Rascals of Elturel

Major Altar-ations
Game XV
Last time in Baldur’s Gate… the Heroes of Baldur’s Gate found themselves in a sticky situation, inside a surgical chamber inside the High Hall of Wonders, the Church of Gond. This appeared to be a place of respite, a place where they could potentially expel whatever curse befell their friend Xin. But, as she laid, face down upon a stone slab – again restrained – none other than Duke Torlin Silvershield stepped into the room, in highly decorated garb, in order to perform the exorcism.

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Ander and Vogel were behind glass, surrounded by worshippers of Gond. Xin immediately began screaming at the Duke, the man who they were accused of murdering. Supe was fairly torn, but pleasantly surprised to see the leader of his faith.

The Heroes, except Supe, demanded answers. As to the what’s, why’s, and how’s of Silvershield’s disappearance and now reappearance. Silvershield started to answer, when he triggered a change in the floor. A giant machine rose out of the floor surrounding Xin – something that looked like something out of Supe’s dreams, full of levers, metal arms, bubbling cauldrons, saws, fire, and hammers.

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While Xin smoldered, Supe climbed on the contraption, and Ander and Vogel schemed a plan of attack. Silvershield spoke of his plan to rebuild the city – that the city was broken and as a devotee of Gond, it needed to be made “better”. He spoke of creating something that was in line with the Wonderbringer, Lord Gond himself. That he spoke directly to the Lord and he gave him the ways to bring peace to the land, order to the chaos. Silvershield lured Supe in with these words, and to be certain his words worked, he used a divine charm upon the unlucky gnome. He then went on to say that the words of Imbralym Skoond were right – everything he said – proclaiming that you all were fabricators of this ‘Cult of Bhaal’, agitators, heads of the Guild, and likely caused the death of Duke Abdel Adrian and countless others.

Then, as Vogel and Ander magically put several cultists to sleep and began to attack others, Silvershield spoke of a great sacrifice that is coming – that with tomorrows plans, the foot soldiers of Gond will arrive and rebuild it all. With that, he orders Supe to activate the machine – which the compelled gnome does with glee. The machine makes tremendous noise and whirrs and then the large hammer falls upon Xin – stopping inches above her.

Then, all hell breaks loose.

The machine spins out of control. Fights break out in the viewing terrace. Glass shatters. Ice storms form. Wooden tables becomes terrifying wood golems. Full plate metal animates and attacks. Some Gond acolytes flee – some stay to defend Silvershield.

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Suddenly Xin is in major pain and turns red, grows horns and a tail, and devolves into a murderous rage.

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The fight is intense, with Silvershield dealing out lots of pain in defensive spells, spells that seem both goodly divine and darkly wicked and arcane.

After an intense battle, all are joined on the ground floor in a fight against Silvershield, when he pops into existence from a blink spell in the face of Vogel – he misfires a deadly spell. At which time everyone gets a murderous blow off against the head of the Church of Gond. But, the final blow comes from an unexpected blast of necrotic black energy from Xin’s hand, which levels the old man. He falls to the ground… dead.

With the room now near empty, the Heroes gather Silvershield’s body and recover from the major event. Knowing Church members would be arriving very soon, the group flees through Silvershield’s dressing room.

They find a hidden door leading down below the previous chamber, which leads to a giant workshop. It appears to be some kind of exclusive workshop, perhaps only accessed by Silvershield, but that is unknown. The contraption clear was built (and raised) from here.

Upon further investigation, the Heroes find another secret room, a small tunnel that one must crawl through, and avoid traps, to get to. A sickly feeling small cave, with no light is here. The evil energy is thick. There is an arcane summoning circle here. It has a distorted symbol of Gond in the center. The Heroes suspect Silvershield found this and thought he was speaking to Gond, but perhaps made a pact with something far more sinister. The Heroes fled the scene.

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Needing to escape this place, they found an exit that leads out of the chamber and into the Undercellar below. With so much revealed, and yet still a mystery, the Heroes set out to discover what dangers await next.
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Hounded
Game XIV
Last time in Baldur’s Gate – Having just escaped from a large riot at the gates of the Upper City, our heroes were led by members of The Guild through a tight alley, to a safe-house just out of reach of the massacre. The Heroes, whole once more, followed the men of the Guild to a room below in the Undercellar, where they waited for Stiletto to arrive. They got to know Igan, the local Guild Operator and his Enforcers while they waited, discovering that Stiletto seemed to have taken Risla’s place in the Guild.

When the Halfling leader arrived, she was followed by an entourage of Guild Enforcers. While she and Igan spoke in thieves’ cant, Ander watched the exchange from the sidelines. He discovered that the Guild may have had some hand in the riots that occurred, but to what extent wasn’t clear. When confronted by Ander regarding her role in the massacre, she claimed that her orders to her men were only to seed the crowd with passion, and see the march occurred, but she never intended for any citizens to get hurt. Her words seemed truthful, but also as if she wasn’t necessarily sharing the whole truth.

Stiletto pleaded with the Heroes to help her break into the Seatower of Balduraan to try and get weapons for the masses and perhaps free some prisoners as well. While the Heroes did their best to try and get Stiletto to forgo her fight against the powers that be, in order to fight the “true evil” of the Cult of Bhaal, she said she couldn’t divert her attention from the people who were dying right here and now. After making everyone but a few leave the room, she spoke more candidly, saying she would love to help more and is indeed searching for the Cult – but so far nothing has come of it. She is willing to fight the Cult, but she feels her immediate duty is fighting for the people of the city, who are dying left and right – by duels with patriars, lynching by the Flaming Fist, and now the tragic events of the day. She will arm the people and continue a search for the Cult, but her priority is the people. She also mentioned she tried to investigate the Cult’s chamber that they found with Layla, but the room and area was collapsed by stone, blocking investigation.

After the conversation, the Heroes are left with the task of organizing weapons retrieval and a prison break from the Seatower of Balduraan. First thing though was rescuing their goods from the Watch Tower in Upper City. Stiletto gave the Heroes five Enforcers to aid in these tasks.

