Remalia stood in front of the party, studying the blood stains on Alan’s jacket. They looked fresh. But he was wearing a Harper’s badge, and so was the nun with him. “If you’re looking for her accomplice, I saw her pass something to the man in front of her as she took a seat in the theater. He’s someone I’ve been watching for a while. His name is Fouco and he lives in the Mirtshore district. Be careful though,” she said, “he’s connected to the Zhentarim.”
Last night was the 49th session in our online Waterdeep: Dragon Heist
We began playing Dragon Heist online via Skype, using Discord, Trello, and D&D Beyond to keep track of campaign information, all whilst streaming our sessions live on Twitch. To date our record number of simultaneous viewers is 3.141592… Last night, however, we continued our trial of Roll20, a digital tabletop roleplaying game platform. We are using the official Dragon Heist Roll20 conversion and, this was our fourth session using Roll20.
As with most official campaigns, there are a number of unofficial supplements and expansions available on the DMs Guild to help bolster your game. Additional Dragon Heist supplements I’ve been using for this campaign include:
Residents of Trollskull Alley
Waterdeep: Expanded Faction Missions
Scrying into his handkerchief
The Press of Waterdeep
Shard Shunners: a Zhentarim Faction Mission and DM’s Resource
Fireball – A Waterdeep: Dragon Heist DM’s resource.
Waterdeep: City Encounters
Dragon Season: A Waterdeep Dragon Heist DM’s resource
Dugg, Earth Genasi Fighter – freelance dungsweeper and estranged son from House Roznar.
Alan Crabpopper, Human Ranger – a Harper and private investigator. A wererat in denial.
Arvene Galanodel, Half-Elf Cleric – priestess of Tymora, fake Harper. Resurrected.
Little Joe, Drow Sorcerer – scourge of the fenêtreman’s guild, member of Bregan D’Earth.
Alan, Arvene, Dugg, and Joe have been through the mill. Two of them have died and been brought back. One is a secret wererat. One is being blackmailed by the leader of a drow secret society. And one has been enlisted as a reserve dungsweeper. They are searching for the Stone of Golorr. It’s a mysterious object that will potentially lead them to a hoard of embezzled treasure, but they’re not the only ones on the trail. The Zhentarim (bad guys), the Xanathar Guild (also bad guys), Bregan D’Earth (more bad guys), and the Cassalanters (rich folks, and therefore probably bad guys) are desperate for the stone too, and willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
Last session, after a trip to the theater that resulted in a street chase through the Dock Ward, the party lost the trail of the stone. Luckily for them, however, Remalia Haventree, one of the high-ups in the secretive Harper organization, was able to point them in the right direction.
The Borrowed Barrel
As they sat in the Borrowed Barrel, a drinking hole for washed up actors and unused understudies, Alan, Dugg, Arvene, and Little Joe contemplated their next move. They knew Agorn Fouco was the key—he was the last one to have the Stone and they knew where he was headed, but what was his end game? They thought for a moment about trying to get one step ahead, but the effort was too much, so they gave up and decided to have some lunch.
The session began with a decision to head to Mirtshore. It was just around the corner and Arvene knew it well so she briefed the party on what to expect: thugs, bandits, street urchins, and down-and-outs.
But before that, Little Joe wanted a short rest and to look for a rapier. The inn was largely empty with only a couple of out-of-work actors tending the bar, but one was able to give Joe a rapier-like sword. Little Joe’s poor investigation roll (4) did not reveal that it was just a stage prop and not in fact a real rapier. That reveal will come later.
Arrival in Mirtshore
Through the pouring rain they entered the run-down Dock Ward neighborhood; it reeked of fish and timber. A year ago, fire swept through the area and most of the buildings were now burned-out shells with sails for roofs. Fishing poles, nets, and crab and lobster buckets lined the dock and they could see rats and homeless children taking it in turns to chase each other.
Waiting at the edge of the neighborhood was the hire-coach that bore Fouco here through the storm. Two draft horses stomped their feet impatiently in the muddy puddles. Arvene decided to approach the driver. Rowan Evenwood, a female Chondathon human, was paid extra to wait for Agorn to return. He left in a hurry and she didn’t know when he would be back.
Arvene attempted a charisma check to persuade Rowan to give more information, but her roll was poor (6). Rowan pulled her hood over her head and climbed into the cab, pulling the shutters down behind her. Arvene, sensing her charm offensive was more offensive than charming, decided to give up and rejoin her party waiting in the rain.
Street Rats (I don’t buy that)
Just then, three street urchins ran past the party, splashing them as they did. Joe took offense and threw a stone at one, causing the urchins to stop.
The three urchins are all named NPCs in the campaign, and are actually quite fun to include, although knowing my players’ penchant for causing as much distress as they can, I had decided not to include them apart from a quick mention—I didn’t want more unnecessary innocent blood on Alan and Co.’s hands. However, as with all things, my plans quickly unraveled as Alan, Dugg, and Little Joe began chasing down the three homeless children to question them.
