This is a conversion of the Fury in Freeport scenario found in the Freeport Companion. As well as offering some expanded details and pointers for DMs it also faithfully transposes the setting to Baldur’s Gate, the famed port-city of the sword coast. DMs will require a copy of the Freeport Companion to run this scenario. It is also advisable to have a copy of Murder in Baldur’s Gate. For enterprising Dungeon Masters looking to use the adventure contained in that book, Bedlam in Baldur’s Gate would make an excellent prelude to the dramatic events detailed in that scenario.
Please note that many of the NPCs referred to here have statistics covered by the Freeport Companion’s rules – just exercise common sense to quickly convert them to this site’s rules, e.g. Strength could be represented by Warrior for purposes of melee attacks. The dretch detailed in Part I is a good example.
N.B. Here Be Spoilers!: The information detailed below is for the eyes of Dungeon Masters only. Prospective players should click away now!
– Bedlam in Baldur’s Gate –
The bards sing of the city being akin to a crescent moon, in reality though the great port-city of Baldur’s Gate better resembles a hand, a great reaching, grasping paw that stretches out into the wide waters of the Chionthar; it’s fingers are wharves and quays, dry docks and towering cranes where the finest ship-wrights of the sword coast ply their craft. And it’s not far from this prosperous harbour that you find yourself entertaining one Aporcus Beedle, a young man with a proposition.
Amid the unsavoury clientele of the Blushing Mermaid, Beedle barely attracts more than a glance but he is admittedly a wretched looking character; so much so that you paid for his whiskey out of the kindness of your own heart. Not that you plan on running up a tab – the wooden mermaid that overlooks the tavern’s porch is nailed with dozens of shriveled hands – “Folk who forgot their coin-purses donated them!”, so sayeth the staff at least.
Beedle wants you to retrieve something for him – a small, black case. Only problem, it’s one of a number of items being sold off with the Knorrbertal estate tomorrow morning at eight bells at the Municipal Auction House – “Oh and seeing as owing to various factors (well out of my control), you understand, I’m not currently… as of this moment, in a position to pay you anything up front… just so as we’re clear on all that.”
PCs observing Beedle (Mystic, Good), can establish that he is too bookish to be a mere pick-pocket, and more than likely a mage of some sort – one down on his luck. See the Freeport Companion for further details.
“I know a person who’ll pay a premium price for what’s inside… and no… I’m not telling you who it is or what’s inside.” He starts by offering the characters 20% of what he gets, claiming: “I can get at least a thousand gold pieces for that box… from the right buyer.” Shrewd characters can get him to go all the way up to 50% with Good (+3) social overcome actions. He doesn’t say anything more.
If asked about the security at the Auction House he’ll admit that “what with the Guild hitting a few lackadaisicle merchants there a while back I expect we’ll be seeing a couple of guards, private recruits probably, nothing worth worrying much about. The last thing they want is trouble on a night like this…”
Snooping: Characters curious about Aporcus Beedle can do some nosing around a bit, chat to the old salts and harbour-hands of the district, making appropriate Aristocrat overcome actions to get them to open up.
Table A-1: Beedle
Static Difficulty Result:
Average (+1) “Beedle, you say? Yeah, I know him. He haunts the back alleys of the docks mostly.”
Good (+3) “Oh, Aporcus, yep, I know him and if you see him, tell him he ain’t welcome ‘round here. Bastard owes me 2 dragons!”
Great (+4) “He’s a thief, as I hear it, and not a good one. Nine Hells, even the Guild won’t have anything to do with ‘im.”
Superb (+5) “Beedle’s a piece of work. They say he tried to kill his aunt, the gods bless her. To think that Delinda Knorrbertal could be kin to him! You ought to steer clear of Beedle. He’d stick a knife in you if he thought you had two pennies to rub together.”
