Rascals of Elturel

Leaving Elturel
Game 0
A little over a month ago, Relwin, an experienced cleric of Gond arrives in Elturel seeking aid by the village of Lendris, who were having problems with an undead monster of some sort attacking each night.

The Rascals of Elturel answer this call, seeking an excuse to leave that cesspool behind once and for all. The village is quite far and it takes almost two to make the journey due to the failing health of the older Artificer, Relwin. He passes in the night less than a day from the town.

After burying the old man, the group heads into town to its sole inn, The Bone Bird, where they meet the innkeeper, Amon, and his sons, Ralt and Toran. They also meet a woman named Milra, a thief who stole Relwin’s holy symbol when the exhausted group slept, and later steals a holy symbol from Supe when he confronts her. Forced to back down from an all-out fight by Amon, they recover his symbol that same night, after Milra confronts the creature attacking the village and is slain.

At the end of the fight, the monster – which the group identifies as an entomber – attacks and kidnaps Toran when it senses the boy has come into contact with the item it sought: a roc egg it seemed to have desired. After working out its goal, you track it into the Cloak Wood and do battle with it in a cave it had taken as its sanctuary. You do battle and destroyed the entomber when it was struck with a blow from a blessed weapon from holy oil the group found – then, it disappeared into dust. You recover the egg and small horde of treasure, including some very rare magical items.

You return a near death Toran to his father. Amon is so grateful, he offers to let the group keep the bounty of selling the roc egg if you could just give him a few dozen gold to cover their expenses through the season as they recover from the devastation. The egg could fetch several hundred gold pieces and the few bits of gold you give could save Amon and his family from a season in squaller. They are too hurt
and fragile to take the trip themselves and do this themselves. With sympathy and eyes on a big prize, you accept this deal. Amon believes Baldur’s Gate will fetch the best price possible for the egg. It’s a good thing you were all thinking about that city in any event.
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On The Road...
Game I
The warm light of the first golden light of sun rises over the distant rolling hills of yellowing golden grass. There is a biting chill wind that sweeps down the forward hill and up into your half-frozen face. First light has brought the first major winds of autumn. The sky is clear this day, as the winds are blowing the coastal weather inward. You don’t imagine that will last, not in this time of year.

The year is 1479, the Year of the Ageless One, in Dale Reckoning. If it is the year of the ageless, then why do your bones suddenly feel so old. It must be that chill wind. Up before dawn, you travel westward with some of your only friends in the world.

Elturel was a place that several of you called home, although that was not always the case. Honestly though, that place is a dump. Ever since High Rider Lord Dhelt died more than seventy years ago, the city has been on a constant downward spiral. First it was his lazy good-for-nothing son who took over his post and let the place fall to orcs, trolls and more before they were beat back. Then the Hellriders, supposedly the best elite force in the land, fell apart. The wealth and calm of the city fell away to crimes worse than death. Now Dhelts great grandson has taken over and is feebly trying to get the city back on top. Well, enough of that. It was high time you all left for someplace that wasn’t destined for disaster.

As you walk along the road west, you all reminisce in the times that have passed. Supe, your too-curious, gnome companion of Gond, goes on at some length about his time spent working with the other brothers of Gond. He never seems to quite understand their persistence about the glory of it all, which is probably how he ended up working that miserable little soup kitchen at Elturel’s filthiest little church. The insides of which look like a tinkers workshop that exploded its’ parts all over the place… which it probably did… which Supe probably was partly responsible for. Most of you have never really put too much thought into the gods of men, as they typically seem to cause so much grief and are so fickle. But, Gond did bring you all together in a matter of speaking. It was because of that very soup line that the five of your came to be friends. It is not lost on Supe that their current destination is home to the largest church and tinker house of Gond in all of the known realms.

Ander has lived on the streets of Elturel for most of his life – or at least that’s what you come to believe. Your halfling friend is as cunning with his tall tales as he with his sleight of hand. While he tells you a tale begging you for a few gold so he can feed himself as his family was devastated by necromatic goblins, he has already taken three times that from your purse without you ever being the wise. You are glad he is on your side out here in the great unknown, on your way to a city that is certainly filled with its fair share of rogues – probably even professionals.