They were led through the maze of the Undercellar to a place just outside the Watch Tower. A disguised Ander and Vogel were going to go try to retrieve the items with a little deception. Using magical disguises, the two dressed as a Flaming Fist dwarf and a Vigilar of the Watch. Trying to convince the four gate guards they were there to retrieve the prisoner’s items, as they “should have been included in the transfer”, did not go so well. Soon a magical suggestion or two convinced half of the guards to help, while the other half seemed highly doubtful. Never-the-less, a guard showed them inside to the evidence locker. Ignoring many tempting items, they were able to gather all of their items with the help of Ander’s bag of holding.

Unfortunately, they realized their deception had been discovered as they were to depart. Ander used a potion of invisibility to sneak out the front gate, after sending a large number of spear-wielding guards after an evil bucket of “doom”. Vogel used some basic prestidigitation and spider-climb to get the hell out of there.

While this all happened, Xin tried to come on to Manny, one of the Guild Enforcers, only to be rejected, as he said he was married.

With their things recovered, the group and Enforcers sought to rest before their next goal of the Temple of Gond. After Uruag’s first watch, she woke Vogel for her own watch. Uruag spoke earnestly to Vogel, saying that she felt it was time to leave for her. That she needed to personally get the help from her sisters at the monastery. Vogel expressed her concern, but let her go.

No more than thirty seconds later, there was the sound of a scream from outside their door – and when the elf witch turned to the door, it burst open with an ugly shirtless man leading three terrifying hellhounds on a chain. Soon, battle was engaged and the hellhounds were breathing fire and ripping the throats out of the Enforcers. The Heroes were all almost killed, Ander again falling to the ground, beside the five fallen Guild Enforcers. But, after a fierce battle, the Heroes won out, not without more than a few scorch marks and losing all but two of the Enforcers. Quickly, Vogel ran outside and saw the bloody, burnt, and mutilated form of Uruag Backbreaker dead on the ground.

Screaming out, soon the others ran to the same gruesome scene. Xin cried above Uruag, pulling her necklace from her – which inadvertently disconnected the half-orcs head from her body, which then rolled to Ander’s feet, staring directly up at him. It was disgusting. Uruag did seem to have the ashen eyeball of one of the hounds in her hand, but that was difficult to discern over her guts that were spilled out of her mid-section. Supe said a brief prayer over her body and gathered her bits and pieces in a backpack, hopefully for resurrection later, if possible.

Upon investigation, Ander discovered a scrap of cloth on the hounds-keepers’ person, which looked like a piece of Xins’ torn clothing. They discern that it must be from when Xin was previously captured.

After a rough night’s rest, the group leaves one of the Enforcers to look after his fallen brethren, while Manny would join the Heroes, leading them to Hall of Wonders/Temple of Gond – at which point Manny departs.

The heroes, arriving at the temple just as it opened saw the grandeur that was Hall of Wonders before them. A gigantic circular structure, with large columns, statues, engravings, and moving parts. They entered, only to see the museum inside of every kind of strange contraption they could imagine, from strange pumps to flying machines to things they could net attempt to identify. At the far end of the great hall, they saw a giant altar with stained glass depicting a craftsman at work. They sought out a priest, a pastor named Gauwill, telling him of their need to get the curse reversed from their afflicted friend, Xin.

Soon, they are brought to an infirmary to await a priest who can handle such things. It isn’t long before a team of acolytes hover around Xin, placing her on a rolling table, strapping her down, virtually naked and face down to the thing. Her scarred and tattooed back plain for everyone to see.

Heading to a circular viewing chamber, Vogel and Ander, as well as a score of onlookers sit thirty feet above the chamber, behind glass, looking down upon an altar. Xin is wheeled onto the altar, for everyone to see. Gauwill, Supe, and a small handful of acolytes are left with Xin.

Gauwill makes a proclamation, stating that the exorcism was about to begin – and to perform such a difficult task, was none other than head of the church of Gond, Duke Torlin Silvershield…

…Stepping into the chamber is a magnificently adorned Silvershield, with a large headdress, in fine red and gold linens. Looking directly to Xin, he says with a smile, “Let us begin.”

Begin what??? Find out, next time, in Baldur’s Gate!
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Arrests and Massacres
Game XIII

(To Be Rewritten) Long and short of it – half the party (Xin, Supe, Uruag) was arrested by the Watch after fleeing the explosion at Silvershield’s (for the supposed murder of Silvershield, destruction of the estate, and “a half dozen other things”). While they spent the night in the brig, the others (Vogel, Ander) met with Layla trying to plan the others rescue. The next day, while being transported from the Watch in Upper City, to the Flaming Fist in Lower City, the arrested group got caught in a giant mobs of protesters at the entrance to Upper City (Baldur’s Gate). It was 2,000 citizens on one side and 2-300 hundred mix of Flaming Fist and plain clothes folks on the other side. While moving through the mob, the plain clothes folks started firing crossbows down on you guys and the rest of the crowd. A riot and massacre ensued. Vogel and Ander, who were staking out the Flaming Fist prison, arrived at the massacre late. While everyone was getting pretty fucked up, and the Fist was knocking people back and out – the plain clothed folks seemed to be coup de grace-ing a lot of the fallen people. You were all being overwhelmed, but then three people in hoods came into the fray and led you all (including the late arriving V&A) to, what you are assuming is a safe house, and also who you are assuming are the Guild – although you don’t know whether either of those things is true, as the game ended just as you entered the escape house.

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A Song of Fire and Flaying
Game XII

Last time, having spent the night in a store room in the Undercellar, the Heroes met back up with Layla at her newly acquired bar (acquired from the late Fetcher). She had a team of people running about cleaning the place up and taking care of odds and ends. While waiting for her to escort the Heroes to the Upper City, Layla revealed some newfound information.

Layla had log books from the Fetcher that pointed to a few regular deliveries and some possible pick ups from his store rooms. The books were encoded so it wasn’t totally clear who was doing what and when, but they got a few names and found a few patterns that led them to those conclusions. Possibly related, they found a nearly empty store room with broken clay pots on the floor. The name Felogyr / BG was etched into several of the bowls – which also appeared to have alchemical residue that might have been characteristic of smokepowder. Many theories as to what this meant and its implications flew around. This needed to be reported to Silvershield. Besides, they needed help from the man of Gond to hopefully free Xin from her cursed state.