Game Aspects: The city of Baldur’s Gate has the following aspects; 1. Grey Harbour: Inclement weather is an almost ever-present feature of the city, such that blankets of fog regularly roll through the streets and quays of the lower city, leading to a busy trade of street porters known as lamp lads who escort paying patrons on foot using lanterns hung from long brass poles. 2. “When the Arms Show True”: a local saying and insight into the Baldurian mindset – essentially a sarcastic reference to the city’s coat of arms wherein a ship sails peacefully on a calm sea – a rare sight along the sword coast. This is a saying similar to “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. DMs might drop it into conversation.
PCs can uncover these aspects with successful Aristocrat actions.
Darn Players! I: Should the players elect not to have any dealings with Beedle use the following options to press them into action:
i) Compel a PC with an appropriate aspect to make a strong case for going through with the heist. This could lead to a contest or even a mental conflict.
ii) A local Baldurian warns them that the Flaming Fist have been asking questions. Someone, likely a customer of the Mermaid has fingered the PCs as the main culprits in a break-in at the Auction House the previous night.
At first she turns her back on you, as if to say you were nothing but a stranger to her, however as you draw near, she beckons you closer, eyes darting left and right as if anyone could be listening…
She breaks the news to PCs, that they are now wanted men: “THE FIST HAVE EYES AND EARS EVERYWHERE ABOOT THIS OLD CITY. Ye better sort this mess out before they have ye thrown in the dungeons!…and if ye have even an ounce of Oghma’s wisdom, ye’ll stay away from Seatower!”. The aspect above can come into play when necessary, even functioning as a compel when it’s necessary to turn up the heat on the PCs.
iii) The wizard Tarmon, one of the city’s most respected mages contacts the players, offering a way out of their current predicament if they’ll aid him in tracking down the case, appearing almost out of nowhere – A tall, imposing figure. Where other men his age would be bent over from years of toil and hard labour, the elderly man before you is almost statesman like, dressed in mage’s robes and holding a fine, bone-white staff…
“You may have dodged the law but it’s another matter entirely to escape the notice of a wizard who has been around as long as I…
I can draw some of this unwanted attention away from you. The Flaming Fist may, at times, act like a law unto themselves but mercifully ye are not the only suspects that they pursue. I can direct their agents to look elsewhere for a time, by means of the Art, to plant a thought in the minds of these mercenary captains. You may, thus, drop down the pecking order of the city’s most wanted… for a while at least.”
“However, in return, I need you to retrieve something for me. I had known for some time that something sinister lurked in the old Knorrbertal house. It had stood there rotting for some time after Delinda Knorrbertal passed away, meanwhile something inside festered, like a canker, something foreign, something magical… so I purchased the property and ordered the contents be transported to the Auction House with a view to flushing out any interested parties that could threaten the peace of Baldur’s Gate. And let me assure you, that threat is real. Trouble is brewing about the Gate, like a storm rolling in off the sea!”
Tarmon makes it clear that should they succeed they will stand an excellent chance of clearing their name; “Many of the businessmen who own the Auction House, I count among my peers and I will of course, ensure that they hear of the role you played in safe-guarding our city.”
Should the players mention Beedle, “Aporcus, that little serpent. I had believed him dead. Many of us did. He was apprenticed to a colleague of mine for a time before the streets swallowed him up. I presumed he had overdosed on sable moonflower after he had attempted to poison his aunt, that was the tale that was told around the city… anyway, Aporcus has no respect for the Art and knows nothing of the dangerous magics that he is toying with!”
If they take Tarmon up on his offer, they will have the aspect TARMON’S ART to invoke any time they are threatened with pursuit or arrest by the Flaming Fist. Let the players know this.
N.B. The events above may be used at later points by the DM should they prove relevant. You might treat them as plot devices that spice up the story whenever play stalls or compels should you need to circulate fate points.