Leading you along the road mirroring the River Chionthar to the west, Xin, a fine tracker and finer friend leads you unerringly. She came to Elturel with high hopes of joining that elite force of Hellriders. She gave up almost everything to do so, only to be rejected because she is a woman. Desperate, she turned to working the worst of the brothels down in Shit Alley, down the block from the church of Gond. You all have a good laugh recalling the time Ander tried to steal from Xin, only to get caught by the wary ranger. This ended up leading them down the path to eventual friendship – proof that anyone could be a friend or an enemy, just depending on which way your blade is facing. Now, Xin secretly looks forward to their destination, as she has heard rumor that the guard of the city accepts into their ranks men or women – anyone really who can lift a blade.

Maybe they could even accept an orc? Or at least a half-orc. Uraug, your lady monk friend ponders this to herself. Uraug has spoken much of her hopes and dreams for finding a place when she can walk freely, as herself, and not only be accepted, but embraced. Her wistful mutterings are always quickly covered up by a few very decidedly unladylike grunts and gulps. Uraug is a dreamer, you all know that. That is what brought you all together as a unit. It also happens to be your favorite story.

That night, around the campfire, as sure enough a storm begins to brew in the sky – you can hear the rains pummeling the ground a few hundred yards from you. Xin ties the last of the cloth for your makeshift lean-to shelter, just as the rain pelts the ground around you. Supe is finishing up making tonight’s meal of – you guessed it – soup – as Ander starts to tell the story he has heard many times previous about Uraug and your newest friend, Vogel, meeting at the Mines of MADNESS! Everyone laughs at this, as this is the latest name Ander has come up with for the mines when Uraug and her “met”.

Vogel stokes the fire with a spark from an arcane cantrip, staring off into the wet distance as the story is told. She is still finding it hard to laugh at. Ander tells of a giant purple worm that ate Uraug’s companion in a single gulp while they relieved themselves in an outhouse. You all can barely contain yourselves when he relays the tale of Uraug fighting giant chickens and barely surviving being turned to stone. Rust

monsters, giant black balls of doom, grinning dwarven statues and more! Each time he tells the tale, there are more and more ridiculous perils Uraug had to face. At everyone’s favorite part, when Uraug climbed through a mouth, which formed a hole in a door and found Vogel – Uraug cuts in. She exclaims that this is just about enough hogwash. She didn’t turn into green jelly and she didn’t find Vogel as a pile of money or any such tall tales, as Ander always likes to embellish. She did see several people die on the way in though, and she also found the sorcerous muttering to herself in a bag… as a bag of bones – yes a broken old skeleton begging to be returned to her normal self. A moment of silence goes by and then, at once, everyone laughs. Everyone except for the traumatized Vogel. Her mind wanders through the void back to those mines. She tried to claw out of yet another cage, only this time it was not the expectations from her family or the walls of welcoming texts – this time it was the foul stench of death and bitter taste of true madness creeping in. Her long life in solitude and recollection of the many stories she lived inside were the only things that kept her going completely and truly mad. She grins and grits her teeth, hating this story and the two years she lost in those mines – and the many years she lost, being treated as a glass menagerie. She thought she would escape to adventure, and all that she found were deadly traps on her whimsical search for the mythical Forever Stone. Thankfully Uraug rescued her and a bag of electrum as well. Uraug, thinking better of this foolhardy quest, fled back to Elturel with the bag of bones and electrum. She was able to use the electrum to pay a priest of Gond, at Supe’s church, to restore the elf to her true form. The five of you have been friends ever since.

Vogel, lost in thought, as she always seems to be, thinks of her silly dreams to become a hero of the ages. Ever since the Spellplague ended, she thought to make herself an adventuring hero. She wonders if the vast libraries of the city, or a port of call that brings so many dashing swashbucklers and influential nobility could be the answer to her vexing fantasies.

The promise of your destination weighs on each of you individually. On the surface, you go to sell an extremely rare roc egg you just acquired by rescuing a boy from a villainous gravedigger of the undead. Below that, you each hope that your destination will bring you one step closer to wealth, family, liberty, glory, knowledge, adventure and the unknown. The promise of the most important and influential city in Faerun titillates each of your flights of fancy. As you doze off to sleep, a femur digging into your back, sticking out of the ground thanks to the Fields of the Dead – the rains are slowing, the embers are low, but the fires inside you burn bright. Two days out to Baldur’s Gate and a better life.
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Back to the Danthelon’s
Game V
The Rascals of Elturel, Heroes of the Wide, and of Baldur’s Gate at large, were cold, wet and looking for answers. Aboard the closed down gambling vessel known as the Low Lantern, Xin, Uruag, and Vogel investigate and interrogate. Xin can’t help but see a bit of herself in this pirate bitch. After a fair bit of good warrioress/bad warrioress and searching her quarters, they surmise that Captain Laraelra Thundreth – known as ‘Lalya’, must be a neutral, but potentially valuable party in this hunt for the rot that festers in the region.

