Dragon Heist session 65: Epilogue
Little Joe didn’t spot Jarlaxle hunched against the wall behind him until it was too late. Jarlaxle dived at the drow and tried to knock him off the platform, but Little Joe dodged just in time. Dugg and Arvene gasped as Little Joe raised his hands. Smoke starting to build up. ”Now is the time Joe,” hissed Jarlaxle. “Show them your true colors.”
Little Joe smiled and released two jets of fierce blue flame at his would-be master. Jarlaxle screamed as he plummeted once more down the 60 foot drop. He was dead before he hit the ground.
Last night was the 65th session in our online Dragon Heist D&D campaign and the level six heroes had successfully managed to heist the dragon. Now they just needed to find a way of getting 500,000 gold pieces from an underground vault and back to their Tavern on the other side of town.
We started playing Dragon Heist nearly two years ago and for the majority of that time have been on the verge of its conclusion. Last night we bested the mountain. It was an emotional night.
We play online using Roll20’s digital tabletop platform, and use Trello and DnDBeyond to keep track of campaign information. We also stream all our sessions live on our Twitch channel: dnd_TPK. To date our average number of simultaneous viewers is less than the number of eyes a short-sighted cyclops has.
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
Our Dragon Heist party:
Little Joe, Drow Sorcerer – scourge of the fenêtreman’s guild, member of Bregan D’Earth. Blue.
Alan Crabpopper, Human Ranger – a Harper and private investigator. A wererat in denial.
Arvene Galanodel, Half-Elf Cleric/Warlock – priestess of Tymora, bound to Golorr the aboleth.
Dugg, Earth Genasi Fighter – freelance dungsweeper and estranged son from House Roznar.
Previously in Dragon Heist
Alan, Arvene, Dugg, and Joe have been through the mill. They have also managed to acquire a number of tenants in their tavern, these tenants include two glazier’s apprentices (useful as Little Joe keeps jumping through windows), the ghost of a friendly barman, 40 Luskan refugees, and a kind old lady called Alma Moyes who mistakenly believes Alan is actually her long lost son Cristopher.
The heroes had been searching on the search for the Vault of Dragons, a mysterious treasury that contains hoard of embezzled treasure (500,000gp!), but they were not the only ones on the trail. Last session inside the climactic final dungeon, the battered and bruised heroes came face-to-face with Aurinax the gold dragon and convinced him to release the treasure to them. They then faced off against Jarlaxle Beanre, the clandestine leader of Bregan D’Earth, and emerged victorious. Now they just have the small matter of carrying 10,000lbs of gold coins out of a subterranean vault and back to their home.
We’ve got company
With Jarlaxle dead, Alan, Arvene, Dugg, and Little Joe decided they needed to get help from the Luskans and get out as quick as they could. They headed out of the vault and back up to the mausoleum where they had left 12 Luskan allies waiting for them by the carts. The plan was to form a daisy chain and pass the gold out and load the carts as quickly as they could. However, as they reached the exit of the mausoleum, they could hear many voices outside. Alan was the first out, and he was surprised to see the burly cigar-chomping Captain Stageat surrounded by 10 guards. “Oh sh…”
And so the final session of our Dragon Heist campaign began. The heroes had successfully navigated the perils of the Vault of Dragons and then dealt with Jarlaxle Beanre, the main villain of their story, and now they had to work out what happens next for Alan and his band of investigators.
Exiting the mausoleum, they were confronted by their Luskan friends, standing close to a band of city guards led by Captain Stageat. There was a tense moment as my players waited to see if Stageat was going to turn on them, but instead, he rushed forward, congratulated Alan and Co., and offered the services of “All the honest Watchmen I could find at such short notice.”
So the guards and the Luskans formed a chain and over the course of an hour or so, they had moved the majority of the gold from the Vault to the waiting wagons.
The party took this opportunity to go back and search Jarlaxle’s body. I almost decided that it would have mysteriously disappeared in the time since they left it in the main chamber and made for the exit, but I know there are only so many twists and rug-pullings I think a group can put up with.
Under normal circumstances, they’d never have been able to defeat Jarlaxle, but given that he was already injured before he arrived, thanks to their awesome plan, Alan and Joe were able to defeat him, and subsequently loot his body. In the book he has a whole lot of amazing equipment, but it would massively unbalance any future sessions if I handed it all out, so I partially scaled back his gear. I let them have the +3 leather armor, the hat of disguise, knave’s eyepatch, and the ring of truth telling. This was still plenty of great loot, but didn’t include the feather of diatryma summoning, +3 rapier, and the invisibility cloak. Even though this was the end of our campaign, I just knew that if we decided to segue into a follow-up story, I might live to regret any extra boosts.
Istrid and Reanar
There were two other NPCs waiting outside when the party arrived. One was Istrid Horne, still suffering from Manshoon’s Geas spell, and Reanar Neverember.
Istrid ran to Alan, putting her arms around him, and confessed her love for him. He didn’t quite know how to process this information, but was pleased nonetheless.