Part I: Break In
The night now greets you – the ever present fog that haunts the cobbled streets of the Gate, and here in the lonely back-alleys of the grey harbour there are few lights to diminish it’s GLOOM. You arrive close by the walls of the auction house – SHEER, MORTARED STONE structures that rise twenty feet from the cobbles, finished atop with iron spikes. You could be forgiven for thinking you were staring at a gaol. Not a sinner stirs, save the caterwauling of the SCREECHING ALLEYCATS that prowl the district – the city’s first line of defence against the vermin that creep off the boats.
The Municipal Auction House is a private venture recently acquired by a cabal of wizards resident in the Gate – the Red Griffon Consortium and the guards hired here are private men-at-arms.
1. PCs examining the wall may create an advantage with a Good, Marksman action – noticing POOR JOINING WORK on the rear wall, giving some foothold to climbers.
2. Scaling the top of the wall gifts the PC a view of the perimeter yard. It’s quite clear that two of the guards are strolling in tandem along the sandy path that surrounds the building proper. Create an Advantage (Scholar, Superb) will allow the PC to glean their patrol routine just by observing briefly. They’re already ambling along the left-hand path towards the swinging gate at the right side of the gauntlet.
3. This is the auction room. On the far side a wooden stage dominates your view, on it a plain lectern with auctioneer’s gavel (or hammer), brown tarp hangs behind it. A single oil lantern sits on the stage providing READING LIGHT for a man dressed in guards’ livery, he pours over a collection of prints, WHISTLING AUDIBLY at their contents. In front of the stage lie seven rows of benches. Stretched out on the second row getting some shut-eye is another guard, his HELMET COVERING HIS EYES.
4. A small, cramped office containing a foul-looking cot, desk, lamp, and a sagging set of shelves that overflow with papers, junk, and old food.
On the desk is a manifest detailing the contents of the storeroom according to each lot. It’s stamped with the symbol of the Red Griffon Consortium, the cabal of mages that Tarmon claims membership of (make an overcome action to know this; Aristocrat, Good). If Crask manages to hear any commotion coming from the auction room he will extinguish the candles and hide under the desk. Otherwise he may be found SLEEPING LIGHTLY in his cot.
6. The double-doors part to reveal a great store-room, some thirty yards in breadth. Thick wooden cross-beams run from wall to wall above, where hang deserted cobwebs that occasionally catch the faintest of draughts, swelling like the sails of a ship. Layed out unevenly but still seperate from one another are the auction lots – crates upon crates, wooden boxes and chests, covered in tarpaulin or sometimes just dust. The air carries the faintest hint of mildew. Nothing moves, save the odd mote of dust. The Knorrbertal lot must be in here somewhere.
The store room is big enough to be divided into two zones – 6A for the left half of the room and 6B for the right. A fiend known as a Dretch is guarding this room, hidden behind the Knorrbertal lot. He won’t be spotted unless PCs are actively searching for a presence here. He will attempt to get the jump on any PCs searching here, invoking the DARKNESS as an aspect.
A glyph on the floor close to the centre of the room displays the tell-tale evidence of the summoning. Detecting the diagram is a challenge – have the player searching roll Marksman to notice the outline; Good (+3), if successful have them roll Scholar; Good (+3) to recognise it’s magical purpose:There’s a design here of some sort, drawn in chalk on the wooden floorboards but it’s been smudged in places… probably by the comings and goings of the auction house work-hands…
On a successful roll: Still, you know an occult diagram when you see one and from the looks of things this one was sketched out quite recently, with the person responsible having smudged out much of it’s detail.
Catching sight of a dretch for the first time is a Fair (+2) mental attack vs. Mystic.
Aspects: Hideous Demon; Natural Heavy Armor;
Resists Mental Magic
Professions: Fair (+2) Brute, Warrior; Average (+1) Mystic
Stunts: Summon Dretch – Once per scene, the dretch may attempt a
Good (+3) Mystic-based overcome action to summon
Outsider’s Toughness – The dretch gains an extra mild
Melee Attack: Claws Fair (+2), +2 Slashing dmg
Physical Defense: Mediocre (+0), Natural Heavy Armor
Physical Stress: ❏❏❏
Mental Stress: ❏❏
+1 mild consequence slot
The dretch – Your mind reels at it’s sheer hideousness. The creature’s spine arches high over it’s huge, hulking shoulders, where hangs a grotesque goblinoid face. It lurches forward, heaving it’s bloated green belly, supporting itself by two lanky arms – arms that reach right down to the ground, ending in wicked claws that drag along the floorboards!