Meanwhile, separated from everyone else, the gnome of Gond currently known as ‘Supe’, brings the confused and badly injured bartender of the Low Lantern, Tommy Tumble, back to the Cock & Hen Inn for his own interrogation. Finding it easier to take him along unconsciously, the capricious gnome knocks out the injured man with his mace. A lamp lad helps him bring the man upstairs. After some down time, the Halfling burglar, Ander, arrives seeking Supe. While they discuss what to do next, they accidently let Tommy live up to his namesake and tumble on his head once more. This causes him to finally succumb to his wounds.

The cleric of Gond was understandably distressed and in disbelief, but the two half-men quickly fly into ‘professional cleaner’ mode and wrap the body in a rug and toss it out the inn window. Heading into the ‘soupy’ night, the two diminutives hoist the carpeted man above their heads and move quickly to the nearby bay. Sidestepping an early-rising dock worker, they find a discrete spot and drop the body. Surely, never to be seen again.

The group, plus Layla, reconvened and took refuge at an inn in Heapside that she recommended.

After a terribly exhausting couple of days, the weary team took a well-deserved daylong siesta. During which time, the Little Bird found a fancy new dress and a little white rat that seemed to be following her. She discovers this rat wants to talk, play and soon sees she has a strange mystical connection to this little guy.

The following day, almost everyone heads off to report the current events to Duke Silvershield. But, between Heapside and Upper City, the investigators read the latest from the Baldur’s Mouth, the local gazette. They discover that the Flaming Fist had been attacked, and suspect it just might have been the corrupt Fist lieutenant Thangol the dwarf that was the target – although whether it was the Guild, Marshal Ravengard or another unknown assailant who attacked, they do not know. Furthermore, they also read about (and then witness) the results of new sumptuary laws that have gone into effect, by order of the Council of Four and Parliament. Just before arriving at High Hall they see the Watch ripping jewelry off of those whom they deem as dressing, ‘above their station.’

Upon reporting their findings to Imbralym Skoond, Silvershield’s second in command, he seems very concerned about the findings on Yssra Brackrel the wayward sorceress of Wyrm’s Crossing. He urges immediate action against her. When pressed for financial aid in order to pay off Captain Thundreth for her assistance as an informant, a war of words ensue. Accusations of standing in the way of progress are thrown at Skoond, while he speaks of needing proof of her worth and the need to uphold the secrecy of the mission. At one point, when threatened to go above Skoond’s head and directly to Silvershield about this – the normally controlled dapper man appears to almost lose it – but he calms and apologizes to the group. He gives in and delivers 200 gold to the victorious heroes, 100 more than was asked, from his personal supply no less, and says that this is all he can do as this can’t attract unwanted attention. The meeting ends with tensions relieved, although Vogel, the default and self-loathing aristocrat of the group, stays to schmooze a bit longer to ensure things are still good. She appeals to the parvenu in him.

Upon returning to the inn, the rest of the party discovers that Uruag, who was watching Layla, has allowed her to leave. She said she trusted the capable woman and she assured her she would help if she could. She is going underground.

With haste, the Heroes travel across Baldur’s Gate and around Balduran’s Outlook to Wyrm’s Crossing and the wild sorceress.

Sending her new rat friend ahead, Vogel discovers that Yssra appears to have fled the scene. Deciding to break into her apartment after finding Danthelon’s Dancing Axe uncharacteristically locked, the group discovers the apartment was completely emptied. With the exception a couple of things found in a closest, including an unmarked key, some paintbrushes, work gloves with a fishy order, a small vial of green liquid, and a torn piece of black fabric, which has part of a symbol believed to be attributed to Guild markings, there is only one other thing left in this place. A parchment, stabbed in the wall with a Calishite dagger, and, written in Alzhedo, penned in blood, are the words, “Room for Rent – Now Bugger Off”.

With their curiosity not yet satiated, Ander picks the lock going down to Danthelon’s apartment, where the foul stench of death and bile assaults their senses. Carefully stepping downstairs, into the bedroom, they find Danthelon dead, still dripping blood and filth onto the floor. Holding back expectorant, a closer look reveals that he has been given a bloody Calishite Necktie and his mouth sewn shut. Sulfuric fire burns in a ring on the wall opposite the bed the corpse lays on.

Overwhelmed by it all, the light goes out and with a sharp intake of breath, in pitch-black darkness, they stand in blind anticipation of doom.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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