D&D Encounters Quest: Legacy of the Crystal Shard, Part 3

Last night was a rather strange session of encounters, in that our group did not get have a single round of combat. Typically, we’ve had three combat encounters every night I’ve been there, so it was definitely a departure from the norm.

Most of the usual players were there: the Dwarf Cleric who saves our butts time and again, the Dragonborn Druid whose nifty shapeshifting ways are very helpful, the Human Ranger who likes to hide in trees while raining down arrows upon our enemies, and and the Elven Mage who is looking forward to casting level 2 spells, as we were all told to level up our characters to three at the end of last week’s session. Our Halfling Rogue / super-assassin extraordinaire was missing, but I assume either work or weather-related issues kept him from coming, and that he’ll be back next week, as he’s been a regular most of the time I’ve been coming to Encounters. Also, we were joined by three new characters: Val, a Human Rogue specializing in Assassination, Bruce, a Dragonborn Fighter, specializing in Acid Breath and savant-esque stupidity / brilliance, and Javert, a Drow Paladin who specializes in being so ridiculously charismatic, he’s become the new face of the party.

The player for our original human fighter Jon moved to Australia. The “official” story is that he decided to leave our group and head south when the majority of us refused to back him up when he decided to pick a fight with Gant in a tavern, and was scorching ray’d into a crispy, burnt, roasted under-seasoned fighter in a single turn. “Unofficially,” I personally like to think that, after his near-death experience, he decided to retire, and settled in the Australian Quarter of Baldur’s Gate.

So we start off in the tavern, the Mythril Pot; it’s morning, and we’re making conversation with our new friends, when a messenger comes to us to tell us the Speaker of Easthaven (essentially the elected ‘Lord’ of the area) wishes to speak with us. My character gives a generous tip to the kid, who leads us to the Messenger’s office in turn. The Speaker, Danith, was so impressed with the way we defended Easthaven from the previous day’s pirate attacks, that he offers to cover our stay at the White Lady, the tavern we got kicked out of last week when “we” (as in our former fighter Jon) tried to pick a fight. I let the Speaker know that the proprietor of the tavern doesn’t take kindly to us due to a “misunderstanding” with a former member of our party, and we’re assured he’ll smooth out any problems we may have in that department. Moving on to the meat of the issue, he wants us to take care of the pirate problem plaguing Easthaven and he’ll pay us 100 gold pieces each to do so. Naturally, we accept, though we’re also saddened that he has absolutely no new leads for us.

That’s not to say we don’t have leads from the previous week to follow up on, from an oily Luskan trying to buy weapons at the armory, to the local ferryman, Creeden Connoly, buying large amounts of various supplies, much more than a mere ferryman would need to continue his / her operation. We go to a local woodworker to see if any such purchases occurred, and with some skillful charismatic persuasion, find out that Creeden bought 4 large spars, much more than he’d need for his ferry. We return to the armory of Rooden the Dwarf; partially to get some weapons silvered, of which he gave each of us 100 gold pieces worth of store credit after he had the night to think it over and realized we totally saved him from being turned into Dwarf stew the previous day. He also remembered a new detail he hadn’t before; Creeden had bought a tub full of chain from another smith in town.

We proceed to the docks to inspect Creeden’s ferry; it’s a large ship with a single mast, and notice he’s loading goods, including 100 lbs. of smoked meat (Mmmm…smoked meat…Mmmm!) A tavern by the docks, the Big Fat Knucklehead, is calling to us, as sleuthing is thirsty work. There, we discuss matters with the local fisherman, where we find out that ships, including the ferry, never go out to the lake, but stay by the shore. We also discover the location of Creedens’ home, and that he’s married to a Katelyn Connolly.

So off to the home we go, where we intentionally split the party; those with strong thieving / search skills went to pretend to do errands, while the charismatic remainder took Mrs. Connolly to the Speaker’s office for questioning in a matter we’re investigating regarding her husband. With incredible stealth, we unlock the door to the Connolly home and search the place, to discover absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in that the home is not luxurious and seems more than appropriate for a hardworking ferryman. Gavan does note however that there’s no strongbox present, which brings up a question: Where is Creeden’s strongbox, and why isn’t it at their home? With pirates attacking recently, one would think keeping it on the ferry would be overly risky.

After leaving things exactly as they were, including the locked door, we rejoin our friends at the Speaker’s office, where we discover nothing new from Mrs. Connolly. We then decide to book passage with Creeden’s ferry; splitting into pairs and pretending to have just met, we work out cover stories. Solis and I are couriers. The rest our doing various things from bar-hopping to touristy stuff. We try to get information out of Creeden and take a closer peek at his goods, but don’t glean anything useful. We arrive at the port of Caer-Dineval, where we quickly make our way to complete our made-up “business” and book another passage, to Caer-Konig, nothing that almost all of his cargo remains on-board. Upon arrival at Caer-Konig, we intend to book passage once more, but find Creedeb left immediately, dropping off none of his cargo, and that his ferry is out-of-sight. Our Dragonborn Druid, Ragner, then transforms into an Eagle and finds him sailing along to coast to the left, away from Caer-Konig, but interestingly enough, not in the direction of Caer-Dineval. In fact, he goes in the opposite direction.

Sadly, our Dragonborn can only sustain his transformation for 90 minutes, so he eventually returns to let us know what he discovered. We rent two boats and so sailing, actually bumping into Creeden’s ferry, but we sail past, noting that his cargo his now gone. only discover…nothing. No pirate base / headquarters. We surmise that the ferryman met with the pirates and loaded his goods onto a pirate ship, so we sail another mile or so on the look-out for any ships. We discover two ships, which we make our way towards. One of the ships appears hostile as we approach, taking out weapons, while another ship appears to not pay attention to our approach. We do notice that the weapons and dress of the hostile ship are not in-line with the pirates that attacked the town, so we approach the less hostile ship, one of them points to a strange symbol painted onto the side. My mage approximates that it’s a very ugly approximation of an arcana symbol. We peacefully approach, and learn that the symbol is supposed to be a magical ward that keeps pirates away, and that not one but two oil men from Lusk have been bugging the Speaker of Caer-Konig to pay money to have his ships painted with this “magical” symbol.

We return to Caer-Konig, return the rented boats, and talk to the speaker of Caer-Konig, Elton Lowell, who points us in the direction of the two oily Luskans, who are apparently staying at the Northern Light Inn. The play session ends as we make our way towards the Northern Light Inn, where presumably shenanigans will ensue next week.

I have to say, combat is fun in games, but it was absolutely refreshing to have a role-playing session where we did nothing but put on our Doctor Who hat’s, and make a meaningful attempt to investigate, find clues, acquire evidence, and try to unravel this mystery through peaceful means rather than break down the door and smash our suspects into oblivion. Though I’m confident next week we’ll get into a fight, or three.

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