Before departing, the very injured Darria was laying back in the office, with her shriveled stump-of-an-arm, being tended to by Niobi. Apparently divine healing magics had been applied and were of no long lasting use on the wound. Darria spoke up then, thanking each of the Heroes for saving her life, again. She emotionally spoke of her step-mother, Andolyn, who appeared out of nowhere the day after the Heroes last saw her. She seemed frantic and was speaking in harsh tongue, that some of the Heroes recognized as Abyssal. Chef Griot and Darria tried to run, but then everything felt of heat and cold, and then darkness. She awoke in a cell, only to be taken to the sacrificial chamber she was found in several days later. She does not know what became of her father or Andolyn. There was something else, Darria’s description of her step-mother sounded familiar, very similar – yet not quite exact – of another sorcerer that was on the Heroes target list.

Shortly after, Darria and Niobi left to go to a friend’s home in Lower City, while Layla started to guide the friends to the Upper City once more.

This time, they made it to the exit without incident and parted ways with Layla. In the dead of night, they crossed the foggy, silent Upper City, lead by the disguised Uruag, as a member of the Watch. Decided time was of the essence, they went directly to Silvershield’s Estate, instead of waiting until morning.

At first they were denied entry by the guards, even when their writ was produced. But, pleading with the guard and mentioning the smokepowder and cult to the guard gained them entrance after he checked inside.

They were taken to a large circular atrium inside the manor house itself. There, they found Silvershield in his robes, clearly having been woken out of his sleep. They also noticed there were several guards in the trees and brush surrounding.

Filling in Silvershield on selected bits of their experiences since they last saw him – most especially making sure to skip the specifics of their relations with the Guild. They urged a meeting between the Guild and the city in order to form a truce. Silvershield seemed doubtful of the Guild’s intentions with such a meeting, although he said it might be a wise course of action. Then, the news of the Cult of Bhaal set the Duke back on his heals. He said he was worried something like this may be exactly what the Guild’s plans were all along. The Heroes followed this up with the news of the smokepowder stores they believe they found with the Fetcher, and that they believed the Cult might be planning a very large attack soon. While the salt-and-peppered man tried to take all of this in, the friends pleaded with him to try and heal their friend Xin from the curse placed by the cult. He agreed to try and said he needed to get some of his holy materials for this and would be back momentarily. He leaves.

A moment or two of silence followed by the sound of the door locking set all nerves on edge. An unfamiliar voice from an unknown location ordered the Heroes to disarm and put their arms in the air. Without hesitation, they acted, attacking the men that were in the shadows. They hit several of the guards before they made a single strike. An all-out fight ensued, people darting in and out of the trees and bushes. Both sides fought the battle valiantly until Vogel’s magic set the room ablaze. The heat crisping the brows of everyone, Vogel didn’t stop there and called upon a wave of thunder that both took several of the guards down, but shattered the glass atrium above. The falling glass killed the remaining guards.

Chasing down Silvershield, with the intention of rescuing him, they followed tracks that implied he might have gone upstairs. Following the stairs of a tower to his office, and then up additional stairs that went up the outside of the tower, they could not find the man.

Looking out of the tower, into foggy night of Baldur’s Gate, peering beyond the raging fire that had caught in Silvershield’s home – they could see several people rushing towards the estate. They also just caught a glimpse of what appeared to be Silvershield’s robes and a couple of people near him running through a gate at the north end of his large compound. While trying to discern whether he was fleeing voluntarily or under duress, the tower shook with a might KABOOM!

An explosion blew the tower to bits, sending rock and fire and concussive force at the heroes. They all were saved by Vogel’s quick thinking of Feather Fall. Uruag slid on the air itself. Most shocking, beyond the enormous explosion, was that Vogel sprouted leathery wings that guided her softly to the ground.

In the fiery rubble, the Heroes were trying to catch their breath, but there was no time to lose – they ran north along the compound. What will happen next?

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Flaytime Is Over
Game XI

Perched on the edge oblivion, Xin was chained to the sacrificial chamber of Cultists of Bhaal. Moments previous, she thought death was upon her, but then a rain of arrows and mystic energy rained down upon the leader of the cultists, felling him in a single attack. Her friends were here – rescue was close at hand.

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Ander, Uraug, and Supe ran downstairs, from the viewing chamber above, to battle the cultists and free their friend. Vogel and Layla stayed up above, to continue the onslaught from afar.

Waves of a strange blood lust began to permeate the wills of our Heroes. They wanted blood, death, and despair as much as any cultist might. So much so, their bewitching caused the goodly gnome of Gond to attack Uraug from behind, as the descended into the fray. The Son of Stiletto was fighting an urge to assassinate the Bhaal worshipers and focus on freeing the prone ranger.

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As most of the robed villains hid behind their five victims in preparation for the battle, two of them dropped their obsidian sacrificial swords and transformed into undead murders of crows. They flew up at the elf witch and pirate above. Terrified, Vogel cast out waves of thunderous sound, destroying many of them, before they squeezed through the small viewing ports to attack the women.

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Layla froze, fighting the fear and bloodlust, unable to fight. The wizard took the remaining birds out with her arcane blasts, only to have the bewildered pirate attack her next with her blade! Thankfully, with a bit of help, Layla snapped out of it and ran down to join the others in battle below.

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Uraug, desperately was fighting several villains at one time. Surrounded by cultists and a skeletal poisonous viper, she broke noses, snapped arms, and crushed bones. Unfortunately, she was overwhelmed and knocked unconscious, moments from her own death.

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Ander slid into hiding and freed the chained Xinixelica from her bindings. The hobbit slinked towards the dying Darria Griot, whose lifeblood was slipping from her skinned arm. This is when he saw the foul sight of the flayed dwarven zombie stomping towards the fight. But, if things couldn’t get any worse, two demonic quasits flew down from the ceiling and started ripping out the guts of the two other prone sacrificial lambs.

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Meanwhile, Supe raced to the rescue of his fallen half-orc friend. He fought off two of the mace-wielding enemies and called upon Gond to spare his friend. Uraug awoke, not sparing a moment before starting to fight again.