The three urchins were Nat, a lanky 10-year-old deaf girl wielding a wooden toy shield; Jenks, a portly 9-year-old with a cloak, a toy wand, and a stuffed teddy owlbear; and Squiddy, a slim 9-year-old tiefling with an eye patch, a small bow, and a quiver of toy arrows. They idolized the adventurers, and when questioned knew of Fouco and where to find him. Joe gave Squiddly a crossbow as a thank you.
Thrilled that Little Joe hadn’t attacked them, I rewarded my players by letting the urchins show them to Fouco’s mother’s house. But, for some reason, they decided not to go in. Instead they were keen to investigate the beached pirate ship next to it that was clearly the hideout for some nefarious gang.
Here, miraculously, they managed to charm the pirates that lived in the beached ship. There were 11 bandits, all called things like Priscilla Moneybays, Poison Jarred, and Sly Terry, and they were led by a mean-looking bandit captain called Bullettooth Bruno. I was glad I had spent a couple of minutes on a random pirate name generator prior to playing last night’s game.
Dugg was able to connect with the pirate gang and enlisted their aid in finding Fouco. The bandits hated the Zhentarim almost as much as my party did.
So, with some additional muscle and a promise to keep watch, the pirates led the party straight to Fouco’s mother’s house. This was the second group of NPCs to do this last night, but who’s counting?
As they approached, they heard loud coughing sounds from inside the run-down, single-story shack. The pirates told Arvene that Fouco often visited his sick mother, and so Arvene had a bright idea. “We’re here to cleanse the sick,” she shouted. No response.
“Now can we kick the door down?” said Dugg as he did so. They entered the room, and immediately Fouco made a dash for a door at the rear. Dugg dived and grappled him as one of the pirates, Poison Jarred, barged in. Jarred had a scimitar and looked for Dugg’s approval before running Fouco through. Dugg nodded and Fouco’s body fell to the floor. They searched him, but found no Stone of Golorr.
Meanwhile, Arvene healed Fouco’s mother, leaving the surprisingly compassionate pirates to look after her. Then followed a debate as to how to dispose of Fouco’s body. They eventually decided on chopping it up and putting it into the many lobster pots that lined the dock.
At this point, they realized that they needed Fouco alive. Too late. He was the last one to have seen the Stone and he was in no position to divulge its current location. They only had one option left.
So, Alan went to check on the coach driver. He does not have a good track record with talking to people nicely. I wasn’t hopeful that they would ever find the Stone now.
Amazingly, however, he was successful. Alan complimented her, offered to buy a hot-meat-in-a-bun and she accepted and acquiesced. Alan had rolled a natural 20 on his Charisma check and she told him everything he needed to know: Fouco had dropped off a very tall green-haired lady, presumably his lover, at Yellowspire Tower in the Castle Ward.
Just as she gave up the information they needed, an arrow flew from the shadows and struck her in the heart. Alan yelled as nine Zhentarim thugs stormed into the alley and surrounded the party.
Thus followed another fight to the death with Zhentarim agents. This time, however, Alan, Dugg, Arvene, and Little Joe had help. The pirates were on their side and the encounter was over in just two rounds. The final shot, however, was fired by a slim, 9-year-old tiefling with an eye patch. “Got the baddie!” Squiddly called out excitedly.
Once the dust settled and the urchins had run off, cheering their very first victory, Dugg and Arvene shot angry glances at Little Joe. This wasn’t the first child he’d given a crossbow to. Why exactly did he feel the need to arm the children of Waterdeep? “Well, it paid off didn’t it?” was all he could muster, as they began filling more lobster pots with bits of the Zhentarim mob. Meanwhile Alan silently pondered their next move. It was time to storm a tower. END
Somehow, and totally against form, my players managed to be really charming and charismatic this session—well, apart from Arvene that is. First, Joe scored a rapier when there really shouldn’t have been one available, before befriending the three urchins; then Dugg convinced a whole gang of pirates to help him; and finally, Alan managed to successfully flirt with Rowan to get some important information. Usually my players deliberately offend any NPCs they can, then beat them senseless, preferring to interrogate rather than charm. This felt like real growth and progress.
DM Tip: As the DM, you have control of what scenarios your players face. This means you don’t have to include things that make you feel uncomfortable, even if they’re written in the campaign book. I hadn’t realized it until just before playing, but this particular encounter included some potentially difficult scenes. One in particular I decided not to emphasize was in Fouco’s mother’s house. According the campaign book, Fouco wasn’t just visiting his elderly mother, rather he was there attempting matricide as a way of leaving his old life behind and committing to his new Zhentarim family. I felt uncomfortable playing this out, so decided not to. I wonder if anyone else felt this way when reading through the book?
Next week I have no idea what’s going to happen. It’ll be our 50th Dragon Heist session and, while the end is in sight, this is the point of the story where it could really go off the rails. And badly.
WE ARE AMAZON ASSOCIATES
This post was last modified on August 10, 2020 2:41 pm
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