Ambushes, Surprise & Turn Order: Create an Advantage to attach the situation aspect Surprised to one or more targets. The character attempting the ambush typically rolls their Rogue prof. vs. targets’ Marksman. Always use a passive value (represented by the appropriate profession), if the target(s) are not actively on the lookout for anyone. See the rules on Affecting Multiple Targets, p205 – Running The Game.
Once a conflict is established roll for initiative to determine turn order (active opposition using a relevant skill, rank PCs and NPCs accordingly, as DM you may group monsters and NPCs as appropriate to save time rolling). The Surprised aspect (or any other relevant aspect), may be invoked during this phase.
Sneak attacks can be handled by stunts, as per the Freeport Companion, e.g. Sneak Attack (Rogue): Attacker gains a +2 to Rogue-based melee attacks when his target is unaware of him.
Darn Players! II: Should the players get captured while burgling the Auction House, they will be spending the night in the Seatower of Balduran – the private guards or possibly a cabalist belonging to the Red Griffin Consortium handing the PCs over to the Flaming Fist for incarceration; The dungeons below the tower extend three levels down into the bedrock of the small islet that hosts the old fortification – cold, dank cells that sink beneath the water line.
Tarmon can be introduced here, offering the PCs a deal similar to the one detailed above. Not only does he have the ear of the mages in the Consortium but he is also willing to post bail for the adventurers on the condition that they track down the missing case. Tarmon reasons that it must have been pilfered en route to the auction house as he’s already interviewed the movers. He makes the same commitment to the PC’s cause as offered above but there is every chance the Flaming Fist might arrive on the scene again if it’s necessary that the PCs once again become the city’s most wanted.
Part II: The Missing Case
Should the PCs show no interest in meeting Beedle again, arrange some of the encounters suggested in the ‘Darn Players! I’ text. In Baldur’s Gate, the Watch safeguard the upper-class residencies of the old city. The Flaming Fist are charged with policing life in the lower city, and if players don’t apply their own initiative and investigate they will find themselves dealing with the famous mercenary company sooner rather than later.
“The Flaming Fist Mercenary Company, over a thousand strong, is based in the city. Every tenth person or so is a member or a watch agent (well, spy) of the Fist, skilled in battle and within a breath or two of numerous armed allies.” Volothamp Geddarm, Volo’s Guide to the Sword Coast.
Should any chase sequences occur, use contest rules. Should an unexpected twist occur, try the following – The street directly ahead of you stretches out like a thoroughfare in marked contrast to the tangled alleyways you had been careering through. The length ahead of you is clear enough to make a full sprint should you choose to go for it! Any PC with an aspect suggestive of athletic ability will now get a +2 bonus to future rolls as if it were a stunt.
If players’ first concern is locating a safe-house, overcome with Rogue (Great +4). If the roll fails, let them succeed with a cost – the cost being a party of Fists knocking on every door in that street.
B. Finding Beedle: Beedle had promised to meet players again in the Blushing Mermaid. The Gate is a comparatively conservative city and nowhere near as baudy or multicultural as Freeport so the Blushing Mermaid is de facto the roughest ale-house in town. The quays around the grey harbour can easily replicate Scurvy Town if the PCs decide to begin a man-hunt for Beedle about the lower city (Aristocrat, Good). Successful PCs may learn that Beedle is rooming at Kregen’s Kradle.