Sadly, the naked animal that Xin had become, created a blood lust in her. Collecting the fallen obsidian blades, unable to distinguish friend from foe, she struck and nearly killed both Darria and Ander, who both fell unconscious from the blade strikes.

Luckily, Xin, in attacking the next opponents, shook the main hold of the blood lust and was able to help Uraug and Layla in their fight against the remaining cultists, quasits, and flayed zombie. This allowed Supe time to save the lives of both of the dying halflings.

At last, the battle ended, with one of the cultists jumping from the platform into the abyss below, but not before Vogel got a shot off with her magic missiles, knocking the now dead cultist, spinning into oblivion.

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The blood lust had subsided, so the group patched themselves up a bit, freed Darria, and found Xin’s things, and a few bits of jewelry, in a secret compartment below the altar. It was then that the group noticed the emblazoned scar on the back of both Darria, and Xin. Large, scarred flesh in the symbol of Bhaal was burnt into their flesh. It seemed to have imparted some sort of powers, for good or ill it is unknown, onto the two women. They had claws, spoke Abyssal, and had serious anger issues.

The group decided to flee this area, taking a brief note of the the sound of liquid flowing in the abyss below, they gathered the obsidian swords, Layla carried Darria, and they ran. On the way out, they discovered a chest of several more items before leaving the area altogether, heading back to the Undercellar.

On the way there, Darria was in and out of consciousness. She was muttering many things: of a woman betraying her – a bright light – fire – asking for her father – and then she wept quietly to herself.

The Rascals of Elturel, plus two, raced to the empty tavern of The Fetcher – their intention, to find shelter and report that the route had been compromised. When they arrived, they found a surprised Fetcher packing a travel bag. It didn’t take long for the group to surmise from his demeanor that he was likely in-the-know about their ambush.

Knocking out the bewildered Niobi, the group surrounded the grotesquely obese man, threatening him with swords. The Fetcher feigned ignorance, which got him a sword to the belly, by the fed-up Xin. Supe brought the man back from deaths door, but not necessarily to save him. The interrogation continued. He finally began to spill his guts, once his guts had been spilled. He admitted to working with the Cultists of Bhaal – although he seemed to not be directly a member himself. He was in it for the money. He did give up that the Cult used the same method of communication that the Guild used – hidden messages in the local rag, the Baldur’s Mouth.

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His usefulness at an end, the pile of blubber was put to a quick death.

Looting him and his things, they decided to leave Layla in charge of the Tavern down here. They split the money with her, keeping her as a solid ally. They would leave her to deal with explaining things to Niobi and seeing that Darria found her way home. The group would meet up with her in the morning, in order to get passage into Upper City.

The Rascals found a deserted storage room away from Undercellar center, and bedded down for the night, after healing and having a few bowls of pissing shrimp stew.

Their nights were uneasy, wracked with nightmares about the horrible things they saw and did the day previous. Especially for the ranger, Xin. The fiery eyes of Bhaal seered into their psyches. Hardened, they saw the faces of some of their enemies now – they were very real. Something very terrible was going on, and they were in the fiery eye of the storm.

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Into The Undercellar
Game X

Climbing down into the depths of the Undercellar in Lower City, Baldur’s Gate, our Heroes were on their way to being smuggled into Upper City. The Undercellar here was far less foul than the sewers were previously. Here, it seemed that the route was comprised more of literal cellars and abandoned storage rooms, rather than sewage pipes and stink. Ander also seemed to be acting a little twitchy and on edge.

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Following Stiletto’s instructions for some time, the group comes across a long open corridor filled with thieves and the people buying from them – a full-bore black market. It wasn’t long before the group was scouring the market for goods of a magical nature – rare as they are; they found several options between them.

Ander, the Halfling, was able to secure a brand new arcane sword; the ranger, Xin, found an interesting acidic sheath for her sword; Uruag bumped chests with another female half-orc, sealing a deal for slippers made of arcane spider silk. Vogel met another new mage friend, named Devlin, who seemed quite powerful indeed. Through him, she attained a new scroll and a purple-hued pearl of arcane power. Ander also helped “acquire” a magic ring for the sultry she-elf.

It was Supe who found his soul mate in the caverns of the Undercellar. Another gnome tinkerer named, Wallen, was working on some fascinating new inventions. The two of them chatted for several long minutes about the reasons to use a sprocket instead of a flange. They helped each other make some adjustments to a new dinglehopper Wallen was working on – they did it hand in hand. In the end, they had to part ways, but not before the gnome of Gond purchased a farseerer and a new invention of a günkraussbø, which was somewhere between a pistol and a crossbow.

After a brief rest, they got to know their new tools, and count up the few pieces of gold they had left.

It was time to get to the tavern, have a drink, and meet their contact. When they arrived at the converted storage room that served as a tavern, they saw it was filled with nasty characters – including full-blooded orcs. They waited to be served and overheard a few disturbing nuggets about life above-ground, while they have been on the move. Apparently a large section of Lower District was burned to the ground the previous evening – the latest in a series of fire that have broken out. It also sounded like the government officials have decreed Upper City be closed to non-patriars and residents at fifteen bells, which is a full three hours earlier than usual.

The bar maid, an exotic Amnish woman named Niobi, confidently strode to the Heroes table, without prompting. She requested they follow her to the back room. On the way there, a foul-mouthed orc ‘disrespected’ her, and suddenly found a blade in his back and the light flee from his eyes.

In the back office, the Heroes met, “The Fetcher”, a large man, with exotic fashion tastes, and a walrus mustache. He is an information broker and smuggler for the Guild, and knew of the groups approach before they arrived. He tried to get whatever information he could from the group, but found them tight-lipped. He gave them instructions as to where to meet their ‘coyote’, and that their transport was gratis, per Stiletto’s instruction.

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They were on their way, and found in their guide in a remote section of tunnel – it was none other than Laraelra Thundreth, or Captain Layla of the Low Lantern. She has been working for The Fetcher since her place was closed down. She explained that secrecy was the large man’s trade, and they would have to be blind-folded.