Reanar, after being absent for almost the entirety of the campaign, had shown up to leverage the party for 50% of the gold. “Technically it is mine,” he said, “and I would let you keep half of it.” While this may have been true, it infuriated Alan and Co., especially seeing as Reanar unapologetically set the whole chaotic events of the campaign from the fireball in Chapter Two onwards. All of the characters had died, or come close to death—multiple times—since the pandemonium began, so they were not very sympathetic to his cause. They didn’t need to be, however, as Istrid stomped forward, leaning heavily on her warhammer. “You’ve got as much chance of leaving here with 50% of this gold as you do running away with your knee caps removed.” She spun her Warhammer on the ground. Reanar gulped. He wisely left with his tail between his legs and his knee caps still intact.
Back in the Manor
Eventually, with the help of the guards and Luskans, they got all of the gold back to Trollskull Manor. Some basic math later—discovering how much metric volume a single gold piece takes up, then working out how many beer kegs would need to be emptied and then filled to store the gold in the basement—and it was time for the heroes of the adventure to take a well-deserved rest.
But, just as they were about to do so, there was a visit from Laeral Silverhand and Varja Safahr, the Open Lord of Waterdeep and the Head of the Council of Mages. Although aware of both, this was the first time they’d met either person and they weren’t sure quite how to react. Laeral wanted to know why half of her city was seemingly on fire and why she had been receiving reports of illegal arcane activity from the group. Varja was her “magical muscle.”
Laeral also wasn’t too impressed with Alan and Co.’s propensity for leaving business cards around the city wherever they had been. She had quite a collection of singed, torn, soggy, and ripped cards. “This one was from the Field Ward when it nearly burned to the ground. This one was from the Waterdeep Wazoo, recovered from the site after it was condemned. This one came from the mortuary. This one from the sewers. This one from Gralhund Villa. I imagine you get the picture?”
In spite of her clearly annoyed appearance, Laeral then proceeded to thank the party for their sterling work in ridding the city of the Xanathar Guild, halting the spread of the Zhentarim by ousting their corruption, and for sending Bregan D’Earth packing. As a reward for saving the city, and for promising to use the gold for “the good of the people,” she handed each of them a Badge of the Watch. This was a fitting reward for the hard work they have done. And will do in the future.
The next morning the rejuvenated heroes convened for breakfast after a long sought night of unbroken rest. Little Joe was particularly pleased to have passed a night without Zardoz Zord, J.B. Nevercott, or another of Jarlaxle’s alter egos climbing through his window for a “chat.”
As they collectively sat down to read the newspaper they took in the headlines, most of which related to their recent activities:
• Stageat Returns! “I didn’t even know he was gone,” says local mayor;
• Memorial for Lost Watch Officers Arranged—Zhentarim and Xanathar feud blamed for the death of Sgt. Cromley and Detective Barnibus Blastwind;
• Still No Sign of Frewn’s Brews—the tavern went missing three weeks ago leaving only a pentagram in its place;
• Sea Maiden’s Faire Departs the Docks—after a mysterious fire killing many dock workers. No sign of Zardoz Zord the enigmatic leader of the eccentric flotilla;
• Black Viper Still At Large—The cagey cat burglar was last seen snooping around a theatre in the dock ward;
• Back page editorial on the rise of the Vigilante—Who is responsible for this unprecedented surge?
Just as they were laughing and joking at the headlines, there was a knock at the door announcing the final moment of our campaign. Arvene went to open it.
There was no obvious source of knocking that caught Arvene’s attention, which admittedly had been taken by the coffin-shaped resting box on the doorstep. She paused, confused. There was a muffled sound coming from the box. A ticking, barely audible through the wooden crate. Nervously she picked up the note attached to the box. It read: “For Joe.”
Little Joe slowly opened the crate and up popped a humanoid shape, like a vampire rising from its coffin. Only this vampire was made of metal, and had a whirring and ticking noise coming from the torso. The Nimbleright jumped up out from the box, turned toward the house and ran into Trollskull Manor, before pausing in the center of the taproom. Alan, Dugg, Little Joe, and Arvene all stood in silence, confused, as another piece of paper dropped to the ground. The robot then ran forward and dived head first through the tavern’s largest, most ornate window. Dugg picked up the note and passed it to the others: “That’s for the stained glass windows. Nim is yours now.” END
This was a fun wrap up for the campaign and I took the opportunity to sow the seeds for possible future campaigns. Options include: heading to Elturel to see the fall of the city and begin Descent Into Avernus; going after the Cult of the Dragon and starting Horde of the Dragon Queen; getting on a boat and traveling to Port Nyanzaru to begin Tomb of Annihilation; descending into the well beneath the Yawing Portal tavern and heading into Undermountain for Dungeon of the Mad Mage; or walking slowly off in to the sunset, holding hands, and retiring from the adventurers’ life.
In case we do continue onwards, they all leveled up during this session to seventh level (two levels higher than the campaign book suggests). Little Joe was pleased to learn the spell Polymorph—I fear for all NPCs in future campaigns! Arvene took another level of Warlock, further cementing her connection to the Aboleth that resides in the stone of Golorr. Alan continued his progression towards World’s Greatest Ranger, and Dugg learnt some new skills as part of his fighter archetype.
Over the coming weeks, I will be attempting a write whole campaign write-up where I reflect on the experience and offer up any advice for other DMs looking to tackle Dragon Heist. So watch this space.
Next week, I’m going to have an early night, not play Dungeons & Dragons, and dream about candy, rainbows, and unicorns, before waking ready to begin planning another fiendish adventure.
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