The grey harbour sprawls around the quays and dockyards of the Gate. Down by the water, enormous cranes, marvellous feats of engineering in their own right, tower above you, circled by ravenous gulls. But even the cramped streets and narrow walls of the harbour can’t offer much shelter from the persistent drizzle that dogs Baldur’s Gate, you learn quickly how the grey harbour got it’s name.
PCs may or may not find Beedle, they may even learn of a game aspect or two as a bonus – see above. If they show no interest in returning to the Blushing Mermaid introduce an encounter with the Blackened Knot here.
The Blackened Knot may not have goblins or kobolds to terrorise but the docks can be home to small gangs of racist hooligans. There are easy opportunities for compels here and also a great excuse for an old-fashioned bar-brawl.
Remember, the PCs are OUTLANDERS IN THE GATE and can be compelled as such, leading to an ambush by local ‘fang gang’, the Blackened Knot (Two members per PC), or this can be a cost associated with a failed action (maybe the PCs get lost first, then get ambushed?); Maybe it’s the incessant spitting of water from the gutter-spouts above and around you, trickling down onto the SLICK COBBLESTONES beneath your feet, or maybe it’s just the jadedeness that comes from plodding down one bloody alley after another but these locals would seem to have just GOT THE JUMP ON YOU. They’re young and leery looking, some heavily tattooed. All of them sport gang colours, including a black kneckerchief or cravatte, tied close with a heavy knot but from the way they fan out, blocking the street ahead and behind you, you know for sure they’re not any kind of welcoming committee!
PCs may be able to create advantages based on the gang’s reputation or tatoos, references to this or that human crusader/butcher who brought bloody war to goblinkin or even elves. Conflict may be resolved as a social contest. PCs may even be able to win over the confidence of the gang.
Should PCs return to the Blushing Mermaid; Pushing in through the high-ceilinged lobby, you’re reminded why this alehouse has such a bad reputation, the roof is low, to the point where you’d swear the bar had been built just for halflings and the windows are barred on the outside but it’s the clientelle that complete the dingy tavern’s special atmosphere – a motley crew of seasoned drunks and pirates, and worse… if you only had the time to get to know them!
The keg-hand (faerünian for bartender), notices you as you step inside and instantly throws a nervous look about the room before quietly turning his back on you and disappearing down a flight of stairs. Beedle could be anywhere in here and beyond the bar proper, the Mermaid degenerates into a maze of twisting corridors, intersecting wings, shady alcoves and hidden snugs where illicit dealings are widely rumoured to take place.
Most of the Mermaid’s patrons are old, scarred sea dogs who whittle away the day and night nursing drinks and swapping tales. Let the PCs search about if that’s what they want then introduce the Blackened Knot when it’s time for action.
The on-duty keg-hand, Able Wackets – FRIENDLIER WHEN DRUNK, will admit (Aristocrat, Great), that Beedle had been talking up the fact that he was about to come into some money, “guess he did”. He will warn PCs about the Blackened Knot, on a success with style, granting them the aspect WATCH OUT FOR THE BLACKENED KNOT!
C. Beedle’s Flat: On your way to Kregen’s Kradle you notice the mean streets of the grey harbour growing meaner by degree. Spotting the boarding house itself is easy…
Note: Here’s an opportunity to compel with the aspect “THE FIST HAVE EYES AND EARS EVERYWHERE ABOOT THIS OLD CITY.”, should it apply: …Just as you cross the street to enter the old hotel, out from the front door steps a posse of armoured men, the Flaming Fist, professional soldiery who carry themselves as such and whose faces carry the stern looks of men who expect to be treated as such! (Use the statistics for the Watchmen found in Chpt. V of the Freeport Companion, but these men may have the aspect LIGHT ARMOUR). There is one Fist per PC.
Should PCs purchase Beedle’s old stuff, the wooden token could be a kind of coupon used to obtain a discount on freshly printed pamphlets of Baldur’s Mouth (see the Murder In Baldur’s Gate setting book).