Following Layla, via rope and voice, was direct and surprisingly easy going for the most part. That is, until a sudden flapping of leathery wings startled the group, and sent Xin and Layla (and the light source) tumbling backwards down a large sewer tube into a river of shit and filth. Fighting against unseen foes, wandering light sources, poisonous claws, and gravity, the Heroes were in a tough spot.

Uruag pursued her friends down the tunnel walls to the river below. She saw her enemies now, leathery winged demons named Quasits. Their poisonous talons caught the half-orc off-guard and she too fell into the soupy filth below. With a thud, Xin, Layla, and Uruag, each found themselves in iron cages that fell from the ceiling, separating them and trapping them in the river.

While Supe, Vogel, and Ander worked on a repelling line down to their friends, their friends were in a tougher spot. Hidden doors opened on either side of the caged tunnel, and men in black robes attacked the trapped adventurers. Layla fought back, but was struggling. Uruag, with her silk slippers, gained good ground and held her attackers back. But, the ranger was overwhelmed and taken by the magical attackers.

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The monk of the Hidden Hand swung through the secret door and took down one of her attackers, seeing the rest of them fleeing through another door with her hot-headed friend. Soon, the rest of the party used their combined strength to, after several failed attempts, lift the iron portcullis so that they could all pursue.

Without their tracker, it was not such an easy task, but the bloody trail was clear to Vogel and Ander. Heading through the filth-covered sewers, they were delving deep into the underground. They finally came to a locked door with a code written in Abyssal – which proved no problem for the elf, after she recalled that she had wand of ‘knock’ in which to open just about any lock.

Standing sentinel before them were a dozen or more robed skeletons. They stood at a narrow hallway that extended outward in a circular fashion. Quickly, the heroes struck at the bony guards, taking them down easily.

It was then that they noticed the sound of screaming and chanting from the next room. They peers through a severely narrow viewing slit to a large circular chamber on the other side of the wall. What they saw made them angry, fearful, and lust for avenging.

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Similar to the one they saw previous, but larger, there was a circular stone platform, hanging by large chains above a dark pit. This time, seven hooded men, with faces of bone and fiery eyes, chanted – singing praise to the deceased Lord of Murder, Bhaal. They surround five stone slabs that five nude, prone, prisoners laid on, awaiting their deaths. One, a dwarf, had already been flayed alive, with blood still pouring from his body, his skin pinned back on the slab. Their obsidian daggers currently slice the skin from a familiar young Halfling woman, Darria Griot – whom they sold their roc egg to. The Cultists chant divinely to keep the woman alive, as her skin was being peeled from her arm. Next in line was the seemingly unconscious Xinixelica.

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At the center of the platform was the leader of the chants, a man with a large skeletal serpent surrounding his feet, and tear drop flames encircling his skull. It was at him that the group of onlookers took aim with their bows and magic, through the narrow viewing slit. As one, they all fired upon the unsuspecting cult leader. Hitting him directly, he collapsed in a heap beneath the volley of bolts, natural and arcane.

All eyes shifted to the gallery above – their flaming eyes flaring. Death comes to all. It’s go time.

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Out of the Past
Game IX
In the wake of a fight with a group of white-clad rogues from the Guild at Norold Dlusker’s Heapside home in the Lower City, the Heroes patched themselves up, while assessing their situation. They decided to interrogate their captured Guild representative to see if they could discern why they were attacked. It was soon clear that this was an unfortunate and deadly misunderstanding. While they spoke, the fat sheep-slinger left the house to retrieve the Flaming Fist, since he recently realized that the Heroes were not who they said they were.

As the Fist bounded their way up the steps, the Rascals and Donna the “Guilded” rogue leapt out of the window to the roof across the way. After making their escape, Donna agreed to deliver a message to the mysterious halfling woman who led their group, Stiletto – and also to Rilsa – they wanted to meet.

A time was set for the next day and the Heroes needed to recover from the day’s events. Fearing interference or worse in Upper City, they found their way to an inn called the Elfsong Tavern near the exit to Outer City. It was a strange and magical place, with a fascinating stuffed pint-sized beholder hanging above the bar. The high concentration of elves in the eclectic mix of personage, was not too surprising given the name of the place. The moment of wonder came when they headed up to their rooms and a haunting melody struck everyone in the bar dead in their tracks. To each of them, the ghostly song sang of a yearning of something that they did not have. The feminine tune particularly hit Vogel most dumb of all – while not magically compelled, she could not help herself from being entranced by the elven voice from afar.

After the tune ended, everyone went to bed, except the Little Bird, who did some asking around. She discovered a man named Eolfin, a kind elf who was mapping out the world in search of the elven kingdom of Evermeet. He explained the legend of the ghostly voice and it’s attachment to this in. In addition he spoke of Content Not Found: alan-alyth, the half-elf owner, who brought in fine ales from Everska to serve in this place. Finishing up, she made haste back upstairs to avoid getting hit on by the numerous humans who seemed to fetishize the elves here.

The next day, the group exited to city and wandered around, trying to find their meeting spot. On their way out, they were shaken down by the Flaming Fist, who were roughing up a number of people, most especially anyone resembling a halfing or gnome, in supposed search for a killer on the loose. Ander was particular pushed around, insulted, severely threated, shoved, and all around dealt injustice by two members of the Fist. Although, little did they know, this was indeed the two half-men they were looking for. They were released and left to leave the city.

Shaking that off, they were soon found by the Guild, and taken to a large shanty nearby, where they were to meet with the halfling from last night.

The meeting started smoothly, with apologies all around for the fight the previous evening. But soon, this line of discussion was derailed by a sudden revelation – this woman, Stiletto of the Guild, was none other than Ander’s long lost mother. A heartfelt, though somewhat awkward reunion took place, while the others stepped out of the room. Stiletto, known also as Shaena Riverwend, explained how she did not mean to leave Ander those many years ago; that she and his father, Merric, were kidnapped by pirates from the Elturel port. She was raped and tortured for years, separated from both husband and child. It was not until The Guild happened upon the ship she was on, that she and a few others were rescued. She had to rebuild, and, although she looked for Ander, she could not find him – and she knows not what became of Merric. Soon, she joined the Guild and learned several tricks of the trade. And now she fights for those who can’t fight for themselves, and works to see the corruption of Baldur’s Gate come to an end.

