as Alan, or he could create a new character. I warned him that Alan would be quite different after his death. He choose to carry on. I was pleased. Now he is a wererat. In the short term this won’t mean very much. He dexterity score will go up slightly, and when he’s enraged, or loses emotional control, he may turn into a giant snarling rat. He will, however, remain in control of his character’s actions. However, once a month, at the full moon, that may not be the case. Now I’ve got to find a way of tracking the Dragon Heist lunar calendar in game—it’s hard enough tracking time while playing D&D, let alone the waxing and waning of the moon.
Also, we’ve been using the tavern keeping rules from the Dungeon Masters Guide to keep track of how much money is being generated by Trollskull Manor, now that it’s an up and running taproom. It would seem that Shorval and the 40 Luskan refugees are doing very well. In two days of trading, it has made 35 gold pieces’ worth of profit.
What did we learn?
DM Tip: Don’t forget to give out inspiration if one of your players does something awesome. In this session I was really impressed by Alan’s roleplaying. His reluctance to tell anyone about his encounter with the wererats and his inspiring speech. So when he stood on his soapbox and ranted at the others I awarded him inspiration. Not because he inspired others, but because he was going to need it.
Next week in our Dragon Heist campaign we’ll pick up exactly from where we left off. Initiative has been rolled. Surprise round is over. Now it’s the wererats’ turn. And there are quite a few of them about to enter the fray.