D. Slick: Run the chase as a contest. Should you need to introduce a new element to the chase – Down a steep run of granite slab steps that swing into the alleyway you find yourselves pelting down, march a pair of lamp lads, great brass poles swinging huge lanterns from atop and – behind them, a courier struggling to hold a tower of boxes and parcels that he can scarcely see past!
Everyone involved must make an overcome action (Acrobat, Good) or be instantly eliminated from the contest. Failure also means taking one shift of physical stress.
F. The Knorrbertal House: Should the players decide to search for clues, the Knorrbertal house will likely be a first port of call. The house is located by the street of dreams, not far from the fashionable Bloomridge disctrict with it’s bohemian cafes and florists.
You can compel any WANTED aspect that the PCs have as they attempt to gain entry to the house, or if they succeed at said action with a cost attached have one pane of the window break off and shatter noisily, possibly obliging any PCs remaining outside to scatter and duck the law.
G. Tarmon and The Red Griffon Consortium: It is of course possible that PCs attempt to dig up information concerning the Red Griffon Consortium leading them to seek an audience with Tarmon the Wizard. This will prove to be very difficult. If the mage wants to be contacted by the PCs it will happen on his terms. Tarmon is the only member of the afore-mentioned cabal that PCs will be able to identify and the wizard makes his home in a palatial, walled house in the old city. When questioning Tarmon you might find the information contained in the Darn Players! I section to be relevant. Also see What Now? in Part III: Bloody Dawn of Fury in Freeport.
I. The Narwhale: Finding the Narwhale is not easy (even with good directions),…
…the quays and wharves down by the water’s edge often splinter into branching platforms like the arms of a tree and all along the dry docks the masts of innumerable ships run like a man-made canopy. You almost trip over the iron rail-tracks where the carts run and off your shoulder, great mechanical pumps hiss as cargo is unloaded from newly arrived merchant vessels – yet more wonders bequeathed to the city by the temple of Gond Wonderbringer!
Examining the ship: It’s the bright bands of colour along the hull that betray the ship’s foreign origin at first glance, then there’s the bowsprit that protrudes some nine feet from the prow of the ship like the spiraling horn of the creature that gives the ship it’s name.
Anyone on-board? You can make out a couple of figures close to the side of the vessel. Dark-skinned, swarthy looking sailors with slick black hair fastened into top-knots. From the two you can see, they’re both carrying scimitars, holstered in bright sashes tied about the waist.
J. Dimetrios: A thorough interview with the hoodlum slick should reveal a connection to Dimetrios, a portly smuggler from Chessenta. Locating him will be tricky, a challenge beginning with a bribe of some kind is the way to go. PCs will then get a tip-off that Dimetrios is spending the night carousing in the Low Lantern, an aging three-masted merchant’s galleon that sits rocking in the waters off the docks near Stormshore Street on the south-east side of the harbour.
The Low Lantern looks barely seaworthy but you soon realise that’s scarcely the point. Drawing up the board-walk and stepping onto the rocking upper deck you duck under low hanging lamps and tressles, brush past the merry carousers and raised goblets of wine, moving on – the real action if judging by the noise, is to be found below-deck.
It’s an ideal location for dealing with the black market, run by ‘The Lady Captain’ Laerla Thundreth who just happens to have connections with the Guild. For Mazin slavers read Calishite (countrymen of the opulent desert kingdom of Calimshan, far to the south).
Below-deck… Your ears fill with the sounds of raucous partying – the spin of the roulette wheel as the ball rattles around it’s track, boastful taunts and drunken proclamations! A few heads turn your way as you enter the scene – pirates, gamblers, intoxicated merchants and halflings stood up on stools to see over the shoulders of their taller rivals at the table.
Should the PCs show an interest in speaking to the ship’s captain (and they may have learned of her identity as a bonus to succeeding with style on an earlier social action), then a successful Rogue or Aristocrat action (Superb, +5) will get her to discretely point out Dimetrios’ location, although the ‘Good’ Lady Captain is in no hurry to ‘snitch’ on any of her compatriots. Alternatively, they may ingratiate their way into a game or something similar as a prerequisite to getting one of the clientelle to open up and point out Dimetrios. This could be the final step in a long drawn out challenge.