Stiletto then asks the entire group if they would be willing to do the same. The Rascals explain their positioning with Silvershield and that they would indeed like to arrange some peace between the groups, to find a larger threat, which seems to be demon worshippers of some kind. Stiletto agrees to this, although she clearly believes the government will not seek anything but the destruction of her people. She will speak to Rilsa Rael about what happened and what is proposed, although she does not have high hopes for success in this regard. As a side note, Ander mentioned to his mom, the two Flaming Fist that assaulted him. Instincts kicked in, and she said she would, ‘take care of it’.

With directions from Stiletto on how to get back into the city, via sewer, in order to avoid further entanglements with the Fist, they headed off.

But, not before meeting another unlikely blast from Uruag’s past. Ryllyn of the Order of the Hidden Hand, the some monastic order the half-orc is apart of, discovers them. She had been tracking Uruag for some time, hearing of the Heroes of the Wide’s exploits. She explained she was tracking kidnapping along the Sword Coast, when she came across a terrible sight. Instead of explaining, the group, going through the sewers and out into Lower City – following Stiletto’s instructions.

They soon came to an ordinary looking house that the monk showed them. Going to the basement, and down a long flight of stairs, they came to a large circular room, with a deep, dark pit at the bottom. Hanging at the center was a circular stone tablet, with the face of Bhaal carved into it. There was evidence of blood and potential sacrifice in the chamber. But, just as the Heroes investigations were leading to answers, a torrent of blood rained down from holes in the ceiling. It covered Ander, Vogel, Uruag, and Ryllyn, from head to toe.

That’s when the two gelatinous oozes struck, burning away at clothing and more. Despite that, with good teamwork, they liquefied the creatures.

They found this was a good time to flee, but the door at the top of the stairs was now blocked, locked from the outside. When the burglar tried to open it, it set off an explosive trap of fire and concussion. Xin and Vogel were knocked tumbling down the stairs. They just barely avoided sliding into the pit, which would have spelled certain doom for them both.

Recovering, the party limped away, knowing someone must be on to them and their investigations. Uruag’s sister bid the group farewell, in hopes of gathering aid from the Order. At the edge of the entrance back into the Undercellar, the group hopes Stiletto’s directions hold true and ferry them into Upper City. Night has fallen, the Upper City gates are closed, the Flaming Fist may be looking for them, someone just tried to murder them and cover them with torrential downpours of blood, and they need to get to Silvershield. Following the instructions, they descend the ladder into the sewers. Reviewing the next part of the directions, they are to take a number of turns, before they find a man who will take them the rest of the way, across the wall – a man named, “The Fetcher.”
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Tracking the Wool Trader
Game VIII
The Three Old Kegs became a place of both safety and danger. It was unclear where they could turn for answers, but if the Guild wanted a fight, the Rascals of Elturel would answer that call. That wool trader would need to finally answer some questions. As of that moment though, all of their leads were turning up sour or not present.

Disguised as a Patriar woman and her lamp lad, Uraug and Ander headed to the commerce consumption madness that is the Wide, in order to track down the sheepish man. After some investigation, they finally found the rotund retailer and his wooly pals. Dlusker didn’t seem very interested in selling his wares to Uruag, when she attempted to make some inquiries about his goods. Proving to be strange, indeed, the duo decided they would keep an eye on the man, to possibly follow him home after the day was done.

Meanwhile, the party of five hears more word from the local rag, the Baldur’s Mouth. This time they hear that the Flaming Fist is cracking down on lawbreakers, suspected and otherwise. Word is a Halfling or Gnome did away with a man that washed up in the bay the other day, wrapped in a rug. Now the Fist is shaking down every one of age under four feet. Between that and the recent vandalism that has plagued the city, and the trash that is piling up, there was also a not-so-subtle slight against Marshal Ravengard in the paper, questioning if she had the balls for her job – let alone to possibly join the Council of Four, as was the rumor.

Xin wandered the local district, finding tall pagoda-like tower that caught her eye. The door seemed distressed and it was certainly locked, but no guards were standing by. Vogel explored the magic shop of wonders known as Sorcerous Sundries. The strange domed structure had just about every strange arcane component one could imagine. It radiated mystical energy. Vogel got in a very friendly chat with Gilligunn, a very short older man with a large nose and ears. They swapped stories and the Bird sought to come back to help out. Gilligunn stammered, but said, that would be okay. Meanwhile, Supe lay low, thinking the city was after him due to the “rug incident”.

At the end of the day, the group, led by Xin, the resident tracker, followed Dlusker to his home in the Northeast section of The Wide district in Upper City. Uruag disguised herself as one of the Watch, as the group knocked on the man’s door. There was no answer, so Ander arranged another solution. Soon, they were inside the house, but upon quick investigation by Swarly, they discovered they were alone. Not only that, but the place was deserted.

Soon they were on his trail again, tracking him out the back door and through Heap Gate and into Lower City. They found Norold inside a much less distinguished home in Heapside, just on the other side of the Upper/Lower wall. With Uruag now disguised as a member of the Flaming Fist, the group insisted on entry to this small home and began and intense questioning of the blubbering wool trader.

He revealed, after a lot of hesitance, that he was a money launderer of sorts for the Guild. He would drop a load of gold into his former residence, behind the mantel, and they would pick it up randomly during the week. He lost his home due to crippling debt and could not afford to maintain it, and his several businesses – hence living now in Lower City and making what extra he could through the good graces of the Guild. He spoke of the Guild with a healthy bit of fear and respect. He had no love for them, which was for sure.

Just then, there were footsteps on the roof, and Uruag, the woman of many faces, jumped into Norolds sagging soggy bed, in disguise. Several people dressed in white and black stepped inside asking Norold some questions, which Uruag poorly impersonated. The game was afoot and battle was engaged.

Soon, Xin and Supe were fighting an orc and a sword-wielding man downstairs, trading bloody blows. Vogel deafened half the room upstairs, including poor Ander. Uruag was furiously striking her opponents. The battle was fierce, and several of the invaders fell dead to the ground, with only one being knocked unconscious.

Then, Ander stepped out to strike a diminutive woman who was fighting with Vogel. The woman dodged the blow, but upon seeing the small thief, muttered a single word, “Ander…” – which the deaf Halfling could not hear, but the elf-witch could. The woman called for a retreat and then dove for the window, jumping into the night. Vogel, on instinct quickly followed, casting a falling spell upon herself as she did.

The elf did not make the jump. She held onto the roofs edge, where the small woman stood above her. She uttered, “Do not follow me,” and stepped on the sorcerous’ fingers, causing her to fall to the ground, safely.

Who was that woman? Why did she call a retreat? Was this the Guild or someone else? Was the fat man still stuck in a closet downstairs? What will the Heroes of the Wide do next? Check it out, this week, on “The Sundering.”
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Attack at the Three Old Kegs
Game VII
After laying down for another well-deserved night’s sleep at Upper Cities’ coziest inn, the Three Old Kegs, it wasn’t long before our heroes were up to their regular tricks of getting ambushed by people they don’t know.

The ever-alert cannon fodder, Ander the Halfling of the streets of Elturel, had his keen ears tuned in, even while he slept. Waking to the familiar sounds of lock picks tinkering at his door, the light-footed man slinked towards the door to get the drop on the interloper. Unfortunately, a warped floorboard gave away Ander’s position. When the door gently opened, the eager Halfling took a swing at the man kneeling there, but swung too high.

At that same moment, the door to the girls’ room creaked open, revealing a man kneeling in their doorway as well. The meditative ‘Little Bird’ was alert and ready to take flight just as this occurred.

Soon it was clear that both rooms, across from each other, were being invaded by more of the mysterious attackers that ambushed them in Sow’s Foot. A veritable landslide of assassins began their attack against the sleepy Heroes. Xin, didn’t even hear the first of them come in before she was attacked.

One by one, the men in black dealt surgical, trained, near-lethal blows to our struggling team of superior heroes. But, one by one, they fell beneath the blades, fists, and arcane blasts from the heroic and more than capable team of adventurers.

It looked bleak for a few moments, when the invaders unleashed divine blasts of their own, but then the rugged, old bartender, Klalbrot rushed onto the scene – crushing the skull of one of the dark clerics. Rallying behind his appearance, the rest of the attackers were taken out. A few well-placed blows took out a particularly large man who seemed to be the leader of this crew.

Recovering from this attack, Klalbrot and Vogel ran to see what other damage they may have caused – only to discover the strange and disturbing fact that the front door of the Inn was still locked… from the inside! They could smell something foul afoot, but were still unsure what it may be. Investigating further, they found the bartenders’ partner, Brunkhurn, in his downstairs room asleep. He was particularly rattled by the news and ran off to find the Upper City Watch. They checked upstairs too, encountering the reclusive third owner, Alastar, to find no other signs of disturbance or entry.

Meanwhile, Xin applied some pressure to the five remaining peons to survive the attack, trying to get some answers. Most were too far gone to respond, and the one the she could rouse didn’t seem to either know what or how to answer the rangers’ threats – even after she sliced the throat of a dying attacker to intimidate the man.

Uruag tried her own interrogation tactics on the giant leader – his furrowed brow almost reminiscent of her own orcish heritage. Straddling the man, she tried inflicting pain, poking him, prodding him, squeezing him – but the man only seemed to take sadistic joy from the green-skinned woman. His lewd comments were accompanied by licking the side of her face, relishing this moment. He clearly wasn’t going to budge.

The Watch finally arrived, being led by a real pencil pushing, by-the-book asshole named Vigilar Cyne. He briefly questioned Vogel and the team, praising their heroism, but chastised their reckless behavior. Leaving them in the care of Sarmar Igert for further questioning, the rest of the Watch headed upstairs to take care of the villains there.

Trying to avoid being brought back to the Watch Citadel, the clever gnome and Halfling team came up with a plan to feign fainting, which Ander did and Supe tended to with perfect deception. While “caring” for Ander, the Heroes of Elturel, of the Wide, of Sow’s Foot, and now the Three Old Kegs, answered all of Igert’s questions honestly.

While he retreated upstairs to report to Cyne, the Heroes investigated the absent Brunkhurn’s room. The silent Halfling slipped inside, and found a few items of interest among the innkeepers’ things: the inns register and a locked away sack of gems and letters. The letters appeared to be from many different people requesting that Brunkhurn keep an eye on the comings and goings of these various citizens, presumably, for a price.

Chewing on this information, the Heroes and the now rejoined gruff, but affable Klalbrot shared a few drinks, some fine elven rye, trying to digest the goings on that have so been haunting them.

They watch a few of the Watch, including Cyne, leave with three of the prisoners on makeshift stretchers, including the big leader. They implied they will be returning for the remaining mess.

With these attacks increasing, it appears as if the Heroes may be on the right track, as they have clearly upset someone. Will their victory this day send a signal to lay off? Will the pressure only increase? What do those demon worshipers have planned? Will the decrease of civil liberties and class warfare continue to strain the city’s main walls? And will that tubby wool trader be the megalomaniacal sheep tyrant we all assume he is? Check it out, this week, on “The Sundering.”
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Ambush at Sow's Foot
Game VI
The Heroes of the Wide, became the Heroes of Sow’s Foot as well, although the exact circumstances of this are still being hashed out. It all started with the intrepid adventurers stepping deep into demonic unholy ground. Seeing poor Danthelon the dwarf, stiff, bleeding and bloated in his own bed, the heroes were sick to their stomachs. Then, the ring of fire that circled the opposite wall, a ring that looked suspiciously similar to a familiar ring encircling a skull they had seen recently, was extinguished. Plunged into darkness, poor Ander the Halfling, received a painful bite on his arm from the now ghoulish and horrific undead Danthleon – he falls to the ground, paralyzed with necrotic energy.

Uruag quickly steps in, taking a dangerous jab at the now-present floating Axe of Doom, only to discover the axe wasn’t all that it seemed. Unfortunately, a panic filled her normally calm demeanor and she growled out in terror of the sights before her. Quick thinking led to the elven witch, Vogel, brightening things up with her rat friend Swarly’s help – the rat became a beacon of arcane light in these tight quarters.