Part III: Bloody Dawn
The first the players learn of the murders that have rocked the city is via the town criers, in the service of the news gazette Baldur’s Mouth, it is also the first time they realise they are WANTED FOR MURDER.
When passing any busy, commercial spot: A gangly lamp lad, still in the throes of that most awkward stage of adolescence, cries out from his perch atop an old barrel, announcing to all gathered the grisly news that a spate of murders has the city’s law officers engaged in a mad hunt for justice.
Disturbing as this is the real shock comes next, when he begins to describe the suspected killers – describe each PC in turn, doing your best to make them sound like disturbed psychopaths, with the crowd occasionally muttering, condemning and spitting as each one is detailed, maybe even casting a dark look the way of the PCs.
If PCs want to take note of any important details pertaining to the murder have them make a Marksman or Scholar action (if attempting to remember later on), to garner leads equivalent to those found in table A-5.
Since the action is taking place in the lower city, the players are being pursued by the mercenaries of the Flaming Fist, not the upper city’s Watch. This ties in neatly with the back story of the cursed dagger, and Melanie Crump’s vendetta against the Fist who would have been the front line in the Back Alley War against the Guild, when the Grand Dukes decimated the thieves’ organisation in a crusade against slavery. Over a century has past and the descendants being targeted by the possessed dagger claim lineage to the mercenaries, not the Watch. So, when reading Table A-5 substitute the Fist for the Sea Lord’s Guard, e.g; Result:
Fair +2 “It’s a sorry thing, though, about Reinholt Proy. Yeah, he came from a long line of guardsmen. He might have been a Fist too, but he managed to get himself a posting with the Watch and that was that. A right noble man he was. Sorry to see ‘im go. The Fist found him floating in the harbour.”,
Good +3 “No one knows much about Rene Montblanc. The way I hear it, her great grandpap lived in the city during the Back Alley War, but he left, family in tow, for the Dragon Reach. Evidently, she had just come to the city to seek her fortune. Guess she found it.”,
Great +4 “Oh, Montblanc, heard it there she met her end in Kergen’s Cradle! Can’t say why she was there… nasty place that one!”
While we’re unlikely to see any forensics or barricade tape in the Gate you may none the less look to introduce the Flaming Fist any time you want to turn up the heat. The party face (or any player with an aspect connecting them to the city) can roll Aristocrat to divulge clues concerning the murders but may have to make Rogue actions should they come under suspicion from the locals. Should the players have no luck and wind up under custody in the Sea Tower of Balduran, have Tarmon pull some strings and enlist them in an effort to discover the cause behind the mysterious spate of murders, see Darn Players! II in Part II.
N.B. For DMs planning an arc set within Baldur’s Gate now would be an opportune time to introduce a high-ranking named NPC within the Flaming Fist as these mercenaries will likely play a big part in your game.
If you have to throw the players a bone at some stage you might have a local mention that some of THE DECEASED WERE MEMBERS OF THE FIST, one of the reasons why the company is in such bullish mood. This rumour will inevitably begin to circulate at some point.
For PCs interested in viewing civic records or censuses with a view to determining the lineage of the murdered fists it will be necessary to complete a challenge – they will first need to get into the upper city, then they will either need to obtain the ear of a corrupt politician or clerk with access to the High Hall or make friends with the overseer of the Unrolling Scroll, the local shrine to Oghma.
Remember that accessing the upper city homes will necessitate passing through one of the city’s famous gates, old Baldur’s Gate close by the High House of Wonders is the one that all common foot traffic is expected to pass through, the other, more ornate gates are smaller and by law only facilitate those with proven connections to the patriars. With the Watch guarding each portal (and collecting tolls on Baldur’s Gate – a few copper nibs) it will likely require some kind of Rogue-based challenge to pass through or even an ingenious use of magic. DMs should accommodate players, particularly any interesting use of an aspect that might introduce a story detail.
Once inside, the genteel environs of the old city impress themselves upon you. The cobbles below you level out, none of the steep inclines or stairways that mark the outer city. Tall, narrow buildings with slit windows and gaily coloured shutters that guard against the drizzle. Ahead of you and dominating the skyline, stands the grandly spired edifice of the High Hall, from whence the four Grand Dukes oversee the conduct of the city.
Citizens here enjoy the protection of the Watch, with their distinctive black helms sporting a red stripe on each side (use the statistics for the Watch found in Chpt. V of the Freeport Companion but these men carry spears).
The most senior cleric among Oghma’s faithful in the Gate is Loremaster Most High Brevek Faenor, a priest with LITTLE LOVE FOR THE GONDSMEN and ALWAYS LOOKING TO GET AHEAD. There are a number of priests dedicated to the god of knowledge who work as librarians and record-keepers in the High Hall. With the Loremaster on their side, PCs may be able to get the information they desire, but it will take time. If it takes too much time, say the PCs succeed at a cost, they may arrive at the home of Uri Tasovar only to either find the tailor dying from knife-wounds or nothing more than a mutilated corpse.
Part IV: The Narwhale
Getting on board Farastay’s ship is the tricky part. Given the history of the emerald dagger, scurrilous PCs may even manage to pull favours from the Guild with the Lady Captain proving a useful contact in such endeavours or perhaps Dimetrios. On the other hand if the PCs have managed to win over the Flaming Fist or the wizard Tarmon and his cabalist colleagues they might be able to storm the boat with a large squad of mercenaries. The simplest option may be an attempt to sneak on board, invoking the rolling fogs that often smother the grey harbour or the usefulness of magical pyrotechnics in distracting a crew of mute slaves.
Following Beedle: Somewhere amongst the city’s streets, not far from where you are now, an explosion errupts, glass shatters and a high-pitched scream echoes above the din of the lower city. Several more screams and shouts follow…
Investigating – The street is in turmoil. At the point where one narrow alley enters the main boulevard a scattering of wooden shrapnel carpets the street, as if some great bull had come thundering out of the back-streets. Most of the citizens here huddle close to doorways, or stare warily out of windows but all faces point to the same direction – towards the grey harbour, where the street declines gradually towards the bay of the river. One inebriated Baldurian circles aimlessly in the middle of the street. One hand clutches a bottle, the other points dramatically towards the heavens – “’Tis finished, ’tis over. The gods have damned this old city and now fiends from the hells walk the streets… straight from the nine black pits they have come I tell ye!”
Eventually, the PCs encounter one or more terrified sailors running from the docks. At least one will swear, through panting breath that they saw a skinny, young man being dragged by two monstrous fiends up a gangwalk onto a ship called the Narwhale.
Area I: If Farastay is in the middle of performing his ritual – The man-in-white has his back turned to you and for the moment is completely absorbed in the monotonous incantations that fill the chamber. Around him, sailing rig and supplies are piled against the walls. The Calashite kneels before a circle of black candles, which in turn surround a body, laid out lifelessly in the middle of a sorcerous diagram. You’ve finally managed to track down the elusive Aporcus Beedle!
It is of course possible that the PCs are foiled in their efforts to secure the dagger. Should that happen, it will prove very difficult for them to remain in Baldur’s Gate with the Flaming Fist and the Watch pressed into delivering swift justice. The opportunity is there to force PCs into an indefinite exile into the untamed lands of the western heartlands. This may prove easier for novice DMs not keen on managing a large city that should, ideally offer lots of plot threads to resident PCs. Remember the Flaming Fist is a wealthy, professional mercenary company whose influence reaches beyond Baldur’s Gate so adventurers will still feel the heat from time to time. But that’s another story.