Soon after, Supe called upon Gond to free Ander from his plight, and Xin the horde breaker sliced the floating Axe in half, revealing tiny demonic legs and spilling guts of fiery brimstone. Vogel had her hands full fighting what appeared to be flame-touched demonic bats. Everyone rallied, Ander spilling the innards of the now prone Danthelon, Vogel and Uruag taking out the two fire-bats, and Supe and Xin finishing off the axe-turned-imp. The quick, but odd, thinking elf saved the building from going up in a blaze, by spooning out some everlasting pissing shrimp stew onto the embers caused by the demon innards, snuffing them out for good.

Fleeing the scene quickly after, before they truly lost their lunch, they ran outside for fresh air. They notice a mysterious persona non grata watching them upon the bridge. Soon the whole team took chase, hopping upon their horses and taking flight after the fleeing bandit.

The action takes them around Balduran’s Outlook to the slums of Sow’s Foot. The stink of swine assaults their senses, but is a welcome change to the brimstone and bile they just left. With Xin leading the charge, they twist and wind through the maze of shacks and makeshift homes. Uruag, normally one of the strongest riders, could not hold onto her mount and was tossed from saddle through the side of one of the homes.

Meanwhile, the others arrived down a long alley where the trail went cold. Upon investigation, it is believed the villain took to the roofs, so Ander takes a quick peek. He didn’t like what he saw – arrows flying at his face from several attackers in all black.

Taking an arrow in the shoulder, Ander fell to the ground. Soon, the three friends are being rained down upon with arrows. Xin, taking quick action, leapt upon the roof to face off with five of the attackers. She bravely dealt lethal blows to a few of them, holding back her own death. The quick-thinking Halfling ran inside a building, with plans to take it down from below, but finding a family of four inside. He tried to get them to flee for their lives, when a giant thunderclap shakes the foundation of the poorly made home. The elf sorceress called upon the mystic arts to attack the assassins all at once.

The buildings shook, the concussive force called forth by Vogel kills several of the bushwackers outright. The rest, including poor Xin, fell off the building to the alley floor, as the surrounding buildings collapsed inward upon the narrows. Sheet metal, splintered wood and dust flew everywhere. No-one was completely spared from the chaos, save the elf at the epicenter.

It was the collateral damage that was most devastating. Tragically, the mother of the family was impaled by a falling beam, and one of their two daughters was caught in the arm – the former was killed instantly, while the latter lingered at deaths door. Supe jumps to the rescue, calling upon Gond to heal his fallen allies and the innocents. This is when Ander leapt into action and chopped mightily with his sword, with the help of the girls’ father, to free the girl from the fallen beam. After several desperate blows, they break the thing and free the girl from her plight, saving her life.

The heroes quickly finished off the rest of the people in black, although one of them did escape into the night. Soon, Xin was on that one’s bloody trail. She tracked them back to the main road after some hunting. Ander, searching the bodies, discovered they were carrying nothing except their weapons and very finely inlaid studded leather armor. The leader of the group also carried a hand-scrawled note stating to, “Kill them. Reward 200.” But what does this mean? Who were these would-be killers?

After tending to the many wounded, the heroes ran off, now all-but-horseless, towards Baldur’s Gate, following the trail of the one who fled. Interestingly, when the person was passing by Little Calimishan, they didn’t seem to head towards it. In fact, their pace appeared to have hastened and their blood suddenly ran freer. As morning light broke, the group noticed several people huddled around a dead body, close to the city gates. The body, dressed all in black, their back was littered with sharp arrows.

They casually walked on by, entering the city. As they traveled, they see more signs of civil unrest, as they headed to Upper City and their beds at the Watch Citadel.

Arriving at the Citadel, they were strangely questioned upon entering the complex. They rested in the barracks, Supe’s constructed bed for Vogel torn down. Another daytime rest brings back much needed energy.

About sundown, a messenger delivered a sealed note to Vogel which stated, “The citadel is not safe. You must leave.” They did.

Heading back to the Three Old Kegs in the Temple District of Upper City, they were warmly greeted by Brunkhurn, the registrar. Soon after, a party starts in the downstairs bar, as Vogel was encouraged to embrace her inner-elf and once again danced to the tunes of Terrence the bard. Her movement wild, Terrence played along, quietly, never missing a beat for the sultry she-elf.

The ranger decided to investigate their next quarry with Klalbrot, the bartender. Asking him about the local wool traders and Norold Dlusker, the old man seemed to know the patriar, but didn’t speak too highly of him, saying the rotund man was over-priced. He also spoke of rumors that the man’s family fortune was close to depleted, and most people didn’t care for the man, although he was not sure the reason. He recommended another trader to you.

Unfortunately, all of the local revelry and the horrible sights of the last twenty-four hours, and – plainly – the ugly disparity between the worlds of Sow’s Foot and the Temple District, drove the ordinarily chaotic, but level-headed gnome of Gond past his breaking point. He questions Klalbrot’s motives and an argument ensued. Vogel and Xin tried to keep the peace and Klalbrot never lost his cool. He tried to get the, upset and presumed drunk, gnome back to his room for his own safety. Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and through the tight bonds of friendship and true companionship, Vogel and Uruag listen to the gnomes grievances, agree with him, and they all calm back in Supe’s room.

Meanwhile, Xin laughed it all off and pried a bit further about Norold and the patriars. While never saying anything specifically negative about the “noble class”, Klalbrot didn’t seem overly fond of the idea of them, although he admitted they are essential to Baldur’s Gate.

At the end of another long and weary day, the Rascals of Elturel go to sleep once more. Fore, tomorrow they gather their wits to move as a unit, focused against the most dangerous enemy of all… the overweight wool trader Norold Dlusker. The baa-a-a-dest of the baa-a-a-ad. Will this wool trader be a wolf in sheep’s’ clothing? It’s between him and ewe. Ramming your thick heads together. Will he on the lamb next? Will he take your five mud for his two sheep? What wool happens next? Next time, on “The Sundering.”
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